By Mike Preston
1:17 PM PDT, August 3, 2012
Longtime Baltimore Colts and Ravens fan Jim Phillips will be laid to rest Saturday following a service at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Hagerstown. Phillips, 81, was a huge part of the fiber of Baltimore football, almost as much as some of the former Colts and current Ravens greats.
Jim was passionate about the game and had ties with some of the city's great legends like John Unitas, Art Donovan, Lenny Moore and Mike Curtis. He rarely missed a game on Sunday, and even kept the old Colts Corral group in Hagerstown going during the 13 years when Baltimore didn't have football after the Colts left for Indianapolis.
Jim was so excited about the Ravens coming to Baltimore that he came out of retirement and started working in the Ravens ticket office under president David Modell. All the media guys in town knew Jim because sooner or later he would have us in Hagerstown talking to his Corral, Roost or Ravens group. Those meeting are still throw backs to the old days where members still eat chicken, drink beer and ask you questions about the football team. You might hear anything at those meetings.
Jim was sincere in his leadership and his groups were constantly putting on events and raising money for charity. Sometimes when you got him alone, Jim would tell wonderful stories about Donovan, Unitas and Raymond Berry.
When I first started covering the Ravens beat back in 1996, Jim was the first person to call me and ask me to come up as a guest speaker. Only once since then have I not made a trip to Hagerstown when requested because of a previous speaking engagement.
We all loved Jim Phillips, from former players like Tom Matte and Bruce Laird, to sportswriters like myself, Jamison Hensley and Aaron Wilson. When they conclude Phlillips' service Saturday, I wouldn't be surprised to hear the old Colts fight song. It would be very fitting. Jim Phillips loved this city and he loved football. He was one of Baltimore's top fans, and will never be forgotten.
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