August 14, 2016
I posted this recently – it is tremendously relevant since I’ve recently discovered another curse on the Phillies by Elohim, the All-Powerful One. For those who don’t know, a Philadelphia Athletics team in 1866 secretly paid a Brooklyn player named Lip Pike to play for them in the amateur National Association. he was the original baseball superstar; in July, he hit 6 home runs in a single game. However, at the end of the season, he was disrespectfully released by the team because he was a “foreigner.” That wasn’t because he was Jewish; it was because he was from Brooklyn. So, because the top Philadelphia amateur team treated Lip Pike so badly, the One who promised “I will bless those who bless you; I will curse those who curse you,” to Abraham in Genesis 12, Yahweh placed an 84-year curse on Philadelphia baseball… the Phillies would bear the brunt of that curse. So, 84-years after treating Lip Pike so badly, THAT curse was lifted in September of 1950 – when the Phillies were blessed by beating the Brooklyn Dodgers for the pennant. That wasn’t the only curse the Phillies were under – the “Curse of the Flying Dutchman” was still in effect (from 1897, when the Phillies disrespectfully failed to sign Honus Wagner) until 1980, when the Phillies won their first World Series.
A major sign of a curse being broken is a game that stands out for its unique events. It is a game that stands out in peoples’ minds because it has significance above and beyond just a normal game. Babe Ruth’s Called Shot Game in the 1932 World Series is such a game… so is the 1951 “Shot Heard Round the World” Bobby Thomson Game… so is the “Curse of the Boone-bino” Aaron Boone home run game in 2003… so is the “Steve Bartman” Cubs defeat in 2003… The Phillies-Dodgers game in 1950 that was for the pennant was full of quirks and oddities – the sign of a significant change… like an 84-year curse on the Phillies having been lifted. Don’t believe me – look at Vin Scully’s description of the game from an article about him last year. He, who has been announcing Dodgers games from 1950 to today, remembers that game vividly. Why? Yes, it was his first year… but that games details are etched in my memory, too, as a Phillies’ fan, and I wasn’t born until 1956.
One more significant connection to me: I know a lot about the details of that game from historical accounts, but also from an eye-witness who was there – my dad, Mike Scotto was there, cheering on his beloved hometown Dodgers. He was in the stands, not far from where Dick Sisler’s home run landed.
Vin Scully and the Phillies
Do you realize how many times Vin Scully’s career as a broadcaster has had SIGNIFICANT intersection with the Philadelphia Phillies? It’s astonishing! Look at these two articles, as a foundation:
Vin Scully on life and lessons from his rookie year with the 1950 Dodgers
By David Halberstam
Posted: Monday July 20, 2015
Despite boasting seven All-Stars in catcher Roy Campanella, first baseman Gil Hodges, second baseman Jackie Robinson, shortstop Pee Wee Reese, centerfielder Duke Snider and pitchers Don Newcombe and Preacher Roe, the Dodgers were in fourth place as late as mid-August before ripping off a 10-game winning streak that carried Brooklyn into second, four games behind the Phillies, a young team known as the Whiz Kids. The Dodgers fell back to nine games behind entering play on Sept. 19 but then went 12-3 to climb within two games of Philadelphia, which came to Ebbets Field for the last two games of the season.
Brooklyn won the first game 7-3 and needed only to beat the Philies and their ace Robin Roberts in the season finale on Sunday, Oct. 1 to force a three-game playoff for the pennant.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Dodgers were trailing 1-0 when Reese smacked the ball to deep rightfield. “Reese’s shot bounced on the five inches of the concrete at the base of the screen and just stayed up there,” says Scully, who remembers the game perfectly. “It was the most miraculous home run. The ball sat there at the base of the screen. It was the most unbelievable home run I ever saw. You could see the rightfielder, Del Ennis, plead for it to come down. There was nowhere for it to go. It just stayed there between the edge of the concrete and the base of the screen. There were only five inches up there, if that.”
In the bottom of the ninth with the game tied 1-1, Brooklyn squandered a couple of tasty chances to score the winning run. With first and second and no one out, Snider lined a single to center. Cal Abrams was on second and raced for home. “Instead of hitting the inside of the bag at third, Abrams, a New York kid, rounded third by the way of the coach’s box and he failed to score,” says Scully. “Centerfielder Richie Ashburn threw him out at the plate. Later in the inning, the Dodgers had the bases loaded with one out and Carl Furillo fouled out.”
In the top of the 10th, Dick Sisler’s three run HR won it for the Phillies, who went into their first World Series in 35 years (They lost in four games to the Yankees).