On June 6, 1972 the Philadelphia Phillies were reeling. They were in last play in the NL East with a 16-29 record. They lost eighteen of their last nineteen and had to conjure up something to stop the losing streak. Nothing on the field seemed to be working, so the team tapped into their superstitions and held a “Turn it Around Day” at Veterans Stadium.
The premise was simple: In an effort to turn the Phillies’ fortunes around, the team would literally turn anything around they could. This was all documented by longtime Phillies Director of Public Relations Larry Shenk in his book If These Walls Could Talk: Stories From The Philadelphia Phillies Dugout, Locker Room, And Press Box.
Ushers wore their hats backward and their nametags on their backs. The seventh-inning stretch happened in the third inning. Rookie PA announcer Dan Baker announced the lineup in reverse order, meaning last names first. They wouldn’t go as far as to have the night’s pitcher Woodie Fryman hitting lead-off.
“Turn it Around Day” did not result in a win as the Phillies dropped their ninth consecutive game in a 4-3 loss against the Houston Astros. Oddly enough, the Phillies went on to win their next three as Steve Carlton struck out 11 over seven innings in a victory over the Astros in the second game of the series. Carlton, who was traded to the Phillies from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for Rick Wise, went on to win 27 games and post a 1.97 ERA in ’72 on the way to his first of four Cy Young Award-winning seasons.
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