By Seamus Kearney
One of the fun things you can do at SABR 43 is take the “Ted Williams Walk.”
Ted is, of course, the last major leaguer to hit .400 over the course of the long season. And he finalized this feat during a season-ending doubleheader against the Philadelphia A’s at Shibe Park in 1941. Though technically his average could be rounded up from .39955 — it wasn’t actually .400, and he decided to play. But Ted was nervous the night before these games and he chose to walk off this nervousness with a long walk throughout Center City. Accompanied by clubhouse attendant, Johnny Orlando, he set off from the Ben Franklin Hotel at 9th and Chestnut Streets.
No one knows the exact path of Ted’s walk to fame, but we have created a made-up route that includes some contemporary drinking establishments. Why these? Well, it seems Johnny Orlando liked to imbibe and agreed to go with Ted only if he could stop and wet his whistle every now and then. Only one of these establishments is still open and it will conclude the Walk.
Starting at 9th and Chestnut Sts, walk south one block to Walnut Street. Turn right and walk along Walnut to the Irish Pub at 1123 Walnut Street (or you could cheat and start here first.) Duck in for a drink — or two. Exit and turn right to 13th Street. Turn right and walk up to Chestnut Street. Turn left and proceed to the BRU pub at 1318 Chestnut Street.
From the BRU, exit onto Chestnut Street and go left to Broad Street. Turn left down Broad to Locust Street and the Standing O bar at 237 Broad Street (entrance on Locust.) When you are ready to move on, exit the Standing O, turn left, cross Broad and walk to 15th Street. Go left on 15th one light to the Fox and Hound at Spruce Street. When you exit Fox & Hound, turn right and walk to 17th Street; go right and walk to the Black Sheep Pub at 247 S. 17th Street.
Now, take a long walk to the McGillin’s Olde Ale House, the oldest pub in Philly and the only place still open when Ted made his walk of nerves. From the Black Sheep, exit onto 17th Street and walk up to Sansom Street. Turn right and walk to Juniper and Sansom Streets. A left to Drury Street and a right to McGillin’s. McGillin’s has been open since 1860 and has many of the yearly licenses posted above the bar. It is a lively place which features many ales and beers from Philly and beyond.
We agree that Johnny Orlando would have not visited so many establishments before his walk with Ted ended — but what the hey, it’s a good way to sample Philly’s nightlife scene. Try it and let us know what it was like – but do it responsibly, of course!
For more information on SABR 43, visit SABR.org/convention.
Originally published: July 25, 2013. Last Updated: July 27, 2020.