The Night Before Christmas, Philly Style
By Henry Livingston, Jr. and “Philly Boy” Roy Ziegler
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro' Veterans Stadium,
Not a creature was stirring, not even the Philly Fanatic;
Nem stockings was hung by the dugout with care,
In hopes that St. Rizzo would soon be there;
Nem Eagles was nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of cheesesteaks danc'd in their heads,
Patty LaBelle in her 'kerchief, and I in my Phillies cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap-
When out on the playing field there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the dugout to see what was the matter.
Away from the bed I flew like a flash,
Tore up the stairs, and grabbed me a bat.
The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow,
Gave the lustre of hoagie buns to objects below;
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a gigantic sled, and eight legends so dear,
With a tough old driver, so mean yet so fair,
I knew in a moment St. Rizzo would be there.
More rapid than nem 76ers those heroes they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and call'd them by name:
“Now! Schmidty, now! Iverson, now! Parent, and Detmer,
“On! Hall, on! Oates, on! Hooters and Rundgren;
“To the heart of South Street! To Jim's Steaks, you all!
“Now dash away! Dash away like Steve Carlton's fastball!”
Like the basketballs Dr. J would let fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So down to South Street nem legends they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys-and St. Rizzo too:
And then in a twinkling, I heard on the street
The sound of my heroes landing on their feet.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney at Jim's Steaks St. Rizzo came with a bound:
He was dress'd all in silver and green, from his head to his cleats,
And he demanded Jim make him a cheesesteak to eat;
A bundle of footballs and hockey sticks he flung in his pack,
And he look'd like a cop at the Spectrum beating a crowd back:
His eyes-how they twinkled! His dimples how merry,
His cheeks were like Phillies helmets, his nose like a can of Frank's Cherry;
His filthy little mouth was drawn up like a bow.
And his three chins were as white as the snow;
The end of a cigar he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face, and a fat round belly
That shook when he laugh'd, like Tastykakes filled with jelly:
He was chubby and plump, a right tough old guy,
And I laugh'd at him until he said I was gonna die;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon made me know that I had plenty to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And fill'd all nem stockings; and called me a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose
Accepting my bribe, up the chimney he rose.
He sprung to his sleigh, to his team gave a thump,
And away they flew, in the direction of Manayunk:
But I heard him exclaim, as he drove them without mercy-
Happy Christmas to all, and let's skip New Jersey!