1964 Introduction

The Phillies opened the 1964 season on April 14 with a two-game set against the New York Mets.

“The year 1964 was the most catastrophic baseball season in the history of the Philadelphia Phillies. Which is saying something because, in July of the 2007 season, the Phils lost for the 10,000th time – making the team the losingest franchise in the history of sports.

But 1964 was also one of the most chaotic years in both U.S. and world history. It became a year of civil unrest, upheaval, and revolt. It also became a year of protests – some of which led to violence, bloodshed, and death. And it became the year that the U.S. entered the conflict in Vietnam.” – excerpt from 1964

Starting tomorrow – April 14 – I’ll be posting day-by-day highlights of that infamous 1964 season.

The first world-shaping event actually took place six weeks prior to the beginning of 1964. That historic event took place on November 22, 1963 – when President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated and Lyndon Johnson inherited the Presidency.

Here are some of the events taking place between New Year’s Day and Opening Day:

  • January 3 – 1964 was a Presidential election year and Barry Goldwater threw his hat into the Presidential ring early.
  • January 8 – LBJ declared “War on Poverty.”
  • January 9 – Panamanian high school students tried to tear down the American flag outside a U.S. government facility in the Panama Canal Zone – to replace it with a Panamanian flag. A scuffle ensued – which turned into a full-fledged riot. Four U.S. soldiers and twenty-one Panamanians were killed. The next day, Panama severed relations with the U.S. and demanded revisions in the Panama Canal Treaty.

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  • January 11 – The U.S. Surgeon General released the first Smoking and Health report – declaring that smoking caused lung cancer.
  • January 18 – Designs were released for the World Trade Center.

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  • February 2 – Hasbro released the first G.I. Joe action-figure.

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  • February 9 – With 73,000,000 TV viewers watching, Ed Sullivan introduced Beatlemania to the U.S. when the Beatles performed live in front of a studio audience of screaming teenagers.

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  • February 10 – The House of Representatives passed the Civil Rights Act that JFK had sent to Congress the prior June.
  • February 25 – Cassius Clay upset Sony Liston at Convention Hall in Miami Beach to win the heavyweight championship. Liston was a bear of a man who seemed unbeatable – especially at the hands of the brash-talking-but-little-proven Clay. A day later, Cassius Clay announced that he was joining the Nation of Islam and changing his name to Muhammad Ali.

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  • March 4 – Jimmy Hoffa was convicted of jury tampering, fraud, and bribery.
  • March 8 – Malcolm X broke ties with Elijah Mohammad’s Nation of Islam and announced the formation of his Black Nationalist Party.
  • March 14 – A trial was televised for the first time in the U.S. ─ and the nation watched as Jack Ruby was convicted and sentenced for the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald.

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  • March 16 – LBJ submitted his plan for the “War on Poverty.” His proposal initiated food stamps, Project Head Start, Medicare, and Medicade.
  • Later that same day, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara informed President Johnson that 40% of South Vietnam was under the control of the Viet Cong.
  • March 30 – Jeopardy premiered on NBC. 

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  • April 3 – Their fences mended for the time being, the United States and Panama resumed diplomatic relations.
  •  April 4 – Rebels removed Brazilian president Joao Goulart from power with a bloodless military coup – with U.S. Navy ships standing offshore in  support of the revolt.
  •  April 13 – Sidney Poitier became the first black man to win the Best Actor Oscar for his role in Lilies of the Field.

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I’m putting the finishing touches on a trimmed down 1964 – The Year the Phillies Blew the Pennant. So don’t purchase it yet. It’ll be ready soon – I’ll let you know when and try to make you a deal you can’t refuse.


In addition to being the official Eagles Outsider for BlameMyFather.com, Barry Bowe is also the author of:

Written by Barry Bowe

Former sportswriter – first to put Timmy Duncan’s name on the sports page.