Thursday, October 31, 2013

October 31, 1950: Earl Lloyd Becomes The First African American To Play In The NBA

On October 31, 1950,Washington Capitols forward, Earl Lloyd became the first African American to play in the NBA. The defensive specialist knocked down 6 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and dished out 5 assists in his solid debut. Unfortunately for him and his team they couldn't stop Arnie Risen and the Rochester Royals who won the contest 78-70 with Risen leading the way with 20 points on the day. The score hardly mattered as much as the significance of the NBA becoming an integrated league. While the league had only been in existence for a few years at that point it an important step forward not only for the league but for every African American male that had hopes and dreams of playing professional basketball. Just one day later Chuck Cooper became the second African American to play in the league when he debuted with the Boston Celtics, and four days after that Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton joined the both of them when he debuted with the New York Knicks. Each of these men helped pave the way for many young men that followed. Lloyd played with the Captiols for just 7 games before the franchise folded. After that he joined the United States Army for a year before the Syracuse Nationals picked him up off of waivers. He spent  6 of his 8 NBA seasons in Syracuse before finishing up with the Detroit Pistons. After his playing days ended, the Pistons came close to making Lloyd the first African American coach in the league but ended up going in a different direction. However, he did end up coaching the Pistons for one full season in the early seventies. In 2003, Lloyd was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame for his contributions to the game. It was a well deserved honor.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

October 30, 1943: Gus Bodnar Scores The First Goal Of His NHL Career 15 Seconds After It Began

On October 30, 1943, just 15 seconds into his NHL debut, Maple Leafs center, Gus Bodnar scored the first goal of his NHL career, helping his team to a 5-2 victory over the New York Rangers in front of a home crowd in Toronto.  The 20 year old rookie would go onto score 22 goals along with 40 assists. The 62 point campaign would earn him the Calder Trophy as the league's best rookie. His rookie year proved to be the best of his career statistically. However, he was a two time Stanley Cup Champion as a member of the Maple Leafs in 1944 and 1945. He spent just four years in Toronto before being traded to the Chicago Blackhawks where he spent the next 7 years of his career, which included an All Star selection in 1951. Halfway through the '53-'54 season he was traded to the Boston Bruins. He spent one full season in Boston before hanging up the skates and join the coaching ranks. Described as a decent scorer and great playmaker, Bodnar played in nearly 700 games over 11 years in the NHL. He topped double digits in goals 7 times and was a player that most teams would love to have had. One of the greatest highlights of his career came in March of 1952, when  he helped Bill Mosienko set up the fastest hat trick in the history of the game. He finished his career with 142 goals and 254 assists. The picture included is Bodnar receiving the Calder Trophy following that rookie campaign.

Check out his career numbers here:

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

October 29, 1987: Hearns Vs Roldan

On October 29, 1987, at the Hilton in Las Vegas, Nevada, Thomas "The Hit Man" Hearns became the first boxer to win titles in four different weight categories by knocking out Argentinean boxer Juan Roldan in the fourth round of a bout that had the World Boxing Council's Middleweight Title on the line. The title had been vacated by Sugar Ray Leonard  in April of that year and this fight would crown a new champ. The fight was far from an easy one for Hearns. Roldan came out of the gate like a man possessed, he went after his opponent with a fury of wild punches that forced Hearns into evasive maneuvers as he threw everything he had at him. The big problem with Roland's approach was that it was so wild that Hearns wasn't taking any major blows as much as he was just avoiding the fury while trying to land a clean blow. The first clean one that Hearns landed sent Roldan crashing down, however, he wasn't done. The Argentinean came back with same fire that he had before he went down and once again Hearns was just trying to land a punch while enduring everything that Roldan had. Then right as the bell rang at the end of the first Hearns sent him down again. The stunned Roldan barely got up and even after he recovered he looked like he might not know where the hell he was. When the second round began Roldan looked like he hardly had his legs under him, but he did show that he still had a fire under his ass and continued to throw wild punch after wild punch until Hearns put him on the canvas again. After that knockdown it became a dance, with  Roldan throwing wildly, and Hearns dancing around them while connecting with key blows as he was taking control of the fight, or so it looked. Roldan came out in the third and rocked Hearns, while the punches were still a bit wild, he was landing punches that had clearly done damage on his way to winning the round. Seconds into the fourth, Roldan landed a left hook that buckled Hearn's legs, nearly sending him down for the first time. Hearns acknowledged after the fight that he knew he was hurt and he knew he just had to hold on to get through the bout. Finally, minutes later Hearns connected with two brutal rights that turned out Roland's lights. It was a wild and crazy one from start to finish. Following the fight, the 29 year old Hearns said "I'm a very proud young man right now," after acknowledging that he had set the goal of four titles seven years earlier. Before winning the middleweight title, Hearns had held the welterweight, super welterweight, and light heavyweight championship titles.

If you have twenty minutes to spare watch this wild one here:

Monday, October 28, 2013

October 28, 1973: Elmore Smith Blocks 17

On October 28, 1973, Gail Goodrich knocked down 49 points and Elmore "The Rejector" Smith blocked an NBA record 17 shots in a 111-98  Lakers win over the Portland Trail Blazers in Los Angeles. Smith not only set the all time blocks record he recorded a triple double in the contest with 12 points, 16 rebounds, and the 17 rejections. 11 of the 17 blocks were recorded in the first half which is the most ever in one half of NBA basketball and the 17 blocks in one contest is a record that still stands today. The win was the fourth in a row for the Lakers and the 17th win in a row over the Trail Blazers who had not beaten them in 17 tries, just two days later they would stop that streak by beating them 114-113 on their home court in Portland.

Here's the box score:

Sunday, October 27, 2013

October 27, 1984, Rueben Mayes Runs Wild In Oregon

On October 27, 1984, Washington State Cougars running back Rueben Mayes set the NCAA record for most rushing yards in one game when he exploded for 357 yards on the ground in a 50-41 win over the Oregon Ducks in Eugene, Oregon. The Cougars running back topped the previous record by just one yard, it had been set six years earlier by Georgia tech running back Eddie Lee Ivery six years earlier. Mayes started off slowly with 41 yards rushing in the first quarter then he went f'n crazy by running 156 yards in the second, 73 more in the third, and he capped it off with 87 in the fourth. He broke the record with just 1:12 to go in the game. Mayes scored three times in the contest with scoring runs from 2, 69, and 12 yards out. The Cougars had a grand total of 663 offensive yards on the day with their running back responsible for more than half of them. While the record has been broken multiple times since that day in Eugene, Mayes' record still stands as the most rushing yards for any Pac 10 running back in a single game.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

October 26, 1980: The Gridbirds Record 12 Sacks in One Game

On October 26, 1980, in a game against the Colts in Baltimore the St. Louis Cardinals tied an NFL record by sacking the Baltimore signal caller Bert Jones 12 times on the way to a 17-10 win. The Cardinals were in desperate need of a win after getting beat 23-0 by the Washington Redskins the week before the game in Baltimore. The quarterback of the Cardinals, Jim Hart had been sacked 6 times in the contest against Washington, but on this day he would only be sacked twice while his defense came out and wreaked havoc on Bert Jones and the Colts. Ottis Anderson put the the Gridbirds on the board with a 4 yard blast into the endzone in the first quarter which was all the scoring that would take place in the first half. In the third, Pat Tilley caught a 10 yard strike from Hart that gave the Cardinals a 2 touchdown advantage. They added 3 more points to the board before the quarter was over and had a commanding 17-0 lead as they headed into the final quarter. While the 17-10 score makes it look like it was a close one the Colts touchdown came with just two seconds to go in the game. The Cardinals defense was led by defensive end Curtis Greer, he recorded 4.5 sacks on the day. It was just the second time in NFL history that one team had recorded 12 sacks in one game, the first to complete the feat was the Dallas Cowboys who had a 12 sack day against the Pittsburgh Steelers in November of 1966. It has been done a total of 5 times, the '84 Bears recorded 12 sacks in a game against the Lions, the '85 Cowboys recorded 12 sacks against the Oilers, and most recently the 2007 Giants recorded 12 against the Eagles. It's safe to say someone woke up sore the next day after each of those games.

Here's the box score:

Friday, October 25, 2013

October 25, 1990: Holyfield Takes The Title From Buster Douglas

On October 25, 1990, Evander Holyfield took the heavyweight title from Buster Douglas with a third round knockout at The Mirage in Las Vegas. The 30 year old Douglas stunned the world in February of that same year by taking the title from Iron Mike Tyson. Douglas didn't look even close to the fighter that had beat Tyson, instead he looked overweight and was hardly a formidable challenger for Holyfield. The blow that ended it all in the third was a powerful right to the jaw that sent Douglas to the canvas. Douglas insisted that there was no way he could get back up after the blow but many questioned him and his desire to be a true champion. The loss dropped Douglas to 30-5-1 while Holyfield recorded his 25th straight victory and was the new Heavyweight Champion of the World. The fight posters billed it as "The Moment of Truth" the truth was Douglas was a one hit wonder. However, he cashed in to the tune of $24.6 million, he would later say that he walked away with $1.5 million after taxes and everyone else stuck their hand in the pot. Still not a bad payout for getting his ass kicked. I know I would let anyone of you knock me out for a cool million.

Watch the fight here: if you fast forward to the 13:25 mark you can watch the blow that sent Douglas crashing down.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

October 24, 1943: The Packers Intercept 9 Passes In One game

On October 24, 1943,  in a game in a 27-6 win over the Lions at Briggs Stadium in Detroit, the Green Bay Packers intercepted a total of 9 passes to set an NFL record for most interceptions by one team in a single game. The Packers came into the game looking to bounce back from a rough loss against Washington and it was something that would do in a big way. Early on the running game stalled for Green Bay so they went to the air with devastating results. Rookie quarterback Irving Comp connected on 14 of 18 passes thrown for 201 yards and the Packers totaled 326 passing yards on 21 total completions before the game was over. Don Hutson scored a total of 12 points, he caught one touchdown, booted three extra points and kicked a field goal. The Lions attempted to match the aerial attack only to have it backfire, their starter Frank Sinkwich started off well by connecting on a four yard touchdown pass in the first quarter but that was the only highlight he would probably want to remember after this one ended. Sinkwich threw a total of 7 interceptions before his backup took over and proceeded to toss two more. Two of the nine interceptions were made by Hutson who did just about everything that day. To date, only two teams have intercepted 9 passes in one game, the Packers were the first to achieve the feat, then 22 years later the Philadelphia Eagles intercepted 9 passes in a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Here's the box score:

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

October 23, 1945: Jackie Robinson Signs With The Montreal Royals

On October 23, 1945, the  President of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Branch Rickey signed Jack Roosevelt Robinson to a minor league contract that would be the beginning of breaking Major League Baseball's color barrier. The 26 year old that went by Jackie, had been a star running back at UCLA before joining the military following the attack on Pearl Harbor in December of '41. In July of 1944, Robinson's military career was nearly derailed after he ordered to sit in the back of a bus and refused, it led to a court martial hearing that would lead to an eventual acquittal. Following the acquittal he was transferred to Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky where he met a former Negro Leaguer that had played with the Kansas City Monarchs. He encouraged Robinson to write to owner of the team and ask for a tryout and Robinson did just that. Before Robinson heard back from the Monarchs he took a job at Sam Huston College in Austin, Texas as the athletic director, which included coaching the men's basketball team. While there he received an offer from the Monarchs and shifted his focus to baseball. The Negro Leagues wasn't an easy transition for Robinson who was used to a much more structured environment. The travel was grueling and he was frustrated by the disorganization of the league. However, he played well by hitting .387 in 45 games that included 5 home runs and 13 stolen bases. He had drawn the interest of several major league teams and even tried out for the Boston Red Sox. In the end the tryout with the Red Sox proved to be a humiliating experience for him as the Boston club was not serious about signing an African American. There was a club out there that was serious about signing an African American and they had Branch Rickey at the helm. After a search that lasted three years Jackie was the man that Rickey believed was capable of being the first African American to break into Major League Baseball and he was right. When he signed on to play for the Montreal Royals on that late October day he was joined by the son of Mr. Rickey, Branch Rickey Jr., who was the general manager of the minor league club. Rickey Jr. acknowledged the fact that they might lose ballplayers due to racism but he also stood behind Jackie and let people know that he was a good man who was college educated and they believed that he could conquer anything that was put in front of him. Jackie didn't let anyone down, after one year in the minor leagues he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers and became the first African American man to join the major leagues since Moses Fleetwood Walker played with the Toledo Blue Stockings of the American Association in 1884. Robinson did more than break the color barrier, he played his heart out on the field, and earned his way into Cooperstown by putting together a storied 10 year career. His career included rookie of the year honors in '47, an MVP award and a batting title in '49, and a World Series championship in '55.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

October 22, 1975: The Big Red machine Wins It All

On October 22,1975,  just one day after the dramatic game winning home run by Carlton Fisk forced a winner takes all Game 7, a ninth inning two-out bloop single off the bat of Joe Morgan brought in what proved to be the winning run in a 4-3 Cincinnati Reds championship victory over the Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston. The Reds were down 3-0 after the Red Sox scored three in the third off of starter Don Gullet before Tony Perez hit a 2 run home off of Bill Lee in the sixth that cut the lead to 3-2. Pete Rose tied the ballgame up in the seventh with an RBI single and this one was going to be a battle to the finish. With the scored still tied in the ninth,  Red Sox skipper Darrell Johnson called on reliever Jim Burton to take care of the Reds batters. Burton issued a free pass to Ken Griffey to lead ff the frame. He retired Cesar Geronimo on a sacrifice that moved Griffey to second, then induced Dan Driessen into a groundout that moved him over to third and just 90 feet away from taking the lead. Burton issued his second free pass of the inning to Rose who had absolutely torn it up throughout the series, then came Joe Morgan. The second baseman delivered with the clutch hit of a lifetime with the blooper into shallow center that brought Griffey into score what proved to be the game winner. The exclamation point was put on the championship with a 1-2-3 inning by Will McEnaney and the Cincinnati Reds were World Champions. It was the first of  back-to-back titles for the Big Red Machine and the ninth championship in franchise history.

Check out box score:

Monday, October 21, 2013

October 21, 1975: Carlton Fisk's 12 Inning Home Run Forced a Game 7

On October 21, 1975, Carlton Fisk of the Boston Red Sox hit one of the most dramatic home runs in World Series history. The solo shot in the bottom of the 12th inning in Game 6 of the Fall Classic gave his club a 7-6 win over the Cincinnati Reds and forced a winner takes all Game 7. The only question when it came towering drive down the left field line was would it be fair or foul. As the ball traveled down the line, Fisk tried to will the ball to the fair side of the foul pole by waving his arms toward the right side of the pole and it appeared to work as it hit the pole and won the ballgame. The game had been delayed by three days of rain but it was well worth the wait, as it became one of the most memorable games in not only the history of the Red Sox organization but in the history of the entire game. From the beginning the tension was high and the crowd of 33,205 was electric as they watched their team jump out to an early lead on a 3 run bomb by Fred Lynn in the first. The 3 run lead looked like it might be all Luis Tiant would need, the Red Sox starter was dealing through the first four innings, he gave up just two hits, and appeared to be on the way to his third victory in the series. Then came the fifth inning, Tiant gave up three runs, two came off a triple from Ken Griffey, then Griffey was knocked in by Johnny Bench.. Things got worse for Tiant in the seventh, he began the inning by giving up back-to-back singles before inducing a couple of flyball outs. Right when it looked like he might escape the inning with no damage done George Foster came up with a double that scored both runners. Tiant was able to get the last out of that inning but he couldn't get the first out in the seventh, the first man he faced was Cesar Geronimo and the Reds centerfielder took him deep to lead off the inning. Tiant left the game after the long ball and handed the ball over to his bullpen. Tiant was probably the most devastated individual in the entire ballpark as he left the game. His despair would turn to joy in the eighth when Bernie Carbo hit a pinch hit 3 run home run to tie the game up at 6 all. The shot by Carbo was historic in its own right, it was his second pinch hit home run of the series which tied a record that had been set 16 years earlier. Both teams had their chances to score from there but neither capitalized which just set the table for Fisk in the 12th. At that point in the game the Pat Darcy was on the hill for the Reds, he had worked two innings of scoreless ball and was looking for another, he had one little problem.... Carlton Fisk. The Red Sox catcher was the first man to bat in the inning and the last man to bat in the game as he hit the historic walkoff  blast. When Fisk was asked about the bomb he said "It was a sinker down and in. I knew the ball was either going to go foul or be a home run. Since the wind was blowing out I was afraid the ball might hook around the pole. In fact, I bet the wind took the thing about 15 feet closer to the line than it should have been and it wound up hitting the pole just before going around it." The scene with Fisk waving his arms as he tried to will the ball fair is a moment in baseball history that was absolutely epic. When the Reds third baseman Pete Rose was interviewed after the game he said "They'll be talking about this game for years to come." Rose hit the nail on the head when he said that because well after me and you both are long gone, people will talk about that home run.

Watch the historic shot here: Or you can watch the entire game here:

Here's the box score:

Sunday, October 20, 2013

October 20, 1964: Johnny Keane Is Hired to Manage The Yankees

On October 20, 1964, Johnny Keane shocked the world of baseball by signing a deal to manage the New York Yankees. Just days earlier he had guided the St. Louis Cardinals to a World Series title in a hard fought 7 game battle against those same Yankees. One day after the Cardinals had won the title, a press conference was assembled in St. Louis to announce that the skipper would be getting an extension. Keane arrived 15 minutes late and handed a letter to the owner of the team August Busch that explained his reason why he would not be returning to manage the Cardinals. Busch had shaken things up in the front office in August of that year, he parted ways with general manager Big Devine as well as business manager Art Rouzong, and the director of player development Eddie Stanky. When the owner let those three go, Keane sensed he would be next. There were rumors that Busch wanted to bring in Leo Durocher to manage the club. Durocher was a member of the Dodgers coaching staff and had already informed the team he would not be returning for the '65 season as it looked like the Cardinals job would be his. He had been a part of the Gashouse Gang and it seemed like the owner of the Birds had his sights set on the former Cardinal who had previously managed the Dodgers and the Giants. The one thing Busch didn't count on was an unbelievable turnaround by his club in the last two weeks of the season, in the last couple weeks of the campaign the Cardinals erased a 6 1/2 game deficit that was assisted by an epic collapse by the Philadelphia Phillies leading to a National League Pennant for the Redbirds. Then came the victory over the Yankees in the Fall Classic that gave Busch one choice which was to extend his manager's contract. Keane had other ideas, he no longer wanted to work for Busch and just like that he was gone. The Yankees had  been managed by Yogi Berra during that '64 season, there had been some issues with Berra during the regular season that had the GM of the club ready to replace him by mid season. However, he had guided the club to 99 wins and an American League pennant before losing in 7 games in the World Series. It seemed like the minds had been made up when it came to Berra's future as the Yankees skipper, the only thing that might have saved his job would have been a victory in that seventh game which didn't happen so they moved onto Keane. It didn't prove to be the wisest move for Keane. The Yankees who had been the class of the American League were in a downtrend with aging superstars that had seen their best day pass. He lasted just two full seasons on the Bronx before he was replaced 20 games into the '66 season after posting a 4-16 record to kick off the campaign. Surprisingly the Cardinals didn't hire Durocher like many had speculated, on the same day that  Keane announced that he would be going to the Yankee the Busch announced that fan favorite Red Schoendienst would be the skipper in St. Louis, he remained at the helm from '65 to '76. His tenure as the Cards skipper included a World Series Championship in 1967. Even today Schoendienst is a big part of the Cardinals organization, while it might have been a bit shocking for Keane to leave St. Louis, it simply opened a door for one of the legends of the organization to put his mark on that club.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

October 19, 1936: The First Ever College Football Poll From The Associated Press

On October 19, 1936, the first ever Associated Press College Football poll was released with the University of Minnesota sitting at #1 with 32 of the 35 first place votes. The poll was the brainchild of Alan J. Gould, a sports editor for the AP. Later in his life Gould would say "It was a case of thinking up ideas to develop interest and controversy between football Saturdays." He went onto say "Papers wanted material to fill space between games. Sports then was living off of controversy, opinion, whatever. That's all I had in mind, something to keep the pot boiling. This was just another exercise in hoopla." What Gould didn't realize at the time was that the poll would become a part of the fabric of college football. His intentions were fulfilled as it not only took up space between game days, there would be many debates around the water cooler about the rankings. The poll consisted of 20 teams from 1936 to 1961, from 1962 to 1967 they ranked just 10 teams, then reverted back to the 20 teams rankings in 1968. The poll was expanded to the 25 that we all are used to today in 1989. That pot that Gould wanted to boil is still boiling more than 70 years later. Minnesota would hold onto the top spot and be named National Champions despite the fact that as a Big 10 school they were not allowed to play in a Bowl game. It was the third consecutive National Championship for the Golden Gophers. There were issues with the Gophers claiming the crown, some considered Pittsburgh the rightful owner after they finished the season ranked #3 then blanked Washington 21-0 in the Rose Bowl. The #2 team, LSU was upset by the Santa Clara Broncos in the Sugar Bowl and many people around the country considered Pittsburgh the Champions since Minnesota did not play a Bowl game. I can't help but find it a little funny that even today there is always controversy when it comes to those rankings.

Friday, October 18, 2013

October 18, 1953: Woodley Lewis Racks Up 294 Return Yards

On October 18, 1953, Woodley Lewis of the Los Angeles Rams totaled 120 yards in punt returns and 174 yards in kick returns during a 31-19 win over the Lions in Detroit. The special teamer shared the spotlight with his quarterback Norm Van Brocklin who hit touchdown passes of 40 and 45 yards to lead the Rams to the victory. The Rams took the lead in their first series of plays after Van Brocklin capped off an eight play 65 yard drive that was finished off by Tank Younger who slammed it in at the one. Just 15 seconds into the second quarter it looked like the Lions had tied it up when Bobby Layne hit Leon Hart for a touchdown only to have the extra point blocked. Minutes later Van Brocklin dropped a 40 yard bomb right into the hands of Elroy Hirsch who was crossing the goal line the moment it landed in his grasp. The two teams traded field goals before the half and the Rams led 17-9 as two the teams headed to their locker rooms. The biggest run of the day for Lewis came in the third quarter when he took a punt 78 yards for a score that gave his team a 24-9 lead. The Lions closed the gap quickly by scoring 10 points before the third quarter was over and suddenly that 24-9 lead had shrank to 24-19. The seasoned veteran Van Brocklin put the icing on the Rams cake when he hit Bob Boyd for a 45 yard score in the fourth. The day by Lewis was remarkable. Unfortunately where he stands on the all time list for return yards in a game is hard to say, I could only find a list of "all time" leaders that began in 1960, 7 years after the day Lewis ran all over the Lions special teams unit. If his day was recognized on that list he would sit in sixth place with his 294 return yards. The all time leader is Tyrone Hughes, the former New Orleans Saint combined for 347 return yards in a game against the Rams in 1994.

Here's that list:

Here's the box sore:

Thursday, October 17, 2013

October 17, 1954: Adrian Burk Throws 7 Touchdowns In One Game

On October 17, 1954, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Adrian Burk tied the record for most touchdown passes in a game with 7 in a 49-21 victory over the Redskins in Washington. Burk fired his record tying touchdown to Pete Pihos with just ten seconds left in the game. Pihos along with Bobby Walston hauled in three of touchdown passes apiece while Tony Ledbetter caught one. At the end of the day Burk completed 19 of 27  for 229 yards and the 7 touchdowns. The Redskins fans did get to cheer about something that day, in the third quarter Dale Atkeson took a kickoff return 99 yards for a touchdown, it set a franchise record in the losing effort. Burk did more than win the game with his arm, he was also the team's punter and he did a masterful job by pinning the Redskins at the 2,3, and the 9 which made it a rough go for the Washington offense. The win by the Eagles moved them to 4-0 while the Redskins were in search of their first win of the '54 season. Burk spent 7 years in the NFL, the '54 season was something special for him as he led the league with 23 touchdown passes, pretty crazy that almost a third of those came in one game. Unfortunately for him and the Eagles they were able to maintain the early season dominance and they went onto finish in second place in the Eastern Division with a 7-4-1 record. However that game in Washington earned Burk a spot on a very elite list, he was just the second player in NFL history to accomplish the feat, Sid Luckman of the Chicago Bears was the first, he had a 7 touchdown pass day in 1943. To date, Burk is one of six men to accomplish the feat, the latest person to do it was Peyton Manning as he kicked off the 2013 season with a 7 touchdown pass day.

Check out the all time list here:

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

October 16, 1968: Protest at the Olympics

On October 16, 1968, Tommie Smith used and unbelievable burst of speed to rocket past his competitors on his way to a record setting 19.83 time in the 200 meter final at the Olympic Games in Mexico City. He was joined in his gold medal performance by teammate John Carlos who took the bronze. While most would think the record setting performance would have been the big story, it was what happened when they received their medals that had a lasting impact on the legacy of both men. The two sprinters stepped to the podium with bare feet and prominently displayed civil rights buttons. When the Star Spangled Banner was played both bowed their heads and raised a black glove salute to signify black power. Both men were protesting the way that African Americans were stuck in poverty in the United States and they said that the National Anthem was words of freedom that should only be applied to white Americans. The photo of the men raising their fists has become an iconic sign of the civil rights movement, as they stood for what they believed in. What followed the protest was outrage by the International Olympic Committee who ordered that the United States Olympic Committee discipline both athletes and under threat that every athlete would be banned from the games they suspended both Smith and Carlos and banned them for life from Olympic competition. This was a time in America that these men felt it was necessary to make a statement and I think they accomplished that goal, the medals didn't mean as much to either of them as letting the world know that the the people of their race should be treated better. I know that some might look at what they did as disrespectful to their country, but an entire race had been disrespected for many many years and they used one of the biggest stages in the world to let it be known. While their will always be work to do, it  is a fact that we have come a long way since that day in 1968.

This documentary tells the story quite well:

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

October 15, 1988: Kirk Gibson Launches A Pinch Hit Home Run For The Ages

On October 15, 1988, in Game 1 of the World Series at Dodger Stadium in L.A., Kirk Gibson delivered a pinch hit walk off blast that will be remembered forever. The blast gave his Dodgers a dramatic come from behind 5-4 win over the Oakland A's. The Dodgers got the scoring started in the ballgame when Mickey Hatcher hit a two run shot off of Dave Stewart in the second before Jose Canseco erased the Dodger lead with a grand slam in the fourth. Mike Scioscia helped get the Dodgers a little closer with an RBI in the sixth but they still needed a hero to come up with a go ahead run. That hero would come limping to the plate in the ninth. Tony LaRussa sent his closer Dennis Eckersley in to take care of business in the ninth and it looked as if he might just be able to get the business taken care of quickly after he retired the first two batters he faced, then he issued a rare walk to Mike Davis that set the table for one of he greatest finishes to a ballgame in postseason history. Gibson had suffered a leg injury before the series began and when he was called into pinch hit for Alejandro Pena, you could tell that he was in obvious pain with every swing of the bat. With the count 2 and 2 on Gibson, Davis swiped second , then Eckersley threw a ball and the count was full. Then came the payoff pitch and Gibson made the most of it by putting everything he had into the swing that parked the ball over the wall in right. The fans in L.A. along with Gibson's teammates instantly erupted in celebration as Gibson trotted around the bases pumping his arm , legendary broadcaster Jack Buck proclaimed "I can't believe what I just saw!!!" It was truly an unbelievable moment that you would only expect to see in a Hollywood screenplay. The Dodgers would go onto win the title in 5 games over the heavily favored A's.

This home run was one of my favorite baseball memories from when I was a kid. I am a lifelong Cardinals fan, but as you can tell by this page I truly do appreciate all great moments in sports no matter what uniform a player is wearing. This was a ridiculously great moment, it was the first time in World Series history that a home run had decided an outcome of a come from behind win and as an 11 year old kid that scene of watching Gibson limping around the bases with his arm pumping is something I will never forget. I still get goosebumps when I watch it.

Here's the box score:

Monday, October 14, 2013

October 14,1992: The Braves Stun The Pirates In Game 7 Of The NLCS

On October 14, 1992, at Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta, the Braves punched a ticket to the Fall Classic with a stunning 3 run rally against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Game 7 of the NLCS.  The Pirates came into the inning trying to hold onto a 2-0 lead and were just three outs away from making their first World Series appearance since 1979. Then it all fell apart for the Buccos. Their starting pitcher, Doug Drabek had pitched a gem, he was on just three days rest but had held the Braves off until that fateful ninth inning. Drabek gave up a leadoff double to Terry Pendleton, when Pendleton walked to the dish he was just 1 for 21 in the series. He then came up with the hit that began a historic rally. The next man up, David Justice hit a routine grounder to second only to have the normally sure handed second baseman Jose Lind boot the ball and suddenly the Braves had Pendleton standing 90 feet away from scoring while Justice was standing at first on the error charged to Lind. Drabek walked Sid Bream to load the bases before Jim Leyland called on Stan Belinda to put the fire out, it was a fire that Belinda couldn't contain. The first man Belinda faced was Ron Gant, he nearly won it with a long drive that was caught just two feet from the wall by Barry Bonds. It was a long productive out by Gant as Pendleton scored on the sacrifice. After retiring pinch hitter Brian Hunter for the second out of the inning, Belinda reloaded the bases with a walk to Damon Berryhill. Belinda needed just one out  to send his Pirates to the World Series, Bobby Cox called on Francisco Cabrera to pinch hit for his pitcher Jeff Reardon with it all on the line. Cabrera, a backup catcher, had just three hits during the regular season, he had homered against Belinda the last time he had faced him but this time all he needed to do was deliver a single to keep hopes alive in Atlanta and he did just that. Cabrera shot a ball between third and short that brought Justice into score the tying run while Bream came in behind him to score the game winner. Cabrera's shot to left was handled by Bonds and he attempted to gun the runner down only to have the throw sail just a bit wide of the dish, Bream was known as the team's slowest runner but that didn't stop him from avoiding Mike Lavalliere's tag as he came sliding in. It was truly one of the most exciting finished in NLCS history. Unfortunately for the fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates it proved to be the last time they would reach the playoffs until they finally got that monkey of their back this season. I know that the play at the plate with Bream has been talked about a lot since they finally did make a postseason appearance this year. I do understand why everyone brings up Bream's name when they think of that game because it is the last thing they seen, but I look at this one as a true team win for that Atlanta Braves club. They came together with their backs against the wall and pulled off a very memorable win that led to a second consecutive World Series appearance.

You  can watch the historic ending of the game here:
or you can watch the entire game here: The Youtube channel that has that game in its entirety has a ton of great games check it out if you get a chance:

Here's the box score:

Sunday, October 13, 2013

October 13, 1971, The Pirates Win The First Ever World Series Contest To Be Played At Night

On October 13, 1971, the first ever World Series game to be played at night took place in Pittsburgh. The hometown Pirates knocked off the defending champion Baltimore Orioles by the score of 4-3. After the O's took the first two games of the series the Pirates bounced back with a win in Game 3 then evened the series with a 4-3 winner. It didn't start the way the way the 51,000+ at Three Rivers Stadium hoped for, the Pirates starter Luke Walker got lit up for three runs in the first and didn't even make it out if the inning, fortunately for them the bats were up to the task and so was their bullpen. Danny Murtaugh summoned in Bruce Kinson to take over for Walker and he took care of the last out of the inning before pitching six scoreless innings while allowing just one hit. The Pirates recovered from the rough start quickly, in the bottom of the first Willie Stargell and Al Oliver connected with back to back RBI doubles cut the lead to 3-2 then in the third Oliver tied the ballgame with an RBI single. The scored stayed knotted at 3 all until the bottom of the seventh when backup catcher Milt May came into pinch hit for Kinson and delivered with an RBI single to give the Pirates the 4-3 edge in the contest. Dave Giusti came in and pitched two perfect innings to close the ballgame out. With the momentum shifted back toward the Pirates they took a lead in the series with  a Game 5 victory, then the Orioles won Game 6 to force a winner take all Game 7. The Pirates took the decisive game and became Champions for the first time since 1960, it was coincidentally on the anniversary of Bill Mazerowski's game winning homer in Game 7 of the 1960 Fall Classic.

Check out the box score:

Read about Mazerowski's shot in 1960 here:

Saturday, October 12, 2013

October 12, 1976: Don Murdoch Becomes Only The Second Rookie To Score 5 Goals In One Game

On October 12, 1976,  Don Murdoch of the New York Rangers tied a rookie record when he lit the lamp 5 times in a 10-4 rout over the North Stars in Minnesota. Only one other rookie scored 5 goals in one game before Murdoch and that was Howie Meeker who accomplished the feat on January 8, 1947 and after Murdoch did it no other rookie has been able to match it. Murdoch came storming into the NHL in '76, with the 5 goal game included he scored a total of 8 goals in his first three games in the league. The sixth overall pick on the '76 ameteur draft was well on his way to breaking the goals record for a rookie when an ankle injury ended his season 56 games into the campaign. Unfortunately for the man that was nicknamed   "Murder"  by his teammates he began to live a partier type of lifestyle that led to problems with drugs and alcohol. In '77 he was caught with cocaine in Toronto which made the comeback from the injury that much more of an uphill battle. His trial was delayed for over a year then when it was all said and done he got nothing more than a slap on the wrist by the court system. The head of the NHL John Ziegler delivered a much harsher punishment than the legal system did as he suspended him for an entire year in an effort to show the other players around the league that illicit behavior was unacceptable. The suspension was lifted after 40 games but Murdoch wasn't able to find what he had in that rookie campaign. In March of 1980 the rangers parted ways with Murdoch by trading him to the Edmonton Oilers, he spent one full season with Edmonton before he was moved to Detroit where he played one year there before hanging up the skates. His rookie campaign was something that had every Rangers fan thinking this kid would be great, unfortunately he traveled a road that kept him from living up to his potential. Murdoch spent just six years in the NHL, scoring a grand total of 121 goals, those 5 in Minnesota earned him a spot in the record books.

Friday, October 11, 2013

October 11, 1980: Pete Rose and The Phillies Bowl Over The Astros

On October 11, 1980, in Game 4 of the NLCS at the Astrodome in Houston,Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Pete Rose scored the winning run in the tenth inning by bowling over the Astros catcher Bruce Bochy in the tenth inning to give his club a 4-3 lead. One batter later Manny Trillo smacked an RBI double that gave the Phillies a little insurance and would prove to be the final run in the 5-3 Philadelphia win that evened the Best of 5 series at two apiece. The game was full of controversy, in the fourth the Phillies led the inning off with back-to-back singles by Bake McBride and Manny Trillo. The next batter, Garry Maddox, hit a soft liner right to the Houston pitcher Vern Ruhle who quickly doubled off McBride at first. Within moments of the double play a number of Philadelphia players came out of the dugout insisting that Ruhle had trapped the ball, as the confusion mounted the Astros first baseman, Art Howe ran and tagged second base claiming that it was a triple play. The umpires debated for more than 20 minutes before they stood behind their original ruling. After the long delay the Phillies failed to score even though the controversial call went their way. The Houston club scored a run in the fourth and another in the fifth, before Philadelphia struck for three runs in the eighth to take a 3-2 lead. The Astros tied the ballgame in the ninth on an RBI single by Terry Puhl which set up an exciting extra innings finish. Unfortunately for the 44,952 fans in the Astrodome it wasn't the exciting finish they were hoping to see. Rose got on base in the tenth with a one out single off of Joe Sambito, the Houston pitcher retired Mike Schmidt before pinch hitter Greg Lucinski lashed a double into left. Rose came wheeling around the bases and eliminated any play at the plate by running over the Houston catcher. While they scored another run following the run scored by Rose it would be all the Philadelphia club needed for victory as Tug McGraw retired the side in order to secure the series tying victory. One day later the Phillies would win another battle that would go into extra innings before they prevailed 8-7, they went onto the World Series where they took on the Kansas City Royals, they took the title in 6 games.

Check out the box score:

Thursday, October 10, 2013

October 10, 1920: Bagby, Smith, and Wambsganss Combine For a Number of World Series Firsts

On October 10, 1920, one of the greatest games in World Series history was played at Dunn Field in Cleveland, Ohio. With the series deadlocked at two apiece Cleveland came out and delivered an 8-1 victory over the Brooklyn Dodgers in what is perhaps one of the greatest games in the history of the Fall Classic. The Indians came out swinging early, in the first inning Charlie Jamieson and Bill Wambsganss picked up singles off of the Dodgers starter Burleigh Grimes, then Tris Speaker bunted his way on with a single. With the bases loaded right fielder Elmer Smith stepped to the dish and hit a towering shot to right that left the park and bounced off a house across the street, it was the first ever Grand Slam in World Series history. In the fourth, the Indians starting pitcher Jim Bagby became the first pitcher  to hit a home run in World Series history, it was a three run shot that blew the door wide open. While both Smith's and Bagby's home runs were beyond impressive, the highlight of the day happened in the fifth inning when Wambsganss turned an unassisted triple play. The inning began with back-to-back singles by Pete Kilduff and Otto Miller, Clarence Mitchell had replaced Grimes at pitcher in the last inning and was the next man up. The Dodgers hurler hit a hot shot high and to the the left of the second base, only to have Wambsganss jump up and snag the ball, he quickly touched second to force Kilduff, then tagged Miller who was running toward second. To date, it's the only triple play in World Series history and on top of it all it was an unassisted triple play. The Indians added their eighth and final run in the bottom of that fifth while Bagby only allowed one run as he worked his way around 13 hits, he allowed his only run in the ninth when the game well at hand. The 1920 series was the best of  9, the Indians would take the next two ballgames and win the series 5 games to 2.  It was the first Championship for the franchise.

Along with the 1920 series, the 1903, 1919, and 1921 series were the best of 9.
Here's the box score:

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

October 9, 1983: Joe Ferguson and The Bills Win a Shootout In Miami

On October 9, 1983, Buffalo Bills quarterback Joe Ferguson out dueled Dan Marino in a 38-35 overtime victory over the Dolphins at the Orange Bowl in Miami. Less than a week before Ferguson was removed from a Monday night contest against the Jets after receiving a concussion, the Bills lost that game 34-10 and were in need of a bounce back performance. That's exactly what they got from Ferguson. he showed no signs of the concussion as he hit 33 of his 55 passes thrown, at the end of the day Ferguson had connected with 5 touchdown passes and had 419 yards through the air. The rookie quarterback for the Dolphins was impressive as well, he hooked went 19 for 29 with 322 yards, 3 touchdowns through the air, while throwing a couple of interceptions, Ferguson threw one pick on the day. Ferguson hooked up with Joe Cribbs and Jerry Butler 9 times apiece. While they were his favorite targets during the contest he spread out the ball to nine different receivers during the game. Ferguson exploited an injury depleted secondary. The Dolphins had two second year pros filling in for their regulars and Ferguson realized they were simply trying to take away the deep ball so he hit men over the middle with ease as he picked the secondary apart. The game was a battle from start to finish. The Dolphins had to battle back from 14-0 deficit early, it was an absolute seesaw battle after they knotted things up in the third. Every time the Dolphins would tie the game Ferguson and the Bills would answer back and retake the lead, finally with just 3:06 left in regulation, Marino hit fellow rookie Mark Clayton that gave Miami a 35-28 edge, it was the first time they led in the ballgame. Unfortunately for Marino and his crew, Ferguson tied it back up when he rolled out and hit Cribbs from four yards out, it was the second touchdown reception of the game for Cribbs. In overtime, the Dolphins had not one but two opportunities to win it with a field goal, the first time Uwe von Schamann missed wide right from 52 yards out, the second time he missed a 43 yarder wide right. It set the Bills up for victory. Ferguson worked his way to the 29 before putting on the shoulders of the Bills kicker joe Danelo, the kicker split the uprights from 36 yards out and the Bills had taken the shootout. Ferguson, who was drafted by the Bills in 1973 hadn't won a game in Miami up to that point and he said that game might have been the highlight of his career after the contest was in the books.

Here's the box score:

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

October 8, 1956: Don Larsen's World Series Perfecto

On October 8, 1956, in a 2-0 win over the Brooklyn Dodgers in Game 5 of the Fall Classic, Don Larsen of the New York Yankees pitched the only perfect game in World Series history. The historic performance by Larsen was witnessed by more than 64,000 fans at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. The 27 year old used an unusual no windup delivery that proved to be more than effective. The Dodgers had Sal Maglie on the bump for them and he had a pretty decent day himself, he matched Larsen pitch for pitch until Mickey Mantle blasted a fourth inning home run. From that point on it was all about Don Larsen. He kept mowing through the order, three up three down in each and every inning. The key defensive play of the ballgame was a spectacular running grab by Mantle in the fifth. Hank Bauer added to the Yankees lead with an RBI in the sixth which didn't really matter as Larsen was on his way to perfection. When he entered the ninth and final inning Larsen had six strikeouts under his belt and was just three outs away from making history. He quickly retired Carl Furillo on a flyball, then set Roy Campanella down on a groundout. He needed one out to accomplish the feat, the Dodgers skipper, Walter Alston sent pinch hitter Dale Mitchell to the plate to hit for his pitcher Maglie. Mitchell, a career.312 hitter would not spoil the bid for perfection as he fell behind 1-2 before Larsen fired his 97th pitch right past him for a called third strike. To date, Larsen is the only man to throw a perfect game/no-hitter in the World Series and until 2010 he was the only man to throw a no-hitter in the postseason, Roy Halladay of the Phillies no-hit the Reds in the 2010 NLDS. The performance by Larsen is perhaps the greatest World Series game ever pitched. It gave his Yankees a 3-2 edge in the series only to have the Dodgers even things up the next day with a 1-0 victory at Ebbets Field that forced a Game 7. The Yankees took the title with a 9-0 thrashing one day after the Game 6 letdown, it was their 17th World Championship and Larsen was named MVP of the series for his spectacular Game 5 performance.

Check out this great video about Larsen's Perfect Game:

Here's the box score:

Monday, October 7, 2013

October 7, 1984: Walter Payton Becomes The All Time Rushing Leader

On October 7, 1984, in a 20-7 victory over the New Orleans Saints at Soldier Field in Chicago, Bears legend Walter Payton became the all time rushing leader. Payton surpassed another legend by the name of Jim Brown. Brown ran for 12,312 yards for the Cleveland Browns in a career that lasted from 1957 to 1965. At the beginning of the day Payton needed 67 yards to become the all-time leader, he reached the mark with a six yard run just 57 seconds into the third quarter. The game was stopped briefly as Payton held up the ball, he then handed it over to Pete Elliott, the executive director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The fans in the stands gave Payton a long ovation and the Saints players participated in the ovation as they had just witnessed a truly historic moment. Payton finished the day with a 154 yards on the ground, it was his 59th game in a row with at least a 100 yards rushing, which also broke another record that he had shared with Brown going into the day. Payton said he was relieved that the pursuit of the record was over, it seems like a lot of athletes that are on the brink of their biggest milestones just want to get it done so they can just play their respective sport. Payton would run the rock until 1987, he finished with 16,726 rushing yards which was good for #1 on the list until  Emmitt Smith surpassed it in 2002. Smith finished his career with 18,355 rushing yards. Although Payton's record was broken he is and always will be considered one of the greatest running backs the game of football has ever seen, in my opinion he was the greatest.

Watch the historic moment here:

Sunday, October 6, 2013

October 6, 1926: The Great Bambino Becomes The First Man To Hit Three Bombs In One World Series Game

On October 6, 1926, Babe Ruth became the first man in the history of Major League Baseball to hit three home runs in one World Series contest. Ruth's three jacks helped lead his Yankees to a 10-5 victory over the Cardinals at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis. Just one day earlier the Cardinals took a 2-1 lead in the series behind an outstanding pitching performance by Jesse Haines, the Cardinals hurler also hit a long ball in that contest. While the fans in St. Louis were riding high after the performance by Haines, Ruth would bring them back down to ground as he became the first man to hit three bombs in one game in the Fall Classic. On paper it looked like a pitching duel was going to be the story of Game 4, the Yankees sent future Hall of Famer, Waite Hoyt to the mound who had 16 wins under his belt during the regular season while the Cardinals countered with 20 game winner Flint Rhem. Neither pitcher got out of the first inning without allowing a run. Rhem recorded two quick outs before he had to face the greatest slugger of the 20th century... Babe Ruth. The Great Bambino pounced on the first pitch he saw and  parked it on the street that sat beyond the right field stands. It was all the damage the Yankees would do in that first inning and the Cardinals would even things up on an RBI by Rogers Hornsby in the bottom half of the inning. Two innings later, Ruth went yard again, it was another solo shot that landed on the street past the stand in right. The St. Louis crowd loudly applauded Ruth after his second long ball, then they gave him another hand as he took his position in left field after the Yankees had taken a 2-1 lead. The fourth inning began with a strikeout of Lou Gehrig, it was followed by a walk to Tony Lazzeri, who scored on an RBI double by Joe Dugan. When Dugan smacked his double, center fielder Taylor Douthit and left fielder Chick Hafey collided as they attempted to make the catch. It was a scary moment in the ballgame as both players took a few minutes to get themselves back together. Douthit ended up gunning Dugan put at the plate to end the inning just minutes later. The Yankees looked to have all the momentum as they headed to the bottom of the fourth up 4-1. The momentum shifted in the bottom of the fourth, as the Cardinals took the lead with a three run frame, just one of those runs could be charged to the starter Hoyt as an error caused the inning to unravel for the Yankees. The Cardinals starter day ended in that big inning for the Birds, he was lifted for a pinch hitter by the name of Specs Toporcer who came through with a run scoring sacrifice. Unfortunately for the fans in St.Louis the momentum shift didn't last long, the Yankees struck for four in the fifth, the Cardinals had to use two relievers
in that inning, they faced Ruth one time and chose to walk him rather than have him send another souvenir to the street. That wasn't the case in the sixth, Ruth got a hold of a Hi Bell pitch and sent it over the wall in center field. It was his third bomb of the game, it was a two run shot, and it was a crushing blow that gave the Yankees a 9-4 advantage. The Yankees tacked on another run in  the eighth with an RBI by Earle Combs before the Cards walked Ruth in the eighth. The Cardinals scored their final run in the ninth with an RBI by Les Bell. At the end of the day, both teams had belted out 14 hits apiece. The three hits by Ruth were by far why the game will be remembered forever. However, it was a true battle between the two clubs. The Cardinals were playing in their first World Series in the modern era, throughout the early 1900's the team was the doormat of the National League and a new era of Cardinals baseball was about to begin. The Yankees would beat the Cardinals the next day in ten innings by the score of 3-2. They were just one win away from a title and they were headed back to Yankee Stadium. With their backs against the wall, the Cardinals pulled of a 10-2 victory in Game 6, then  a 3-2 win in Game 7 to take the title. It was the first Word Series championship season for the Cardinals. Ruth ended up being the last out of the deciding game after he was gunned down at second base in the bottom of the ninth. Even though the Yankees lost that series, the three home run game by Ruth was a great moment in sports history. I love the fact that the fans in St. Louis applauded the man who was beating the team they pulled for. It simply shows they knew they were witnessing something great. It was great.

To date, only three other men have joined Ruth with three home runs in a World Series contest. Ruth is the only man to do it twice, he repeated the feat in Game 4 of the '28 series in which his Yankees got revenge on the Cardinals by sweeping them.  Reggie Jackson joined him in 1977, then Albert Pujols in 2011, and finally Pablo Sandoval in 2012. Here's the box score:

Saturday, October 5, 2013

October 5, 1989: Alexander Mogilny Makes An Impressive Debut

On October 5, 1989, at The Aud in Buffalo, New York, Sabres rookie Alexander Mogilny scored the first goal of his NHL career in a 4-3 win over the visiting Quebec Nordiques. Mogilny scored his goal on the first shift of his NHL career just 20 seconds into the contest. It was quite the way to make an entrance into the NHL. He spent the first six years of his career in Buffalo, making all star appearances in three of those six years. In 1995, he was moved to the Vancouver Canucks where he played until being traded to the New Jersey Devils in 2000. He would become a Stanley Cup Champion as a part of the '99-'00 Devils. After spending one full season in New Jersey, he signed a free agent deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2001. He had two very solid years with Toronto, in fact he led the team in points in the '02-'03 season. In March of 2004, he recorded his 1,000th career point against the team that he had began his NHL career with, he was just the second Russian to reach the plateau, a few days earlier Sergei Fedorov had reached the mark. The lockout that came the following season was a hard thing for a veteran like Mogilny to recover from, at that point he was a 34 year old man.  He returned to the Devils as a free agent following the lockout, after 34 games he was moved to the minors so the team could make room for the next up and comer, a kid by the name of Patrick Elias. It spelled the end of his NHL career. It was a pretty decent career, when it was all said and done Mogilny scored grand total of 473 goals in the NHL as well as 559 assists. When he scored his first goal just 20 seconds into his debut he was a 20 year old kid, he retired from the NHL at the age of 36.

Friday, October 4, 2013

October 4, 1906: The Chicago Cubs Win 116 Games

On October 4, 1906, with a 4-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates the Chicago Cubs won their 116th game of the season. They finished the campaign with a 116-36 record, which was a record setting .763 winning percentage which is a modern day record that still stands. The team included four future hall of famers, pitcher Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown, shortstop Joe Tinker, second baseman Johnny Evers, Frank Chance who manned first base as well as managed the club. The team was simply an all around great ballclub, along with Tinker, Evers and Chance, third baseman Harry Steinfeldt filled out the infield. Steinfeldt led the club with a .327 average and he also led the team with 83 RBIs. The offense was assisted by outstanding pitching, the staff's 1.76 E.R.A. was the lowest in the majors. Six members of the pitching staff recorded double digit victory totals. Brown led the way with 26, he was followed by  Jack Pfiester's 20, Ed Reulbach's 19, Carl Lundgren's 17,  and Orval Overall and Jack Taylor who both had 12 wins on the season. Brown's season was beyond remarkable, he posted a 1.04 E.R.A. which was a record until Dutch Leonard posted a 0.96 E.R.A. in 1914 for Boston. Brown's mark still stands as a National League record. The Cubs were in a heated battle with the New York Giants until June of that 1906 season, then they simply blew the competition away. They finished 20 games ahead of the Giants to claim the National League Crown. The Cubs would meet their crosstown rival the White Sox in the World Series. The Sox pulled of a huge upset by knocking the 116 game winners off in six games. It is considered one of the biggest upsets in the history of the series. The White Sox won the American League Pennant with 93 wins, which was 3 games better than the New York Yankees. The  team was known as "The Hitless Wonders" as they had posted just a .230 team average during the regular season. Somehow the Sox outhit the Cubs .198 to .196 in the series. After splitting the first four games the White Sox exploded for 26 hits in the last two games to pull off the improbable upset. It was a very disappointing end to a regular season for the Cubs team who had won 116 games during the regular season. The Cubs rebounded by winning back-to-back titles in 1907 and 1908. In 2001, the Seattle Mariners matched the win total of the 1906 Cubs, but since they played a 162 game schedule Seattle's winning percentage sits at .716.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

October 3, 1947: Lavagetto Breaks Up A World Series No-No

On October 3, 1947, in Game 4 of the World Series at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, New York, Dodgers pinch hitter Cookie Lavagetto broke up Bill Bevens no-hitter with two on and two out in the ninth inning with a walk off double that gave his Dodgers a 3-2 victory over the Yankees. The unlikely win tied the series at 2. While Bevens didn't allow a hit he walked nine guys in the contest, which cost him a run in the fifth, after walking two men to leadoff the inning a sacrifice put a man at third that Pee Wee Reese knocked in with a groundout. The no-no was still intact but the Dodgers had cut the lead to 2-1. Bevens remained erratic but it didn't amount to much as the ninth rolled around he was on the brink of becoming the first man in the history of the game to throw a no-hitter in the World Series. He took care of the first batter, Bruce Edwards  with a flyball to left, then he walked Carl Furillo. Bevens was able to get Spider Jorgenson to foul out before he issued an intentional walk to Paul Reiser. The Dodgers skipper Burt Shotton made all the right moves as he called in pinch runners to run for both base runners, then he made the call for Lavagetto to pinch hit for Eddie Stanky. The move even surprised Lavagetto, when he first heard his manager call his name he assumed he was going into pinch run, in fact he started to run toward first base then his manager yelled at him and told him he was going to hit for Stanky. On the second pitch, Lavagetto swung late and hit a drive to the right field wall bringing in both runners for the Dodgers victory. One of the greatest things about sports is how you never know what will happen next and who will be the hero, there is a good chance it might be a name you would not think of, especially in the postseason. Lavagetto spent 10 years in the majors, he lost four seasons while he was in his prime as he served his country during World War II. The career .269 hitter made four consecutive all star appearances from '38 to '41 before he left for the service. When he returned to baseball in '46 he was not the same player he was before he left. For the most part Lavagetto became a bench guy, he appeared in just 67 games in '46, and only 18 games during the regular season in '47. Even though the Yankees would take the series in seven games, that one swing of the bat cemented Lavagetto's name into World Series history, it was the last hit of his career.

Check out the box score:

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

October 2, 1908: Addie Joss Throws the Second Perfect Game in The Modern Era

On October 2, 1908, in one of the greatest pitching duels of the twentieth century, Cleveland Naps hurler Addie Joss became just the second pitcher in the modern era to record a perfect game with a 1-0 win over the Chicago White Sox at League Park in Cleveland. The Naps were in the middle of a heated pennant race with the White Sox and Detroit Tigers and the Chicago club was looking to gain some ground as there were just a handful of games to go in the regular season. Chicago sent Big Ed Walsh to the hill while Cleveland countered with Joss. The two pitchers put on a show that all 10,598 on hand would not soon forget. Walsh was going for his 40th win of the season and he was in dominant form as he gave up just four hits and struck out 15 men while giving up just one run, albeit an unearned run. The lone run of the contest came in the third inning, after Joe Birmingham led off the inning with a single, Walsh caught him napping at first and looked to have him picked off, as Birmingham broke for second in an attempt to avoid being tagged out, first baseman Frank Isbell tried to throw the the ball to second, instead he hit Birmingham in the head. Instead of it being the sure out, Birmingham was standing on third base after the mishap. The runner scored after Walsh and his catcher got crossed up and the ball got past the backstop, all the way to the wall while Birmingham scampered home. Joss didn't have the same dominance with the strikeout, in fact he only set down  three men via the K. However, he was masterful with his control and had some spectacular defense behind him. Lajoie made two phenomenal grabs at second that kept the perfecto intact. The player/manager of the White Sox, Fielder Jones threw everything he had at Joss in the ninth as he used three pinch hitters in the inning. After he retired the first two then John Anderson was the last Chicago hope, he shot a ball down the line that would have resulted in a double if it wouldn't have went foul, then he shot one right to the third baseman Bill Bradley. Initially, Bradley bobbled the ball before gunning it over to third where George Stovall picked it out of the dirt for the 27th out. Joss needed just 74 pitches to achieve perfection, it is the lowest amount of pitches ever thrown in a perfect game. The battle between the two future hall of famers was one for the ages. The fans in Cleveland came pouring onto the field to congratulate the pitcher as they had just witnessed history be made. To date, only 23 men have achieved perfection. Cy Young was the first man in the modern era to complete the feat just four years before Joss added his name to the elite list of men.

The Naps would become the Indians in 1915. Here's the box score:

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

October 1, 1978: Gaylord Perry Records His 3,000th K after Ozzie Smith Does the First Backflip of His Career

On October 1, 1978, San Diego Padres hurler Gaylord Perry became just the third pitcher in the history of Major League Baseball to reach 3,000 strikeouts in his career.  The 40 year-old Perry reached the milestone in a 4-3 win over N.L. West Champion Dodgers on the last day of the regular season at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.  Perry reached the magic number with a strikeout of outfielder Joe Simpson in the eighth, then added another one to his resume with another strikeout of Simpson in the tenth it was his 10th K of the day and the 3001st of his career. Rollie Fingers took over in the eleventh before Oscar Gamble won it for the Padres with a walkoff single in the bottom of the frame. Before his Hall of Fame career came to a close, Perry had recorded 3,534 strikeouts, he currently sits 8th on the all-time list. Before that game, shortstop Ozzie Smith did his first ever backflip in front of the fans in San Diego. It was fan appreciation day at the ballpark and the promotions director of the club knew Ozzie could do them so he asked if he could do one before the game and The Wizard obliged. It proved to be something that the crowd loved and it would become a trademark for the 23 year-old rookie. After Ozzie was traded to the Cardinals in the Winter of '81, the backflip became an Opening Day tradition at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. As a native St. Louisan, watching Ozzie do that flip is one of my earliest memories of watching baseball. I think it's pretty neat he did it on the same day that another legend reached a milestone that most pitchers can only dream of.

Check out the box score: