When the Phils Played the Red Sox in the 1915 World Series

The Phillies made their first World Series appearance ever in October of 1915. Their opponents were the Boston Red Sox. It was a competitive Series, but one in which the Phils clearly choked. Three times the games entered the 9th inning tied. And three times the Red Sox pushed across the winning run in the 9th.

The Phils rode their horse, Grover Cleveland Alexander, to a 3-1 Game One win at the Baker Bowl. They were able to win despite only getting 5 hits. In Game 2, Woodrow Wilson became the first ever President to watch a World Series game. He saw a good one, as the two teams entered the 9th inning tied. But in the 9th, Red Sox third bagger Larry Gardner reached 2nd and scored on a single by Rube Foster, who also threw a complete game 3-hitter to even the Series at 1-1.

The two teams went to Boston to play Game 3. Since Braves Field had more seats than Fenway, the Sox decided to play on the home field of their National League counterparts. The Phillies continued to struggle at the plate. Dutch Leonard held the Phils to one run and three hits, and the two teams entered the bottom of the 9th tied. In the 9th, Harry Hooper led off with a single off Pete Alexander, and moved to 3rd with two outs. Duffy Lewis came to the plate. The Red Sox left fielder cracked a single into right, and the Red Sox had a walkoff win.

In Game 4, the Phils’ frustration continued as they lost their 3rd straight game by a score of 2-1. The two teams headed back to Philly with the Sox ahead by a comfortable 3-1 margin. The Phils shot out to a 4-2 lead, which they took into the 8th, poised to get back into the Series. But Duffy Lewis played the hero again. After hitting 2 Homers in the regular season, he hit a two run blast to tie the game at 4. Then, in the top of the 9th, Harry Hooper hit a solo shot, and once again the Red Sox rode 9th inning heroics to a victory.

A few fun facts: Interestingly, these same two cities had met in the previous World Series. In 1914, the Boston Braves swept the Philadelphia A’s. Game 1 of the 1915 Series would be the last World Series win for the Phillies until Game 1 of the 1980 World Series (They were swept by the Yanks in 1950). Babe Ruth played for the Red Sox in 1915, but he only made one appearance in the Series, as a pinch hitter. Not surprisingly, the A’s Historical Society has an excellent write up about the 1915 Phillies.

After the jump are some cool photos from the 1915 Series.

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The Other Big Trades in Flyers History

This past Thursday, the Flyers front office made two of the biggest trades in team history.  The Flyers swapped Jeff Carter for Jakub Voracek and a 1st and a 3rd, and followed that up with Mike Richards for Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn and a 2nd rounder in next year’s draft.  In less time than it takes for one West German BMW Commerical, Richards and Carter, the faces of the franchise for the past 5 years, were gone.  With these blockbusters in the books, lets take a look at some of the other big impact deals in Flyers History:

January 31, 1971: The Flyers send Mike Walton to the Boston Bruins for Rick MacLeish and Danny Schock.

MacLeish became a Flyers legend, scoring 328 goals in the Orange and Black in addition to 54 in the playoffs.  Add to that a Cup clinching goal in Game 6 of the 1974 Stanley Cup Finals against the Bruins to give the Flyers their first championship, and you’ve got one hell of a trade.  The Hawk was a consistent 30 goal scorer in the regular season, and turned things on in the playoffs: he led the NHL in playoff scoring during the Flyers’ runs to the Cups in ’74 and ’75.

May 15, 1973: The Flyers send a 1st-Round pick (Bob Neely) and future consideration (Doug Favell) to the Leafs for Bernie Parent and a 2nd-Round pick (Larry Goodenough).

Without this trade, the Flyers don’t win consecutive Cups in ’74 and ’75.  In those Cup years, Parent won back to back Vezina (best goalie) and Conn Smythe (playoff MVP) Trophies.  Parent became the best goalie in franchise history and his #1 was the first hockey sweater to be retired in Philadelphia.

May 24, 1974: The Flyers trade Larry Wright, Al MacAdam and a 1st-Round pick to the California Golden Bears for Reggie Leach.

The Flyers had just won their first Stanley Cup and they went ahead and traded young talent for a known commodity in sharp-shooter Reggie Leach.  The move proved to be the right one as Leach was one of the stars of the ’75 Cup winning team.  Alongside Bobby Clarke and Bill Barber, Leach scored 47 regular season goals and 8 in 17 playoff games.

August 20, 1982: The Flyers trade Greg Adams, Ken Linseman and a 1st and a 3rd to the Hartford Whalers for Mark Howe and a 3rd-Round pick (Derrick Smith.

Mark Howe suffered a horrible injury late in the 1980 season when he slid feet first into the net and basically impaled himself on the steel of the old-school point in the middle of the net.  The Whalers thought Howe wouldn’t get back to form and the Flyers took a chance on him.  Howe became one the best two-way defensemen of the ’80s, made the Stanley Cup Finals three times and was a 3-time runner up for the Norris Trophy.

June 20, 1992: The Flyers give the house to the Quebec Nordiques for Eric Lindros.  The house included: Peter Forsberg, Mike Ricci, Steve Duchesne, Kerry Huffman, Ron Hextall, Chris Simon, 2 1st-Round picks (1993- Jocelyn Thibault; and 1994- Nolan Baumgartner) and $15,000,000.00.

Although the Lindros had all the tools and all the potential to become the “Next One,” hindsight proved that the Flyers got the short-end of the stick in this deal.  When healthy, Lindros was one of the most dominant players in the league.  But several concussions severely limited the E-Train’s effectiveness and shortened his career.  There was also the locker room issues in which Lindros was front and center.  The Avalanche ended up with a young Peter Forsberg (pictured above), trade bait they used to acquire Patrick Roy and a Stanley Cup.

February 9, 1995: The Flyers trade Mark Recchi and a 3rd-Round pick to the Montreal Canadiens for Eric Desjardins, John LeClair and Gilbert Dionne.

Although this trade didn’t correlate to a Stanley Cup, it was a fantastic deal for the Flyers, especially considering Recchi would rejoin the team a few years later.  For over a decade, Desjardins was the Flyers’ best defenseman.  Before injuries got the better of him, Desjardins was a consistent 40-50 pt. blue liner.  Along with Eric Lindros and Mikael Renberg, LeClair formed the Legion of Doom line, one of the most physical and productive lines in team history.  LeClair became the first American-born player in the NHL to record 3 consecutive 50-goal seasons and ranks 5th in team history with 333 goals in a Flyers uniform.

August 20, 1997: The Flyers trade Mikael Renberg and Karl Dykhuis to the Tampa Bay Lightening for 1st-Round picks in ’98, ’99, ’00 and ’01.  With those picks the Flyers chose: Simon Gagne, Maxime Oullet, Justin Williams and Tim Gleason (who was transferred to Ottawa).

By breaking up the Legion of Doom, the Flyers acquired a stockpile of draft picks that resulted in Simon Gagne and Justin Williams.  As a rookie, Gagne scored 20 goals, added 28 assists and was named to the NHL All-Rookie team.  He made the All-Star team in his second season, but his career really took off after the lockout when he played with Forsberg and Knuble on the Dueces Wild line.  Gags was always one of the most offensively skilled players on the team until 3 concussions in 5 months and then a hernia injury shut him down and eventually led to him being traded in 2010.  Justin Williams was another offensively talented winger who, in my opinion, was traded away a bit too early.

January 23, 2000: The Flyers trade Rod Brind’Amour, Jean-Marc Pelletier and a 2nd-round pick to Carolina for Keith Primeau and a 5th-Round pick.

At the time, getting rid of Rod-the-Bod was gut-wrenching.  He was one of the true good-guys: hard-working, professional, passionate.  But the guy we got in return gave us one of the most memorable playoff goals of all time and 4 years later, he gave us the most dominant playoff performance in Flyers history.  In the 2000 Eastern Conference Semis, Primeau did this to Pittsburgh in the 5th OT of Game Four.  And then in 2004, he was a man on fire.  To say that Primeau carried the Flyers during the run to the Eastern Conference Finals is an understatement; he scored 9 clutch goals and 16 points during the 18 postseason games.  They aren’t called the “Primeau Playoffs” for nothing.

February 15, 2007: Flyers trade Peter Forsberg to the Nashville Predators for Ryan Parent, Scottie Upshall, a 3rd-Round pick, and a 1st-Round pick that was subsequently traded back to the Predators for Kimmo Timonen and Scottie Hartnell.

When this trade was made, Forsberg’s career was just about over.  The 17 games he managed to play for the Predators wasn’t worth nearly what the Flyers got in return.  Timonen is as smart as they come and is captain material (he was Nashville’s at the time of the trade).  Hartnell has proven to be a contributor in addition to being an agitator.  At the time, Ryan Parent and Scottie Upshall were young players with a ton of upside.  Of all the trades on the list, this one may be the most lopsided in favor of the Fly-guys.

February 24, 2007: The Flyers send Alexei Zhitnik to the Atlanta Thrashers for Braydon Coburn.

The Thrashers brought in the Russian-born defenseman for playoff experience late in ’07 season.  Not a good move.  Zhitnik’s contract was bought out less than a year later and he returned to Russia.  Coburn, on the other hand, has developed into one of the better skating defenseman and can provide offense when called upon.  Coburn shined during the 2010 playoffs.

June 26, 2009: The Flyers trade Joffrey Lupol, Luca Sbisa two 1sts and a 3rd to the Anaheim Mighty Ducks for Chris Pronger and Ryan Dingle.

In the summer of ’09 the Flyers again traded away youth for veteran leadership.  In addition to the picks, Lupol was 25 and and Sbisa was just 19.  Although he battled through injuries this year, Pronger was a stud in the 2010 season that ended in the Stanley Cup Finals.  The 36-year-old almost never makes a poor decision and provides the grit and leadership along the blue-line and in the locker room that will most likely have him wearing the “C” come October.

H/T to flyershistory.com, which lists every trade in franchise history.

The Best of the Philadelphia A’s

The Phillies are taking on the Oakland A’s this weekend. Of course, the A’s franchise had some of its proudest moments in Philadelphia, where they played for over 50 years. Here are a few stories we’ve written about the A’s on the site.

Chase Utley is the 2nd best 2nd baseman in Philadelphia history. #1 played for the A’s.  

The Phillies and A’s fight over Nap Lajoie.

Lou Gehrig goes yard 4 times against the A’s, and comes within a few feet of hitting his 5th.

Author Bruce Kuklick talks about the city’s love/hate relationship with Connie Mack.

Interview with author Tom Swift, who wrote a book about A’s pitching great and baseball pioneer Chief Bender.

Searching for Simon Nicholls, the saddest story you’ll read all day.

Right Now on PhilaPhilia

You’re on this site because you not only love sports, but because you love Philly and you love it’s history. In that case, you’re gonna love philaphilia.

  • The U.S. Customs house is one badass building. As Philaphilia puts it, “This is one of those cool-ass buildings that could never be built in today’s shitty day and age because the materials cost would be astronomical.”

Lefty’s Slow Descent

25 years ago today, the Phillies said goodbye to the greatest pitcher in the franchise’s history. It was not an easy decision to make. The Phillies had hoped that Carlton would see that his skills had deteriorated, that his fastball no longer had pop or movement, and that he would agree to retire. But Lefty was nothing if not stubborn, and he refused to acknowledge that he was done. Bill Giles explained how it went down at a press conference.

“I met with Steve and his wife, Beverly, a week ago at their Center City apartment, and we discussed his retiring,” Giles said. “He convinced me at that time that he could still pitch, so I decided we’d give him another start.

“But when he was knocked out of the game in the fifth inning Saturday, I decided we had to do something. I couldn’t take it anymore, I couldn’t watch him struggling anymore. And it took me three days to get up the nerve to tell him.

“We met again Tuesday night. He again expressed his belief that he could still pitch and that he did not want to retire. But I told him that it just was not in the best interest of the Phillies to have him keep pitching for us.

“And this is easily the toughest thing I’ve had to do since becoming president of the club. I apologize for my emotions. You build up great attachments to someone who is with a club for 14 years. He’s probably had more impact than any pitcher in this club’s history.”

The club had hoped to send him out Julius Erving style, with an enormous standing ovation for his last start. Instead, two years later, after bouncing around several teams, the end came quietly in Minnesota, where he racked up a 16.22 ERA before the Twins pulled the plug. Sadly, Carlton had long been represented by an agent who was ripping him off, so part of the reason he held on for so long was money. But it was dumbass Tim McCarver who gave the real reason that Lefty held on for so long.

“Lefty has an irascible contempt for being human. To a great degree, he feels superhuman. He refuses to think like other mortals. It’s not in his makeup to ever consider things in realistic, practical fashion.

“Everybody says, ‘If I were in his shoes, I’d quit.’ But if you’re not in his shoes, you don’t understand how he thinks. Part of the things that made him great are part of the things that are making him hang on.”


Reason No. 437 for Hating the NY Mets: Jimmy Piersall

Mets center-fielder Jimmy Piersall set the gold standard for showing up the opposing pitcher, and he did so against the Phillies.

On June 23, 1963, the Phillies faced the Mets at Forbes Field.  Jimmy Piersall led off the bottom of the 5th inning with a home run against Dallas Green to put the Mets up 2-0.  The ball was little more than a pop-fly that just cleared the right field wall   It happened to be Piersall’s 100th career homer; and Piersall happened to be certifiable.  Instead of simply trotting around the bases and quietly celebrating the milestone, Piersall did what he vowed to do:  He circled the bases running backwards.

Duke Snider had hit his 400th career earlier in the season and Piersall didn’t think Snider received enough attention for the feat.  He wanted to make sure his 100th got noticed, and he even practiced the backwards trot.  When he was interviewed about his celebration after the game, he said “I did it good too.  I even shook hands with the coach on third base.”

The stunt didn’t amuse Commissioner Ford Frick.  Although he didn’t reprimand Piersall, he warned that if he ever did it again, “He’ll hear about it.  But then he probably won’t hit another 100 so the subject won’t come up.”  Casey Stengal, the Mets manager at the time, didn’t approve either.  He cut Piersall just two days later.

When the Sixers Drafted Back to Back Baseball Players

Most people in Philadelphia remember the 1996 draft as the one in which the Sixers drafted Allen Iverson with the #1 overall pick. And no wonder. Iverson was the player who, for better or worse, defined this team for the next decade. But the Sixers 2nd round picks were fairly remarkable as well, but for very different reasons.

With the 31st pick in the 1996 draft, the Sixers selected 6’9″ Forward Mark Hendrickson. Hendrickson made the team, but played sparingly. After the season ended, he was signed by the Kings. He played a season in Sacramento and a season in New Jersey before calling an NBA career quits and deciding to give baseball a try. He was hardly a hardball superstar, but he was good enough to kick around the league from 2002-2010, pitching for the Blue Jays, Devil Rays, Dodgers, Marlins and Orioles.

The Sixers also held the very next pick in the draft, and used it to select Ryan Minor. Minor was a superstar guard at Oklahoma, averaging over 23 PPG his junior year and 21 PPG his senior year. His junior year, he was named the Big 8 Player of the Year. And he might have played here alongside Iverson if the Sixers didn’t already have a full roster. According to a 1998 Inky article about Minor:

“I’m still trying to figure out what’s going on with that organization,” said Minor, pounding a baseball into the palm of his glove as he sat in front of his locker.

“They drafted three guys in that second round when they already had 12 guys under contract,” Minor said. “They knew exactly who was going to be on their team that year, so all the guys they picked had no shot, no shot at all. What I don’t understand is, if they knew that, why didn’t they just trade a couple of the picks? That would have been the fair thing to do.”

Instead Minor got cut, was picked up by Baltimore, and became the answer to a trivia question: who played 3rd base for the Orioles the night Cal Ripken’s streak finally ended? He is currently the coach for the Delmarva Shorebirds, the Orioles Single A farm club. Here’s a good write up about him from last year. (He has since returned to his job with the Shorebirds.)


In 1986, Harold Katz Sank the Sixers. They Still Haven’t Recovered.

Jeff Ruland, being terrible.

The 1986 NBA draft is one of the most memorable in sports history. The #2 pick died of a cocaine overdose, and three other players threw away their talents with drugs. The first round was almost a complete bust, with only one player ever making an All-Star team, while the 2nd round was a huge success. Dennis Rodman, Mark Price, and Jeff Hornacek all had long and productive NBA careers. It was also the draft in which the Sixers dismantled their team, making two of the worst trades in NBA history within a few minutes of each other, and destroying a once proud franchise.

The Sixers were sitting pretty on draft day of 1986. They had gone 54-28 that previous season, and had won two or more playoff series in 5 of the previous 7 years. (They were only prevented from making it 6 of 7 by missing a last second shot against the Bucks in Game 7 of the 1986 playoffs.) They had a young star named Charles Barkley to build around. And despite the winning record, a trade they had made 7 years previous (when they sent Kobe’s dad, Jellybean Bryant, to the Clippers) had given them the #1 pick in the draft. Rarely has a team been is such prime position on draft day. And then, in the space of just a few hours, the Sixers defied the odds and destroyed their team.

Hindsight is always 20/20, but in this case foresight was 20/400. The Sixers front office pulled off two blunders that made picking Sam Bowie over Jordan seem like a reasonable move. After shooting down Detroit’s offer of Kelly Tripucka, Bill Laimbeer, and Vinnie Johnson for Moses and the #1 pick, they made a deal with Washington. They traded away Moses Malone and Terry Catledge and two future first round picks to the Bullets for Jeff Ruland and Cliff Robinson.

Sixers owner Harold Katz saw Moses as over the hill. Malone could have been over the mountain and spent the rest of his career dropkicking the ball into the basket and still have been better than Ruland. To put how bad this trade was in perspective, consider this: Malone scored more points in his first five games on the Bullets than Ruland would score in his entire Sixers career.  (Cliff Robinson for Terry Catledge was a wash, with Robinson being slightly better but Catledge being a lot healthier. And as reader Steve pointed out, the Sixers also shipped off two future first round draft picks, )

But the Sixers weren’t done. They still felt the need to throw away the first pick in the draft. And they did just that, trading the #1 pick (who everybody knew would be Brad Daugherty) to the Cavaliers for Roy Hinson and cash. What was remarkable about the deal is that the Cavaliers made it despite not having a GM or a coach at the time. Yep, the Sixers got fleeced by a dead end franchise without a front office or a coach. Said Katz a couple of years later (btw, the 1988 Inky article I just linked to is a must read if you want to see the anatomy of this disaster. It’s like reading A Night to Remember, that book about the Titanic.):

“When I first heard that Cleveland had called us and offered Hinson, I thought it was a joke. Hinson was coming off a great, great year. He had to be rated one of the top three or four power forwards in the league. He was just 25. He had great stats.

“The excitement in that room about Roy Hinson being available was shared by everyone. There were statements – I’m not going to stay by whom – that it was a no-brainer . . . Let’s not even think about it. Let’s do it. But we did think about it. We made some phone calls. And everything we heard (about Hinson) was all positive.”

Roy Hinson.

The Sixers front office was obviously in a bubble. Everyone in Philadelphia knew instantly that these deals were disastrous. In an article in the Inquirer the next day, a Sixers fan said to the reporter, “That trade was the most stupid thing I’ve ever heard of. How can you trade an all-star for Jeff Ruland?”

In that same article, Moses showed that he was indeed a prophet. “I thought Harold Katz should have been man enough to call me the night before the trade instead of having (assistant general manager) John Nash call me. I brought them a championship. He should have had enough respect to call me and ask if I wanted to be traded. When Charles Barkley gets to be about my age . . . not my age, but after he’s played about five years, I think they might do the same thing to him.”

Of course, Moses was off by one year. 6 years later, the Sixers would trade Barkley in the 2nd stupidest trade in team history (Or possibly the 3rd. The Wilt trade was pretty terrible too.)

As for this deal, everything about it was disastrous. Moses would average 18 or more points and 10 or more rebounds in each of the next 4 years, while Jeff Ruland’s knees held up for all of 5 games on the Sixers. (He took a 5 year sabbatical, then came back to play 13 ineffective games for the team in 1992.) Roy Hinson never meshed with the Sixers, lasting a disappointing season and a half before being dealt, while Brad Daugherty became the Cavs all time leading scorer and rebounder. The team that had won two or more playoffs series 5 of the 7 years before the Moses trade has won 2 or more playoff series once in the 25 years since the trade.

Harold Katz would remain owner long enough to make the Barkley trade, and also to draft Shawn Bradley, Clarence Witherspoon, and Sharone Wright with top 10 picks. But despite all of the disastrous decisions he made over the years, none compares to that day in June of 1986 when he took a flamethrower to a dynasty. 25 years later, the franchise still hasn’t fully recovered.

This Day in Philadelphia Sports History: Jim Bunning’s Perfect Game

The 1964 Phillies are remembered as the team whose season was 12 games too long.  Up 6.5 games with 12 to go, the team began a 3 game set with the second-place Cincinnati Reds.  In the 7th inning of the first game, with the score knotted at 0-0, Chico Ruiz stole home against Art Mahaffey and the Reds held on to win 1-0.  That game kicked off the biggest choke-job in the history of Philadelphia sports, as the Phils went on to be swept by the Reds, the Milwaukee Braves, then the St. Louis Cardinals during a 10-game losing streak that ended all hope for the postseason and that haunts old-time Phillies fans to this day.

But before the Phillies made the kind of history we’d all like to forget, Jim Bunning made the kind of history that we are all happy to remember.

On June 21, 1964 the Phillies faced the Mets in a Father’s Day double-header at Shea Stadium.  Bunning, who was enjoying his first year in a Phillies uniform, was slotted against Tracy Stallard in Game One.  Bunning was flawless as he faced 27 batters and retired them all in a 6-0 win.  His was the first perfect game in team history and the first in the National League’s modern era.  The previous NL perfect game came in 1880.

And to all those weirdo baseball superstition guys out there, when Bunning walked into the dugout after the bottom of the 5th, he shouted to his teammates: “C’mon, let’s get that perfect game!”  He said he did so because “the pressure not only builds on the pitcher but on the fielders as well…I was just trying to relieve it by talking.”

The last out came against pinch-hitter John Stephenson.  The count was 2-2 after Bunning threw 4 straight curves.  Bunning came back with yet another curve and fooled Stephenson for the final strike.  Here’s a fantastic picture of the final pitch (note the scoreboard):

Also, check out this great MLB Network video of Bunning’s perfecto, which includes footage of the final three outs.

Bunning finished the ’64 season with a healthy 19-8 record and a 2.63 ERA.  However, he was just 1-3 in his final four outings during the Phillies collapse.  Partly to blame was Phils’ manager Gene Mauch who threw Bunning on short rest after hitting the panic button (Bunning started 4 of the final 9 games of the season).

After the ’64 season, Bunning pitched three more years with the Phillies and put up solid numbers.  However, he never reached the postseason in Philadelphia and after the ’67 season in which he led the NL in strikeouts, he was shipped off to Pittsburgh.  He retired in 1971 and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1996.

Though it was overshadowed by the final stretch of the season, Jim Bunning’s perfect game on June 21, 1964 set a standard that no Phillies pitcher matched until Roy Halladay did so 46 years later.

The Short-Lived, Cocaine Funded Philadelphia Kings

One website I am really digging these days is called funwhileitlasted.net, a site dedicated to short-lived pro sports teams. It was from that site that I learned about the Philadelphia Kings, a pro basketball team that played in West Philly in front of crowds that were only slightly larger than your average Wednesday night quizzo crowd, and whose short but sordid history includes cocaine, arson, and fraud.

Larry Lavin was a dental student at Penn when he started dealing cocaine, and within a few short years he was a millionaire. Of course, all of that money was cash coming in untaxed, so he had to find something to invest it in. Enter Mark Stewart, business manager for Freddie Shero, coach of the Flyers, as well as for a couple of Eagles. Stewart convinced Lavin to purchase the Philadelphia Arena, located at 45th and Market Street.

The Arena had housed numerous basketball and hockey teams through the years, with the Warriors and later the Sixers even playing occasional games there before the Spectrum opened. It was best known, however, as a boxing venue. Sugar Ray Robinson, Joe Frazier, and Gene Tunney all fought there through the years.

By 1980 it had fallen into disrepair, as the Spectrum made it somewhat superfluous. But Stewart convinced Lavin to buy it for $100 k, and then convinced him to purchase the Lancaster Red Roses of the Continental Basketball Association and move them into his new arena. In an effort to generate local goodwill, they named the Arena Martin Luther King, Jr. Arena and named the team the Kings.

Stewart hired former Sixer great Hal Greer to coach the team and signed former NBA star Cazzie Russell to lead them on the court. Russell was as advertised, scoring 19 ppg, but that didn’t seem to excite the local populace…two months into their inaugural season, they were averaging about 150 fans per game. After the season, the team was sent back to Lancaster. 

Now without a team, the storied Philadelphia Arena was essentially worthless. Stewart tried bringing in roller derby. As you might suspect, that went over like a lead balloon in an all-black neighborhood. Desperate to bring in anybody, the Arena was then booked with dubious preachers, including one who claimed to raise people from the dead. Lavin stopped giving money to Stewart, who was now on the hook for a worthless, dilapidated building. So Stewart did what any right thinking criminal would do. He had the place burned down. But the job was incomplete, and only the roof, the roof, the roof caught on fire. Stewart tried to claim his insurance, but his insurance company, seeing that the fire was highly suspicious, declined the claim. In 1983, the building was set on fire again, and this time burned to the ground.

The FBI and IRS had begun studying Stewart, and it was while investigating him that they came across a dentist named Larry Lavin. Stewart was charged with tax fraud and sentenced to 4 years in prison. Lavin would be arrested in 1984, skip town while on bail, and live under an assumed identity in Virginia Beach for two years before being found, arrested, and sentenced to 42 years in prison. He made parole several years ago, and currently lives in Tampa, FL.

So while the cocaine funded Philadelphia Kings were but a blip on the local sports radar, the cocaine funded Philadelphia Arena  was destroyed after an illustrious 63 year career. And in a somewhat ironic twist, a google search of “Philadelphia Arena” and “fire” turns up this little gem: the Doors playing Light My Fire at the Philadelphia Arena in 1968, 13 years before Mark Stewart took their advice.