Charles Louis Phillippi
(The Deacon)

Legend of The Game

Native of Rural Retreat, VA

Pittsburgh Pirates Pitcher    1900-1911

winner of the first game of the first World Series in 1903 against Cy Young

     Deacon set ironman marks in the 1903 World Series by pitching 44 innings of the eight game series and completing five games. Twice, he started consecutive games and he is the only pitcher in baseball to win three series games for a losing team.   In 1969, Pittsburgh fans voted Deacon Pittsburgh's all-time right handed pitcher.   Incredibly, Deacon never had a losing season in his 13 years of Major League baseball.



     Charles Louis (Deacon) Phillippi was born near the small rural town of Rural Retreat, in Wythe County, Virginia, on May 23, 1872, a son of Andrew Jackson & Margaret Jane (Hackler) Phillippi.    He was most likely born somewhere on Phillippi land between Rural Retreat, and Cedar Springs, Viriginia.

     Deacon was a grandson of John & Mary Magdalene (Wiseley) Phillippi, who lived a short distance SE of the Rural Retreat Lake dam at what is locally referred to as the "Bailey Place", and/or the "Ed Cline Place."

     His g-grandparents were Christian & Catherine (Dutton) Phillippi, who lived in an old log home that stood just south of Rural Retreat, Virginia, at Phillippi Springs, which is a large spring that supplies the town of Rural Retreat with water.    It is thought that Deacons gg-grandparents, John Adam & Maria Barbara Eve (Eichelbarger) Phillippi also lived in this house.

     Sometime around March, 1875, Andrew Jackson Phillippi left Wythe County, Virginia, with his family, and moved to Spink County, South Dakota, near the town of Athol, where Andrew Jackson is buried.    It is in Athol, South Dakota that Deacon was raised to manhood.

     At this point in time, nothing is known about Deacon's early life; how he lived, his work, or his interest.    I hope to someday be able to fill in some of the missing data for Deacon's early life.

Deacon died on March 10th, 1952, in Avalon, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.   He is buried in the Allegheny Cemetery, 4734 Butler Street, Pittsburgh, PA


     Deacon signed his first professional baseball contract in 1897 with a team in Minneapolis. He was drafted into the National League by Louisville in 1898.   Deacon began his baseball career with Louisville on April 21, 1899.   In 1900, he moved to the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he spent the rest of his career through 1911.

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS:    He was 186-108 lifetime with a 2.88 ERA.    He had five seasons with 20 or more wins.    He completed 242 of the 288 games he started over his career, while striking out 929.    He had his best ERA year in 1902 when he posted a 2.05 mark and a 20-9 record.    Over a 4 year period (1900-1903), he pitched 1136.1 innings.    He is near the top of the team's ALL-TIME pitching list in Innings Pitched, Wins, Strikeouts, Shutouts, and Completed Games.

BEST YEAR:    In 1903, he was 24-7 with a 2.43 ERA.    He struck out 123, only walked 29, and gave up just 265 hits in 289 innings.



     The World Series, as we know it today, was first played on October 1, 1903 between the National League Pittsburgh Pirates and the American League Boston Pilgrims at the old Huntington Avenue Ballpark in Boston.   It was a 9 game series, which Boston won 5 games to 3.   Star players in the series included Pittsburgh's Honus Wagner and Deacon Phillippi and Boston's Cy Young.   Pittsburgh's Deacon Phillippi pitched in five of Pittsburgh's eight World Series games against the Boston Pilgrims.   He beat Cy Young in the first and third games.   He beat Bill Dinneen in the fourth game.   He lost to Bill Dinneen in the eight game, 3-0.   Each player on the winning Boston Team received $ 1, 182.00.   Because the Pirates owner willingly gave up his gate receipts, each player for the Pirates received $ 1,316.25.   The price of a ticket was $ 1.50, and there were 16, 242 attendence for the first game.



GAME # 1 at Boston: Pittsburgh 7 Boston 3

Pirates workhorse, Deacon Phillippi, pitched a six hitter. The Pirates would lead 7-0 before Boston broke through against Deacon in the 7th to end the shutout.

GAME # 2 at Boston: Pittsburgh 0 Boston 3

GAME # 3 at Boston: Pittsburgh 4 Boston 2

Deacon, pressed into heavy duty because of illness and injury to the Pittsburgh pitching staff, came back on just one day of rest to start game 3.   A 25 game winner during the season, Deacon continued to excel.   He allowed only 4 hits, won 4-2, and, as it turned out, was just getting warmed up.

GAME # 4 at Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh 7 Boston 3

When a travel day and a rainout ensued, the Pirates turned to the good Deacon for game 4.   He starts his second consecutive game and delivers his third complete game.   He met the challenge with a complete game 5-4 triumph.   He was carried off the field like a conquering hero.

GAME # 5 at Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh 2 Boston 11

GAME # 6 at Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh 3 Boston 6

GAME # 7 at Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh 3 Boston 7

With the series tied and ensured of heading back to Boston, Pirates' owner, Barney Dreyfuss insist on another day off.   Not only does he want the larger Saturday gate for himself, but another day of rest for his ace.   It works to his disadvantage.   Having won each time Deacon had trudged to the mound, Pittsburgh sent the strong-armed righthander to the mound. The Pilgrims finally beat Deacon, working his fourth complete game.   He allows 11 hits and 4 earned runs.   One of the few positive notes for Pittsburgh came in the third inning when Deacon came to the plate.   A fan walked up and gave him a Diamond Horseshoe Stickpin, paid for by the fans, as a token of their appreciation.   Deacon thanked the fans and then belted a clean single off of a Cy Young fastball.   News accounts said the ovation was deafening.

GAME # 8 at Boston: Pittsburgh 0 Boston 3

IT'S THAT MAN AGAIN !   After a travel day and two rain postponements, Pittsburgh's Deacon Phillippi returns to the mound, starting consecutive games for the second time.   His weariness shows as he can't hold back Boston.   The pitching matchup for game 8 was a beauty -- Dinneen against Deacon.   Working on two days rest this time, Deacon battled Dinneen to a scoreless tie through three innings.   After Dinneen blanked Pittsburgh again in the fourth, Boston broke through against Deacon.   Deacon battled on and pitched his fifth complete game in the series, which lasted 13 days.


     Deacon was six foot, five inches tall, and tip the scales at 180 pounds.   In all the write ups of the major sports circles today, Deacon is considered one of the greatest control artists of all times, averaging just 1.25 base on balls per nine innings over his carer.

     After the 1903 World Series, Deacon not only received his salary of $ 1,316.25, but he also received ten shares in the Pittsburgh Pirates.

     In the old Federal League during 1912 & 1913, Deacon managed the Pittsburgh Team named the "Filipinos", named so after Deacon.   The old Federal League, poorly orginized and financed, collapsed mainly because of the failure of the NY franchise to attract fans.

     I do not know much about Deacon's life after baseball.    I do know that he worked in the Pittsburgh area in the court system as a Bailiff.    I can find no official record of that story.    I do know for sure that at one time in Philadelphia, Deacon operated - maybe owned a Cigar Store somewhere in the city.

   From a grandson, I was told that the immediate family knew very little about Deacon's life after his Baseball days.    His grandson stated that he disappeared from home for a good many years, and he thought Decon was in WWI, but I do not think that is correct because of Deacon's age, but it is possible I guess.   His grandson also stated that he had heard that Deacon's wife had told him to leave home because Deacon did not want to do anything but play baseball and/or be around the sport.    Again, I cannot verify that story.


The family data comes from my own research into the Phillippi family.   The statistical information was obtained from different websites on the internet, and/or supplied to me by Dean Phillippi, and also Steven Bridges, the Coordinator for the Spinks County, SD GenWeb Page.   The later photo of Deacon was given to me by Fred Phillippi, of Martinsville, VA, a first cousin, once removed of Deacon.


The Deacon is not in the Baseball Hall of Fame as I feel he should be. I have been told that he does have an "honorary mention" there by the HOF personnel.    Deacon is in the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, The South Dakota Sprots HOF, and his name is on the Wall of Honor, here in Wythe County, Virginia and that, believe it or not, took some time to get that to come to pass.    But in my opinion, he deserves a reserved spot in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

I have suggested to the HOF that he be entered there, but so far, I have had no luck with the HOF Committee.    I strongly urge any and all descendants and relativies of The Deacon, and anyone else who feels as I do to contact the HOF Committee, and strongly suggest that The Deacon be entered into the HOF.


If anyone has additional information for Deacon Phillippi, either personal or professional, please EMAIL ME

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