It Happened Today: A Phillie Faceplants, the Union League Opens, and Sick People Find a Place to Heal

A look back at Philadelphia history

What do you get when you turn 260? Well, if you’re Pennsylvania Hospital, you serve cake to your employees in the caf. Two centuries and three-fifths ago, on May 11, 1751, local doc Thomas Bond and all-around-renaissance pal Ben Franklin convinced Lieutenant Governor James Hamilton to sign onto their harebrained scheme to put sick people in one, convenient place. Their bill said the joint’s aim would be caring “for the sick poor of the Province and for the reception and care of lunaticks.” Four years later, the hospital, then and still at 8th and Pine, welcomed its first patients, including casualties from the Revolutionary, Civil and Spanish-American wars, brave recipients of surgeries in an amphitheater, and dozens of babies each full moon.

Worth mentioning, too: May 11, 1865, the Union League opens, and, in 2009, the Philadelphia Union announce their colors, crest and name—coincidence? Also on this date five years ago: In order to catch a bases-loaded, deep fly ball, Phillies outfielder Aaron Rowand plants his face into the center field wall. Rowand’s seven hours of ensuing surgery (to stitch up facial lacerations and fix his broken nose) take place at Jefferson.