Remembering the Forgotten Past of Philadelphia Sports

Philadelphia Arrows

      The Arrows, created in the autumn of 1927, were Philadelphia’s first professional ice hockey team. The Arrows had little promise, coming in last place in both of their first two seasons. The Arrows got pointed in a new direction when WWI veteran Herb Gardiner became their head coach. The Arrows finished in second place, and the next year, they came in second to last. In their 1932-33 season, the Arrows finished the regular season in first place, which earned them a spot in the playoffs. The Arrows then went on to lose the finals to the Boston Cubs. Considering the team could only come in second or last place, they changed their name to the Ramblers. Perhaps their diametrically pointed lifestyle might change if the name implied they had more freedom to roam. The Ramblers made it to their finals for two out of their next three years. However, they lost both times. The Ramblers then named themselves the Rockets, perhaps hoping they would start to shoot for the moon, but instead they ran out of fuel in 1942 and disbanded.

Philadelphia Stars

     Before Jackie Robinson was portrayed by Chadwick Boseman in “42,” he was the first professional African-American baseball player. Before that, baseball was segregated. Philadelphia’s Negro League team were the Philadelphia Stars. The Stars became a part of the League in 1934, and they swept the rest of the teams. With their incredible pitcher, Stuart “Slim” Jones, and future Hall of Fame hitters, Jud Wilson and Biz Mackey, the Stars defeated the Chicago American Giants and won the 1934 National Negro League Championship. Things went from great to terrible when the Jones died of pneumonia in 1938. The team later drifted into obscurity, as there are few records of the Negro Leagues in historical texts.

Philadelphia Bell

      The Philadelphia Bell team was founded in 1974, and they were a popular football team. In their first away game at JFK Stadium they attracted an audience of 55,000 fans, and they won with a 33-8 victory against the Portland Storm (another forgotten football team). Though they were not known for their skill, the Philadelphia Bell were known for their fluctuations in ticket sales. At one home game they had a crowd of 64,719. Two weeks later, they had a crowd of only 12,396 fans. This happened because the Bells were handing out tens of thousands of cheap discounted tickets to local businesses. When it was time for the League to pay taxes on those tickets, the price of tickets went up, and only 13,855 and 6,200 fans came to their next two games. A few days later, president Jack Kelly resigned from the team. The Bells never recovered from this scandal, which is referred to as “papergate.”


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