The Fall of the 1977 Phillies

How a Baseball Team’s Collapse Sank a City’s Spirit


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About the Book

On October 7, 1977, the Philadelphia Phillies lost a playoff game to the Dodgers, a game that began so hopefully and ended so disastrously that it has become known in Philadelphia simply as “Black Friday.” As a season of rare hope and unity crashed to a painful end in a ten-minute sequence of bad plays, so too did the city’s urban renaissance falter and an old sense of inferiority return.
This ambitious examination of the relationship between the team and city delves deep into Philadelphia’s social and baseball history to reveal how the disillusionment of Black Friday affected Philadelphia’s self image and fans’ relationship to the team they both love and love to hate.

About the Author(s)

Mitchell Nathanson is a professor of law and a professor in the Jeffrey S. Moorad Center for the Study of Sports Law at Villanova University School of Law.

Bibliographic Details

Mitchell Nathanson

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 272
Bibliographic Info: 31 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2008
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3217-2
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8461-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Prologue      1
1. The Fall of Philadelphia      7
2. Professional Baseball in the Quaker City      25
3. Baseball’s Pre-Expansion Power Structure: New York’s Boon, Philadelphia’s Doom      52
4. The Fall of the A’s, the Rise of the Phillies      74
5. The Phillies and Philadelphia: Into the Abyss      104
6. The Structural Renaissance of a City and Its Team      128
7. Social Rebirth on the Streets and on the Field      154
8. Breaking from the Past      171
9. History’s Ultimate Triumph      190
10. Results, Repercussions and Reassessments      209
Chapter Notes      237
Bibliography      257
Index      261

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “well-written…contains a wealth of information about the Athletics and the pre–1979 Phillies”—Nine
  • “perceptive”—Philadelphia Inquirer