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Marty Noble

Revere-sionist history: Phillie center of attention

Sorting out the source of a famous Maddox line on a New York afternoon

Revere-sionist history: Phillie center of attention

NEW YORK -- One of the best and most enduring lines ever uttered during a telecast of any baseball game came from the lips of -- well, we'll get to that. When it was said and where it was said for the first time is lost forever. And how many times it has been repeated also is unknown. The line lives on because it was a piece of genius -- clever and appropriate.

"Two-thirds of the earth is covered by water, the other one-third is covered by Garry Maddox" still prompts smirks when it's recalled. It was and still is funny and, when the thought was applied to Maddox, the Phillies center fielder was at some point during his seven-year run as a Gold Glove winner. Maddox -- they called him the Secretary of Defense -- didn't miss much.

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The line was referenced more than once, no doubt, Wednesday afternoon when Maddox's former team engaged the Mets at Citi Field, and one of Maddox's center-field descendants, Ben Revere, played a one-man game of takeaway. He made one uncommonly handsome catch, another dazzling catch and also was responsible for the play of the day. If Revere had played his game on ice, he would have a number of hats tossed on the playing surface in recognition of his performance.

The Phillies lost, 11-2, to the Mets in the nooner rubber game of their three-game series. And though the game lost any semblance of competitiveness when the Mets scored five times in the seventh, it had changed direction in the fifth in large part because Daniel Murphy was slick enough to hit his three-run home run to a spot beyond the wall where even Revere couldn't reach.

Murphy wisely directed his sixth home run more to left-left center than center-left. Left-fielder Grady Sizemore would have needed stilts and Julius Erving's arms and vertical leap to interfere with the flight of the opposite-field home run ... which suggests Revere might have had a shot at it had Ryne Sandberg assigned him to left.

Until that point in the fifth inning, the Phillies were leading, 1-0. Revere had performed so brilliantly that little seemed beyond his reach. But losing often obscures quality performance, as Endy Chavez -- see 2006 NLCS, Game 7 -- can attest. And by the time the Mets achieved the 27th out, Revere's contributions were little more than smudges in a scorebook.

"I thought I was having a good day," he said afterward. "I was doing my best to keep us in the game." And then it blew up.

Second inning: The game was without a run when Juan Lagares singled after two outs. Ruben Tejada followed with what should have been a run-scoring gapper to left-center, but Revere made his best play -- critical at the time, a sprinting interception. Lagares advanced only to third.

"I was playing oppo [playing Tejada to hit to the opposite field], so I had to cover ground quick and get the ball back to the infield," he said. He thought that was the most challenging play of the three.

With a chance to be self-supportive, winning pitcher Zack Wheeler, a left-handed hitter, followed with a measured swing that launched a potential double to left-center. Revere ran that one down, too. "His speed plays well in center field," manager Sandberg said.

Fifth inning: Revere took a home run -- the Mets would have challenged it if it were ruled a double -- away from Lucas Duda at the wall in right-center. "[Duda's] ball had a lot of backspin, it carried," Revere said. "I had to time it right at the wall. But it wasn't too difficult."

A half-inning earlier, Revere had doubled, stolen third and scored the first run of the afternoon on a double by Ryan Howard.

"You can't have a much better day in center field," Phillies coach Steve Henderson said. "He made plays that kept us in the game." Until no one could keep Murphy in the park.

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Now, about the origin of the "two-thirds" Garry Maddox line. Some folks believe it originated with Harry Kalas, the late Phillies broadcaster and winner of the 2002 Ford C. Frick Award, an honor akin to Hall of Fame induction for an announcer. It could have; Harry was clever. Indeed, his son Todd delivered another memorable and clever baseball line when he was working Mets games in 1993.

He was introducing players at the team's Welcome Home dinner. His intro for Frank Tanana was "He threw 0 in the 70s and now throws 70 in the 90s."

Others thought a Phillies beat reporter was responsible for the Maddox line.

But Larry Shenk, the Phillies' media relations icon/now icon emeritus, said Wednesday his sense of it is that the line originated with the late Ralph Kiner, the Mets' Hall of Famer and baseball Hall of Famer. No one challenges Schenk on Phillies history, and Kiner never would have taken credit for the line if he hadn't created it.

Now that's been covered as well.

Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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