Were the Phillies Once Known as the Philadelphia Blue Jays?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about baseball and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the baseball urban legends featured so far.

BASEBALL LEGEND: For a few seasons, the Philadelphia Phillies were known as the Philadelphia Blue Jays.

The Phillies were a bit of a hot potato, when it came to owners, in the first half of the 20th Century.

After John I. Rogers sold the team to James Potter in 1903, Potter sold it to the team’s business manager, Bill Shettsline, in 1905. Shettsline sold it to Horace Fogel in 1909, who was kicked out of baseball in 1912 (for claiming that the umps intentional ruled against his team). William Baker owned it from 1913 until his death in 1930. Baker left half of the team to his wife and half to his secretary. The secretary’s husband, Gerald Nugent, became the head of the team (a role he solidified when Baker’s widow passed away in 1932).

However, Nugent, being just a normal guy, did not have the money to keep the team afloat (as he was pretty much just stuck using box office receipts, and as this was the Great Depression and all, times were tough).

So he was forced to sell in 1942, and the team was purchased by lumber broker, William B. Cox. Cox was a hands-on owner who had a minor problem – he did not know that you were not allowed to, you know, bet on your own team. So when it turned out that he was doing just that, he was banned from baseball. The team was then sold to Bob Carpenter, Sr., who let his son, Bob Jr., run the team.

The Carpenters owned the Phillies until 1981, finally adding some stability to the franchise.

But not before Carpenter Jr. put into place a rather odd idea.

He changed the name of the team!!!!!!

Carpenter Jr. felt that the team had been associated with incompetence and losing for SO long that they needed an image change. His idea was to try to incorporate the “scrappy qualities” of the Blue Jay!

And so the Phillies were known as the Philadelphia Blue Jays in 1943…

(the name was not an official change, but as you can see, the logo changed)

However, people did not appreciate the change, especially Johns Hopkins University, who used the name the Blue Jays as well, and did not appreciate the Phillies putting their particular stink on it.

The blue jay logo patch was dropped after 1945 and in 1949, when Carpenter Sr. passed away, the nickname was dropped completely.

Until decades later when an expansion team in Toronto began using it.

I don’t know how Johns Hopkins reacted to that news.

The legend is…


Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future urban legends columns! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com

One Response to “Were the Phillies Once Known as the Philadelphia Blue Jays?”

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