Phillies At Bat Music…in 2004

Today there is a column on PESC blog about the Phillies intro music, and what it tells us about each player. If you want to know what song every player on the Phils comes up to or warms up to, here’s the list.

Well after digging around a little, I found out what songs the Phils were coming up to bat to 7 years ago. Pretty funny stuff. Here are some highlights:

  • Before “Dirty Laundry”, Pat the Bat came up to Holy Diver by DIO. Pretty badass song to come to bat to.
  • It says that Jimmy Rollins comes up to the music of Bafia. Uh, who the hell is “Bafia”?
  • Jim Thome was coming to bat to The Who’s Can’t Explain. Strange Who song to bat to. I would think that Quadrophenia or Baba O’Riley would get you more fired up.
  • Bobby Abreu came out to Bravo de Verdad by Oscar D’Leon a musical legend in Venezuela. Probably one of the few guys ever to go to bat with a song from a guy in his 60s playing.
  • Jason Michaels, Mike Lieberthal, and Randy Wolf all came out to Linkin Park songs. Not surprisingly, none of them are still on the team.
  • Billy Wagner was closing for us then, and coming out to Enter Sandman.
  • Incredibly, Chase Utley, who now comes out to Kashmir by Led Zeppelin, used to come out to We Like to Party by the Vengaboys. This had to be some sort of initiation. No way Chase chose this bull$hit himself.
  • Ok, well what about guys who are currently on our team but played elsewhere then? Raul Ibanez currently comes out to bat to Times Like These by the Foo Fighters. But back in 2004, he came out to artists of very different genres. He was on the Mariners then, and he batted to the rotation of Werewolves of London by Warren Zevon and Definition by Blackstar.
  • What about our boy Roy Halladay? He was in Toronto then, and he came out to pitch to the song Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor). His Blue Jay teammate Reed Johnson set the standard for worst song ever to come to bat to that year. He batted several times that year to She Bangs by William Hung.
  • Oh, and by the way, my at bat music would be Gimme the Loot by Biggie Smallz.

Interview with Miniature Stadium Creator Steve Wolf

Last week I showed you incredible pictures of the unbelievable Shibe Park miniature created by artist Steve Wolf. Today we hear from the artist himself, as he talks about what got him interested in creating miniatures, what he used to build Shibe, and why his miniature Yankee Stadium (above) was so tough to create.

JGT: When did you first become interested in creating miniature stadiums?
STEVE: I first became interested in creating miniature stadiums in the late 1980s. After witnessing the demise of some of the great ballparks, such as Connie Mack Stadium, Forbes Field, Ebbets Field and many others it sparked my interest and along the way I have become a self proclaimed historian on the subject!

JGT: How much time does it take to create one of these stadiums?
STEVE: That is a very complex question. But the basic factors are 1. The subject matter. Which ballpark? Some are more complex than others. 2nd factor is the amount of detail desired such as lighting, type of enclosure, scale size. Typically it can take up to 2000 hours depending upon these factors.

JGT: You state on your website that Connie Mack Stadium was one of your favorite to create. Why is that?
STEVE: Well, originally Connie Mack Stadium was known as Shibe Park built by Ben Shibe the great industrialist for his Philadelphia Athletics baseball team. It was the first concrete and steel ball park built in the major leagues and under went many changes over the years. It personifies the beauty of the American Ballpark that was built in the early 20th century.

JGT: To create Connie Mack Stadium, what did you rely most heavily on? Blue prints, photos, computer printouts?
STEVE: I did not have any blueprints for this project however I did have a floor plan and many photos that were supplied to me by my client and what eve I could gather on the internet, such as photos, etc. I had to do many preliminary drawings and mock ups. This was a challenging replica to produce.

JGT: Take us through the process. What do you start by creating, what’s the hardest part to get right, what do you normally finish by doing? Do you start with the field and build around that, or do you start with the exterior?
STEVE: It is much like building a real building. You do need a floor plan. Than I have to custom scale what size the model will be. I next figure the elevation along with a seating plan. I start by creating risers and placing them into their set position. Decks, seats, railings, lights, graphics, scoreboards. Then the Field surface is created. The final touch of a model is to make sure everything is structurally sound, color correct and it has to hve the right feel when you look at it. That is where the detail work comes in. Now the very last part is the exterior which can be challenging in itself ie: arches, windows pillars, entrance gates, rotunda, etc….

JGT: What do you enjoy the most about creating these stadiums?
STEVE: Finishing them…LOL!!!

JGT: Which stadium has been the most challenging to replicate?
STEVE: The one I am currently working on now, the New Yankee Stadium. It is extremely complex with 5 decks. It is truly a beautiful structure regardless if you are a Yankee fan or not.

Do yourself a favor and check out these photos of Steve’s miniature Yankee Stadium, Dodger Stadium, Fenway, Wrigley, Ebbets Field and even the Polo Grounds.

Barkley for Who?

On June 17, 1992, the Sixers made one of the worst trades in the history of the franchise.  While some would say Charles Barkley had worn out his welcome in Philly by then, trading away a legitimate NBA superstar for three role players is never a good move.

The trade came after the 1991 – 1992 season, which was Barkley’s 7th year.  By that point in his career, he had already earned 6 All-Star selections.  In the ’91-’92 season, Barkley led the Sixers in points per game (23.1), led the team in rebounds per game (11.1), and was second on the team in assists per game (4.1).   Barkley was the best player on that team and one of the best players of his, or any other generation.  But as we all know, this trade wasn’t just about statistics.

Barkley’s temper and off-court behavior had been an ever-increasing distraction throughout the season and divided the locker room.  Some of his own teammates questioned whether he wanted to win with the team as it became more and more was clear he wanted out of Philly.  Doug Moe, the coach who would be taking over for Jim Lynam, saw that chemistry was an issue as the ’91-’92 season progressed and Barkley didn’t fit into his plan for the team.  He also pointed to Barkley’s declining stat-line, as he had averaged almost 28 points in the ’90-’91 season.  The front office agreed and Barkley was shopped extensively throughout the offseason, something he didn’t take kindly to:

That is typical of their insensitive organization.  We’re not slaves who go to the highest bidder.  Abe Lincoln freed us a long time ago. It was almost like, ‘Here’s some stud. We’ll give him to the highest bidder.’

On June 17, 1992 a trade was finalized with the Phoenix Suns.  In exchange for Barkley, the Sixers received Guard Jeff Hornacek, Center Andrew Lang, and Forward, Tim Perry (a Temple product).  According to Howard Katz, the Hornacek, Lang, Perry return was “by far the best deal offered.”  The Sixers tried to get Kevin Johnson in return for Barkley, but the Suns weren’t willing to part ways with the All-Star guard.

Hornacek, Lang and Perry weren’t marquee names, weren’t nearly as talented or electrifying as Barkley, and weren’t leaders by any stretch of the word, but they also didn’t come with the baggage that Barkley carried.  Baggage that included being in a Milwaukee court the day of the trade on assault charges stemming from a post-game fight in a parking lot in which he broke a man’s nose.  The Inquirer summed up the trade quite nicely: “The six-time all-star, one of the finest players of his generation, was dealt away in exchange for youth, speed and perhaps a little peace and quiet.”

Screw peace and quiet.  Wins are more important and this trade didn’t translate to success.  The Sixers won only 35 games in Barkley’s final season with the team, but after the deal, the team’s position in the Atlantic Division plummeted.  They won 26 games in ’93, 25 games in ’94 and 24 games in ’95.  By then, Hornacek and Lang were no longer on the roster and Perry was playing less than 3 minutes per game.  Meanwhile, Barkley went on to 5 more All-Star games, a trip to the NBA Finals and an MVP award during his Hall of Fame Career.

There’s only been 4 players in the history of the NBA who have amassed at least 20,000 points, 10,000 rebounds and 4,000 assists, and we traded one of them for a whole lot of nothing.


PSH Starts Collaboration with PhilaPhilia

It’s no secret that we here at PSH are stadium geeks as well as history geeks, who love the architecture of the greatest stadiums in Philly history (early Shibe, Franklin Field, the Palestra), and are pretty honest about the lamest places the home teams have played. (The Vet was an absolute disgrace, essentially a parking lot painted green with a bowl around it.) Well, there is one place that has combined our love of history, our love of local architecture, and our love of no-holds-barred wiseass Philly attitude into one of the best new blogs in Philadelphia. If you haven’t stumbled across Philaphilia yet, you are in for a treat. It glorifies the spectacular beauty of some of our greatest buildings, and heaps white hot scorn upon the idiots who have torn down great buildings to put up parking lots. It’s sort of Inga Saffron meets Bill Hicks. Here’s a sample of some of its finest.

  • What happens when the Father of Post-Modernism designs a Quaker retirement home? A goddamn atrocity.

The Philly Phenom Who Won the US Open and Lost His Sanity

Only one player has ever won the US Open as a teenager. It wasn’t Jack Nicklaus. Nor Arnold Palmer. Nor Tiger Woods. The only teenager to ever win the US Open was Johnny McDermott, a teen from West Philadelphia who rocketed to the top of the golf world at age 18, but crashed to earth at age 23 and never recovered.

As a teenager, McDermott was a golf junkie. His sister Alice said that “He would be on the practice field as soon as it was light, about 5 a.m., and hit shots until 8 a.m. when he opened the pro shop. After his day’s teaching, he would go out and play. Often, he told us, he finished in twilight with somebody holding a lantern.”

His feverish intensity paid off. McDermott provided a glimpse of his potential at the 1910 US Open, in which he lost in a playoff to Scotsman Alex Smith. By 1911, he was confident of a victory, telling his caddie a few days before competition, “You’re carrying the clubs of the next Open champion.” He backed up his boast, winning the 1911 US Open in a tiebreaker in Chicago. He wasn’t done. In 1912, at age 20, he won the US Open again, this time in Buffalo. By this point, McDermott had become the first big golf star in America, endorsing balls and clubs, teaching lessons to teh wealthy, and being paid handsomely to play in numerous exhibitions. But McDermott had a bit of Philly in him, and in the world of golf, that wasn’t considered a good thing.

After losing in a playoff to Alex Smith in 1910, McDermott said to Smith, “I’ll get you next year, you big tramp.” But it was three years later that his smart mouth really got him in trouble, and hastened his downfall.

At a tune up for the US Open in Shawnee in 1913, McDermott smoked two British stars, then mocked them afterwards. “We hope our foreign visitors had a good time, but we don’t think they did, and we are sure they won’t win the National Open.” He was lambasted in the press for his arrogance, and almost kicked out of that years US Open. It also gave the first hint as to his fragile mental state. “I am brokenhearted at the affair,” he told a reporter. “I am worried greatly…near a breakdown.” McDermott was allowed to play at the US Open, but clearly shaken, he finished 8th.

He had made numerous investments with the money he won from the two US Open wins and his lucrative coaching gigs, but in the winter of 1914, his investments all went south. He travelled to England to take part in the 1914 British Open, but missed a train after arriving in England and was unable to play. On his return trip to the US, his ship was in a collision. No-one was hurt, but it didn’t help his delicate mindstate. “Everything had hit within a year,” said his sister Gertrude. “First the stock failure, then the awful results of the Shawnee tournament, then the Open and finally that wreck.”

He finished 9th in the 1914 US Open, and then disappeared from golf for good. He blacked out at a pro shop in Atlantic City and was taken to a mental institution. He was described as being “paranoid, delusional, catatonic, hallucinatory, incoherent, apathetic, silent, retarded, passive, preoccupied, seclusive.” He was diagnosed as a chronic schizophrenic, and after bouncing around a few institutions, he would be put up at the State Hospital for the Insane in Norristown in 1916. He was allowed to design and build a golf course on the Hospital grounds, and continued to play for regularly for fun. But he never overcame schizophrenia, a mental disorder not well understood at the time, and despite numerous trips off of the Hospital grounds to play golf at the Atlantic City course or to stay with one of his devoted sisters, he lived there for the rest of his life.

In 1971, the US Open came to nearby Merion, and Johnny decided to attend. McDermott, dressed in strange clothes from an era long since passed, was asked to leave the pro shop. On his way out, he was recognized by Arnold Palmer, who asked him how he was and let it be known that he was welcome in the clubhouse. Two months later, the Philly Phenom who put golf on the map in the United States would die at age 79.

Thanks to reader Mario for pointing this story out to me. If you know any great local sports stories, please don’t hesitate to contact us on facebook and let us know.


Astounding Recreation of Shibe Park

You never know what you might find when you’re trolling the internet after googling “Shibe Park”, but I will tell you this…it usually turns up something interesting. Today was no exception, as I came across Steve Wolf, who makes miniature stadiums for a living, complete with light fixtures. He’s only done a few of them so far, but one of them is Connie Mack Stadium (aka Shibe Park). Here are several photos of his spectacular Shibe recreation. Well worth a look if you’re a baseball stadium geek.


Andy Ashby’s Immaculate Inning

Of all the baseball monikers used to describe impressive achievements, the Immaculate Inning is my favorite.  An Immaculate Inning requires a pitcher to record three straight strikeouts in a half inning throwing only 9 pitches.  The feat has been accomplished a total of 45 times in major league baseball; the first in 1889 by John Clarkson of the Boston Beaneaters against the Philadelphia Phillies (who were then called the Quakers).

Since then, opposing pitchers have registered 4 Immaculate Innings against the Phillies: Joe Oeschger, Boston Braves- 1921; Milt Pappas, Chicago Cubs- 1971; Pete Harnisch, Houston Astros- 1991; and Byung-Hyun Kim, Arizona Diamondbacks- 2002.   The total of 5 against is the most of any team in baseball.

Only one Phillies pitcher has ever recorded such an inning, and he did so on this day in 1991.  Home against the Reds, the Phillies threw Andy Ashby, who was making just his second major league start.  After getting behind 3-0 in the first three innings, Ashby entered the 4th and was, well, immaculate.  He threw the same sequence of pitches to three Reds batters and recorded three swinging Ks.  Hal Morris, Todd Benzinger and Jeff Reed each went down on curve-ball, fast-ball, curve-ball.

The Phillies couldn’t muster much offense that day and ended up losing by a final of 3-1, but Ashby secured his name in the history books.  In the postgame interview, Ashby said “That’s pretty neat.  I had no idea I made history, or whatever.”

We’ve had Steve Carlton, Grover Cleveland, Jim Bunning, Robin Roberts, Curt Simmons, Curt Schilling, Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, and Roy Halladay, but the only Phillies pitcher in the team’s almost 130 year history to throw an Immaculate Inning is Andy Ashby.

That’s quite an accomplishment Andy, or whatever.

UPDATE: Phillies reliever Juan Perez only pitched 5 innings this past season, but incredibly one of them was an immaculate inning, 3 weeks after Lalli posted this. He became the 2nd Phillie to throw an immaculate inning on July 8th, 2011, when he struck out 3 Braves on 9 pitches in the 10th inning of a 3-2 Phillies win.


A Demented Fan and the Natural

On June 14, 1949, the Phillies played the Chicago Cubs on the road and won by a convincing score of 9-2.  Newly acquired Phillies first-baseman, Eddie Waitkus, continued his solid season by going 1-4 with 2 runs scored.  After the game, he joined his roommate Monk Meyer for dinner and returned to the team hotel at about 11pm.  When Meyer and Waitkus got to their room, they found a note addressed to Waitkus from Ruth Ann Burns.  Waitkus had a “girlfriend” named Ruth Martin, who he sometimes saw on the road, so he followed the note’s instructions and headed up to her room.  On his way up to that room, Waitkus could not have known that instead of making time with his road girlfriend, he would instead be put on death’s doorstep.

Born in Cambridge, MA, Eddie Waitkus broke into the majors in 1941 with the Chicago Cubs.  After playing only 12 games in the ’41 season, Waitkus joined the army and fought in World War II where he earned four battle stars.  He rejoined the Cubs in 1946 and his professional baseball career took off.  Generally known as the best defensive first-baseman in the National League, his offensive production steadily increased each year.  In 1948, he batted .295, stole 11 bases, scored 87 runs and doubled 27 times and was selected as a National League All-Star.  After the ’48 season, with Waitkus’ value at it highest point, he was traded to the Phillies.

Waitkus’ trade may have upset some Cubs fans who saw his potential, but nobody was more upset than a young girl named Ruth Ann Steinhagen.  Steinhagen, who was 11 when Waitkus’ professional career began, immediately fell for the player and developed an unhealthy obsession.  According to her mother, she attended many games and listened to every one she couldn’t make.  She cut out and kept newspaper clippings and photos of Waitkus.  This behavior continued, and worsened, as she built a shrine to Waitkus in her bedroom and became obsessed with anything Waitkus, including his number (36).  She even tried learning Lithuanian when she found that Waitkus was of Lithuanian descent.  In November of 1948, she quit her job and began wandering the city looking for Waitkus.  Her parents sent her to a psychiatrist, but her obsession wasn’t quelled.  As you can imagine, when Waitkus was traded to Philadelphia, Steinhagen broke down and “cried day and night.”

When Steinhagen realized the Phillies would be visiting her hometown Cubs on June 14, she jumped into action.  She booked a room at the Edgewater Beach Hotel, where she knew the Phillies, and Waitkus, would be staying.  She brought a suitcase full of baseball statistics, pictures of Waitkus, newspaper clippings about the first-baseman and 50 ticket stubs from the ’48 season.  After attending the June 14th game, she went back to the hotel and ordered a few drinks to be brought up to her room.  When the drinks arrived, she paid the bellhop $5 to bring this note to Waitkus’ room.  And then she waited.

When Waitkus arrived, she told him that she was a friend of Ruth’s and that Ruth had just stepped out for a moment.  Waitkus believed her and walked past her into the room.  He didn’t notice she was holding a knife.  As Waitkus sat down, Steinhagen told him that she wanted to give him a surprise.  By this time, Steinhagen was an attractive,  6 ft, 19-year-old brunette, and Waitkus was probably expecting a good surprise.  However, instead of Steinhagen returning from the bedroom closet having “slipped into something more comfortable,” she came back with the .22 calibre rifle she had purchased a week prior.  She told Waitkus “For two years you’ve been bothering me, and now you’re going to die” and pulled the trigger.  The bullet hit Waitkus in the chest just below his heart, lodged near his spine, and collapsed his right lung.

After seeing Waitkus slump to the ground, Steinhagen called the hotel front desk and confessed to the shooting.  Her quick phone call ended up saving Waitkus’ life, as medical personnel arrived on the scene immediately and rushed Waitkus to the Illinois Masonic Hospital.  He underwent a number of surgeries and recovered from the gun shot wound.

Steinhagen was arrested and charged with assault and attempted murder.  She told police she shot Waitkus because she was “infatuated with him” and “wanted to feel the thrill of murdering him.”  A jury found her legally insane and she was committed to a mental hospital.  After receiving 3 years of shock treatment, she was declared “sane” and released.  In the end, her criminal charges were dropped.

After Waitkus was discharged from the hospital, he began an intense rehabilitation program in Clearwater, FL.  His hard work paid off, and he returned to play every game with the 1950 Pennant-winning Whiz Kids.  The Associated Press named him Baseball’s “Comeback Player of the Year.”  Waitkus played five more seasons, though he never lived up to his pre-injury potential.  He ultimately retired in 1955.

If you think this story would make a great movie, you’re right.  Although Eddie Waitkus may not be a household name, you’ve already heard his story.  Waitkus was the source for Bernard Malamud’s famous character Roy Hobbs in The Natural, which was adapted into the 1984 Robert Redford movie of the same name.


Dick Allen and the Ebonistics


Former Phillie ballplayer Dick Allen was more than just a disgruntled slugger. He was also quite a decent singer. Here he is heard singing his song “Echoes of November” with his group the Ebonistics. According to wikipedia, he once sang at halftime of a Sixers game while a member of the Phillies and got quite an ovation:
“Here came Rich Allen. Flowered shirt. Tie six-inches wide. Hiphugger bell-bottomed pants. A microphone in his hands. Rich Allen the most booed man in Philadelphia from April to October, when Eagles coach Joe Kuharich takes over, walked out in front of 9,557 people at the Spectrum last night to sing with his group, The Ebonistics, and a most predictable thing happened. He was booed. Two songs later though, a most unpredictable thing happened. They cheered Rich Allen. They cheered him as warmly as they have ever cheered him for a game winning home run.”


Very Cool Photo from 1901

Here’s a rather unusual photo of Matty McIntyre, who played for the A’s in 1901. Funny how it looks like he has shattered the glass with the throw. Matty played just one season for the A’s before he was shipped to Detroit.  The photo was possibly taken at Columbia Park at what is now 29th and Cecil B. Moore.

McIntyre had a few fairly successful seasons in Detroit, but he is best known for leading the Tigers players in their relentless hazing of Southern superstar Ty Cobb. McIntyre and Cobb hated each other, and refused to speak even when playing in the outfield together. There were several fistfights between the two men in the dugout. McIntyre hated Cobb so much that when Nap Lajoie edged Cobb for the batting title one year, Matty and a few other Tigers sent Lajoie a telegram congratulating him. McIntyre died in 1920 of kidney failure at age 39.