Today in Philly Sports History: Chico Ruiz Steals Home, 1964

Today in Philly Sports History: Chico Ruiz Steals Home, 1964

Whenever Phillies fans feel like developing a swelled head with the team's performance come late-September, one need only say the name "Chico Ruiz" to remind them how they should never take any late-season lead for granted. Ruiz was far from a baseball immortal--he only played sporadically throughout eight seasons as a utility player with the Cincinnati Reds, and hit a whopping total of two home runs in his 1255 career plate appearances (or one every 627.5 PAs--even makes Carlos Ruiz look like Babe Ruth). But he will continue to haunt the dreams of older Phillies fans for what he did on September 21st, 1964, when his straight steal of home plate in a Phils-Reds game ended up foreshadowing one of the great collapses in sports history.

The score was tied at 0-0 in the top of the sixth inning, when Ruiz singled off of Phils starter Art Mahaffey with one out. After Ruiz advanced to third on a single by centerfielder Vida Pinson, left fielder future hall-of-famer Frank Robinson came to bat. But despite having one of the most feared sluggers in baseball history at the plate, Ruiz shocked the Phils (as well as his own team, apparently) by attempting to steal home--and somehow succeeding. Amazingly, Ruiz's run was the game's only, and the Phils lost the contest 1-0. (The steal was ranked as #4 by Sports Illustrated in a list of the Ten Most Significant Steals of Home in Baseball History).

This stunning incident might not have lingered in fans' memories quite as long as it has, however, if not for what came after. Before the game against the Reds, the Phillies were a comfortable six and a half games up in the NL pennant race, and with only 12 games left in the season, their first appearance in the World Series since 1950 seemed imminent. But the loss to the Reds was merely the first of ten straight games tanked by the Phils, as the team blew the lead and the playoffs (in what has come to be known as either the Philly Phlop or Philly Phold), earning manager Gene Mauch an infamous spot in baseball history.

So while we all look at the standings and laugh, merely debating who it is that we'd rather face in the first round--remember the case of Chico Ruiz, and bite your tongue until that magic number drops to zero.

NBC Sports Philadelphia Internship - Advertising/Sales


NBC Sports Philadelphia Internship - Advertising/Sales

Position Title: Intern
Department: Advertising/Sales
Company: NBC Sports Philadelphia
# of hours / week: 10 – 20 hours

Deadline: November 20

Basic Function

This position will work closely with the Vice President of Sales in generating revenue through commercial advertisements and sponsorship sales. The intern will gain first-hand sales experience through working with Sales Assistants and AEs on pitches, sales-calls and recapping material.

Duties and Responsibilities

• Assist Account Executive on preparation of Sales Presentations
• Cultivate new account leads for local sales
• Track sponsorships in specified programs
• Assist as point of contact with sponsors on game night set up and pre-game hospitality elements.
• Assist with collection of all proof of performance materials.
• Perform Competitive Network Analysis
• Update Customer database
• Other various projects as assigned


1. Good oral and written communication skills.
2. Knowledge of sports.
3. Ability to work non-traditional hours, weekends & holidays
4. Ability to work in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment
5. Must be 19 years of age or older
6. Must be a student in pursuit of an Associate, Bachelor, Master or Juris Doctor degree
7. Must have unrestricted authorization to work in the US
8. Must have sophomore standing or above
9. Must have a 3.0 GPA

Interested students should apply here and specify they're interested in the ad/sales internship.

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Sixers' turnover issues start with Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons

Sixers' turnover issues start with Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons

There’s no other way to slice it: The Sixers’ 119-113 loss to the Wizards Thursday night was ugly (see observations).

Ugly because their defensive effort was poor. Ugly because the Wizards are simply not a very good basketball team. Ugly because it brings their road record to 5-7 on the season.

But mostly ugly because of the 21 turnovers that led to 30 Washington points — 15 of which were committed by the team’s two young All-Stars.

It appeared the Sixers took the lowly Wizards lightly.

“I think we just came in too relaxed,” Ben Simmons told reporters postgame. “Didn’t take care of the ball. Waited too long down the stretch to try to get the game back.”

The Sixers actually came out with a purpose and built a 33-25 after one. Then everything fell apart.

Careless play on both ends tilted the game. On defense, the Sixers lost track of Davis Bertans, one of the better three-point shooters in the league, who hit 5 of 5 from three in the second quarter. They also committed six of their turnovers in what turned out to be a 40-point period for the Wizards.

The Sixers made a push and got the game to within five, but it was too little too late.

“Terrible,” Tobias Harris said when asked about how the team responded. “We gave them looks. Bertans came out and killed us, especially in the second quarter. We turned the ball over. They got 30 points off our turnovers. That's the name of the game right there. Honestly, you got to give them credit, they made shots, but we couldn't guard them, we couldn't stop them tonight.”

Harris was one of the lone bright spots for the Sixers. He poured in a season-high 33 points and turned the ball over just once.

The biggest issue was the play of Simmons and Joel Embiid. Simmons remains unwilling to shoot and his indecisiveness on drives was a big factor in his seven turnovers. This should’ve been a game that Embiid dominated with Washington’s frontcourt banged up. Instead, he took just 12 shots and turned the ball over eight times.

Embiid expressed frustration over the carelessness with the ball but felt like he was making the proper decisions when passing out of the post.

“My teammates were open,” Embiid said. “Tobias got it going. We went to him a lot and I just do whatever I’m asked to. It doesn’t matter how many shots as long as I make the right plays. It doesn’t matter if I take 12 shots or 20 shots. I’m just doing whatever I’m supposed to, follow the game plan and go from there.”

Turnovers have been an issue since Brett Brown was hired. That’s largely been because of youthful rosters he had and Brown wanting them to get out and run. 

Those excuses are gone now. Brown has said so himself.

As has been the case with the team’s high turnover numbers this season, Simmons and Embiid were the main culprits. They’re high usage players so it’s to be expected to some extent.

But night’s like Thursday simply can’t happen.

“Well, we're always trying to help our two young guys,” Brown said. “You're trying to help those guys get better. And it's not going to win anything. It won't win any game that matters let alone a regular-season game. It's not going to put us in any position where we can close out a game. We have to get better in that area and I got to help them.”

There’s no reason to panic or think the issues aren’t correctable, but the Sixers need to take better care of the basketball.

And it starts with Simmons and Embiid.

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