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A Phillies Fan Gone too Soon

The Philadelphia Phillies have become our Boys of Fall.

In 2007, they stormed their way past the Mets for a spot in the playoffs. In 2008, Cole Hamels led the charge head on into the early-winter winds of November, helping bring home the Phillies first title since 1980. The following season brought on more autumnal artistry by the team, although they fell short of the ultimate goal. Last season, the Phillies gave us a great ride to the NLCS, but were knocked out by the Giants.

Kenny Kline was one of the Boys of Fall himself. A former football and baseball player at Northeast High School in Philadelphia, and a one-time employee of Citizens Bank Park in the “Phun Zone,” the Phillies were a big part of Kenny’s upbringing, as they are for so many here in the region. In many of his pictures, you’ll see him rocking a red Phillies shirt, supporting his boys.

During the Phillies championship-winning season of ’08, Kenny’s Rhawnhurst Recreation club played in their own championship game at Citizens Bank Park. I was lucky enough to witness the game with Kenny’s oldest sister, Jennifer, and our good friend Jeff. He was able to celebrate with a victory on the same field the big guys did. Thrilling.

Kenny was also on his way to becoming a police officer. He was in the process of taking classes and readying himself for the Philadelphia Police Academy.

Kenny Kline, someone I am, and will always be, honored to call a friend, died Sunday following a motorcycle accident on Saturday in Philadelphia. He was 18-years old. The Kline family decided to use his healthy body to help others, so they donated his organs to prolong the lives of many people throughout region.

That’s what Kenny was all about, anyway – constantly helping others. Whether it was overseeing the kids in the Phun Zone at CBP, pushing his football mates to be better players, or in the afterlife as an organ donor, Kenny touched so many lives, and did it with a smile. His father, Ken Sr., told me on Monday that in his 18-years on earth Kenny touched more lives than he had in 50. That says something.

The “Boys of Fall” is not only a term now stamped on our boys from Pattison Ave., but was the moniker by which Kenny Kline and his football-playing buddies went by. The nickname comes from a song by country music performer Kenny Chesney, a favorite of our just-passed friend. On Kenny’s shoulder, a tattoo is present with the words “Boys of Fall” and each of their jersey numbers from their days at Northeast High.

After his passing, many of Kenny’s friends purchased fitted Phillies caps with the initials “K.K.” etched on the side.

Friends of the Kline family have set up a Facebook page and fund in his honor. The goal of the Facebook page is to grab the attention of Chesney. The “Kenny 4 Kenny” project has garnered attention throughout the region, so much so that 92.5 WXTU in Philadelphia played music all day Tuesday in his honor. Shelly Easton, the program director and on-air personality at ‘XTU is one of the people trying to help. She has contacted Chesney’s record label and hopes it will lead to something positive. CBS 3 Eyewitness News also taped a package with the Kline family on Wednesday.

Kenny with his oldest sister, Jennifer, outside of CBP following the championship win.

What’s encouraging is the outpouring of support. The Facebook page was made at 3 pm. Monday afternoon. By 3pm. Wednesday afternoon, there were 7,000-plus people on board, sharing thoughts, stories, photos, and love. If you read the comments on the Kenny 4 Kenny Facebook page, you’ll realize Kenny Kline was all about optimism.

What the Kenny 4 Kenny project is looking for is to have “Boys of Fall” dedicated to Kenny Kline during the Chesney concert on June 18 at Lincoln Financial Field. It appears, with the help of friends and family, and even some people who have never met Kenny Kline, that it’s a real possibility.

So, as our newly-anointed Boys of Fall trot back out there this spring down in South Philadelphia, hopefully on their way to another World Series title, our “Boy of Fall” Kenny Kline will be smiling down upon them, watching as he often did. And you know he’ll be humming that tune.



You can help the Kline family by purchasing tickets for Phillies Opening Day. In the comments section below, the bidding will start for 2 tickets to Opening Day, Friday, April 1 at 1:05. All proceeds of the tickets will go to the family.

Bidding will start at $100 for both tickets. Please leave your name and bid in the comments section below. ONLY SERIOUS BIDDERS PLEASE!!! Bidding on 2 Opening Day Tickets in the 400 level will end at 8pm on Thursday night.

Open up those wallets and hearts for a good cause! Thank you so much for your support.

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