What was Philadelphia's first National Hockey League team? A hint: No, it wasn't the Flyers. What Philadelphia-area tennis star survived the sinking of the Titanic? A hint: He was ranked number one in 1916. Which baseball sluggers, one from the Phillies and one from the Athletics, won triple crowns in their respective leagues in the same year? A hint: The year was 1933. If you got even one of these questions right, you're a winner, or you've already read "A Century of Philadelphia Sports". Philadelphia-area athletes have taken home thirty big league home run crowns and twelve NBA scoring titles. The area is home to five Indianapolis 500 winners, five Sullivan Award winners, four Heisman Trophy recipients, and a two-time U.S. Open champion. Not to mention Rube Waddell, the A's Hall of Fame pitcher who would sometimes leave the ballpark in the middle of a game to chase fire trucks.And they're all here in this groundbreaking book. Unprecedented in its breadth and sweep, "A Century of Philadelphia Sports" covers the big-time teams and events and also amateur and college sports.
Here you will relive the glory days of Penn football and Bobby Jones' completion of the Grand Slam at Merion, the Eagles' defeat of the Packers in the NFL championship game and the Phillies' World Series championship in 1980, the popularity of soccer in the early part of the century and of fast-pitch softball in the latter half. You will visit Baker Bowl, Pine Valley, and Garden State Park and cheer on your favorites in the Penn Relays, the Big 5, and the Army-Navy game. You will also recall such low points as Connie Mack's penchant for selling off winning teams, the college basketball point-shaving scandal of 1961, the Palestra bomb scare.Did you answer two or even all three of the questions correctly? You will still have fun rediscovering your favorite teams and events and arguing over Rich Westcott's choice of each decade's top athlete. The nineties produced such outstanding athletes as the Flyers' Eric Lindros, the 76ers' Allen Iverson, the Phillies' Curt Schilling, jockey Tony Black, and basketball star Dawn Staley. You will meet all of them in these pages, as well as Westcott's top pick for the decade golfer Jay Sigel. Maybe you will even learn something new.
Oh, yes, the answers are: the Philadelphia Quakers, in 1930; Dick Williams; Chuck Klein (the Phillies) and Jimmie Foxx (the A's).Rich Westcott has been a writer and editor for almost 40 years. He is the author of 10 other books, including "The New Phillies Encyclopedia" (with Frank Bilovsky), "Phillies '93: An Incredible Season", and Philadelphia's "Old Ballparks", all published by Temple University Press. He is the founder of Phillies Report, the nation's oldest continuous, baseball team newspaper. Currently, Westcott teaches sportswriting at LaSalle University and is an official scorer at Phillies games.