Wednesday, April 30, 2014

April 30, 1993: Lunatic Stabs Monica Seles

     On April 30, 1993, an absolutely shocking incident took place when a crazed fan stabbed tennis star Monica Seles in the back during a changeover at the Citizen Cup in Hamburg, Germany. The name of the man who stabbed Seles was Gunter Parche, who had an obsession with Steffi Graff who was ranked #2 behind Seles. The stabbing happened as Seles was sitting in a chair. Gunter walked down an aisle in the crowd behind his victim and took out  a 9-inch boning knife and stabbed the her in between the shoulder blades. In a state a shock Seles arose to her feet, before collapsing as officials and her brother rushed to her aid. The man was subdued by security as everyone in the stands sat shocked. The repercussions from the incident were beyond measure. Seles would not only lose her ranking, it would take her until 1995 to return to the court. The psychological repercussions is something that she still lives with today. Seles, who had won three Grand Slam events before the incident won her fourth and final Grand Slam in 1996. Parche served no jail time after a judge found him mentally unstable, and was sentenced to two years of probation, and psychological treatment. The story of Seles being stabbed is a very sad story that takes away everything that is great about sports.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

April 29, 1981: 3,000 Ks For Steve Carlton

     On April 29, 1981, Philadelphia's Steve Carlton became the first left-handed pitcher to record 3,000 strikeouts. The milestone in the first inning of a 6-2 Phillies win over the Montreal Expos, before a crowd of  30,142 at Veteran's Stadium in Philadelphia. Carlton came into the game three strikeouts away from making history and he struck out the side in the first to reach it. Tim Wallach was his 3,000th victim. From there he scattered nine hits as his Phillies rolled to victory. To date, Carlton has only been joined by Randy Johnson in the 3,000 strikeout southpaw club. Carlton finished his career with 4,136 K's, and he found his place in Cooperstown in 1994.

16 men are on the elite list of men to record 3,000 strikeouts. Carlton is currently ranked fourth on that list. Check it out here:

Check out the box score here:

Monday, April 28, 2014

April 28, 1956: Frank Robison Goes Yard For The First Time

     On April 28, 1956, Frank Robinson of the Cincinnati Reds hit the first home run of his career during a 9-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs in front of a home crowd at Crosley Field. The future Hall of Famer hit 586 home a career that spanned over 21 years. 324 of them came in a Reds uniform. The first pitcher to give up a dinger to Robinson was Cubs hurler Paul Minner. Robinson teed off on the Cubs 54 times in his career, making them his number one victim. The Braves were in a close second as he parked 53 balls over the wall while facing them. The game in which Robinson did his first homerun trot was a wild one as George Crowe filling in for a benched Ted Kluszewski. Crowe hit two home runs of his own, and added a triple to the mix on the way to knocking in 5 runs on the day.

Check out the box score here:

Check out Robinson's homerun log here:

Sunday, April 27, 2014

April 27, 1960: The Lakers Head West

     On April 27, 1960, it was announced the Minneapolis Lakers would be calling Los Angeles home. The Lakers had been a powerhouse in Minnesota since 1947. Led by George Mikan, they won 5 titles between 1949 and 1954. When Mikan retired following the Championship run in '54, the franchise fell into despair. With dwindling crowds and financial strains mounting, the then owner Bob Short began to explore his options. The team had already played some games in L.A. to test the waters, and apparently the water was the perfect temperature; the team was headed West.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

April 26, 1904: Ty Cobb Arrives On The Scene

     On April 26, 1904, some 18-year-old kid by the name of Tyrus Raymond Cobb made his professional debut with the Augusta Tourists of the Southern Atlantic League. He was quite impressive in his first showing as he went 2 for 4 with a double and a home run. Just two days later Cobb was released from the Augusta club for financial reasons, however, the career was far from over, in fact a Hall of Fame career had just begun.

     Cobb got his start in baseball by sitting down and writing letter after letter to every club in the Southern Atlantic League. He was just a 17-year-old kid who wanted to play ball. The Tourists out of Augusta, Georgia were the only team to respond.It was all he needed. When the Augusta club wrote back they let him know that they would give him a tryout as long as he paid his own way to get there. He was to be paid $50 a month as long as he made the team.

     The disappointment of being released two days after the impressive debut did not last long. A semi-pro team out of Anniston, Alabama snatched him up and he did quite well by hitting .370 in 22 games along with six stolen bases. When the owner of the Augusta club that sent him packing caught wind of this, a telegram was sent to Cobb asking him to rejoin the club, and that he did.

     Things did not go how Cobb would have wished as he struggled the rest of the season in Augusta, and even had the owner of the team consider trading him. However, he stayed put, and came out the next season and simply tore up the basepaths, as he stole 40 bases in a 104 games. He was batting .326 when the Detroit Tigers came calling.

      The way Cobb came to be a Tiger is an interesting tale to say the least. The organization had loaned Eddie Cicotte to the Augusta club in 1905, and in return they got their pick of the Augusta litter. Cobb came close to not even being an option. On Opening Day in 1905, Cicotte was on the bump for the Tourists and he had pitched a gem. Up 2-0 headed into the bottom of the ninth, Cobb took some popcorn into centerfield with him, and was out there snacking away when the ball found him. Cobb committed an error that cost his club a run. Luckily for him Augusta hung onto win 2-1, but Cicotte was pissed and the two players went at it after the game. Cicotte wasn't the only one pissed, so was the manager Andy Roth who made a deal to sell Cobb to Charleston for the eye popping figure of $25. Once the owner of the Augusta club heard of the transaction he quickly squashed it, and even gave Cobb a raise. Pretty crazy to think that a little popcorn snack nearly altered history.

     With the Tourists 1905 season coming to a close, the Tigers organization began to mull over their options in Augusta. The owner of the club Frank Navin, had no interest in Cobb, as he had his eyes on Clyde Engle (Engle did play some ball in the majors, just not at the level of Cobb). The manager of the club Bill Armour had other ideas, and that kid Ty Cobb was on his radar. With the endorsement of an umpire as well as Cicotte, they came to an agreement that Cobb would be their man. To make the deal final Tigers purchased Cobb's contract for $700. The trip through the majors is why we know who Ty Cobb is, however, the prequel was quite the story.

This is a very detailed account of Cobb's life and career:

Check out Cobb's stats here:


Friday, April 25, 2014

April 25, 1976: Hats Off To Rick Monday

     On April 25, 1976, the Dodgers toppled the Cubs by the score of 5-4 in Los Angeles. However, the score was not the story of the game. In the fourth inning of the contest a man by the name of William Erol Thomas lept onto the field with his 11-year-old son. Thomas had an American Flag under his arm, and he intended to burn Old Glory right there in the field. The centerfielder of the Cubs, Rick Monday realized what was happening and  swooped in and grabbed the flag to prevent the atrocity from happening. Police officers quickly subdued Thomas and his son, as the crowd of more than 25,000 gave Monday a standing ovation as the words "Rick Monday You Made a Great Play" flashed across the scoreboard. Monday was more than a ball player, he had also served in the Marines and knew the sacrifices that had been made for that flag. As the cheering died down, the crowd began to sing God Bless America. Monday had just become a National Hero.

Watch the incident and subsequent interviews here:

Thursday, April 24, 2014

April 24, 1974: The NFL Awards Tampa a Franchise

     On April 24, 1974, it was announced that the City of Tampa, Florida would be the home of an NFL franchise. There were many questions surrounding the team that would take the field during the '76 season, such as what division they would play in and what would they be called. Of course we know now that the team took the moniker Buccaneers, and have been playing ball in Tampa since the start of the '76 campaign. The Seattle Seahawks were also christened in '76 along with the Bucs as they each started their own respective eras in the National Football League. Both teams have suffered through highs and lows, and both teams have reached the top of the NFL mountain.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

April 23, 1952: Battle Of The One Hitters... Sugar Cain Outduels Rapid Robert

     On April 23, 1952, a pitching duel for the ages broke out at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis with Browns hurler Bob "Sugar" Cain outdueling future Hall of Famer and star of the Cleveland Indians Bob Feller, with both pitchers allowing just one hit. The Browns were able to come out on top of the tilt by the score of 1-0, but it wasn't because of a lack of effort by "Rapid Robert".

      It was just the second time in major league history that two pitcher had thrown a one hitter in the same contest. The first time happened  on Independence Day in 1906, when Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown of the Chicago Cubs outdueled Pirates hurler Lefty Leifield in Pittsburgh with the Cubs coming out on top 1-0.

     Second baseman Bobby Young picked up the Browns lone hit with a leadoff triple right out of the gate in the bottom  of the first. Marty Marion followed it up with a hot shot to third that was fumbled by the Al Rosen as Young came crossing the plate. There was an error charged on the play for not getting Marion at first, but the official scorer consider the run earned as he believed that Young would have scored regardless.

     The only hit given up by Cain was a single to Luke Easter in the fifth. It was followed by a walk, a flyout, and a double play to eliminate the Cleveland threat. Cain allowed three walks total in the contest, and each time his defense came up with a double play that  had stopped any hopes of a Cleveland rally.

     The one hitter by Cain was the first of his career, while Feller had just recorded his 11th. It was the first and only loss for Feller when allowing just one hit. The performance by Cain and Feller in '52 was witnessed by 7,110 fans on a chilly day in St. Louis, and they were treated to a truly historic gem that was put in the books 1 hour and 58 minutes after the first pitch was thrown.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

April 22, 1970:Tom Terrific Fans 19

   On April 22, 1970, in a 2-1 victory over the San Diego Padres at Shea Stadium in New York, Mets righty Tom Seaver struck out 19 men matching a record that had been set by Steve Carlton when he was a member of the Cardinals. Before the game Seaver received the Cy Young award for the 1969 season, then proceeded to go out and add another spectacular performance to his resume. Seaver allowed only two hits and a fourth inning walk in the contest. Ken Boswell put the Mets on top with an RBI in the first before the Friars picked up their lone run of the day with a home run off the bat of Al Ferrara in the second. The Mets responded quickly by taking the lead in the fourth on an RBI from Bud Harrelson and the rest of the game was all Tom Seaver. The hurler fanned the last 10 Padres batters he faced which set another record for consecutive Ks. While the strikeouts in a game record has been surpassed, no man has yet to match Seaver's 10 strikeouts in a row. 

If you would like to read an article about the historic performance that was published the following day check this out: 

Monday, April 21, 2014

April 21, 1944: Kreevich Blasts Two as He Leads The St. Louis Browns To Victory

     On April 21, 1944, St. Louis Browns centerfielder Mike Kreevich came up with some unexpected power as he blasted  two home runs in a 5-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis. Kreevich had not hit a long ball in 297 games before he came up with the two big bombs that led the Browns to victory.  He finished that year with a .301 batting average and 5 homers for the club who would play the St. Louis Cardinals in the Fall Classic.

     The victory was the fourth of nine consecutive victories that the Browns opened the season with. They bested that winning streak by winning 10 in a row from July 28th to August 10th. As a native St. Louisan it seems like the Browns are a forgotten team as their era came and went. I have always thought about how great it must have been to have them in the city, especially during that '44 campaign that featured both of the St. Louis clubs.

Check out the box score here:

Sunday, April 20, 2014

April 20, 1948: George Vico Parks The First Pitch He Sees In The Majors In The Seats

     On April 20, 1948, Detroit Tigers first baseman George Vico became just the 19th player in the history of Major League Baseball to hit a homerun on his very first pitch in a 5-2 Opening Day victory over the White Sox in Chicago. Vico who was in the seven hole, hit his historic homer to lead off the third frame, which started the scoring on the day. The Tigers added to their lead with a run in the seventh, before the Sox battled back with a run in the seventh, then another in the eighth. The table was set for huge three run inning by the Tigers which included an RBI by their pitcher Hal Newhouser who earned a complete game victory. Vico spent just two years in the majors. He hit 12 home runs total. That first one put him in a club that will guarantee he is remembered for accomplishing a feat that is a rarity to say the least.

Check out the box score here:

Saturday, April 19, 2014

April 19, 1991: Mose Malones Breaks a Record

      On April 19, 1991, Atlanta Hawks big man Moses Malone played in his 1,046th game without fouling out in a 126-120 loss to the Pistons in Detroit. The milestone set a new NBA record that had been held by Wilt Chamberlain. The last time Malone fouled out of a game was in 1978 when he was a member of the Houston Rockets. He then went on a streak that has been matched by no other, by playing the final 1,212 games of his career without fouling out. 

You can read about the life and Hall of Fame career of Moses Malone here: 

Friday, April 18, 2014

April 18, 1942: The Ultimate Stanley Cup Comeback

     On April 18, 1942, the Toronto Maple Leafs completed a stunning comeback by toppling the Detroit Red Wings 3-1 in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. The Leafs were down 3-0 in the series before battling back to take the last four games. To date, they are the only team to go down 3-0 in the Finals, then bounce back to win it all. The Leafs had their backs against the wall in Game 4 they were down 3-2 headed into the final period, before battling back to win 4-3. In Game 5 they handed the Wings a 9-3 defeat, then blanked them 3-0 in Game 6. The deciding game of the series held in Toronto had more than 16,000 on hand as they watched their Leafs come back once again. They came into the third period of the contest trailing 1-0. Dave Schriner tied the game in the final period, Peter Lange put the Leafs in front 2-1, then Schriner added his second goal in the waning minutes to help secure the title. To date, the '42 Maple Leafs are the only team to comeback from a 3-0 deficit in the Final round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.It truly was an ultimate comeback.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

April 17, 1964: The Mets Play Their First Game at Shea

     On April 17, 1964, the Mets played their first home game at Shea Stadium. Unfortunately, the crowd of more than 50,000 watched their newly christened Mets fall 4-3 to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Willie Stargell led the Pirates charge by hitting the first home run in the new stadium in the second, then he scored the winning run in the ninth with Bill Mazeroski knocking him in. Despite the loss a new era had begun in New York.

Check out the box score here:

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

April 16, 1972: Burt Hooton Tosses a No-No

     On April 16, 1972, Cubs rookie Burt Hooton no-hit the Philadelphia Phillies at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Hooton's no-no came in just his fourth major league start as he led the way in the 4-0 victory. Relying heavily on his knuckle-curve Hooton baffled the Philadelphia lineup as he hurled his way into the history books.

     Hooton spent 5 years in Wrigleyville before being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1975. In Chicago he had posted a 34-44 record. He enjoyed his greatest success in Los Angeles. Over 10 years in the City of Angels, Hooton posted a 112-84 record, came in second in Cy Young voting in 1978, and was a member of the World Series winning club in 1981.

Check out the box score here:

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

April 15, 1965:Havlicek Stole The Ball!!!

     On April 15, 1965, in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals at the Boston Garden, the Celtics held onto beat the Philadelphia 76ers 110-109. The game had an unforgettable finish as Boston was clinging to a one point lead with just seconds to go. Philadelphia's Hal Greer was set to inbound the ball in hopes of setting up the game winning play only to have John Havlicek tip the ball to his teammate Sam Jones. With the Celtics play-by-play man Johnny Most proclaiming "Havlicek stole the ball!! Havlicek stole the ball!! It's all over!!!", Sam Jones dribbled the ball until the clock ran to zeroes and the crowd went crazy in Boston. It was the ninth consecutive conference title for the Celtics and they would  go onto win their seventh of eight consecutive Championship titles by toppling the Los Angeles Lakers in the Finals. The call by Most is one that will never be forgotten in Boston and beyond.

You can watch the final play and listen to the call here:

Monday, April 14, 2014

April 14, 1969: The Expos Take Down The Cards In Their Inaugural Home Opener

     On April 14, 1969, a regular season Major League Baseball game was  played on foreign soil for the first time as the Montreal Expos kicked off their home schedule at Jarry Park with an exciting  8-7 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. 29,184 fans packed the stands to witness the historic occasion.

     Larry Jaster got the nod to start the contest for the Expos. One year earlier he had been pitching in St. Louis, then ended up being taken in the expansion draft. The first batter that stood at the plate in Montreal was future Hall of Famer Lou Brock who lined out to second base. The first hit on Canadian soil came off the bat of Curt Flood before Jaster retired the next two. In the bottom of the first Mack Jones hit a 3-run shot off of Nelson Briles to give the Expos their first lead of the day. With the fans still buzzing from the bomb, Jones came up in the second with two men on and legged out a triple to extend the lead to 5-0. Jaster looked to be helping his own cause in the third when he picked up an RBI single to put the squad from Montreal up 6-0. The crowd roared as the Expos took the commanding lead, but they would soon be brought back down to earth.

    Jaster was cruising through the Cardinals lineup until the fourth inning when two errors and a single loaded the bases for the light hitting Dal Maxvill who proceeded to hit a grand slam. Jaster looked to be settling down when he set the next two men down, but the fourth inning implosion wasn't over just yet. Curt Flood laced a single into left, then moved over to third on a balk.Vada Pinson knocked Flood in and the Montreal lead was cut down to 6-5. The next man up was Joe Torre and he crushed a Jaster pitch that gave the Cardinals a 7-6 lead. Jaster's day was over and Dan McGinn was the name that the Expos manager Gene Mauch called on. McGinn retired the next batter, but damage had been done.

     Despite the fact that he had already given up six runs Briles was still on the bump for the Cards to begin the fourth inning. He gave up back-to-back singles to lead off the frame. With Mack Jones on his way to the plate Red Schoendienst  was not about to watch him tag Briles again, so he called on Gary Waslewski to put the fire out. Waslewski put Jones on with an intentional walk in hopes of setting up a double play or even a play at the plate, but disaster followed when he fired a wild pitch passed the Cardinals backstop Tim McCarver which brought Maury Wills trotting in to score from third. McGinn not only held the Cardinals batters in check the rest of the game, he also came up with the game winning hit in the seventh. McGinn's big hit was a single that brought third baseman Coco Laboy in to score. Behind McGinn's performance on the mound and at the plate, the fans in Montreal got to witness a win as their newly christened franchise walked away victorious.

You can check out the box score here:

This game garnered international attention with more than 200 reporters on hand. Before the contest political dignitaries along with club officials were announced. The loudest ovation that was heard during the pregame festivities came when Stan "The Man" Musial was introduced to the crowd. Musial was set to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame later that same year.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

April 13, 1954: Willie's Back

     On April 13, 1954, a sixth inning 425 foot bomb off the bat of Willie Mays led the Giants to a 4-3 win over the Brooklyn Dodgers on Opening Day at the Polo Grounds in New York. Mays had missed the entire '53 season while serving in the military and made it be known that the Giants were going to be a team to reckon with. Coming into the game the Brooklyn club was picked as the odds on favorite to win repeat as Champions of the National League. Mays and company had other ideas as they took the National League Crown by 5 games in what was an MVP campaign for Mays. The Giants then went onto win the World Series.

      The big fly by Mays was the fifth of the contest. The Dodgers catcher Roy Campanella led the second inning off with a solo shot, watched the lead disappear in the third when Alvin Dark hit a two-run dinger. Campanella responded with another solo shot t lead off the fourth. The score stayed knotted at 2 until Hank Thompson gave one a ride into seatland in the bottom of the fifth to give the Giants a 3-2 edge. It was an edge that didn't last long. In the bottom of the sixth, Gil Hodges plated a run with a sac fly and once again the game was tied. This simply set the table for Mays who led the sixth off with his bomb.

     All the runs were charged to Carl Erskine, who at the time owned the World Series strikeout record with 14. It just wasn't his day. He did complete the inning before being replaced by Clem Labine, while Sal Maglie held onto the lead for the Giants. Maglie didn't make it easy. In the seventh he retired one man before loading the bases. Marv Grissom took over on the bump and was able to retire both Duke Snider and Jackie Robinson in succession. It was the biggest threat as Grissom held the Dodgers in check until the final out was recorded.

Check out the box score:

Saturday, April 12, 2014

April 12, 1958: Bob Pettit Leads The Hawks To The Top Of The Mountain

     On April 12, 1958, with a 110-109 victory over the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of the NBA Finals the St. Louis Hawks were crowned Champions of the NBA. The Celtics fought an admirable battle, but they could not stop Bob Pettit who knocked down record setting 50 points in the contest. When the final buzzer sounded the fans in St. Louis rushed the floor as Pettit was carried off by his teammates.

     After splitting the first two games in St. Louis, the Hawks traveled to Boston where they took the third game. The biggest loss of that contest for Boston was not on the scoreboard as Bill Russell had severely sprained his ankle during the battle. Russell tried his damnedest to contribute from there, but the injury was too much for him to overcome. Still yet, Boston won the fourth game to even the series at two all before St. Louis bounced back with a 102-100 victory in game five. The series was headed back to the Arena in St. Louis where the Hawks would take the crown.

     The sixth and final game of the series had Russell playing with a heavily taped ankle, some newspapers referred to it as a cast, just to give you an idea as to how heavily taped it was. Despite having their leader hampered by injury the Celtics battled back from as much as 10-point deficit and even grabbed a lead early in the final quarter. They simply couldn't stop Bob Pettit who scored 19 of his 50 points in that fourth quarter. Pettit put the Hawks ahead for good with 6 minutes and 16 seconds to go in the game. Then three times after  Pettit put the Hawks in front, the Celtics came within one point of tying the ballgame. Every time that happened Pettit would knock down another basket. Pettit's last basket came with just 16 seconds to go to give St. Louis a 110-107 lead. Bill Sharman knocked down the last two points for Boston before St. Louis' Slater Martin dribbled the ball  as the clock ran to zeroes. The Hawks were Champions.

Check out the box score here:

Friday, April 11, 2014

April 11, 1989: Hextall Scores!!!!

     On April 11, 1989, Philadelphia Flyers netminder Ron Hextall became the first goalie to score a goal in an NHL playoff game, when he sent the puck flying into an empty net to cap to off an 8-5 victory over the Washington Capitals in Landover Maryland.  In 1997, New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur joined Hextall in the exclusive club when he scored against the Montreal Canadiens in another first-round. The victory gave the Flyers a 3-2 advantage in the series, and they would go onto win the next game, then knock the Penguins out in a seven game battle before meeting the Montreal Canadiens who knocked them out in six games in the Conference Finals.

Watch history be made here:

Thursday, April 10, 2014

April 10, 1959: Nellie Fox Breaks Out The Big Stick On Opening Day

     On April 10, 1959, on Opening Day in Detroit, White Sox second baseman and future Hall of Famer Nellie Fox began his MVP season by going 5 for 7 which included a game winning home run in the 14th inning to give Chicago a 9-7 victory over the Tigers.

     More than 38,000 fans packed Briggs Stadium in hopes of seeing their hometown boys bring home a winner. They were witnessing a seesaw battle that had the score knotted at 4 until the seventh inning, when one of the Tigers newest additions Larry Doby dropped a line drive with the bases loaded that allowed all three runners to score. Chicago was up 7-4 until the bottom of the eighth when Charlie Maxwell, who had lost in spot in left field to Doby came up big with a pinch hit three-run shot to tie it back up.

     As the battled entered extra frames the Tigers had several opportunities to win the ballgame. Their best shot at victory came in the bottom of the 10th when they loaded the bases with no outs. The White Sox pitcher Gerry Staley picked up an out on a fielders choice at the plate, then induced third baseman Eddie Yost into an inning ending double play. And the beat goes on.

     The two teams went back and forth failing to score a run until that 14th inning rolled around. Don Mossi was on the bump for the Tigers and retired the first two batters he faced in quick succession, before Sammy Esposito lined a single into left. Esposito was only in the game after being called on to pinch-run in the eighth. Then came the hero of the day Nellie Fox who pounced on the second offering by Mossi and knocked it over the wall in right. The Sox still had work to do in the bottom of the inning, and they called on Ray Moore to get the job done. After issuing a leadoff walk, Moore set the next three men down to secure the White Six victory.
     The Opening Day heroics by Fox were something that had to be unexpected to say the least. He had come to the plate 623 times in '58 without connecting on a big fly, then in his seventh at bat of the '59 season he put a charge into it that led to victory. The beginning of that season marked an MVP campaign with Fox and the Sox in  the World Series. While he only hit 35 bombs in his career, Fox was considered to be one of the best defensive players in the game. He took home the first ever Gold Glove Award at the second base position which was something he would do two more times that included the MVP campaign in '59.  Over the course of 19 seasons Fox picked up 2,663 hits. During that time he led the American League in hits four times, had the fewest strikeouts 10 times. My favorite number when it comes to his resume is in 9,232 trips to the plate he only stuck out 216 times. Unfortunately, Fox didn't see the day was enshrined, however, he will live forever as a member of the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

Check out the box score:
Fox's career numbers:
And last but not least, if you would like to know more about the life and career of Nellie Fox you can read about it here:

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

April 9, 1978: George Gervin Wins The Scoring Title With a Photo Finish

     On April 9, 1978, in a 153-132 loss to the Jazz in New Orleans, San Antonio Spurs big man George "The Iceman" Gervin locked down the NBA scoring title with a 63-point-effort on the final day of the season. Gervin came into the game knowing that Denver's David Thompson had drained 73 points earlier that day, and knew that the only way he would obtain the title was to score at least 59 points. Thompson's Nuggets also lost 139-137 to the Pistons in Detroit. With nothing to gain or lose as far as the playoff picture was concerned, both teams  put the focal point on their stars charge to the coveted title, that capped the season off with a classic shootout that decided the closest scoring race ever.

    At the time Thompson's 73-point-effort was the third highest total in the history of the league; today it sits sixth. He accomplished it by hitting on 28 of 38 from the floor, and converting on 17 of 20 free throws. Thompson scored 53 points in the first half alone, and looked like he might just have locked down the title. Meanwhile, Gervin's coach had a gameplan that was very similar to the game plan that was used by Denver's coach: Get Gervin the Ball.

     Gervin also scored 53 in the first half of his contest; 20 in the first quarter, and another 33 in the second. He, like Thompson was a one man wrecking crew and the ball wasn't done swinging just yet.  Gervin locked down the title by draining his 59th point midway through the third, then knocked down four more points before sitting out the rest of the game. The Spurs coach Doug Moe called Gervin's effort phenomenal and said he he knew that if he would have left him in he would have scored at least 80.

     This was the first of four scoring titles for Gervin who forged a Hall of Fame career. Before he arrived in the NBA, Gervin was named to ABA's All Star squad four times, then later was named to the NBA's All Star squad 9 times. During the 1980 All Star game Gervin took home MVP honors. The Ice Man scored a total of 26,595 points before his career came to a close, and 63 of  them came on this day as he grabbed a hold of the NBA scoring title.

Check out the box score:

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

April 8, 1986: Jim Presley Kicks Off The Season With a Bang

     On April 8, 1986, with a reported 42,121 fans in the stands at the Kingdome in Seattle, Jim Presley led the Mariners to a dramatic 8-4 Opening Day win over the Angels. The Mariners came into the bottom of the ninth trailing 4-2 before Presley tied it up with a two-run shot off of Donnie Moore that sent the game into extras. In the bottom of the tenth Presley came to the plate with the bases loaded and crushed a walkoff grand slam to win the ballgame.

     The Angels looked like they were going to roll to victory after Bobby Grich led the game off with a home run. Three batters after the long ball by Grich, Reggie Jackson hit a two run shot. Gorman Thomas put the Mariners on the board with a bomb in the fourth, and they picked up another run in the fifth. Seattle's starting pitcher Mike Moore ran into real trouble in the seventh when he hit a man with the bases loaded to extend the Angels lead to 4-2.  Then came the heroics by Presley that sent the fans home happy.
     Presley spent 8 years in the big leagues; six of them with the Mariners. In that time he hit .247 along with 135 home runs. 89 of the homers came during a three year window that began in '85 when he hit 28. He followed that season up with 27 in '86 with the first two coming on Opening Day, and hit another 24 in '87. From there his numbers tapered off a bit, but he did swing the stick for several more years. When his career came to a close he turned his attention to coaching. He is currently the hitting coach for the Baltimore Orioles. While Presley's career is not one that led to Cooperstown, it was a career that came with many great memories, which included two bombs on Opening Day in 1986.

Check out the box score:
Check out Presley's career numbers here:

Monday, April 7, 2014

April 7, 1984: Jack Morris Tosses a No-No

     On April 7, 1984, Jack Morris of the Detroit Tigers no-hit the White Sox at Comiskey Park in Chicago. The Tigers prevailed 4-0 as Morris became the first Tigers pitcher to achieve the feat since 1958 when Jim Bunning no-hit the Red Sox in Boston. The no-hitter for Morris was the only one of his legendary career that included 254 wins, 5 All Star appearances, 4 World Series rings, and a World Series MVP award.

     Chet Lemon gave Morris all the offense that would be needed with a two run shot in the 2nd, and in the top of the fifth Lou Whitaker and Kirk Gibson added a couple of more runs to the board with a pair of RBIs. When the bottom of the fifth inning rolled around Morris realized that he had not allowed a hit. He said that a turning point came one inning earlier when he walked the bases full before inducing Greg Luzinski into an inning-ending double play. Morris acknowledged that he didn't have his best stuff that day, saying that he didn't think he had ever carried a no-hitter past the fifth inning.

     While the no-no had creeped into his mind, Morris stayed locked in and was delivering a split-finger fastball that could not be touched. In the eighth, first baseman Dave Bergman who had just been acquired via trade made two spectacular plays to preserve the no-no. Bergman hadn't stepped on the field until the seventh when he came in as a defensive replacement; needless to say he earned his paycheck that day.

     Morris walked the first batter he faced in the seventh. He said he was more nervous in that inning than he was in the ninth. After the eighth some fans at Comiskey were leaning over the rail yelling "Hey Morris you got a no-hitter going" in an attempt to jinx him. Morris laughed about it, and it might have even loosened him up as he headed into the final frame. Before he took the field Morris told his pitching coach Roger Craig "I'm going to get it", and get it he did.

     The first man Morris had to face in the ninth was the always dangerous Carlton Fisk. he said that he wasn't all gung-ho on pitching the no-hitter until he was able to sit Fisk down with a forkball that was grounded out to Bergman at first. Then the adrenaline kicked in; he was two outs away from making history. His next victim was Harold Baines who smashed one right back at the pitcher, Morris knocked it down, then gunned it over to first. One more out. Morris followed the out by Baines by giving up a walk to Greg Luzinski on a 3-2 pitch that many thought should have been a strike. It didn't matter after Morris struck out Ron Kittle on his 120th pitch of the ballgame. As his catcher Lance Parrish rushed to the mound to hug Morris history had been made during what would be one truly historic season for those Detroit Tigers.

Morris struck out eight and walked six in the contest. You can check out the box score here:

Sunday, April 6, 2014

April 6, 1893: Jack Burke Versus Andy Bowen in The Longest Boxing Match Ever

     On April 6, 1893, Jack Burke and Andy Bowen fought a 110 round bout that lasted 7 hours and 19 minutes. The fight set the record for longest boxing match in the history of the sport and it is a record that still stands today. No winner was determined at the end of the affair as the referee John Duffy declared a draw after both the exhausted combatants could not muster the strength to throw a punch in the 110th round.

     An estimated 8,500 fans showed up to witness the fight that would decide who would hold the lightweight title of the South. Bowen, a veteran boxer, hailed from New Orleans and came in weighing at 129. While Burke, a newcomer in the sport, was native of Galveston, Texas and weighed in at 130. When the fight came to an end at 3:45 a.m both boxers had dropped nearly 10 pounds.

     The rounds were 3 minutes apiece. By the time the 50th round came to be both boxers were starting to slow down. Little did they know that they weren't halfway to the finish line. Burke broke both his wrists in the contest, but continued to battle, that is insane. In the 51st round Bowen asked Burke why he wasn't fighting back and Burke replied "I can't both my hands are gone." Yet, he continued to battle. As it turned out Burke broke both of his wrists in the contest, but somehow was able to hang in until the fight was called in the 110th round.

     One month later Bowen squared off against Jack Everhardt in what was a 85 round fight that lasted more than 4 hours. In that match Bowen broke his left hand around the seventieth round, then went onto beat Everhardt with one hand. He was a gladiator, but he was not immortal. On December 14, 1894, Bowen suffered a skull fracture in a fight against Kid Lavigne. One day later he was dead. It was the only fight that Bowen lost in his career. He had fought 26 times since his career began in 1887, with 18 wins, seven knockouts, six draws, and one no decision.

     The information on Burke is a little more murky than that of his opponent. Some publications say that he considered retiring but chose to continue his career in the ring. However, I was not able to find the records I would need to confirm it. What I do know is Burke passed away in 1942 after sustaining injuries in an car accident. At the time of his death Burke called Plainfield, New Jersey home, and it was said that everyone around Plainfield knew the tale of the 110 round battle. Burke was very proud of the fact that he had dueled with Bowen in the record setting bout that we are still talking about today.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

April 5, 1971: Joe Theismann Heads To Canada

     On April 5, 1971, Joe Theismann surprised the world of football by signing a three-year contract to play for the Toronto Argonauts. The Notre Dame signal caller had been picked in the fourth round of the NFL draft by the Miami Dolphins. Theismann spent  three seasons with the Argonauts, before the Redskins obtained his rights in 1974. Theismann went onto have a legendary career with the Skins that included a Super Bowl victory in 1982.
     Just 27 days before the deal with the Argonauts was announced, the Dolphins held a press conference to announce they had reached an agreement with Theismann. The problem with the agreement was there was no signature involved. It was a handshake agreement. The Dolphins then mailed him a contract, and Theismann felt the terms were very different than the terms he had agreed to. This opened the door for the Argonauts, who had largely given up on the idea of signing him. However, their head coach Leo Cahill had made his interest known. The deal Toronto put on the table was two years for $125,000 which Theismann did put a signature on. The spurned owner of the Dolphins, Joe Robbie issued a statement saying that he expected Theismann to still honor the agreement that they had reached. The Dolphins owner even sent his head coach Don Shula to South Bend, Indiana in an effort to convince the young quarterback to reconsider. There wasn't much the coach could do as Theismann had signed a legally binding agreement.

     In Toronto, Theismann led the Argonauts all the way to the Grey Cup in 1971, only to have a fourth quarter fumble cost them the championship. Injuries spoiled the '72 season, however, he bounced back with a solid '73 season before heading back to the states. After joining the Redskins in '74, Theismann returned punts. It wasn't until 1978 that he took over for a retiring Billy Kilmer. Theismann guided the Redskins ship for the next seven seasons, which included  2 Pro Bowl appearances and the Super Bowl victory. Theismann became a legend in Washington which probably would have never happened if he had not signed with the Argonauts on this day.

Friday, April 4, 2014

April 4, 1974, Hank Aaron Joins The Babe

     On April 4, 1974, with 52,154 fans in the stands at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio, Hammerin Hank Aaron got a hold of the 714th home run of his career. Aaron's historic shot that had equaled Babe Ruth's record that had stood for 40 years, came in his first at-bat of the season with two men on in the first inning to give Atlanta a quick 3-0 lead.  It came on a 3-1 pitch that was served up by Reds hurler Jack Billingham that Aaron parked right past the 375 sign on the left field wall. With 714 flashing on the scoreboard, and the crowd in Cincinnati giving him a standing ovation, Aaron trotted around the bases and right into the record books. Four days later, in front of a home crowd in Atlanta, Aaron surpassed the Babe, and became baseball's all-time home run king.

     The game was interrupted for six minutes following the blast as Aaron was congratulated by Vice president Gerald Ford, Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, and Bill Bartholomay, the board chairman of the Braves organization. A grateful Aaron expressed his thanks before saying "I'm just glad it is almost over with." Aaron would go onto score another run in the fifth inning which tied Willie Mays' record of runs scored on the all-time runs scored list.

     It looked like the Braves were going to run away with this one as they had built up a 6-1 fifth inning lead before the Reds started to rally. Dave Concepcion's solo shot in the bottom of that fifth inning cut the lead to 6-2, then a three-run shot off the bat of Tony Perez in the eighth put the score at 6-5. With two out in the ninth, George Foster got on with a pinch hit single before Pete Rose doubled him in to tie the ballgame. Extra innings was going to decide this one. Rose was the hero once again in the 11th as he picked up a two-out double off Buzz Capra, who then threw a wild pitch that got passed catcher Johnny Oates and ended up near the dugout as Rose came wheelin around to score the game winning run. Sounds like one helluva game. A truly historic milestone that was followed by an epic comeback on Opening Day in Cincinnati.

     Aaron finished his career with 755 long balls. His record stood until 2007 when Barry Bonds surpassed it on his way to the current record of 762. Many, including me, look at Aaron as the true Home Run King, as he did it the right way without any performance enhancers. Aaron was a model of consistency that worked hard year after year to achieve what he did. 733 of his 755 dingers came with a Braves uniform on. His first 12 years in league, the team was stationed in Milwaukee. At the age of 23, Aaron and the Braves won the World Series. Before the Braves left Milwaukee the '65 season, Aaron had crushed 398 home runs. Over the next nine year in Atlanta he hit 335 more before returning to Milwaukee as a member of the Brewers in 1975. He played two more years, and hit 22 more home runs before calling it a career. The man who had once came in for an injured Bobby Thomson during a Spring Training contest was now a legend in the game. His first home run as a major leaguer came in St. Louis on April 23,1954 against the Cardinals' Vic Raschi, his last came on September 14, 1975, against Spaceman Bill Lee as the Brewers battled the Red Sox in Boston. It was the end of a legendary career that will forever be celebrated at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

Several records that Aaron set still stand today

  • The total bases record: 6,856
  • The RBI record: 2,297
  • Extra base hits: 1,477
  • and 17 consecutive seasons with a l50 or more base hits
You can look at Aaron's career numbers and list of accomplishments here:

Aaron's Home Run Log:

Thursday, April 3, 2014

April 3, 1977: Jean Ratelle Joins The 1,000 Point Club

     On April 3, 1977, Bruins center Jean Ratelle scored the 1,000th point of his career in a 7-4 division clinching win over the Toronto Maple Leafs in Boston. Rattell's 1,000th point came in the second period when he dished off a pass to Greg Sheppard who put it behind the Toronto netminder to extend the Boston lead to 3-1. Ratelle scored 1,267 points before he hung up his skates after the '80-81 season. His career spanned over 21 years. His first 15 seasons he donned the jersey of the New York Rangers before being sent to Boston in the blockbuster deal that included Phil Esposito. While Ratelle never did get to see his name etched on Lord Stanley's Cup, his career is not one to be forgotten as he will forever be remembered in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

     The night Ratelle scored his 1,000th was one to remember. Stan Jonathan put Boston on the board in the first, then Peter McNab scored his 38th goal of the season on a play that was setup by Wayne Cashman in the second to extend the lead to 2-0, before Toronto's Bob Neely put one past Gerry Cheevers to cut the lead in half. It was followed by Ratelle's milestone marker that extended the Boston lead to 3-1. The 1,000 point plateau had been reached 16 years after he first stepped on the ice as a professional. Jonathan scored his second goal of the contest in the third, and Brad Parks added another to extend the Boston lead to 5-1, but the Leafs didn't go down easily. They stormed back into the contest with a goal by Lanny McDonald, and two more by Darryl Sittler to close the gap to 5-4 with time winding down. With their backs against the wall Toronto yanked their goalie and Sheppard and Don Marcotte added a pair of empty netters before the final horn sounded.

      The victory was the 14th out of the last 18 for the Bruins which included two ties as well. It clinched the Adams division by two points, and gave them a week to get ready to make a run at the Stanley Cup. The Bruins did reach the Finals, but ran into a Canadiens powerhouse from Montreal. The Habs swept the Bruins in four straight, but the ride that got them there was a memorable one that included one of the greatest highlights in the career of Mr. Jean Ratelle.

Take a look at Ratelle's career numbers here:

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

April 2, 1986: The NCAA Adopts The 3-Point Rule

     On April 2, 1986, the NCAA adopted the 3-point shot in basketball. The decision came after 5 years of experimenting with the three-pointer among the 20 different conferences. During the experimentation period the different leagues tested the rule from different distances. When the 12 member rules committee met in April of '86 they settled on 19 feet 9 inches as the one most desirable for college coaches. In 2007 the distance was pushed back to 20 feet 9 inches. While the rule was not well received by some coaches, and fans alike, it was a rule that was here to stay.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April 1, 1982: The Knicks Overcome a 26-Point Deficit at The Garden

     On April 1, 1982, trailing by 26 with four minutes left in the third quarter, the New York Knicks began to mount a comeback of epic proportions on the way to a 111-110 victory in front of a home crowd at Madison Square Garden.

     The Knicks were trailing  91-65 when they began to erase the deficit. The Knicks had narrowed the gap to 107-92 with 6 and a 1/2 minutes to play. They continued to whittle away at the lead, and with just 1:22 left on the clock Michael Ray Richardson drained a three-pointer to bring the score to 110-109 Cavs.

     Moments later, Richardson came up with a key steal and dropped the game winner with just 63 ticks left on the clock. The Cavs had several opportunities to come back, but couldn't make it happen, so the game went into the books as the biggest comeback in Knicks history.

     The comeback would be equaled in 2004, when they mounted a 26-point comeback against the Milwaukee Bucks, and surpassed in 2012 when they mounted a 27-point comeback against the Sacramento Kings.