By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It was the beginning of the end. Fifty years ago today, the first-place Phillies started an epic collapse that scarred the souls of local sports fans to this day.

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Chico Ruiz. That’s all you have to say to a seasoned Phillies fan.

“He stole home and stole my heart.”

Steve Stefano was nine-years-old in 1964. Little did he know that when the Reds’ Chico Ruiz stole home to beat the Phils 1-0, it would begin a ten-game losing streak that would see the Phils squander a six-and-a-half game lead with 12 to play.

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“Every game, I thought, ‘Okay, this is when they’re going to turn it around. This is when the streak ends, right?’ And it just kept getting worse and worse.”

Stefano co-wrote a book with his cousin Andy Olcese on the ’64 team entitled Almost Perfect. He says 1964 spawned a “negadelphia” attitude only partially cleansed by the handful of championships Philadelphia has won since.

For more information on Almost Perfect, click here.

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