The Philadelphia Phillies were riding high at Spring Training in 1950 when the “Whiz Kids” went to the World Series with then manager Eddie Sawyer. Then, again lightning struck when the Phillies became a powerhouse in the National League from 2007 through 2010 including going to the World Series in 2008.
However, the 1915 Phillies who were also pennant winners. Who other than the most astute baseball fan, would remember the 1915 Phillies and be able to hold the attention of a full room of fans in the Ocean City Community Center’s, Chris Maloney Auditorium, Saturday, February 21, 2015
That astute fan is more than just a fan, he is Bob Warrington, baseball author and historian, as well as an amazing authority on the Philadelphia Phillies and former Philadelphia Athletics.Warrington is a baseball sports writer who has spent many years covering the Phillies amassing volumes of Phillies and Philadelphia A’s facts and memorabilia.
Hearing about the Ocean City, New Jersey Sports Show, Warrington offered to come and speak to the fans and to show off the bat of Fred Luderus, the Phillies first baseman and member of the 1915 National League champion Philadelphia Phillies.
The subject is close to his heart and on rare occasions he agrees to come and speak which made the event in Ocean City so special and memorable. He, with the assistance from his wife Carol, did just that on the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Philadelphia Phillies 1915 first National League pennant.
According to Warrington, at that time the Phillies were the “Unloved Stepchild” of Philadelphia baseball when compared to the Athletics who had already won six American League pennants and three World Series championships by 1914.
Even going to spring training, then held at Coffee Pot Stadium in St. Petersburg, Florida, (Phillies spring training is now in Clearwater, Florida), the boat the Phillies traveled on was confronted by a British cruiser looking for ships smuggling war goods during World War I.
Amenities were not big back in that era. Food supplied by the team was so bad that some men on the team snuck into orange groves in Florida stealing fruit to supplement their awful meals, said Warrington
In keeping with the theme of the afternoon event, the Philadelphia Phillies donated Phillies players “Bobble Heads,” autographed baseball cards, schedules and a ball used in an actual 2014 Phillies game at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia..
The gifts were given out as a part of the trivia question session and door-prize raffles. An additional surprise came forth when Warrington carefully unwrapped the actual bat of Fred Luderus, the 1915 Phillies team’s first baseman.
Fans in attendance were given the opportunity to don a special pair of gloves and hold the bat and take pictures with it, which many did using their cell phones. The 100 year old bat has been so well cared for it almost looked brand new.
The level of interest was much greater than imagined as Warrington remarked, “Wow a full house.” Warrington unquestionably held the interest of the audience. His presentation, information and demeanor had the full room wanting more.
Two large screens on each side of the room flashed photos of the players and the stadium as well as additional fascinating shots from back in 1915.
As the question and answer period ended and the event came to a close, people did not want to leave. Had it not been for another event scheduled following Warrington, the audience would have stayed much longer.