Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
October 29, 2003
BASEBALL/POP CULTURE: Deacon Phillippe

I see that Reese Witherspoon had a baby boy, and named him "Deacon." Now, given that her husband is actor Ryan Phillippe, this would make the boy Deacon Phillippe. Well, since Deacon isn't exactly a common first name these days, that set me a-thinkin': is he named after the six-time twenty-game winner (born Charles Louis Phillippi) who pitched for Honus Wagner's Pirates in the early part of the century, won 3 games in the inaugural World Series, never had a losing season and finished his career with an admirable 189-109 record and a 2.59 ERA despite not arriving in the major leagues until age 27? Is Ryan Phillippe a relative (the original Deacon died in 1952), or perhaps a baseball fanatic? Or was there some other origin to the original Deacon's nickname (a literary reference I'm missing here?) that the new baby shares in common?

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:03 PM | Baseball 2002-03 • | Pop Culture | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

I'm pretty sure Deacon was the name of Ted's little brother in "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure".

Posted by: Brian Harper at October 30, 2003 7:56 AM

Yes, he was named for Deacon Phillippe, the Pirates pitcher.

Posted by: Carissa at November 14, 2003 1:58 PM

Yes, he was named for Deacon Phillippe, the Pirates pitcher. (at least according to the 11/17/03 issue of InTouch magazine)

Posted by: Carissa at November 14, 2003 1:58 PM

I live in Wytheville Va..15 minutes from Rural Retreat VA where Charles Phillippe was born...My madien name is Phillippi We named our son Deacon Phillippi Beamer after Deacon Phillippe

Posted by: stacy Beamer at November 20, 2003 10:27 AM

I am Ryan Phillippe's Uncle and Ryan & Reese's 7-month old son is named after my 4th cousin...Deacon Phillippe so the name lives on.

Posted by: Dale Phillippe at June 8, 2004 10:35 AM

Deacon Phillippi (Born Charles Louis Phillippi) is my great grandfather.
My Mother's maiden name is Phillippi and her father was Charles Phillippi. He had one other brother (Louis) and sister (Florence).
Deacon left his wife (Ella Buck) and 3 children early in his life. As Great grandmother told it... she threw him out when he claimed he was going to become a Pro baseball player, which in those days was akin to joining the circus. We assume this is why he changed the spelling from Phillippi to Phillippe, since he ended up playing for Pittsburgh and his estranged wife was living in Philadelphia.
He did have a common law wife later on his career and they were said to have one daughter. That is all I know of his other child. It has often been my fondest wish to unite the 2 bloodlines of Deacon's so that both could compare notes on this gentle giant. My Mother's side of the family knew so little about him, since their father rarely spoke about him.
Today Deacon's lineage show strongly in my 2 cousins (6'5" and 6'7"), their father (6'4") and my brother who has his "lantern-jaw" and the ever present Phillippi nose.

Posted by: Rob DuBree at February 18, 2005 3:14 PM

Hi Rob,

I'm interested in some background on Deacon Phillippe's life in South Dakota. Like when he arrived there and what BB teams he might have played with. I'm still interested in nominating him to the SD Hall of Fame.

Maybe you or someone else has info.

Thanks, Steve O.

Posted by: Steve Olsen at July 15, 2005 12:57 AM

Hello Steve,

To my knowledge Deacon never lived in South Dakota. He went from Rural Retreat to Louisville when he was in the minors, then he was drafted by Pittsburgh where he spent the rest of his life (Avalon, PA to be exact).

Posted by: Rob DuBree at August 4, 2005 3:20 PM

Hello Steve,
I'm sorry, but I misunderstood your question.
I thought you were asking whether Deacon had lived in SD in his "playing" years...

When Deacon was three, his family moved to the Dakota Territory near the town of Athol. He grew up and learned to play baseball on the prairies of what would become (in 1889) the state of South Dakota, and he played semi-pro ball there for many years.
By 1896, he had moved into Minnesota, and that year he played professionally for a team in Mankato. The next year he hooked up with Minneapolis of the Western League, where he pitched for two seasons, in the second of which he posted a record of 21-19.
After the 1898 season, he was drafted by Louisville, and at age 26 he was finally in the major leagues.

Posted by: Rob DuBree at August 4, 2005 5:35 PM

Are you all aware of Deacon 's world series record? No one ever mentoins it. It occurred over a hundred years ago, but Deacon pitched 5 (no that is not a typo) complete games in a World Series.

Posted by: Larry Mann at March 28, 2006 1:00 PM
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