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Papal blessing

TAMPA, Fla. -- For what it's worth, the Yankees' record is 3-1 on the day a new Pope is elected, going into tonight's game vs. the Phils (who used to have a GM who was known as the Pope, but that's another story).

On Sept. 3, 1914, the day Pope Benedict XV was elected, the Yankees -- who until 1913 were known as the Highlanders -- beat the Washington Senators, 10-4. Nearly a half-century later, on June 21, 1963, they lost, 7-4, to the Red Sox as Pope Paul VI ascended. On August 26, 1978, they beat Oakland, 5-4, the day John Paul I became Pope and on April 9, 2005, they beat Baltimore, 8-5, on the day of Benedict XVI's election.

October 16, 1978, the day John Paul II was elected, was an off-day in the 1978 World Series, and there is no record of the result of a pre-season game, if any, on March 2, 1939, when Pius XII became Pope.