The curse of William Penn in Philadelphia is one of the most curious superstitions in the world of sports. To the relief of local fans, it ended in 2008 after more than twenty years in prison.
In Philadelphia there was an unwritten law that prevented building a building taller than the William Penn statue … until the skyscrapers came along.
In 1987 this rule was broken (and the curse began) with the construction of One Liberty Place, a building taller than the statue. Since that time, no Philadelphia team in the major national leagues has won a title; neither hockey (NHL), nor basketball (NBA), nor baseball (NBL) nor American football (NFL) drank from the honeys of success.
The curse ended in 2008, when the Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series of baseball. Apparently, a year earlier a small William Penn figurine had been placed on the roof of the Comcast Center, the new building that had become the tallest in the city.
When William Penn is at the top of Philadelphia, his teams breathe easy.
And who was William Penn? The Lord of the Statue and the Curse was an English Quaker who founded Philadelphia in the late 17th century. The bronze statue made in his honor was installed above the city hall in 1894 to occupy the highest place in the city.