Will Billy Penn free his city?

Posted: October 03, 2007

Somewhere, William Penn is looking down on the Phillies' National League East pennant and smiling.

OK, actually, we can tell you exactly where that somewhere is - on a steel beam some 975 feet atop Center City, where the soaring Comcast Tower was topped off back in June as the tallest building in Philadelphia.

It is there that two union workers placed a small statue of Billy Penn in the hopes of breaking the most notorious hex in Philadelphia history, the Curse of Billy Penn.

The alleged curse dates back to the mid-1980s and the controversial decision to allow skyscrapers to be built taller than the brim on the hat of the Billy Penn statue on top of City Hall, beginning with the opening of One Liberty Place in 1987. After a mini-flurry of titles, no major Philly team has won a title since the Sixers did it in 1983, the longest such championship drought in the nation.

As for the Comcast Center ploy . . . so far, so good. But remember, the curse will not be lifted unless the Phillies can steal a World Series title and parade down Broad Street.

- Will Bunch

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