The Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series last night, for the only the second time since they were founded in 1883. The last time they won the world series was 1980. In fact, Philadelphia sports teams have been thought to be literally cursed by city and state founder, William Penn.
The curse is said to have started with the March 1987 construction of the One Liberty Place skyscraper, which exceeded the height of William Penn’s statue atop Philadelphia City Hall. Formerly, by “gentlemen’s agreement” all buildings in the city had to be shorter than William Penn’s statue.
The curse affected all major sports teams in the the city. Footballs the EAGLES, hockeys the FLYERS, basketball’s 76ers and baseball’s The PHILLIES. The city went through an unprecedented drought of championships, the longest losing streak for all major sports one city had ever seen.
In June 18, 2007, ironworkers from Local Union 401 helped raise the final beam in the construction of the Comcast CenterÂ in downtown Philadelphia. Currently it’s the tallest building in the city at 975 ft (297.2 m). In an attempt to end the curse, workers a small figurine of Billy Penn to the beam, along with the traditional American flag and small evergreen tree. (The origins of the evergreen in a topping off ceremony can be discussed elsewhere.) After the first Billy Penn figurine was stolen, it was replaced with a smaller 4 inch figure.
Friday a parade is planned along the same route as the cities annual New Years Day Mummer’s Parade. Attendance is expected to be high. Further festivities include a rumored “world’s largest pinata.” Unsubstantiated reports state it will be over 60 feet tall and filled with either 800 or 8,000 pounds of candy and opened with a wrecking ball and crane.
Sources for this have included wikipedia and the online version of the Philadelphia Inquirer.