The curse is reversed!

The Phillies defeated the forces of superstition last night.

As well as the Tampa Bay Rays.

In capturing the city's first major team sports championship in a quarter-century, clinching the World Series with a 4-3 win, the Fightin's put to rest the Curse of Billy Penn, and a variety of other supposed jinxes.

Florida teams no longer have our number, and neither does the American League East in the World Series.

And we can no longer compete with Cleveland as America's sports-pity capital.

It was the third time in the last five years that a major-league franchise overcame the disfavor of the baseball gods.

The Chicago White Sox were supposedly cursed by the 1919 Black Sox Scandal, but won it all in 2005. The year before, the Boston Red Sox triumphed for the first time since trading Babe Ruth in 1920.

Finally, a Halloween when Philadelphia's no longer haunted by memories of what might have been.

Instead, tomorrow will have an enormous midday parade down Broad Street.

Right below the apparently pleased visage of Billy Penn.

Supposedly the city incurred its Quaker founder's wrath in the mid-1980s, when One Liberty Place became the first building to rise taller than the top of his hat.

After all, no statue had a loftier architectural perch when City Hall was finished in 1901 - and became the tallest building in the world.

Legend goes his spirit also disapproved of being adorned with team apparel - a giant Phillies hat in 1993 and a giant Flyers jersey in 1997.

Both teams were in their sport's finals and lost in heart-breaking style.

Perhaps then, Penn was doubly appeased this year.

Last year, a miniature Penn statue was attached to the final girder to be placed atop the Comcast Center, now the city's tallest building.

When that mini Penn vanished - perhaps stolen as a souvenir - a smaller version, without any hoopla was glued to take the predecessor's place. The 4-inch figurine faces northeast, just as the City Hall statue does.

And Mayor Nutter, after receiving e-mailed pleas from leary fans, decided to skip making any fashion statements over City Hall.

Is it possible the deference made a difference?

One early omen: This spring, the Soul became champs of the Arena Football League.

In fairness, though, other local franchises in secondary sports have been winning titles while the Phillies, Flyers, Sixers and Eagles teamed up for the 25-year drought.

No jerseys were on Penn when the Sixers lost in the NBA Finals in 2001 or the Eagles lost the Super Bowl in 2005.

Perhaps it also helped that Sports Illustrated kept the Phillies off its cover - at least until next week. The last two baseball teams on it were the Dodgers, who lost to the Phils, and the Cubs, who lost to the Dodgers. If not coincidence, it's conversation fodder.

The Florida curse is also over. The 2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the favored Eagles to reach the Super Bowl, and the 2004 Tampa Bay Lightning ousted the Flyers to make the Stanley Cups Finals. Both victors won titles. The Super Bowl the Eagles lost was in Jacksonville.

The AL East also seemed to have a hex on the Phillies - until last night. The local's lost the Series to the Red Sox in 1915, the New York Yankees in 1950, the Baltimore Orioles in 1983, and Toronto Blue Jays in 1993. All four are in the American League East today, along with Tampa Bay.

If slugger Ryan Howard wins the MVP, that will end another so-called jinx. Not since 1988 has a player won the MVP award and a World Series trophy, one Web site points out.

Is any a curse left standing in this mad, mad world? Maybe a Madden/Maddon one. A bunch of football players who made the cover of the Madden NFL video game had lousy seasons, and Joe Maddon manages the Rays.

Finally, if such correlations are more than coincidence somehow, supporters of Barack Obama might take heart.

When the National League prevails, a Democrat usually wins the White House. This trend worked like a charm from 1952 to 1976, then got funky for a while. But in 2000 (Yankees) and 2004 (Red Sox), American League winners were followed by a Republican win.

 


Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.

Staff writer Michael Matza contributed to this article.