Gobble gobble - It’s Thanksgiving! Although the holiday is more commonly associated with the sport of football, for the third straight year, I’m bringing you an article that puts a Phillies-centric spin on the day.
The Phillies’ history on Thanksgiving
Did you know the Philadelphia Phillies have never lost a game on Thanksgiving? Sounds impossible, but it’s true!
That’s much better than their record on Halloween, when the Phillies have lost every single game they’ve played. I won’t even get started on Memorial Day, a holiday on which the Phillies have lost countless games over the years, including a defeat at the hands of the Blue Jays - a team from Canada! - in 2022.
A salute to Turkey Stearnes
How better to enjoy Thanksgiving than to talk about a guy nicknamed Turkey? Most readers are probably unfamiliar with Norman “Turkey” Stearnes, but he was one of the Negro Leagues’ greatest players. The Hall of Fame outfielder’s 18-year career included a one-season run with the Philadelphia Stars. Sadly, that was the one season in a five-year stretch in which he did not make the All-Star team.
Now that Major League Baseball recognizes Negro League accomplishments, he shares the record for most times leading his league in triples with six. That feat, along with his two batting titles and career OPS of 1.034, was enough to merit induction into the Hall of Fame in 2000.
Happy Thanksgiving from the NLBM family!— Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (@NLBMuseumKC) November 25, 2021
We hope your day is full of Turkey Stearnes! ⚾️ pic.twitter.com/vELFwaEFvv
Scenes from the Phillies’ Thanksgiving party
John Middleton hosted a pre-Thanksgiving party for a few members of the Phillies organization. Thanks to my super-secret source within the organization, I’ve obtained a transcript from the event.
Gathered around a table are John Middleton, Dave Dombrowski, Sam Fuld, Kevin Long, and J.T. Realmuto.
Middleton: I’d like to thank you all for joining me tonight. Because we had such a great year, I wanted to have a special dinner to celebrate. First off, special mention to Dave Dombrowski who not only assembled a pennant-winning team, but also planned this event.
Dombrowski: Having a big Thanksgiving dinner is what winning organizations do. You should have been doing this for years!
Middleton: The guy who came before you told me that we didn’t need to spend money on a Thanksgiving dinner. He said that it wouldn’t be able to compete with the Dodgers’ dinner, so we shouldn’t even bother.
Dombrowski: Thankfully those days are over. And to make sure that this was the best dinner over, I’ve spared no expense.
Middleton: Spared no expense? Wait, I said we did have limits...
Dombrowski: Limits? Limits are for teams like the Marlins. Do you want to be like the Marlins?
Fuld: Nobody wants to be like the Marlins, Dave.
Middleton: Well...of course not, but I am worried about how much this all cost. Can I see the bill?
Dombrowski: If you insist. (Hands him an itemized bill)
Middleton: You spent how much? And look at the tax!
Dombrowski: As I’ve told you, winners don’t worry about the tax. Right, Sam?
Fuld: Absolutely, Dave. Never worry about the tax.
Middleton: But if we spent that much this year, I don’t know how many resources we’ll have for the years ahead.
Dombrowski: The years ahead? You can’t worry about the years ahead! Just worry about how much fun you’re having this year! Maybe the future will still be good? Maybe it won’t, and some of us will just leave and go somewhere else, like say, Nashville, and have others worry about what to do that year. Right, Sam?
Fuld: Sounds like a great plan, Dave!
Dombrowski: I think we owe some special thanks to Kevin Long. I saw those potatoes in the store, and they didn’t look so good. But Kevin said he could fix them.
Long: (Passes a bowl of mashed potatoes to Dombrowski) What do you think?
Dombrowski: (Tastes the potatoes) Hey, that’s not bad! What do you think, Sam?
Fuld: You’re 100% right, Dave. They’re good.
Dombrowski: You know, the green beans weren’t working for me earlier, you think you could take a look at them too?
Long: I’ll give it a shot! (Heads into the kitchen with the green beans)
Realmuto: Mr. Middleton, I just wanted to say I appreciate you inviting me to this dinner on behalf of the players.
Middleton: Of course, J.T. When you’re the best catcher in baseball, you get special perks. Speaking of that, I have something that will make this dinner even better for you.
Realmuto: What is it?
Middleton: They invented this special juice that when you inject it into your arm, it makes any Thanksgiving food taste better. And I wanted you to be the first try it. (Hands Realmuto a syringe)
Realmuto: Wow, that sounds amazing. (He is about to inject the syringe into his arm but stops right before it gets to his arm.) Wait a second...Is this the COVID vaccine? I’m not falling for that!
Middleton: Ha, okay, you caught me. But I’ll get you one of these days!
Kevin Long enters carrying a plate of green beans
Long: I think I figured something out. What do you think?
Dombrowski: (Takes a taste) Mmm...much better. You’ve done it again! What do you think, Sam?
Fuld: You’re right as always, Dave.
Rob Thomson enters the room carrying a turkey on a platter
Thomson: Here’s the turkey.
Middleton: The turkey? But I didn’t hear the timer go off.
Thomson: I decided it was done and needed to come out now.
Middleton: Are you sure? It seemed to be really cooking. Feels like you might have made a mistake taking it out early.
Thomson: (Shrugs) Eh. That’s how I’ve been doing it all year, so why stop now?
Middleton: (chuckling) That’s our Philly Rob! Dig in everyone!
There was a time this year when it seemed like the Phillies might never again make it back to the playoffs. But not only did they make it to playoffs, they even accumulated a National League pennant. Even better, I got to witness the final game of the NLCS which included one of the most iconic moments in franchise history.
Being a Phillies fan hasn’t always been easy, and most of the past ten years has been downright awful. But every so often, the franchise does deliver those moments that make you thankful you’re a Phillies fan.
From everyone at The Good Phight, I’d like to wish you and your families a very happy Thanksgiving!