#Shortstops: Phillies adopt Blue Jay way
Deep into that stretch, team management decided a rebranding was in order. So prior to the 1944 season, the team held a fan contest to choose a new nickname. And thus were born the Philadelphia Blue Jays.
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But even as the club pushed the new name, “Phillies” continued to creep into print. Realizing it was fighting a battle it could not win, the team announced on Jan. 9, 1950, that it was abandoning its “Blue Jays” branding.
The team’s “blue” period, however, would pay dividends. Midway through the 1948 season, Eddie Sawyer – who had managed some of the franchise’s top prospects with the Utica Blue Sox of the Eastern League from 1944-47, was named the team’s new skipper. Waiting for Sawyer in Philadelphia were players like Richie Ashburn, Granny Hamner and Stan Lopata – all of whom had suited up for the Blue Sox.
Powered by this infusion of young talent, the Phillies went 81-73 in 1949. The next season, the team dubbed the “Whiz Kids” won the NL pennant.
As for the “Blue Jays”, the name would name a big league comeback 1977 when the Toronto expansion team debuted in the American League. That franchise would be run by general manager Pat Gillick, who would engineer back-to-back World Series titles in 1992-93 before eventually winding up in Philadelphia – where he led the Phillies to the 2008 Fall Classic title.
Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum