Log In

Reset Password

Yesterday: Phillies and the Fourth of July

In our own ways, we all celebrated July 4 in varying degrees. Some of us may have had the full-blown day with a family cookout, some fireworks, and watched some Phillies’ baseball.

Others may have taken a more subdued route, with a quieter day and maybe some baseball.

Over the years, July 4 and the Phillies have been a rather consistent combination in lieu of the historical ties. In fact, the Phillies have played every year on July 4 except in 1886, 1887, 1906, 1915, 1916, 1926, 2020 and 2022.

In this week’s version of my Yesterday column - reminiscing about sports and pop culture from the 1960s, 70s, 80s – and sometimes before and beyond – I’ll review some notable Philly and national occurrences around the July 4 holiday.

Also, did you have a Phil and Phillis hat? Does a July 4 British breakfast sound familiar? What reliever signed a three-year deal with the Phils in 1982? And who was wrestling’s Mr. America?

July 4 Journal ... After their 10-2 loss at Chicago Thursday, the Phillies have a 106-106 record on the July 4 holiday.

Overall, the Phils have a 6-1 record at the Bank, and had a 10-9 mark at the Vet. At Shive Park/Connie Mack, they had a 15-19 record.

What I always remember was the 60,000-plus crowds at the Vet for their legendary fireworks shows that usually involved two nights. The Vet was unlike any other night – possibly expect some playoff and World Series’ games – and was filled with a special vibe. You wanted to be part of it, but then you had to drive home in traffic with an average of about 20,000 extra people (the Phillies’ good years averaged only in the mid-30, and low 40s).

Buy It or Get It ... Through the years, the Phillies had a variety of hats, T-shirts, and golf shirts with a red, white, and blue design. Recently, they have unveiled a few color combinations of the “P” logo on their caps.

Were you one of the lucky ones to have a 1976 mascot Phil and Phyllis logo cap? If you remember, there also was the red Bicentennial Phillies’ cap with the horizontal lines across it.

Also, in 1976, there were the gameday programs titled “The Star-Spangled Phillies,” which had a different players head shot on each one.

Along the same lines in ’76, some of the giveaway days were Jacket Day, Patch Day, and Equipment Bag Day. Back then, those were some lofty giveaways, and maybe you’re fortunate to have some of them.

A Famous Single and Another Hard Day’s Night ... One of the team’s highlights that likely won’t be forgotten is catcher Tim McCarver’s “grand-slam single” that occurred on July 4, 1976, in Pittsburgh.

McCarver apparently was overly excited and ran past Garry Maddox at first base to be credited with the decision, but he did get three RBIs.

There also was the legendary July 3 1993 game, in which the Phils’ doubleheader with the Padres ended at 4:40 on the morning of July 4. The lengthy night was due to steady and mostly heavy rains that washed out the annual fireworks show.

The twin bill began at 4:35 p.m. and ended 12 hours and five minutes later at 4:40 a.m. when Mitch Williams singled in Pete Incaviglia in the 10th inning for a 6-5 victory. The Padres won the opener, 5-2.

On the July 3 game, I was there and remember getting home around 7 a.m.

Both teams then met on the evening of July 4, and the Phils posted an 8-4 victory.

The Continental Breakfast ... In the morning on July 4, it always was a must to flip to NBC early to watch the “Breakfast at Wimbledon” finals. I never was a big tennis fan, but like the Indy 500, you just had to watch.

In the late 60s, along with the 70s, and 80s, tennis was interesting due to John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg, Rod Laver, Jimmy Connors, and Chrissy Evert, to name a few personalities.

McEnroe and Borg had some great, highly publicized battles with Borg winning three straight titles until McEnroe ended it in 1981.

I remember Bud Collins as the primary caller of the action, but Dick Enberg also spent some time on the call, and I somehow also remember Rosie Casales. Collins was the best at his craft, and it was also good to hear Enberg on any sport.

Readers Write ...

Greatest Among Us (June 21 column)

Dear Jeff,

In my opinion, the three greatest ballplayers still alive are Johnny Bench, Mike Schmidt, and Ken Griffey Jr.

Pete Rose was great, but he didn’t do as many things as those three could do.

Eric Snyder


On the Radio and TV ... On July 4, 1964, the Beach Boys began to make their mark on the airwaves and had the No. 1 hit, “I Get Around.” Yet, the Beatles were a new phenomena and released the album “A Hard Day’s Night.”

Ten years later, bubble gum music was still hot, and the Hues Corporation had the top hit in 1974 with “Rock the Boat.” How many times have you lip synced to that?

Finally in 1984, Prince hit the top with “When Doves Fly,” a track from his movie “Purple Rain” that debuted in late July.

Does anyone remember any of the TV specials from the 70s? In 1970, there was the “John Wayne Variety Show” on July 4 that featured a star-studded cast of Lucille Ball, Jack Benny, Loren Greene, and Bing Crosby, among others, who performed patriotic skits.

In terms of the Bicentennial, Bob Hope’s 100-year special with a cast of Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Evel Knievel, and Sandy Duncan featured those who still had shelf life (Rogers and Evans) and those at the top (Knievel and Duncan).

WWF/WWE Wrestler Wrap ... Each week, I’ll reflect on a former wrestler from our past.

Do you remember Mr. America? He was a masked wrestler donned in red, white, and blue during 2003. In reality, he was Hulk Hogan, who eventually unmasked himself during the year-run.

‘The Incredible” Hulk Hogan made his WWF debut on Nov. 17, 1979 against an unknown Harry Valdez, and quickly disposed of him. He appeared being billed as a 6-7, 320-pound villain from Ventura Beach, California and managed by “Classy” Freddie Blassie.

His match was broadcast on Championship Wrestling with Vince McMahon and Bruno Sammartino on the call. Legendary Allentown native Joe McHugh was the ring announcer.

Hogan made his Madison Square Garden debut with a victory over Ted DiBiase two months later. He also had stops in the New Japan Alliance, AWA, WCW, and also was the centerpiece of “Hulkamania” from 1983-93.

Memory Lane ... Each week, I’ll look back at a former player, coach, manager, or media personality from our yesterday.

Do you remember former Phillies’ relief pitcher Ed Farmer? He had two stints with the club in 1974 and from 1982-83. In 1974, Farmer was acquired by the Phils from the Yankees after he refused to report after he was part of a three-way trade. Farmer was 2-1 with an 8.42 ERA, and didn’t have a good relationship with then-manager Danny Ozark.

Farmer returned to the Phillies in 1982 after he signed a three-year contract. He was an AL All-Star with Chicago during a 30-save season in 1980.

However, Farmer couldn’t regain his form and struggled with a 2-12, 5.19 mark over two seasons before he was released. Overall, Farmer was 4-13, 5.93 with the Phillies, and 30-43, 4.30 over his 11 seasons that ended in 1983 with Oakland.

Farmer then had a successful 29-year run in the White Sox broadcast booth, He passed away at age 70 in 2020.

Feedback ... Your thoughts, ideas, and comments are always welcome at tnsports@tnonline.com.