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Q&A: Hurricane hasn't hit Tampa Bay area since 1921

The Thomas B. Garland washed up on its Tampa dock during the 1921 hurricane.

Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library

The Thomas B. Garland washed up on its Tampa dock during the 1921 hurricane.

Hurricane hit bay area in 1921

I was told by an elderly woman here that the last time we had a hurricane in this area was 1921. Is that true? I have been here since 1976 and have lived through three near-misses.

There have been plenty of close calls and minor hits over the years, but the last time the Tampa Bay area was struck directly by a major was, indeed, 1921.

It struck just north of Clearwater on Oct. 25 with 100-mph winds. It killed six people and caused up to $10 million in damage in the booming bay area, which would be a tiny fraction of the carnage if the same storm took the same path now.

If you'd like to read more about the 1921 storm, please see an excellent report from former Times reporter and editor Dave Ballingrud at

Pa. baseball teams top losers list

What's the losingest professional sports franchise?

That depends on how you measure losing. Is it most losses in the season? Most losses ever? Most losses in a row?

Having plenty of experience from watching the early Bucs and Rays, our preferred standard would be the most consecutive losing seasons. There's nothing like going into season after season knowing you have no chance of competing or being even average.

By that criteria, and limiting choices to the four major professional sports — baseball, football, basketball and hockey — we present the two biggest losers, both baseball franchises from Pennsylvania.

The Philadelphia Phillies and the Pittsburgh Pirates each have had streaks of 16 consecutive losing seasons. For the Phillies, it was from 1933 until 1948. Their best record in that streak was 69-85. For the Pirates, it started in 1993, after Barry Bonds left for free agency, and continues today. Their best record during the streak was 1997, when they finished 79-83.

And unless Pittsburgh turns in a fantastic finish to this season, it will claim sole possession of the record with its 17th straight losing year.

'Dirty Sexy Money' is over

I was so surprised and happy to see a couple of new episodes of Dirty Sexy Money recently. I had understood that was the end of the series, because of the writers strike. Are there any more episodes in the works and is the whole series coming back?

The first season of the ABC drama was cut short by the 2008 writers strike, with only 10 episodes airing. It was renewed for a second season, which began in fall 2008, but the ratings did not impress the network. It pulled the show from the air and did not renew it for a third season, then threw the unaired episodes into its summer schedule. The last episode was broadcast last week.

Q&A: Hurricane hasn't hit Tampa Bay area since 1921 08/20/09 [Last modified: Thursday, August 20, 2009 4:30am]
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