On This Date In 1997, Destiny Seemed Certain

It was May 25th, 1997, the Flyers defeated the New York Rangers 4-2 and four games to one in the series. 20,000+ Flyers fans roared and roared and roared as the Flyers were returning to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in a decade. Eric Lindros went through the handshake line sharing a word with the Rangers greats who had loaded up for one last run at the Cup. When Lindros passed, Brian Leetch, Mark Messier, Esa Tikkanen, Mike Richter and Wayne Gretzky there was no denying the feeling that the torch had been passed. The icons of the eighties were on the way out and it was the time of a new superstar. Eric Lindros had ascended the throne.

The Flyers had rolled through the first three rounds of the playoffs defeating those Rangers, Sabres and Mario Lemieux’s Penguins in five games each. Lindros had eleven goals so far in the playoffs, including his huge game-winning goal with just seven seconds left in game four.

When the Prince of Wales Trophy was presented on the CoreStates Center ice at the conclusion of the series Lindros didn’t touch the trophy presented to the Eastern Conference champion and barely acknowledged the glistening metal. The throngs continued to scream. “Let’s Go Flyers” chants rang through the “House that Lindros Built” as the fans filed down the escalators. So giddy, the only uncertainty anyone had was just how many Cups Lindros would bring to Philadelphia.

We know how the Lindros era turned out but on that beautiful spring afternoon, destiny seemed certain.

May 25, 1997 Box Score [Flyers History]

On This Date, Rose Completes Hat Trick of Steals

On May 11th, 1980 the Philadelphia Phillies were playing the Cincinnati Reds at Riverfront Stadium. The Phillies defeated the Reds 7-3 and the top of the 7th was a historical one.  Pete Rose drew a leadoff walk against Reds reliever Mario Soto. With Bake McBride batting, Rose took advantage of the rare off day for Johnny Bench and stole second on catcher Don Werner. McBride grounded out to the left side for the first out of the inning. Then with Mike Schmidt batting, Rose took off and made it safely to third. Like John R. Finger who wrote about this game in 2009, I vividly remember watching the game, and unless my mind fails me, I clearly remember Rose, a former Red, talking trash when got to 3rd base.

Schmidt walked and set the stage for something that hadn’t happened in the National League since Jackie Robinson did it in 1954. Schmidt broke for second and when the throw went to through, Rose took off for home for the rare three stolen bases in a single inning.

Jayson Werth is the only Phillie to perform the feat since Rose, he did it practically 29 years to the day when he swiped three bags in one inning on May 12, 2009 against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Safe at Home [FingerFood]
Phillies vs. Reds May 11, 1980 [Baseball Reference]

History at the Penn Relays

Jesse Owens at the Penn Relays

The Penn Relays are taking place now through Saturday at Franklin Field. Officially the Penn Relay Carnival, the Relays are the longest running uninterrupted collegiate meet in the United States. The first meet was held in 1895 (a year before the first modern Olympics) and is considered the birthplace of the modern relay. The event has long drawn the top high school, collegiate and Olympic level athletes from around the country and beyond.

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The Day the Hammer Dropped 42

Perhaps there’s a Toronto sports history blog that looks at April 22nd, 1976 as the day Darryl Sittler scored five goals in a playoff win against the Flyers. But in Philadelphia we look at today as  the anniversary of Dave “The Hammer” Schultz setting a playoff record for penalty minutes in a single game. The 42 minutes in penalties Schultz racked up in the Flyers 8 to 5 loss still stands as a record.

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Allen Iverson Scores 40 in Five Straight

On this date in 1997 Allen Iverson set an NBA rookie record as he scored 40 points in his fifth consecutive game.Who’s record did he break? Wilt Chamberlain’s record, set in the 1959-60 season with the Philadelphia Warriors.

  • April 7th – 44 Points, 8 Assists, 1 Rebound
  • April 9th – 40 Points, 9 Assists, 8 Rebounds
  • April 11th – 44 Points, 9 Assists, 3 Rebounds
  • April 12th – 50 Points, 6 Assists, 5 Rebounds
  • April 14th – 40 Points, 5 Assists, 6 Rebounds

Here is some video of the first four games of Iverson’s record breaking streak.