It was a gift to Philadelphia sports, to the city as a whole. A labor of love, and that labor — there’s no guesstimate on hours spent. If you had a question about Philadelphia high school football or basketball, there was no question where you searched for the answer, and little question you’d find it.
The big question: How long would it take to find it? Not because TedSilary.com, begun in 1999, made that hard; a simple Google search usually sent you to the exact sentence. Once you had your fact, like how many points Gene Banks scored in this big game in what year, the question became, how long would you linger on the site, your eye caught by “City Hoopsters on AP All-America Teams” or “All-Century Philly-Area NFL-AFL Team” or the “Bill Ellerbee Tribute Page” or “Bill Fox Tribute Page.” (Don’t worry, Bill or Bill, you’re still with us.)
You want the list of Archbishop Ryan career football scoring leaders? Frank Wycheck was a three-time Pro Bowler and threw the NFL’s most famous lateral cross-field pass as part of the “Music City Miracle” for the Tennessee Titans, but he’s only third on Ryan’s career list, behind Samir Bullock and Joe Zeglinski.
You want the bracket for this year’s Donofrio Classic in Conshohocken? What about last year’s final? Raw Sports over LVBR 118-91. (“RV rolled to an easy victory thanks mostly to Sam Sessoms [24, four treys, seven assists].”) And not just the final — all games. Hunting Park I beat Coaching Victory by a point in the round of 16 (“Dymir Montague fed Ed Croswell for the game-winner, a reverse layup. Donta Scott poured in 29 points.”)
Whether he was at the Bulletin or Daily News or after he retired from the paper in 2013, Ted Silary was the historian of all this, nicknames included. He also was generous in noting the help he got — for instance, from Conshohocken last year. (**Thanks to Tom Brady, Chick Gillespie and Owen McCue for their help.**)
Silary announced over the weekend that it’s time for him to stop adding to the page except for some yearly all-star teams. But, he most importantly added, he won’t take the page down. It should outlive all of us. It’s already outlived so many of us. (“Rest in peace … Joe Malizia … Joe’s game films are still available via his son, Joe Jr. Click here and/or check the Youtube channel.”)
The site, a Mount Everest of information staring at you right from the home page, wasn’t just living history. It was a bulletin board for a community. (“The 10th annual Unsigned Senior Boys Basketball Showcase will be held Saturday, April 13, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Imhotep Charter, 6201 N. 21st Street, Phila., 19138.”)
On the site, Silary has been overly generous linking to the work of others if you wrote about any of this, and with compliments, even for the competition. (He also was a ferocious competitor. If you showed up at a city game for the Inquirer and Tom “Hockey” McKenna was there for Daily News -- for Ted -- you got a quizzical "Whacu doing here?” from Hockey and you didn’t think for a second Hockey was sharing his stats with you.)
It was never about Ted himself. He very politely declined to talk for this, and has simply turned down big, big honors in this city. His work spoke for him. His work spoke for others. (“*If you have a film of the 1968 Catholic League football championship game, Cardinal Dougherty vs. Monsignor Bonner, please contact Earl “Skip” Ziegenfuss at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!”)
Maybe the best part of the site is that you didn’t have to be the best player in the city to get your recognition. It’s one thing to have a list of top Philadelphia scorers from 2000 through 2015. It’s quite another to list everyone who scored at least 15 points a game.
So Nurideen Lindsey, Overbrook, 2008, was tops with 34.5 points (Ted showed his work -- 18 games, 622 points). TedSilary.com lists the 12 players who averaged 15.1 and the 19 who averaged 15 on the nose. One of those 19, Bradley Wanamaker, Roman, 2006, happens to now play for the Boston Celtics, but that’s a story for another page. Right here, Wanamaker is simply listed below Ravi Sinanan, Mastbaum, 2012, and above Brandyn Wims, Dougherty, 2010.