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The Phillies were once New York's team

The 2008 Major League Baseball season begins tomorrow night with the Atlanta Braves helping the Washington Nationals open up brand-new Nationals Park. (Yes, I know that Boston and Oakland played two regular-season games in Tokyo this past week, but I don't care. Any game that starts at 6 am ET/3 am PT that isn't an Olympic event or some other international competition isn't worth thinking about.)

It's hard to believe that just six months ago tomorrow I drank a bottle of champagne sparkling wine to celebrate the Phillies' National League East championship. Even harder to believe is that once upon the time the Phillies were sort of the NL team representing New York City.

Okay, that's a major stretch, but this is such an odd piece of trivia I couldn't resist. On the Outsports discussion board, Marc (big-time Calgary Flames fan but I won't hold that against him :razz: ) mentioned something he heard during a Canadian telecast of the Blue Jays-Phillies exhibition game today. The announcer brought up the fact that Toronto was not the first MLB team to be known as the Blue Jays; for a couple of years during the 1940s the Phillies went by the nickname "Blue Jays."

I knew that but the details were a bit fuzzy, so I did a Google search. At the bottom of that page there was a link to a New York Times archive. The October 25, 1957 article wasn't provided -- it's available for purchase for $3.95 -- but the headline blew my mind: "78 Phillies Games on TV Here Due in 1958 Under WOR Deal; WOR-TV MAY SHOW PHILLIES IN CITY."

Why on earth would a New York TV station show the Phillies? Another search provides an answer from Wikipedia: WOR (now WWOR, My9) was the station that carried the city's two National League teams, the Dodgers and Giants...until both teams moved to California after the 1957 season. So from 1958 to 1961 they carried Phillies games against those two teams.

This is all new to me since it occurred before I was born. I came along in 1962, and so did the New York Mets, who then took WOR back from the Phillies. -- Joe Guckin