UPDATE: The fans have spoken, and Mayor Nutter has heard the word, that Billy Penn should be left alone, he said this evening. "We're not doing anything with regard to hat or jersey," he said by phone.
Things didn't turn out so well in 1993, when the statue on City Hall wore a giant Phillies cap, he said. "Quite honestly, the team has been doing so well, with Billy Penn wearing his usual gear, we don't want to change anything," he said.
He threw out the first pitch this season -- wearing the same jersey he wore last night at Chickie's and Pete's sports bar when the team clinched a berth in the World Series -- and why mess with whatever luck that brought?
"That has provided a certain karma for the team, so we don't want to disrupt that either," he said.
Maybe there's even a way fans could improve the team's karma. How about everybody do a good deed, or at least apologize for any past sports sins? he was asked.
"I'm enthusiastic about folks doing good positive things any time for any reason," he said. "... I'm good with that."
Here's what was earlier reported, including with lots of fan comments.
Whenever a major local team gets to its sport's final showdown round, the question arises:
Should we put team colors on Billy Penn?
Mayor Nutter was considering the idea, a caller told WIP this morning.
Don't do it! insisted WIP host Angelo Cataldi.
Early this afternoon, Nutter confirmed the city was considering the idea and a decision might even come this afternoon.
Ironically, Nutter was at the Palm for the unveiling of a caricature of him on one of the restaurant's walls - just to the left and below a cartoon of Cataldi.
(Nutter called his own likeness "totally hilarious," and quipped that "as I get slimmer and the goatee shrinks down, you will make adjustments?" So he more closely resembles Denzel Washington.)
During a commercial break this morning, the sports yakker, reached by phone, was adamant.
"It would be a disastrous idea," Cataldi said. "It would destroy all the good buzz he's created during the beginning of his administration. He cannot, he must not do this. ... It would be catastrophic to the psyche of Philadelphia if he did anything to that statue."
Not that Philadelphia is superstitious.
Not this town, which feels cursed to have gone 25 years - 100 seasons - without a title in the National Football League, Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League or the National Basketball Association.
That's a longer drought than in any other city (that has teams in all four major sports).
Some folks blame the Curse of Billy Penn.
The last championship: The Sixers in 1983.
The following year, the city agreed to let One Liberty Place rise higher than Penn's statue atop City Hall.
Allegedly, Billy's spirit kind of took offense.
Two attempts to reverse the curse with team apparel failed.
Putting a Phillies cap on Penn in 1993 and a Flyers jersey on him in 1997 both backfired.
That soured the city on trying it again.
Billy Penn was unadorned in 2001 when the Sixers made the NBA finals, and in 2005 when the Eagles reached the Super Bowl.
Not that the sports/history/architecture gods were appeased.
Both teams lost.
Oh, bitter days! Oh ... sorry, I lost it for a moment there.
Is there a reason this year might be different? Other than, well, luck eventually evens out?
To counter the jinx, a smaller Penn statue was placed atop the Comcast Tower, now the city's tallest building.
Now the Phillies are in the World Series.
And how about the Philadelphia Soul? This spring, they became champs of the Arena Football League.
Good omens? Could local luck be changing?
"I think the Soul broke the jinx. They broke it open," said WIP producer Joe Weachter. "Give [team owner Jon] Bon Jovi some credit in that, I guess, because his winning attitude maybe permeated the whole city."
Nah, the Soul doesn't count, Cataldi said. Lesser league.
Only one way to tell if the jinx has been broken: Watch how far the Phillies go.
"I'll let you know in two weeks," Cataldi said.