Saturday, October 10, 2015

Phillies in green - 113 years ago

CLEARWATER, Fla. — The Phillies will wear green jerseys and hats on this St. Patrick's Day, just as they have since the mid 1970s when Tug McGraw helped start the tradition.

Phillies in green — 113 years ago

Cliff Lee rocks a green jersey last year on St. Patrick´s Day. (David M Warren/Staff Photographer)
Cliff Lee rocks a green jersey last year on St. Patrick's Day. (David M Warren/Staff Photographer)

CLEARWATER, Fla. — The Phillies will wear green jerseys and hats on this St. Patrick's Day, just as they have since the mid 1970s when Tug McGraw helped start the tradition.

Green Phillies merchandise has become sort of a thing. (These days, any Phillies merchandise is a thing, isn't it?) The hats and jerseys the Phillies use in today's game against Toronto will be auctioned later by the team to benefit ALS research.

But they're also another sign that meaningful baseball is just around the corner.

Thanks to Bob Warrington, a baseball historian and memorabilia collector, we've discovered just how far back the tradition of celebrating St. Patrick's Day with a little green goes.

More coverage
Final season stats for Phillies
Download FREE Philly Sports Now app for iPhone!
Buy Phillies jerseys and other gear
WATCH: Daily fantasy baseball updates

Warrington found a copy of a March 17, 1899 story from The Inquirer that details "new sweaters trimmed with green" and sent it to Larry Shenk, Phillies vice president of alumni relations. The Baron was kind enough to pass it along for our enjoyment.

What follows is the text written by "a Staff Correspondent" at The Inquirer. (The beat writer must have been furloughed or something.)

CHARLOTTE, N.C., March 17 — In fitting commemoration of the day, the Phillies burst upon the startled natives this morning in their new sweaters trimmed with green. The collar is of a hue the like of which has never been seen this side of Ireland, and then, to accentuate it, there is a band of green running all the way round. Altogether white and emerald make it a striking combination. The boys gave two performances to-day. All hands had breakfasted by 8 o'clock and at 9.30 they were on their way to the ground. There their usual routine play was gone through, with batting to the fielders, the batteries warming up, and the infielders practicing on prospective double plays. The regulars who did so much work yesterday were naturally sore to-day, but none of them appeared to mind that, knowing that in two or three days more of the present weather their aches and pains will have practically disappeared.

My goal is to use breakfast as a verb more often this season.

Those 1899 Phillies played at the Baker Bowl and finished third in the National League with a 94-58 record. A 31-year-old Ed Delahanty hit .410 in 581 at-bats that season and a fellow named Klondike Douglass caught in 77 games. They also had two players named "Red" and my favorite part of the clipping is the blatant Gingerism against Red Donahue in the third subhead.

Perhaps the Phillies should move spring training to Charlotte, where the weather apparently heals all aches and pains.

Happy St. Patrick's Day.

Have a question? Send it to Matt Gelb's Mailbag.

We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy: comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
comments powered by Disqus
About this blog

The place for up-to-the-minute Phillies coverage from The Inquirer's beat writers and columnists.

Jake Kaplan Inquirer Staff Writer
Bob Brookover Inquirer Columnist
Marc Narducci Inquirer Staff Writer
Matt Breen Inquirer Staff Writer
Latest Videos:
Also on
letter icon Newsletter