Five Philly Events that Changed the World (Oct. 15 to Oct. 21)
The week of Oct. 15 to Oct. 21 had a common theme throughout the years: a lot of sports history. In a special athletics edition, we take a look back at how the four major sports teams in Philadelphia made its mark.
Sixty-three years ago, Adrian Burk became the second player in National Football League history to throw seven touchdowns in a single game. He became the first Philadelphia Eagle to accomplish the feat in the franchise’s first 22 years of existence.
Burk was drafted in the first round out of Baylor University in 1950 by the Baltimore Colts. After one season, he was traded to Philadelphia. Burk split time at quarterback with teammate The Eagles began the 1954 season with three consecutive wins. Burk split time at quarter back with fellow teammate Bobby Thomason, but was given the start against the Washington Redskins in Week 4.
The Eagles extended their winning streak to four after defeating the Redskins 49–21. Along with his seven scores, Burk finished with 19 completions, 27 passing attempts, 229 passing yards and an interception.
Arguably the best game in his seven year career, Adrian Burk wasn’t expecting him to be extremely involved in the offense that day. “Our game plan was to run the ball,” said Burk in a 1987 interview. Furthermore, the record was close to not being set. NFL Hall of Fame writer and NFL Films producer Ray Didinger wrote:
“Coach Jim Trimble lifted Burk after his sixth touchdown pass. Ed Hogan, the team’s publicity director, checked the record book and saw that Burk needed one more touchdown pass to tie Luckman, the great Chicago quarterback. Hogan sent word to the bench and Trimble sent Burk back into the game to go for the record.”
The Eagles finished the season with a 7–4–1 record and did not qualify for the playoffs.
After the 1956 season, Adrian Burk ended his playing career and later became an NFL referee. The most notable game he officiated was Joe Kapp’s seven touchdown day in 1969. The performance of the Minnesota Vikings quarterback tied the record against the team that drafted Burk, the Baltimore Colts.
Since the accomplishment was established in 1943, there have been eight members to join the seven touchdown club. Seven touchdowns is still the watermark for most in a game.
Fifty-nine years since Burk’s name was etched in the history books, Nick Foles became the second quarterback in Eagles history to match the record with a 49–20 win over the Oakland Raiders on Nov. 3, 2013.
Cornelius McGillicuddy, commonly known as Connie Mack, retired as manager of the Philadelphia Athletics after 50 seasons. As the man at the helm of managerial services from the beginning of the franchise, he became the longest tenured manager in baseball history. Mack is still the oldest manger in modern American sports, ending his coaching career at the age of 88.
In 1901, Mack became manager, treasurer and part owner of the Athletics after a 10-year playing career. Mack’s all-time records are still the bench mark for current managers: most wins (3,731), most losses (3,948), and games managed (7,755). Mack’s win total is an astounding 968 more than the next manager on the list (John McGraw — 2,763). Other legendary facts about Mack include the first manger to win three World Series trophies, the only manager to win back-to-back championships on separate occasions, and ranks third on the all-time titles list with five.
Despite the long-term success, the Mack-led Athletics finished in dead last in 17 seasons due to financial issues.
With his legacy cemented even before his retirement, Connie Mack was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1937. Post-retirement honors include the renaming of Shibe Park to Connie Mack Stadium in 1953 and induction into the Philadelphia Baseball Wall of Fame. Mack died in 1956, only six years after stepping away from the game of baseball.
Philadelphia Eagles legend Randall Cunningham broke Fran Tarkenton’s all-time rushing record for a quarterback on this day in 1992. In a Week 7 matchup against the Washington Redskins, Cunningham scampered for a five yard rush in the fourth quarter. With that run, Cunningham eclipsed Tarkenton’s stat by a single yard. The Eagle finished with 31 yard on four attempts to set the new mark at 3,683.
Cunningham finished his career with 4,928 yards. Almost 20 years later, Michael Vick broke the record as a member of the Eagles with a 53-yard rush against the Buffalo Bills in 2011. Vick took only nine seasons to break the record in comparison to Cunningham’s 16. The all-time record is now at 6,109 after Vick’s retirement this year in Feb. of 2017.
The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Minnesota North Stars on this day in 1985 and began a 13-game winning streak. The 7–3 win in the fifth game of the season sparked a record that is still a franchise’s best in their 51 year history.
The winning streak is the fifth longest in the history of the National Hockey League. The Flyers won consecutive games for an incredible 31 days until they lost 8–6 to the New York Islanders on Nov. 19.
The streak was not the only bright moment of the 1985–1986 season. The Flyers finished with a 53–23–4 record which is the best finish in franchise history. Unfortunately, the magical year would end after a first round loss to the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
American Basketball Association and National Basketball Association legend Julius Erving was sold to the Philadelphia 76ers in one of the biggest, and most peculiar, moves in basketball history.
After leading the New York Nets to their second ABA Championship in three years, “Dr. J” earned Most Valuable Player honors of the postseason. In the upcoming offseason, the NBA absorbed the Nets as its newest franchise. Due to financial burdens including entry fees into the NBA, former Nets owner Roy Boe did not comply with his promise to Erving about a raise in salary. After negotiations and relationships went sour, Boe made multiple attempts to sell the team’s best player. When the 76ers called, Boe answered.
Seven years after the trade, Julius Erving helped the 76ers win the franchise’s third NBA title. The Nets are still searching for their first NBA championship and its first since Erving’s departure.