Jose Feliciano at the World Series, October 7, 1968.
Note the guide dog under the G in the "TIGERS" setup.
In the wake of athletes' protests during the playing of the National Anthem before games, and the really stupid overreactions to it from the far right, it's worth remembering that, not all that long ago, there was an even uglier overreaction to a man singing the Anthem before a big sporting event, and he'd done so fully intending to be respectful.
October 7, 1968: Game 5 of the World Series, at Tiger Stadium in Detroit. The St. Louis Cardinals lead the Detroit Tigers 3 games to 1. The Tigers must win 3 straight against the defending World Champions to win their 1st title in 23 years.
Lefthanded pitcher Mickey Lolich steps in an pitches brilliantly, and gets an unlikely assist from Lou Brock. On 2nd base in the 5th‚ Brock, normally one of the game's greatest baserunners, tries to score standing up on Julian Javier's single, and is gunned down by Willie Horton's throw from left field. Al Kaline's bases-loaded single off Joe Hoerner in the 7th scores 2 for the winning margin: Tigers 5, Cardinals 3.
The Tigers stay alive, but still need to win Games 6 and 7 -- in St. Louis, with Bob Gibson the potential Game 7 starter.
The bigger story, at least in the short term, is the 23-year-old Puerto Rican-born, New York-raised singer and acoustic guitar wizard Jose Feliciano's modern rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner."
Born blind, Feliciano comes onto the field wearing sunglasses and being guided by a dog -- both of which are considered threatening by many in-person and TV viewers. He does no vocal hysterics like some more recent singers we could mention; he just sings the National Anthem of the country he loves, of which he is a full citizen, as all Puerto Rico natives are, and which gave him the chance to become rich and famous. He simply sings the song a little differently, in his own style, which he calls "Latin jazz."
In this time of the Vietnam War, race riots, assassinations and political unrest -- Richard Nixon is about to be elected President in a squeaker because too many Democrats turned off by the war and the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy stay home and don’t vote for longtime liberal hero Hubert Humphrey -- the reaction to Feliciano's rendition is muted in the Tiger Stadium stands, but was absolutely furious on telephones, talk radio and newspapers. NBC's switchboard got overloaded. The reaction gets so bad that his career stalls for 2 years, until the release of his Christmas song "Feliz Navidad."
Tiger broadcaster Ernie Harwell, authorized by the office of Commissioner William D. "Spike" Eckert to select Detroit's Anthem singers for the Series, defended his choice. Harwell was a published songwriter (he would later write "Move Over Babe, Here Comes Henry" for Hank Aaron), an ordained minister, and, although he saw no combat, a U.S. Marine in World War II. His patriotism, decency and musical talent were on display throughout his long and mostly happy adult life, and were absolutely unassailable. Or so one would think.
Ironically, the man he'd selected for Game 4 was Marvin Gaye, a superstar of Detroit's Motown Records. Gaye sang it straight, and very nicely. In 1983, at the NBA All-Star Game, Gaye, in the midst of a big comeback that would tragically end with his death the next year, sang the Anthem gospel-style. The times had changed: His version was greeted with thunderous cheers and applause.
"Mr. Ernie" had introduced Feliciano to his wife, Susan, who grew up in Detroit. In 2010, Harwell died, and a memorial service was held at Detroit’s Comerica Park. Feliciano was invited to sing the Anthem at this service, and was wildly cheered afterward.
Listen and judge for yourself. (As I pointed out, NBC no longer has color videotape of most of the World Series prior to 1975.)
October 7, 3761 BC: This is the date on which the Hebrew calendar begins. However, in 1650, an Irish bishop named James Ussher calculated that the Biblical Creation happened on October 22, 4004 BC -- 243 years earlier. Oy vey.
At any rate, believers in "Young Earth Creationism" believe that any archaeological or geological records that reveal any artifact, any skeleton (human or animal), any fossil, any rock, to be older than (approximately) 6,000 years old are not merely wrong, but blasphemous: They believe that the Bible is not merely the final word on the subject, but the only word on it. Or, as the William Jennings Bryan analogue said in the play Inherit the Wind, about the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial, "I am more interested in the Rock of Ages than in the age of rocks."
October 7, 1849: Edgar Allan Poe dies in Baltimore, of an illness that has never been definitively identified. It's been suggested that it was rabies, from an animal bite. It probably wasn't, as has always been commonly believed, either a drug overdose or the effects of alcohol: While he was an alcoholic, he'd been on the wagon for months, and he wasn't a drug user. He was only 42 years old.
What does the man who might have been America's greatest writer, and practically the inventor of the detective story and horror fiction, have to do with sports? Not much. At the time he died, baseball was still a new game and not nationally known, although Americans were already turning to it and away from cricket. Boxing and horse racing were popular but not exactly at the level they would reach later in the 19th Century. Soccer and rugby were in their infancy, and Americans hadn't yet noticed them anyway. And American football, basketball, hockey and, in its modern form, tennis had not yet been invented.
However, he had lived in both The Bronx and Boston, so he might have understood the New York-New England, and particularly the Yankees-Red Sox, rivalry were he to see American life today. And, certainly, he would have understood the horror stories that come with teams like the Red Sox, the Chicago Cubs, the New York Jets, the Buffalo Bills, and others.
Finally, his death and burial in Baltimore led to the city's new football team, established in 1996, being named after his most famous poem: The Baltimore Ravens. His grave is just 1 mile from M&T Bank Stadium.
October 7, 1885: The Providence Grays sweep a doubleheader from the Buffalo Bisons, 4-0 and 6-1 at Olympic Park in Buffalo. Fred Shaw wins both games for the Grays, pitching a no-hitter in the opener.
These are the last 2 games ever played by these franchises, who are both struggling for cash. Only 12 fans pay admission, as Buffalo, as it so often is, turns out to be cold in October. Not twelve thousand, not twelve hundred, but twelve.
Never again has a major league baseball team played in the State of Rhode Island. And, unless you count the Federal League of 1914-15, never again has a major league baseball team represented Buffalo, or any other city in the State of New York, other than the City of New York.
Although Buffalo has an NFL team and an NHL team, and it has an in-city population of 258,000 that isn’t that much less than those of St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, its metropolitan area population of 1,134,000 ranks it 49th among American metro areas. The current smallest area with an MLB team, Milwaukee, has nearly twice as many: A little over 2 million. If you count Canadian cities, Buffalo drops to 56th.
Providence? It has 178,000 people, and while its metro count of 1,604,000 isn't that far behind Milwaukee, it’s usually included within Boston's area. Providence is, for this reason, the home of Boston’s Triple-A baseball (well, Pawtucket is) and hockey teams, and the NFL team is actually slightly closer to Kennedy Plaza in Providence than to Downtown Crossing in Boston.
But Providence ain't getting another MLB team, and Buffalo will never get any closer than it did in 1991, when it was one of 5 finalists for the 2 that began play in 1993.
October 7, 1887: Charles Albert George Russell is born in Leyton, East London. I don't know what makes a cricket player great, but "Jack" Russell was regarded as one of the best English cricketers of the 1910s and 1920s, playing for Essex Cricket Club. He died in 1961.
October 7, 1899: The Brooklyn Superbas clobber their arch-rivals, the New York Giants, 13-2 at home at Washington Park, to win the NL Pennant, and thus the unofficial World Championship of baseball.
The last surviving 1899 Superba was shortstop Bill Dahlen, who ended up crossing the City and winning the 1905 World Series with the New York Giants, and living until 1950.
October 7, 1901: François Xavier Boucher is born in Ottawa, Ontario. Known as Frank or Raffles, he is, aside from Lester Patrick, the greatest figure in New York Rangers history. And, if you're under the age of 80, chances are, you've never heard of him.
The center debuted in the NHL with the Ottawa Sentors in 1922, alongside his brother, Georges "Buck" Boucher. After 4 seasons with the Vancouver Maroons, Patrick, the 1st head coach and general manager of the Rangers, made him an original member of the team. Centering "The A-Line" (named for the Subway line that went past the old Madison Square Garden -- and, as it turned out, the new one as well), later renamed the "Bread Line" during the Great Depression, he was flanked by brothers Bill and Bun Cook. They helped the Rangers reach the 1928, 1929, 1932, 1933 and 1937 Stanley Cup Finals, winning in 1928 and 1933.
Lady Byng, wife of the Governor-General of Canada, donated a trophy to be awarded to "the most gentlemanly player" in the NHL. Boucher won it 7 times in 8 years, so Lady Byng let him keep the trophy, and donated another one. (Eventually, a new trophy would be given out each season.)
In 1939, Patrick stayed on as GM, but stepped aside as coach, and named Boucher. In his 1st season, 1939-40, the Rangers won the Cup again. Indeed, not until 1994 would they win the Stanley Cup without Frank Boucher being directly involved. He got them into the Playoffs in each of his 1st 3 seasons, but World War II took many of the better players. The manpower shortage got so bad that Boucher came out of retirement and played in 15 games in 1944. He resigned in 1949, having made the Playoffs again the year before, and coached them again in the 1953-54 season.
Both Frank and Buck Boucher are in the Hockey Hall of Fame. The Rangers have retired his uniform number -- but for another player: 7 is retired for Rod Gilbert. In 1974, he wrote When the Rangers Were Young. He died in 1977. In 1998, The Hockey News ranked him Number 61 on their list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players. In 2009, the book 100 Ranger Greats listed him as Number 9 on their list.
October 7, 1902: Perhaps the first all-star game in North American sports is played at Exposition Park in Pittsburgh — the Pirates' current stadium, PNC Park, is built roughly on the site. Sam Leever and the Pirates, including the great Honus Wagner, beat a team of American League all-stars‚ with Cy Young of the Boston Americans (Red Sox) as the losing pitcher, 4-3.
October 7, 1904: Jack Chesbro pitches the New York Highlanders to a 3-2 win over the Boston Americans (Red Sox) for his 41st victory of the season — a record under the post-1893 pitching distance of 60 feet 6 inches that ain't never gonna be broken unless there's a major change in the way pitching is done.
The win gives New York a half-game lead over Boston. But the season will not end well for the Highlanders in general and Chesbro in particular.
Also on this day, Armando Castellazzi is born in Milan. A midfielder, he helped hometown club Internazionale (a.k.a. "Inter") win the League title in 1930, and played for the Italy team that won the 1934 World Cup on home soil. In 1938, he managed Inter to the Serie A title, becoming the 1st man to win Serie A as both a player and a manager. He died in 1968.
October 7, 1905: The University of Pennsylvania hosts nearby Swarthmore College in a football game at the original Franklin Field. (Built in 1895, it was replaced by the current structure in 1923.) Penn won the game, 11-4. Swarthmore guard Robert Maxwell, known as Tiny for being so big and fat, got his nose broken, but played both ways the whole game. It was the only game Swarthmore lost all season, and it would probably be forgotten today, especially since Swarthmore is now a Division III school.
Except a photograph was taken of Maxwell's bloody face, and the wire services put it on the front pages of newspapers all over the country. One of them made its way to President Theodore Roosevelt. A former athlete himself -- he had been on the Harvard boxing team in 1880, and played tennis even while President -- he requested figures, and found out that 18 young men had died playing college football in 1905.
So the Rough Rider hauled the presidents of Harvard, Yale and Princeton -- the nation's leading football-playing universities -- into the White House, and, in a meeting on October 9, told them point-blank: Either you do something to make football safer, or I will take action. He didn't have to threaten to ban the sport. Just the possibility that he would be taking over their sport, taking their power away, was enough to spur them into action. The safety measures they took over the next year are now considered the founding of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
This may have been the moment that saved the game Americans call "football," making the college game that became big business, and the NFL that was founded, both in the 1920s, possible. It may also have been the moment that prevented soccer, the sport that most of the rest of the world calls "football" or some linguistic variant, from becoming popular in America. Had the gridiron game been stopped in the Progressive Era, the world's game might have caught on, and, like so many other things that began elsewhere, been given an American touch, so it wouldn't have carried the "foreign" label.
What happened to Tiny Maxwell? He shrugged off his injury, and played early pro football in Ohio and Pennsylvania in the next few years. Oddly, he later served as an assistant coach at both Swarthmore and Penn. He became one of the most respected referees in the game, his size and knowledge of the rules both cowing players into submission. But he was killed in a car crash in 1922.
In 1937, a group of Philadelphia sportswriters founded the Maxwell Football Club in his memory. Ever since, it has presented the Maxwell Award to the best player in the country. It is considered secondary to the Heisman Trophy, but 40 out of its 70 awards, including the last 4, have gone to the player who also won the Heisman; 2 others went to a player who would win the Heisman in a different year.
October 7, 1908: The New York Giants complete a 3-game sweep away to the Boston Doves (forerunners of the Braves, and named for their owner, the brothers George and John Dovey), winning the finale‚ 7-2.
The National League season ends with the Giants and the Chicago Cubs each having a record of 98-55‚ and the Pirates 98-56, half a game back. The September 23 game between the Giants and the Cubs, declared a tie after Fred Merkle's "Boner" cost the Giants the winning run, will be held tomorrow at the Polo Grounds.
Just up the block from the Polo Grounds, but at the other end of the competitive spectrum, the Highlanders close out the season losing 1-0 in 11 innings to young budding star Walter Johnson and the Washington Senators. It is the 103rd loss of the season for the Yankees-to-be, and it remains a club record.
October 7, 1911: With just 1‚000 fans on hand at the Polo Grounds‚ and with the Pennant already clinched, Giant manager John McGraw finally listens to the appeals of Charles Victor "Victory" Faust, who'd told McGraw that a fortune teller in his home town of Marion, Kansas had told him that if he pitched for the Giants, they'd win the Pennant.
Faust was kept on the roster all season, as a good-luck charm. Now, 2 days short of his 31st birthday, he is sent to the mound in the 9th inning against the Boston Rustlers (the Doves having been renamed for new owner, William H. Russell)‚ allowing a hit and a run in a 5-2 loss. Faust also hits‚ circling the bases for a score as the Rustlers, who are in on the joke, deliberately throw wildly.
Faust will reprise his act on October 12, in the regular season finale against Brooklyn: He allows a hit in his 1 inning; is hit by a pitch and then steals 2nd base and 3rd base‚ and scores on a grounder. In both cases, it was the 9th inning of games that the Giants were already losing.
In the next few weeks, William H. Russell will die. The team is purchased by James Gaffney, an officer in New York's Tammany Hall political organization. These officers are known as "Braves," and the team is renamed the Boston Braves.
The team carries the name to this day, although they are now in Atlanta. Braves Field is built in 1915, and one of the bordering streets is still named Gaffney Street. Boston University's Nickerson Field complex was built on the site, with the right-field pavilion of Braves Field still standing as the home stand. An NFL team named the Boston Braves will also play there, changing its name, to avoid confusion, to the Redskins. They will move to Washington in 1937.
As for Charlie Faust, you may be thinking that he's the Rudy Roettiger of baseball. No, he wasn't: Rudy, at least, was good at football in high school. Faust was nothing but a joke. The laughter stopped: McGraw and Giants owner John T. Brush did not invite him to spring training in 1912, and his baseball career was over.
He told anyone who would listen that it wasn't, and in 1913, he was committed to a psychiatric hospital in Oregon, and then to another in Steilacoom, Washington, where he died of tuberculosis in 1915.
October 7, 1914: The Indianapolis Hoosiers defeat the St. Louis Terriers, 4-0 at Federal League Park in Indianapolis, and win the 1st Federal League Pennant. However, their 4-2 win over the Terriers the next day will turn out to be the last Major League Baseball game ever played in the State of Indiana to this day -- if, that is, you consider the FL to have been a "major league." (MLB did not then, but it does now.) Financial losses lead them to be moved to Harrison, New Jersey, where they will become the Newark Peppers.
On the same day, at Fenway Park, the Senators and Red Sox wind up the season in a meaningless game. Washington manager Clark Griffith, age 45, makes his final mound appearance‚ while Boston's star center fielder Tris Speaker does the only pitching of his career‚ giving up a run in an inning. Babe Ruth‚ in relief of starter Hugh Bedient‚ pitches 3 innings for Boston. The Senators win, 11-4.
October 7, 1916, 100 years ago: Game 1 of the World Series, played at Braves Field in Boston. Since the Red Sox had lent the use of Fenway Park to the Braves in the 1914 World Series, since it had a larger capacity than the antiquated South End Grounds, the Braves, having now opened the larger Braves Field, let the Sox use it in the 1915, '16 and '18 World Series. Bill Carrigan becomes the 1st man to manage the Red Sox in back-to-back World Series, and he remains the only one. (Jimmy Collins was denied the chance to do so when the Giants wouldn’t play in one in 1904.)
Eddie Shore is in control until the 9th, but melts down, allowing 4 runs and loading the bases before Collins has to call on Carl Mays to bail him out. Mays does so, and the Sox have a hard-earned 6-5 win over the Brooklyn Robins. (The Dodgers were then named for their manager, Wilbert Robinson.)
But that's not the biggest sports story of the day. At Grant Field in Atlanta, Georgia Tech wins the biggest blowout in the history of college football, defeating Cumberland College, 222-0. No, that's not a typo: Two hundred and twenty-two to zero.
John Heisman, for whom the national player of the year trophy would be named, was Tech's coach, and would lead them to the National Championship the next year. Cumberland, a small Presbyterian school in Lebanon, Tennessee, now in NCAA Division III, should never have been on a big school's schedule, but needed the money, and Tech was willing to pay them to come to Atlanta and play the big boys.
Why the big score? Indeed, why that many points? Because, earlier in the year, Cumberland had beaten Tech's baseball team, of which Heisman was also the coach, 22-0. In those days, sportswriters also tended to rank teams based on how many points they scored, which Heisman thought was ridiculous. He may have wanted to prove his point, as later sportscaster Warner Wolf tended to do when mocking gamblers and their obsession with point spreads. Had Warner been around in 1916, he would have said, "If you had Cumberland and 221 points, you lost!"
October 7, 1918: Robert Gustave "Bun" Troy‚ born in Bad Wurzach, Baden-Württemberg, Germany‚ who pitched in (and lost) 1 game for the 1912 Detroit Tigers, fighting for his new country against his old one in World War I, is killed in battle in Meuse‚ France.
He was a Sergeant in the Army's 80th Infantry Division, a.k.a. the Blue Ridge Division. There is no mention of this single-day Tiger's service, in baseball or in the Army, at Comerica Park.
October 7, 1919: Game 6 of the World Series. The Chicago White Sox, down 4 games to 1 in this best-5-out-of-9 Series, must win 4 straight to win. Swede Risberg makes 2 errors, Happy Felsch 1, holding up their end of their corrupt bargain.
But Shoeless Joe Jackson, on the take, and Buck Weaver, who refused to take part in the fix, combine for 7 hits; and Dickie Kerr, who had won Game 3, wins again, as the White Sox top the Cincinnati Reds 4-0.
October 7, 1920: John Frederick Rowley is born in Wolverhampton, West Midlands, England. A forward, Jack Rowley starred for Manchester United after World War II, winning the FA Cup in 1948 and the Football League in 1952. He later served as player-manager at Plymouth Argyle, and was Johan Cruijff's 1st manager at Ajax Amsterdam. He died in 1998.
October 7, 1921: Game 3 of the World Series. Being down 2 games to 0 isn't nearly as bad in a best-5-out-of-9 series (the last time the World Series has had this format) as it would be in a best-4-out-of-7 (which it has been ever since). The Giants set Series records for runs and hits (20), without a single home run (manager John McGraw must have loved that), and beat the Yankees 13-5.
Over the 1st 20 1/2 innings of this Series, the Yankees outscored the Giants 10-0. Over the last 51 1/2 innings, the Giants would outscore the Yankees 31-10.
Also on this day, Raymond Goethals (no middle name) is born in Vorst, Belgium. A decent goalkeeper in the Belgian and French soccer leagues, Le Sorcier (The Sorcerer) he managed Belgium to 3rd place at Euro 72, Anderlecht to the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1978 and the Belgian Cup in 1989, Standard Liège to the League title in 1982 and 1983, and Olympique de Marseille to the League in 1991, 1992 and 1993.
In 1993, he led L'OM to the UEFA Champions League, the only French club ever to win it. At 71, he is the oldest manager to have won it. However, for reasons he probably had nothing to do with, L'OM were stripped of their 1993 League title, relegated to France's 2nd division, and were denied the right to defend their European title. He died in 2004. His son, Guy Goethals, is an admired referee.
October 7, 1922: With the questionable calling of Game 2 due to "darkness" in mind, Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis insists that Game 4 be played, despite a heavy rain. Again, one big inning, a 4-run 4th off Yankee pitcher Carl Mays, is enough for Hugh McQuillan of the Giants to squeeze out a 4-3 win. Aaron Ward's 2nd homer of the Series is all the long-ball clout the Yankees will display.
Mays' brief collapse today‚ coupled with his 2 losses in the 1921 Series‚ and with the 1919 Series still fresh in fans' memories, leads to rumors that he took money to throw the games. The accusations will persist for decades. As with the claim that his pitch that killed Ray Chapman of Cleveland in 1920 was on purpose, Mays goes to his grave in 1971 insisting that it wasn't true.
Also on this day, Ohio Stadium opens in Columbus. Ohio State University had outgrown Ohio Field, but people laughed when they built a 66,210-seat stadium. They got over 71,000 fans for the opening game, a 5-0 win over Ohio Wesleyan.
Officially, the seating capacity of what ABC Sports college football master Keith Jackson labeled "The Big Horseshoe on the Olentangy" is now 104,944, but they've topped out at 108,975, in last year's 17-14 loss to Michigan State.
Also on this day, Grady Edgebert Hatton Jr. is born in Beaumont, Texas. A 3rd baseman, he played from 1946 to 1960, mostly for the Cincinnati Reds, and was an All-Star in 1952. He later managed the Houston Astros from 1966 to 1968, remained with them as a scout and a coach, and died in 2013.
October 7, 1925: Christy Mathewson dies of tuberculosis at the health-spa town of Saranac Lake‚ New York‚ at the age of 45. At the time of his death, the Giant pitching legend was part owner and president of the Boston Braves.
Later in the day, as word reaches Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, the flag is lowered to half-staff, and will remain so there and at Griffith Stadium in opposing Washington for the remainder of the Series. Commissioner Landis orders that black armbands be applied to both teams' uniforms, even though Mathewson had never been involved with either the Pirates or the Senators.
October 7, 1926, 90 years ago: Game 5 of the World Series. Due to the passage of time, this is one of the forgotten classics of baseball. The St. Louis Cardinals lead the Yankees 2-1 in the top of the 9th inning at Sportsman's Park. But Lou Gehrig doubles, Tony Lazzeri bunts him over to 3rd and reaches base anyway, and Ben Paschal singles him home to tie the game.
The Cards get out of it without further damage, but in the 10th, Mark Koenig hits a leadoff single, and advances to 2nd on Bill Sherdel's wild pitch. Babe Ruth draws a walk, Meusel bunts the runners over, and Lazzeri hits a sacrifice fly to give the Yankees a 3-2 win. Both Sherdel and the Yankees' Herb Pennock went the distance.
The Yankees now lead 3 games to 2, and have to win just 1 of the last 2 at Yankee Stadium to take the title. They will not win again until April.
Also on this day, Fred Lew Morrison is born in Columbus, Ohio. A running back, Curly Morrison led Ohio State to victory over the University of California in the 1950 Rose Bowl. A Pro Bowler in 1955, he is a surviving member of the 1954 and 1955 NFL Champion Cleveland Browns.
October 7, 1927: Game 3 of the World Series. The 60‚695 on hand at Yankee Stadium see the Yankees' Herb Pennock take an 8-0 lead and a perfect game into the 8th against the Pirates. He retires Glenn Wright‚ the 22nd straight batter‚ but Harold "Pie" Traynor, the Bucs' Hall of Fame 3rd baseman, breaks the spell with a single‚ and Clyde Barnhart doubles him home. Pennock settles for a 3-hit 8-1 victory.
October 7, 1928: Game 3 of the World Series. Lou Gehrig hits 2 home runs to make a winner out of Tom Zachary, and the Yankees beat the St. Louis Cardinals 7-3 at Sportsman's Park. They can complete the sweep tomorrow.
October 7, 1931: Game 5 of the World Series. Philadelphia Athletics manager Connie Mack, who surprised everyone in 1929 by starting veteran Howard Ehmke in the Series opener, tries the ploy against the St. Louis Cardinals with former Yankee Waite Hoyt. Pitching in his 7th Series, Hoyt falls victim to Pepper Martin, who homers and drives in 4 runs with 3 hits. Hallahan wins for the Cards 5-1.
Also on this day, Lowell Fitzsimmons is born in Hannibal, Missouri, hometown of the real-life Samuel Clemens, a.k.a. Mark Twain, and of the fictional characters he created such as Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, as well as the fictional M*A*S*H commanding officer, Colonel Sherman T. Potter.
Cotton Fitzsimmons -- when your real name is Lowell and you have no middle name, it helps to have a nickname -- was, as songwriter-actor Kris Kristofferson would say, "a walking contradiction, partly truth and partly fiction." He played basketball at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas, and coached 2 seasons at Kansas State, before going to the pros.
He was named head coach of the Phoenix Suns in just their 2nd season, 1970, and got them to the Playoffs. He got the Atlanta Hawks into the Playoffs in 1973, the Kansas City Kings in 4 times between 1979 and 1984, the San Antonio Spurs in in 1985 and '86, and the Suns 4 straight times from 1989 to 1992, and 1 more time in his 3rd stint in Phoenix in 1996.
He was named NBA Coach of the Year in 1979 (with Kansas City) and 1989 (with Phoenix). Overall, he won 832 games as an NBA head coach, 341 of them with the Suns, who hung a banner with the number 832 on it, standing in for a retired uniform number. In 8th place on the all-time wins list when he retired, he still ranks 10th.
He is a member of the Suns' Ring of Honor and the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, and on the NBA's 50th Anniversary in 1996, he was named to its 10 Greatest Coaches. Alas, he has not yet been elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame. He died of the combined effects of lung cancer and several strokes, in 2004, age 72.
Also on this day, Thomas Edison Lewis -- Thomas Alva Edison died the same year -- is born in Greenville, Alabama. Not Greenbow: Forrest Gump was also a football star at the University of Alabama, but his story and his hometown are fictional. Tommy Lewis was real.
A fullback, he scored 2 touchdowns in the Crimson Tide's win over Syracuse in the 1953 Orange Bowl. His last game was the 1954 Cotton Bowl, and he scored a touchdown to give 'Bama a 6-0 lead. But in the 2nd quarter, Rick halfback Dickey Moegle scored on a 79-yard touchdown run, and, unlike Alabama, they successfully kicked the extra point.
Later in the quarter, Moegle took off from his own 5-yard line, and sped down the sideline in front of the Alabama bench. He was going to score a touchdown, but Lewis ran onto the field -- he didn't even have his helmet on at the time -- and tackled him at the Alabama 42-yard line. This was interference -- not to mention 12 men on the field -- and Lewis knew it, thinking that Alabama would be penalized only 5 yards for, as the rule book calls it, "illegal participation."
Referee Cliff Shaw wouldn't have it: He invoked "the palpably unfair act," which accounts for situations when a flagrant rule violation prevents a player from scoring by awarding the score anyway. (This is the equivalent of a "professional foul" in other forms of football. I don't know what it would be in rugby or its close cousin, Australian rules football. But in soccer, it is cause for a straight red card, the fouling player getting thrown out of the game; if it happens in the penalty area, a penalty kick is awarded.) Shaw ruled that Moegle would have scored, and awarded Rice a touchdown.
It remains one of the most shocking plays in football history. At the time, the only more famous play in college football history was probably the wrong-way run by California's Roy Riegels that resulted in a safety that gave Georgia Tech a win in the 1929 Rose Bowl. Someone looked "Wrong Way" Riegels up, hoping for a quote by a man who might understand. Riegels did, indeed, watch the '54 Cotton Bowl on TV, and said Lewis "must feel like a sap." (After all, it was still only 7-6 Rice at the time. Even at 14-6, the game would still have been winnable for Alabama.)
Lewis apologized to Moegle as the teams left the field for halftime. Moegle would score a 3rd touchdown, and teammate Buddy Grantham would add another, and Rice won, 28-6. All told, Moegle rushed for an astounding 265 yards, a Cotton Bowl record for the next 54 years -- 208 of them on his 3 touchdown runs.
But both players became celebrities as a result, partly due to the game being on television, and TV having become almost universal by 1954. CBS was the broadcaster, and another CBS figure, Ed Sullivan, invited them onto his variety show. Ed asked Lewis what he was thinking when he saw the chance to make the illegal tackle. He said, "Mr. Sullivan, I guess I was just so full of 'Bama."
Lewis was drafted by the Chicago Cardinals, but didn't make the team. He played for the Ottawa Rough Riders of the Canadian Football League in 1956 and '57 -- appropriate, since Canadian-style football is 12-a-side to begin with! He later coached a minor-league team in Alabama, and died in 2014, at the age of 83.
Moegle would later change the spelling of his name so that it matched the pronunciation, and tended to drop the juvenile-sounding Y, so that he's usually now called "Dick Maegle." He had a longer career, playing as a defensive back in the NFL from 1955 to 1961, mostly with the San Francisco 49ers, and closed his career with his home-State Dallas Cowboys (before they got good). He was elected to the College Football and Texas Sports Halls of Fame. He later broadcast for the Houston Oilers and ran a hotel, and is still alive, age 81.
Cliff Shaw was rated as the top referee in the Southwest Conference every season from 1951 until his retirement in 1966, and later served as an executive at a dairy in Little Rock, Arkansas. He lived until 1998, age 91.
October 7, 1932: Leavitt Leo Daley is born in the Los Angeles suburb of Orange, California. A 2-time All-Star for the Kansas City Athletcs, Bud Daley had a career record of 60-64, and was a member of the Yankees' 1961 and 1962 World Champions. In each case, he is 1 of 10 surviving players from the team in question.
October 7, 1933: Prior to Game 5 of the World Series‚ at Griffith Stadium in Washington, flags are lowered to half-staff to honor William L. Veeck‚ president of the Chicago Cubs, who died suddenly. He is not well remembered with the passage of more than 80 years, but his son, Bill Veeck, already working in the Cubs' front office by 1933, will become one of baseball’s most remarkable men.
In the meantime, the Series comes to a close when Mel Ott homers in the top of the 10th inning for a 4-3 Giants victory. Adolfo "Dolf" Luque, Cuban but light-skinned enough to play in the majors of the time, gets the win in relief. The Giants are World Champs for the 4th time, tying the Yankees and the Philadelphia Athletics for the most all-time.
This remains, 83 years later, the last World Series game played by a Washington team, let alone in the District of Columbia. Ya think the Nationals now wish they'd let Stephen Strasburg pitch just 1 inning in the 2012 NL Division Series? One very particular inning?
The last surviving member of the 1933 Giants was left fielder Joseph "Jo-Jo" Moore, who lived until 2001.
October 7, 1935: Game 6 of the World Series, at Navin Field (later renamed Briggs Stadium and Tiger Stadium) in Detroit. Stan Hack of the Cubs leads off the top of the 9th inning with a triple, but his teammates can't bring him home. In the bottom of the 9th, Goose Goslin singles home his catcher and manager, Mickey Cochrane, to win 4-3, giving Detroit its 1st World Championship in any sport.
This will quickly be followed by the Lions winning the 1935 NFL Championship, the Red Wings winning the 1936 and 1937 Stanley Cups, and Alabama-born, Detroit-raised boxer Joe Louis winning the Heavyweight Championship of the World in 1937.
The last survivor of the 1935 Tigers was Elden Auker, a submarine-style pitcher, who lived until 2006, enabling him to write the last baseball memoir of the period, Sleeper Cars and Flannel Uniforms; and to give interviews to Major League Baseball Productions that were used for the 1999 Major League Baseball All-Century Team broadcast, The Sporting News' 100 Greatest Baseball Players special the same year, the 2001 special honoring the 100th Anniversary of the American League, and various YES Network Yankeeography installments.
October 7, 1937: Game 2 of the World Series. As in Game 1, the Giants score in the 1st inning, and not again in the game. Red Ruffing not only outpitched rookie Cliff Melton, but singled home the go-ahead run in the 5th inning, on the way to an 8-1 Yankee victory.
October 7, 1938: Adrianne Shirley Haydon is born in Birmingham, West Midlands, England. Better known as Ann Haydon-Jones, she won the French Open in 1961 and 1966, and Wimbledon in 1969. She also became a champion at table tennis (whose players insist that it not be called "ping-pong"). When she married the much older Pip Jones, they became a running gag on Monty Python's Flying Circus. She had the last laugh, though, as she wrote textbooks on tennis and table tennis, and remains one of the most admired living British sportswomen.
October 7, 1939: Game 3 of the World Series. Charlie Keller would have been the Most Valuable Player of this Series had there been such an award at the time. He hits 2 home runs, Joe DiMaggio and Bill Dickey also go deep, and the Yankees beat the Cincinnati Reds 7-3, behind the pitching of Bump Hadley. They can complete the sweep tomorrow.
Also on this day, Bill Snyder -- apparently, his full name, not "William," and no middle name -- is born in St. Joseph, Missouri. In 1989, after 27 seasons as a high school head coach and a college assistant, at North Texas and Iowa, he was handed the head coaching reins at Kansas State University, one of the sorriest programs in college ball: All-time, in 93 season, they were 299-510 (.370), with the most losses of any Division I-A program. When he arrived, they hadn't won a game in 3 years.
By 1991, he had gotten them to a winning record. In 1993, he got them to the Copper Bowl, their 2nd bowl game, and their 1st bowl win. They went to bowls for 11 straight seasons, winning 6. In 1998, he got them to an 11-0 start and a Number 1 ranking, before they dropped their last 2 games.
He retired after the 2005 season, and KSU Stadium was renamed Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium. He returned to the post in 2009, and is still there, at the age of 76. His record is 190-95-1 (a devilish winning percentage of .666), he's won 4 Division titles, 2 overall Big 12 Conference Championships (2003 and 2012), and was named Coach of the Year twice (1998 and 2011). He was just inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Also on this day, John Eugene O'Donoghue is born in Kansas City, Missouri. The pitcher was an All-Star in 1965, because every team needed at least 1 and he was the best there was on the Kansas City Athletics that year. That was the highlight of his career. He managed to save 6 games for the expansion 1969 Seattle Pilots, made the move to Milwaukee to become the Brewers, and finished up with the 1971 Montreal Expos.
He is still alive. His son, also named John O'Donoghue, pitched 11 games in the majors, all for the 1993 Baltimore Orioles.
October 7, 1940: Game 6 of the World Series. Bucky Walters pitches a 5-hit shutout at Crosley Field, and becomes the 1st pitcher in 14 years to hit a Series home run. The Cincinnati Reds beat the Tigers 4-0.
October 7, 1943: Game 3 of the World Series. Bloomfield, New Jersey native Hank Borowy pitches the Yankees to a 6-2 win over the Cardinals at Sportsman's Park, and the Yankees take a 2 games to 1 lead. It is the 1st time as a World Series hero for Borowy. It will not be the last -- but it will be the last as a Yankee.
Also on this day, José Rosario Domec Cardenal is born in Matanzas, Cuba. Among the last of the Cuban baseball players to reach the major leagues before Fidel Castro cut off the supply, he played the outfield for 18 seasons, batting .275 and hitting 138 home runs. He had his best years with the Cubs, and spent late 1979 and early 1980 with the Mets. He didn't play in his 1st postseason game until he was 35, with the 1978 Phillies, and closed his career against the Phillies with the Kansas City Royals in the 1980 World Series.
He went into coaching, and was Joe Torre's 1st base coach with the Cardinals and then the Yankees, winning World Series rings in 1996, 1998 and 1999. His most recent job in the majors was in the Washington Nationals' front office in 2009.
October 7, 1944: Pete van Wieren is born in Rochester, New York. He broadcast Atlanta Braves games from 1976 to 2008, and also did games of Atlanta's other teams: The NFL's Falcons, the NBA's Hawks and the NHL's Flames before their move to Calgary. The Braves elected him to their team Hall of Fame, and he died in 2014.
October 7, 1945: Charles Richard Bates is born in McArthur, Ohio. Dick Bates was a pitcher in the minor leagues from 1964 to 1970. He made his only big-league appearance with the Seattle Pilots (making him a bullpen mate of the aforementioned John O'Donoghue) on April 27, 1969, pitching an inning and 2/3rds and allowing 5 runs. He pitched 3 games in Triple-A ball in 1970, and was released, throwing his last professional pitch at age 25. He now runs a country club in the Phoenix area.
October 7, 1946, 70 years ago: Game 2 of the World Series at Sportsman's Park. Harry "the Cat" Brecheen pitches a 4-hit shutout, and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Boston Red Sox 3-0. The Series goes to Boston tied 1-1.
Also on this day, John Brass (no middle name) is born in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. One of his country's greatest living rugby stars, he excelled for Eastern Suburbs in the 1970s, and was briefly captain of the national rugby league team, the Kangaroos. He also played the somewhat different rugby union, the more common version of the game, and played for the national team, the Wallabies.
October 7, 1947: A day after the Yankees won the World Series, Del Webb and Dan Topping buy out the shares of the team's other part-owner, Larry MacPhail, who was also the club's general manager. MacPhail had ruined the postgame party the night before with a drunken tirade.
Although he had brought lights and local radio broadcasts to baseball, built a winner in Cincinnati, saved the Brooklyn Dodgers from bankruptcy and built them into a winner, and gave the Yankees their 1st organizational steps forward since Yankee Stadium opened, he never worked in baseball again, because of his erratic behavior. As was said of the Roaring Redhead, "With no drinks, he was beautiful. With one drink, he was brilliant. With two drinks, he was impossible. And he rarely stopped with two."
And he would die before his election to the Baseball Hall of Fame. But his son Lee and grandson Andy would become prominent baseball executives, with Lee joining Larry as the only father and son ever both elected to the Hall.
October 7, 1949: Game 3 of the World Series. Ralph Branca pitches pretty well for the Dodgers, until the 9th inning. With the score tied 1-1, Johnny Mize hits a 2-run pinch-hit single, and Jerry Coleman drives in another run. The Dodgers get homers from Roy Campanella and Luis Olmo in the bottom of the 9th, but both were solo jobs, and the Yankees win 4-3, to take a 2 games to 1 lead in the Series.
October 7, 1950: Game 4 of the World Series. Rookie lefthander Eddie Ford, with 9th inning help from Allie Reynolds, beats the Philadelphia Phillies 5-2, as the Yankees complete the sweep. Coleman wins the Babe Ruth Award as the Series Most Valuable Player.
Ford and the Phillies' center fielder Richie Ashburn both have very light blond hair that gets them nicknamed "Whitey." In Ashburn's case, even that was a shortening, of "The White Mouse." Ford will be drafted into the Army, and spend the 1951 and '52 seasons in the Korean War, but when he comes back in '53, he will be at the top of his game, and he will be "Whitey" from then on.
In contrast, most Phillies fans did not yet know Ashburn as "Whitey," but his friends did. The nickname became more familiar as he became a broadcaster, with partner Harry Kalas calling him "Whitey" and referring to him, when he's not there, as "His Whiteness."
The Phils are nicknamed "the Whiz Kids" because they have the youngest average age of any Pennant-winner ever, 23. They turned out to be the last all-white team to win a National League Pennant. Ashburn would later say that they figured they had enough time to win a few more Pennants.
But mismanagement, and the success of the team the Phils edged to win the Pennant, the Brooklyn Dodgers, meant that, by the time the Phils did win another Pennant, Ashburn was in the booth, and the Phils' biggest stars would be men who were small children in 1950: 9-year-old Pete Rose, 6-year-old Steve Carlton and Tug McGraw, 2-year-old Mike Schmidt, and a child who would not be born until a few weeks after the 1950 World Series, Greg Luzinski.
With the recent death of Yogi Berra, there are 3 players from the 1950 Yankees' World Series roster who are still alive: Ford, catcher Charlie Silvera, and 3rd baseman Bobby Brown.
Also on this day, Richard Manuel Jauron is born in Peoria, Illinois. A safety, he graduated from Yale, and played 8 seasons in the NFL, for the Detroit Lions (and was an All-Pro in his rookie season of 1973) and the Cincinnati Bengals.
He was an assistant coach who aided in the rise of the Green Bay Packers in the 1990s, was the 1st defensive coordinator of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1995, and was head coach of the Chicago Bears from 1999 to 2003, winning the last title of the old NFC Central before realignment, in 2001, and being named NFL Coach of the Year. He was later interim head coach of the Detroit Lions in 2005, and head coach of the Buffalo Bills from 2006 to 2009. His most recent coaching job was as defensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns in 2012.
October 7, 1952: In the decisive Game 7, the Yankees beat the Dodgers at Ebbets Field, 4-2, to win their 4th consecutive World Championship, their 15th overall, and their 1st without Joe DiMaggio in 20 years. The Dodgers still haven't won a World Series, and the idea that "Next Year" will come is getting more and more frustrating.
This game was highlighted by the Dodgers loading the bases in the bottom of the 7th. Yankee manager Casey Stengel had already used each of his "Big Three": Vic Raschi, Eddie Lopat, and now Allie Reynolds. He calls on the lefty reliever who had closed out the previous year's Series, Bob Kuzava.
He gets Jackie Robinson to pop the ball up, but the late afternoon sun is peeking through the decks of Ebbets Field, and nobody sees the ball! Nobody except 2nd baseman Billy Martin, who dashes in, and catches the ball at his knee to end the threat.
It was the 1st time Billy would ruin Dodger hopes. The last time he did so, it would be as a manager, and the Dodgers would represent Los Angeles.
Gil Hodges finishes the Fall Classic hitless in 21 at-bats, which had prompted some Brooklyn fans, some fellow Catholics, some not, to gather at local churches asking for divine help for their beloved 1st baseman. Fortunately, Dodger owner Walter O'Malley, mean old man that he is, is not George Steinbrenner, and doesn’t do what George did to Dave Winfield following his 1-for-21 performance in the '81 Series against the L.A. edition of the Dodgers: Call him "Mr. May," in comparison to "Mr. October," Reggie Jackson.
There are 3 surviving 1952 Yankees: Kuzava, the aforementioned Silvera, and Irv Noren. Ford, as I said in the 1950 entry, was not on the roster in this season, as he was serving in the Korean War.
Also on this day, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin is born in Leningrad, Soviet Union (now St. Petersburg, Russia). Russia's virtual dictator since 1999 has some connections to sports: He is a judo master, a skier, a badminton player, a cyclist and a fisherman.
He also fancies himself a hockey player, having played in a benefit game, scoring several goals that the goalie didn't exactly try to stop (and God, whom Putin does not believe exists, help any opponent who checked him into the boards). He was instrumental in helping Russia get soccer's 2018 World Cup. (Bribery?) He is a fan of his hometown soccer team, Zenit St. Petersburg, often called the most racist club in the world.
October 7, 1955: Allen Ginsberg gives the 1st public reading of his poem "Howl" at the Six Gallery in the North Beach section of San Francisco. The poets reading that night were, in order: Philip Lamantia, Michael McClure, Philip Whalen, Ginsburg and Gary Snyder. Jack Kerouac, already a published novelist but 2 years away from his magnum opus On the Road being published, refused to read his own work, but cheered the other writers on.
While the poem, which sparked an obscenity trial, is best remembered for its opening of, "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness," the part that sticks out to me is Part II, in which Ginsberg compares America's consumer culture to a Canaanite god, usually in the form of a giant bull and demanding the sacrifice of children, mentioned in the Old Testament as Molech (MOLL-ick) or Moloch (MOH-lock):
What sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination? Moloch! Solitude! Filth! Ugliness! Ashcans and unobtainable dollars! Children screaming under the stairways! Boys sobbing in armies! Old men weeping in the parks!
I don't know if Ginsberg (1926-1997) cared about sports at all -- although, as a native of Paterson, New Jersey and a New York resident for most of his life, he certainly had the opportunity to face sports. (In contrast, Kerouac was a star football player and track performer in high school, who washed out at Columbia University.)
But he wouldn't have been surprised at the move of the Brooklyn Dodgers to Los Angeles just 2 years later; at the corporations buying the naming rights to stadiums and arenas; or at the massive amounts of money that TV networks pay to televise sports, to the point where the NFL teams could lock their stadiums and not admit one single fan to a game, and not collect one single admission fee, and still make a profit.
Of the 5 readers that night, McClure and Snyder are still alive. So is Lawrence Ferlinghetti, owner of the nearby City Lights Bookstore, who put it together and published Howl. He is 97 years old.
October 7, 1956, 60 years ago: Game 4 of the World Series. Mickey Mantle and Hank Bauer back Tom Sturdivant's complete game with home runs, and the Yankees tie the Series up, 6-2. The stage is set for one of the most amazing games in baseball history tomorrow.
Also on this day, Brian Louis Allen Sutter is born in Viking, Alberta, the 2nd-oldest of 7 brothers who played professional hockey. Only the oldest brother, Gary, did not make it to the NHL, mainly because he wanted to try something else. Duane and Brent would be the only ones to win the Stanley Cup, as part of the early 1980s Islander dynasty.
Brian reached the NHL first, scoring 303 goals in 12 seasons. When he retired in 1988, the St. Louis Blues, for whom he played for his entire career, not only retired his Number 11 (making him the only Sutter brother so honored to date), but named him head coach.
In 1991, he won the Jack Adams Award as NHL Coach of the Year. He coached the Boston Bruins to the 1993 Adams Division regular-season title, and also coached the Calgary Flames. But, as a coach or a player, the closest he ever got to the Cup was the 1986 Campbell (Western) Conference Finals. He is now coaching in the minor leagues. His son Shaun Sutter is now assistant general manager of a junior team in Alberta, the Red Deer Rebels.
October 7, 1957: Lew Burdette beats the Yankees in Game 5, his 2nd win of the Series, a brilliant 1-0 shutout to give the Milwaukee Braves a 3-2 Series lead.
The day gets worse for New York baseball, as the Los Angeles City Council approves the Chavez Ravine site for Dodger Stadium by a vote of 10 to 4. The Giants had already announced their move to San Francisco, and now the Dodgers' move was inevitable. It was announced the next day. Apparently, finally winning the World Series in 1955 and another Pennant in 1956 couldn't save them.
Also on this day, Jayne Torvill (no middle name) is born in Nottingham, England. With Christopher Dean, she won the Gold Medal in ice dancing at the 1984 Winter Olympics. They both got married to other skaters, but not to each other, but you wouldn't know that by watching them: Their routine, to the tune of Maurice Ravel's Bolero, was too hot for 1980s prime-time TV.
October 7, 1961: Game 3 of the World Series at Crosley Field, the 1st Series game in Cincinnati in 21 years. William "Dummy" Hoy, the 99-year-old former center fielder who was a fine hitter and base stealer for the Reds in the 1890s despite being deaf, throws out the ceremonial first ball. (Unfortunately, he dies 2 months later, 5 months short of turning 100.)
The Yankees trail the Reds 2-1 going into the 8th inning, but home runs by Johnny Blanchard and Roger Maris (not officially counted as his 62nd of the season) off Reds starter Bob Purkey give the Yanks a 3-2 win, and a 2 games to 1 lead in the Series.
Most of NBC's World Series footage from 1947 to 1974 has been lost. Somehow, the 9th inning of this game has survived. Note that Mel Allen gives a recap of the scoring as Maris steps up to bat, since instant replay was still 2 years away from being invented. (CBS would debut it at the 1963 Army-Navy Game.)
At about the 6:15 mark, you can see the Reds' bullpen in foul territory, and the famous "incline" in Crosley's deep left field. You'll also notice that the Reds fans gave a nice hand to Maris as he trotted around the bases, even though he hit the home run that may have just beaten them -- a better reception than he got for some of his Yankee Stadium homers that year. They still, however, cheered when Purkey struck out the next batter, Mickey Mantle. And Mel's broadcast partner, Joe Garagiola, was Yogi Berra's across-the-street neighbor growing up in St. Louis, and has insight into him as he bats.
Also on this day, Anthony Joseph Sparano III is born in West Haven, Connecticut. His name confused people familiar with the fictional Tony Soprano. He is one of many NFL coaches who has proved successful as an assistant, but not as a head man: He got the Miami Dolphins to the 2008 AFC East title, but had a losing record after that. He was offensive coordinator for the Jets in 2012, closed out the 2014 season as interim head coach of the Oakland Raiders, and has since crossed the Bay, where he is now tight ends coach of the San Francisco 49ers.
October 7, 1962: Game 3 of the World Series. The Yankees score 3 runs in the 7th off Billy Pierce, but the Giants nearly come back in the 9th. Bill Stafford holds them off, and gets the complete-game victory, 3-2.
October 7, 1964: Game 1 of the World Series. Whitey Ford develops a problem with his elbow, and has to leave the game in the 6th inning, after giving up a home run to Mike Shannon and a double to Tim McCarver. Before Al Downing can finish the inning, the Cardinals have scored 4 runs, and win the game 9-5.
Whitey had appeared in 22 Series games, winning 10 and losing 8, all records that still stand. But he would never appear in another: His injury kept him out of the rest of the '64 Series, and the Yankees didn't make it back until 1976.
Whitey Ford has never gotten the credit he deserves -- not during his career, when he was always overshadowed by Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra and Roger Maris; and not in the nearly half-century since his retirement. Fans under the age of 55 have never seen him pitch, except in Old-Timers' Games. Fans whose memories begin with the Torre/Jeter/Rivera era haven't even seen him do that.
They don't get just how good he was, just how important he was. So who is the greatest pitcher in Yankee history: Whitey Ford, or Mariano Rivera? It's a tough call. For those of you who aren't old enough to have seen Whitey pitch (and I'm not), think about this: The very fact that there I'm putting into question that a Yankee pitcher might have been better, or more valuable, than the shining Mariano Rivera should tell you just what a gem Whitey Ford was. And, since he's still alive, is. Presuming he lives another 2 weeks, he'll be 88 years old. And, with Yogi's death, he is arguably (with Rivera, Derek Jeter and Reggie Jackson also in the discussion) the greatest living Yankee.
Also on this day, Paul Andrew Stewart is born in Manchester, England. A midfielder, he starred for Lancashire side Blackpool, spent a season at hometown club Manchester City, and scored in the 1991 FA Cup Final for Tottenham Hotspur -- the last major trophy that "Spurs" have won. He also played for Liverpool and Sunderland, making him one of the few players to play in a Manchester Derby (City vs. United), a North London Derby (Arsenal vs. Tottenham), a Merseyside Derby (Liverpool vs. Everton) and a North-East Derby (Newcastle United vs. Sunderland).
October 7, 1965: Game 2 of the World Series. Having Don Drysdale lose to the Minnesota Twins the day before, because Sandy Koufax wouldn't pitch on Yom Kippur, the Los Angeles Dodgers need Koufax to pitch well today. But Jim Kaat pitches even better, and helps his own cause with 2 RBIs, as the Twins beat the Dodgers 5-1 at Metropolitan Stadium. The Bums are in a big hole as they head back to L.A.
October 7, 1967: Game 3 of the World Series, the 1st of 19 Series games that would be played at the new Busch Memorial Stadium in St. Louis. A Mike Shannon home run backs up Nelson Briles, and he outpitches Gary Bell of the Boston Red Sox, to give the Cardinals a 5-2 win, and a 2-1 lead in the Series.
October 7, 1969: The Cardinals trade Curt Flood, Byron Browne, Joe Hoerner and Tim McCarver to the Phillies in exchange for Richie Allen, Jerry Johnson and Cookie Rojas.
Essentially, this was a "my headache for your headache" trade. Flood and McCarver had been complaining about how they were being treated by Cardinal owner Gussie Busch. And Allen was a lightning rod, who stayed out late, arrived to games late, drank too much, bet on horse races, and (however unintentionally) stirred up the racial resentments of "the City of Brotherly Love." He had also begun to insist upon being called "Dick," saying that "Richie" was "a little boy's name." On this, Phillies broadcaster and center field legend Richie Ashburn (who usually preferred "Rich," and, unlike many white men in this uneasy time, didn't mind being called "Whitey") backed him up on it.
As could be expected, Allen, who so badly wanted out of Philadelphia, is involved in a trade that also became controversial -- except, ironically, his part in it isn't the controversial part. He reports to St. Louis without controversy, has a good 1970 season for the Cards, and, on his return to Philadelphia with his new team, is cheered by the Philly fans, and hits a home run.
The controversial part involves Flood: Like Allen, he believes (with some reason) that Philadelphia is a racist city, and refuses to report to the Phillies. He writes to Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, telling him he has the right to ply his trade wherever he likes under American labor laws, and that the reserve clause, which binds a player to a single team in perpetuity unless he is released, or traded (in which case, he becomes the property of the new team, as was the case here), is unconstitutional.
Since Kuhn is a lawyer, he should respect that. Since he is essentially employed by the 24 MLB team owners, he doesn't, and the case will go all the way to the Supreme Court, where Flood will lose in 1972. A later case gets the reserve clause struck down, but too late to help Flood, or any other previous challenger.
The Cardinals will send Willie Montanez and a minor leaguer to complete the trade, but Flood's courageous challenge to the reserve clause will have a dramatic impact on the game. Flood died in 1997, his health compromised by years of drinking.
The Phillies will eventually get Allen back, and, having been transplanted across town to Veterans Stadium, will face cheers as in 1964 instead of boos as in 1965 to 1969, and will help the Phils win the NL Eastern Division title in 1976. These days, he works in the Phils' front office, has beaten his own drinking problem, and whenever he's introduced at Citizens Bank Park, he is thoroughly cheered.
October 7, 1972: The NHL's 2 new expansion teams, the New York Islanders and the Atlanta Flames, play their 1st regular-season games, against each other, at the Nassau County Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 30 miles east of Midtown Manhattan.
Original Captain Ed Westfall scores the Islanders' 1st goal, and Morris Stefaniw scores the 1st for the Flames, who win, 3-2. Stefaniw's goal is the 1st in the Coliseum's history, and it turns out to be the only one he scores in the NHL: Aside from 13 games with the Flames that season, he turns out to be a career minor leaguer.
The Isles' 1st season will be very rough, giving no indication as to the consistent excellence they will produce from 1975 to 1987, and the 4 straight Stanley Cups they will win from 1980 to 1983.
October 7, 1973: Priest Anthony Holmes is born in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and grows up in San Antonio. Yes, "Priest" is the name he was born with. A 3-time Pro Bowler, he won Super Bowl XXXV with the Baltimore Ravens, led the NFL in rushing with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2001, and rushed for 8,172 yards in his career. The Chiefs have elected him to their team Hall of Fame.
He now runs a children-themed charitable foundation, and is eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but not in.
Also on this day, Nélson de Jesus da Silva is born in Irará, Bahia, Brazil. Like Edvaldo Alves de Santa Rosa, who starred as a forward for Rio de Janeiro club Flamengo and helped Brazil win the 1958 World Cup, he is known by the nickname Dida. This one, however, is a goalkeeper.
He helped Belo Horizonte club Cruzeiro win the Copa do Brazil in 1996 and the Copa Libertadores, South America's version of the UEFA Champions League, in 1997. He moved on to São Paulo club Corinthians, and helped them win the Brazilian league in 1999 and the Copa do Brasil in 2002. Also in 2002, he was the starting goalie for his country as it won the World Cup. He also helped them win the Confederations Cup in 1997 and 2005, and the Copa América in 1999.
He moved on to one of the titans of Europe, A.C. Milan, winning the UEFA Champions League and the Coppa Italia in 2003, Serie A in 2004. and another Champions League in 2007. He is 1 of 9 players to have won both the Champions League and the Copa Libertadores, only the 2nd to accomplish the feat. The others are Juan Pablo Sorín, Roque Júnior, Cafu, Walter Samuel, Ronaldinho, Neymar and Danilo.
He last played in 2015, back in Brazil, for Internacional in Porto Alegre, winning the Campeonato Gaúcho (state championship) in 2014 and 2015.
He is not the only soccer legend born in this day. Sami Tuomas Hyypiä is born in Porvoo, Finland. He is easily the greatest player his country has ever produced, helping the now-defunct club MyPa to win the Finnish Cup in 1992 and 1995, before being signed by Dutch club Willem II Tilburg and then England's Liverpool.
With the Merseyside club, he won a unique Cup Treble: The FA Cup, the League Cup and the UEFA Cup (now known as the Europa League) in 2001. He helped them win another League Cup in 2003, another FA Cup in 2006 (their last major trophy to date), and, as Liverpool fans will never stop reminding us, the Champions League in 2005, beating Dida's A.C. Milan. (Milan got their revenge on Liverpool in the 2007 Final, though.)
He last played in 2011 for German club Bayer Leverkusen, and last season managed Swiss side FC Zurich.
October 7, 1975: Both League's Championship Series end in sweeps. In the afternoon, Rick Wise of the Red Sox shuts down the Oakland Athletics, Carl Yastrzemski makes 2 great defensive plays, and the Sox win, 5-3 at the Oakland Coliseum, ending the A's dynasty. It is the 1st American League Pennant for the Sox in 8 years, since the "Impossible Dream" of 1967. Only Yaz and Rico Petrocelli remain from that team in 1975.
That night, at Three Rivers Stadium, the Cincinnati Reds score twice in the top of the 10th inning, and beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3, to take their 3rd National League Pennant in the last 6 years.
The Reds will be seeking their 1st World Championship in 35 years; the Red Sox, their 1st in 57. The Ohio Valley vs. New England, the Big Red Machine vs. the Olde Towne Teame, both loaded with characters, both having waited a long time. Something's got to give.
October 7, 1976, 40 years ago: The Cleveland Barons play their 1st NHL game, after 7 seasons as a Bay Area team, known first as the Oakland Seals and then as the California Golden Seals. A team named the Cleveland Barons had played in the American Hockey League from 1929 to 1973, from 1937 onward at the old Cleveland Arena, and won 9 Calder Cups. In the 1950s, they challenged the NHL for the right to play their champions for the Stanley Cup, remembering that the Cup was once a challenge trophy, but were turned down.
The major-league edition of the Barons opens at the Coliseum in the Cleveland suburb of Richfield, and plays the Los Angeles Kings to a 2-2 tie. But they will be so cash-poor that they missed paying their players twice, and only a loan from the League kept them afloat. After 2 awful seasons, the NHL allows them to merge with another bankrupt team, the Minnesota North Stars, continuing under the North Stars name.
Despite the opening of what is now the Quicken Loans Arena in downtown Cleveland in 1994, the NHL has never returned to Northern Ohio, and wouldn't return to Ohio at all until 2000 (see below). A minor-league team would revive the Barons name in 2001, playing at "The Q," but failed, and moved in 2006. The current team playing at The Q is the Cleveland Monsters, and they won the Calder Cup last season.
Also on this day, Charles Woodson (no middle name) is born in Fremont, Ohio. Despite being named Ohio's Mr. Football at Ross High School in 1994, he rejected Ohio State to play for Michigan. In 1997, the free safety led the Wolverines to the National Championship, and became the 1st purely defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy.
An 8-time Pro Bowler, he helped get the Oakland Raiders to Super Bowl XXXVII, and the Green Bay Packers to win Super Bowl XLV. He is the only player in NFL history to have career totals of at least 50 interceptions and 20 sacks. He was named to the NFL's All-Decade Team for the 2000s. He retired after last season.
Also on this day, Gilberto Aparecido da Silva is born in Lagoa da Prata, Minas Gerais, Brazil. The midfielder starred in his homeland before being signed by North London club Arsenal. He helped them win the 2003 FA Cup, win the Premier League with its only modern unbeaten season in 2004, and another FA Cup in 2005, before falling in the Champions League Final in 2006.
He moved on to Athens club Panathinaikos, winning Greece's Super League and Cup (Double) in 2010. He returned to Brazil and helped "hometown" club Atlético Mineiro win the state championship and the Copa Liberatores in 2013. For his country, he won the World Cup in 2002, the Confederations Cup in 2005 and 2009, and the Copa América in 2007. He retired after the 2013 Copa Libertadores.
Also on this day, Santiago Hernán Solari Poggio is born in Rosario, Argentina. A midfielder, he led Buenos Aires soccer giants River Plate to 2 league titles, and was also a member of their 1996 Copa Libertadores team, although he did not play in he tournament. He moved to Spain, and, with Real Madrid, won La Liga in 2001 and 2003, the UEFA Champions League in 2002. Like Dida, he is 1 of only 9 players to have won the Champions League and the Copa Libertadores.
He later won Serie A, the Italian league, with Internazionale Milano in 2006 (also taking the Coppa Italia for a Double), 2007 and 2008. He now manages Real Madrid Castilla, Real Madrid's reserves.
October 7, 1977: Game 3 is played in each League Championship Series. Dennis Leonard, a Brooklyn native, goes the distance, and the Kansas City Royals beat the Yankees 6-2. The Royals take a 2-1 lead in the series, and need just 1 more win for their 1st Pennant.
They will be disappointed. But perhaps not as badly as the Phillies. First 1950, then 1969, now 1977: October 7 is not a good day for baseball in the City of Brotherly Love.
It starts out as a great one: The 63,719 fans at Veterans Stadium are so loud, they force Dodger pitcher Burt Hooton to load the bases in the 2nd inning, and then walk 2 runs home. The Phils, who won 101 games (a team record not broken until 2011), look like they're going to win this game, and will need just one more win for their 1st Pennant in 27 years, since the 1950 Whiz Kids.
But in the top of the 9th, trailing 5-3 and down to their last out, the Dodgers benefit from a sickening turn of events. Pinch hitter Vic Davalillo, a 41-year-old Venezuelan outfielder who has already retired from baseball once, shows enough guts to lay down a drag bunt, at his age, with 2 strikes, and he beats it out.
Another again Latin pinch hitter, 39-year-old Dominican Manny Mota, hits a long drive to left field. Ordinarily, Phils manager Danny Ozark would have sent Jerry Martin out to left for defensive purposes, in place of the powerful but defensively suspect Greg Luzinski. This time, he didn't, and the Bull can only trap the ball against the fence. (In fairness, I’ve seen the play several times, and I don't think Martin would have caught it, either, especially since he was a bit shorter than the Bull.) Luzinski throws back to the infield, but Phils 2nd baseman Ted Sizemore mishandles it, Mota goes to 3rd, and Davalillo scores. It's 5-4 Phils, with 2 out.
Then comes one of the most brutal umpiring screwups ever. Remember, the Dodgers are still down to their last out. Davey Lopes' grounder hits a seam in the artificial turf, and caroms off Mike Schmidt's knee to shortstop Larry Bowa‚ and Bowa's throw is incorrectly ruled late. Instead of the game being over in Philly's favor, Mota scores the tying run. The Dodgers go on to win, 6-5, and win the Pennant the next day.
In Philadelphia, the game is known as Black Friday. The umpire whose call killed the Phils? Bruce Froemming. He had already cost Milt Pappas a perfect game with a bogus ball four call in 1972 (though Pappas kept the no-hitter), and will go on to umpire for a record 37 years, with his swan song being the 2007 AL Division Series between the Yankees and the Cleveland Indians, when he, as crew chief, refused to stop the game until the Lake Erie Midges left.
October 7, 1978: The Yankees beat the Kansas City Royals for the 3rd straight year, and win their 3rd straight Pennant, their 32nd overall. Roy White, in his 14th season with the Yankees, hits a tiebreaking homer in the 6th. Graig Nettles homers and makes a sensational play at 3rd, and Ron Guidry wins for the 26th time in his remarkable season.
The NL Pennant is also decided today, and, yet again, the Phillies can't catch a break. In Game 4 of the NLCS, Ron Cey scores in the 10th inning on Bill Russell's 2-out game winning single, giving the Dodgers a 5-4 victory, and their 2nd consecutive Pennant. Cey, who walked after the first 2 batters were retired, advanced into scoring position when Garry Maddox misplayed Dusty Baker's fly ball in center field.
How odd is this? Maddox was so good in center field that he was nicknamed the Secretary of Defense. Ralph Kiner, the Pirate slugger turned Met broadcaster, said, "Two-thirds of the Earth is covered by water. The other third is covered by Garry Maddox." But on this occasion, Maddox blows it. He will, however, catch the final out of the NLCS in 1980, when the Phillies finally win the Pennant after 30 years.
Also on this day, Zaheer Khan is born in Shrirampur, India. I don't know what makes a cricketer great, but he starred for India's national team from 2000 to 2014, including winning the 2011 Cricket World Cup. He also starred in English County Cricket for Worcestershire, and now plays back in his homeland for Delhi Daredevils.
October 7, 1981: For the 1st time, a Major League Baseball postseason game is played outside the United States. The Montreal Expos defeat the Phillies 3-1 in Game 1 of the strike-forced National League Eastern Division Series at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal.
October 7, 1982: Jermain Colin Defoe is born in Beckton, East London. Despite being just 5-foot-7 1/2, the striker became a legend at Tottenham -- or, rather, what passed for a "legend" among Spurs fans.
He first starred for East London club West Ham United, before moving to Spurs, the other club in North London. He was sold to Portsmouth, managed by former West Ham manager Harry Redknapp, in 2008. But because he'd played for Spurs in their 3rd Round FA Cup match, he was "cup-tied," and couldn't play for "Pompey" in the FA Cup... which they won, the club's only major trophy since the 1950 League title. Meanwhile, Spurs won the League Cup, their last trophy of any significance (which isn't much), and he wasn't there for it!
Heavily in debt and desperate for cash after Redknapp left them -- ironically, for Spurs -- Pompey sold him back to Spurs, where he remained until 2014. An ill-fated season in North America with Toronto F.C. followed, and now he's back in England with Sunderland. He's played 55 times for England, scoring 19 goals.
Despite his long service in the game, he's never won a trophy, coming the closest with Portsmouth in 2008 (ineligible for their FA Cup) and Tottenham in 2009 (their defense of the League Cup ending in defeat in the Final). He did reach the Quarterfinals of the 2011 Champions League with Tottenham, but that's hardly a trophy. He's certainly unlikely to get anything with Sunderland this season, seeing as how they're in danger of relegation and just changed managers for the 374th time in the last 20 seasons. (That's an exaggeration, but it sure seems like that many.)
Also on this day, Madjid Bougherra is born in Longvic, France. The son of Algerian immigrants, he played for Algeria in the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, including the 2010 game that the U.S. won on Landon Donovan's stoppage-time goal.
The centreback won Scottish Premier League titles with Glasgow club Rangers in 2009 (also winning the Scottish Cup for a Double), 2010 and 2011. Knowing Rangers were in financial meltdown, he moved to Lekhwiya in the Qatar Stars League, and won the title there in 2012 and 2014. He now plays in Greece for Aris Thessaloniki.
October 7, 1983: Scottie Upshall -- the only name I have for him -- is born in Fort McMurray, Alberta. The right wing plays for the St. Louis Blues, after a career that's taken him to Nashville, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Columbus and Florida.
October 7, 1984: Game 5 of the NLCS. Winner takes the Pennant. The San Diego Padres are in their 16th season, and have never won one. The Cubs haven't won one in 39 years. Something has to give at San Diego's Jack Murphy Stadium.
The Cubs lead 3-0 going into the bottom of the 6th, but the Padres score 2 runs. Eventual NL Cy Young Award winner Rick Sutcliffe begins the bottom of the 7th by walking Carmelo Martinez. Garry Templeton bunts him over to 2nd. The batter is Tim Flannery, a good-field-no-hit 2nd baseman, pinch-hitting for pitcher Craig Lefferts (and not much of an upgrade at the plate). He hits a dribbler to 1st, and Leon Durham lets it go through his legs -- much as the man he replaced as Cub 1st baseman, Bill Buckner, will do in the World Series 2 years later. Martinez scores the tying run.
Then the Padres pile it on. Alan Wiggins singles. Tony Gwynn doubles Flannery home with the go-ahead run. Wiggins also scores on the play. And last night's Padre hero, Steve Garvey, singles home Gwynn. The score is 6-3, and it stays that way.
Of note for Yankee Fans: There were 3 members of their 1981 Pennant-winners on the Padres: Graig Nettles, Goose Gossage, and outfielder Bobby Brown (no connection to the earlier Yankee 3rd baseman of the same name).
For Padre fans, it is their 1st Pennant, and the biggest moment in San Diego sports since the Chargers won the 1963 AFL Championship. For Cub fans, it is a bigger heartbreak than 1969. In 1969, it took them an entire month to melt down; in 1984, it takes less than 24 hours. (They hadn't seen nothin' yet: In 2003, it would take them 15 minutes.)
On this same day, there is big football news. Walter Payton of the Chicago Bears breaks Jim Brown's career rushing record of 12,312 yards. The Bears beat the New Orleans Saints 20-7 at Soldier Field. Payton would eventually be surpassed by Emmitt Smith, who still holds the record.
Also on this day, Simon Busk Poulsen is born in Sønderborg, Denmark. The left back led PSV Eindhoven to win last season's Dutch league (Eredivisie) title. Previously, he won it with AZ Alkmaar in 2009, after playing in his homeland whom he represented at the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012.
Also on this day, Salman Butt is born in Lahore, Pakistan. One of his country's top cricketers, he was named the national team's Captain in 2010, but shortly thereafter was accused of match-fixing. He was stripped of the captaincy after just 46 days, served a year and a half in prison for fraud, and received a 10-year ban, of which 5 years were suspended. Last year, he and his co-conspirators had the remainder of their ban dropped, and they were cleared to return to competitive cricket. Aside from participating in this year's National One Day Cup, he has not.
October 7, 1985: Evan Michael Longoria is born in the Los Angeles suburb of Downey, California. Not to be confused with actress Eva Longoria, and you shouldn't tell the 3rd baseman that he throws like a girl.
He was AL Rookie of the Year in 2008, helping the Tampa Bay Rays win their 1st Pennant. He's a 3-time All-Star, a 2-time Gold Glove winner, and a 4-time postseason participant (2008, '10, '11 & '13). He is the Rays' all-time leader in home runs (2413) and RBIs (806).
October 7, 1986, 30 years ago: William Chase Daniel is born outside Dallas in Irving, Texas. In 2007, the quarterback became the 1st University of Missouri player to be named Big 12 Conference Offensive Player of the Year. He finished 4th in the Heisman Trophy voting, and only Paul Christman in 1939 has ever finished higher as a Missouri player.
In the 2009 season, he won a Super Bowl ring as Drew Brees' backup on the New Orleans Saints. He has never started a game in the NFL, and is now backup to Carson Wentz on the Philadelphia Eagles.
Also on this day, Lee Nguyen is born outside Dallas in Richardson, Texas. The midfielder for the New England Revolution previously won the Gatorade High School Soccer Player of the Year award in 2005, and the Eredivisie with PSV Eindhoven in 2007 and 2008.
Also on this day, Wallace Wade dies in Durham, North Carolina at age 94. The Tennessee native came north in 1914 to play guard on the football team at Brown University in Providence. Pro football not really being a thing yet, he went into coaching, and from 1921 to 1923, he was an assistant football coach, head baseball coach and head basketball coach at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.
In 1923, became the head coach and the athletic director at the University of Alabama. He turned them into a national power for the first time. Leading them to 4 Championships in the old Southern Conference (from which both the SEC and the ACC sprang) and National Championships in 1925, 1926 and 1930.
In 1931, he moved to Duke. In his time, the Durham-based school was much more known for football than for basketball. He led them to Southern Conference titles in 1933, 1935, 1936, 1938, 1939 and 1941. After the last of these seasons, Duke was invited to play in the Rose Bowl. But after Pearl Harbor, the government decided that a West Coast stadium with 90,000 people in it was too tempting a target for the Japanese, whose ability to attack our shores was not yet understood. (We later found out that they couldn't have done it.) Which meant that the other team invited to play in the game, Pacific Coast Conference Champion Oregon State, also couldn't host it. Wade invited the Rose Bowl Committee to play the game at Duke Stadium. With a lot of borrowed aluminum bleachers bringing capacity from 22,000 to about 56,000, for the only time in its history, the Rose Bowl was played outside Pasadena. Oregon State won, 20-16.
Wade retired after the 1950 season, finishing his coaching record at 171-49-10, to become Commissioner of the Southern Conference, a post he held until 1960. He lived long enouh to be elected to the College Football Hall of Fame, and for Duke to rename its stadium Wallace Wade Stadium for him. Since his death, Alabama has erected a stadium to him outside Bryant-Denny Stadium, along with the other coaches to lead them to National Championships: Frank Thomas (not the Big Hurt, or the original '62 Met), Bear Bryant, Gene Stallings and Nick Saban.
October 7, 1987: James McArthur (no middle name) is born in Glasgow. A midfielder, he helped Hamilton Academical gain promotion to the Scottish Premier League in 2008, and helped Wigan Athletic pull off their incredible run that ended with shocking Manchester City to win the 2013 FA Cup. He now plays for South London club Crystal Palace.
October 7, 1988: Diego da Silva Costa is born in Lagarto, Sergipe, Brazil. The forward for West London club Chelsea might just be the dirtiest player in soccer today. He has been cited for violent conduct and diving many times. In other words, he fits in perfectly with Chelsea, a despicable club in many ways.
But he wins. With Spanish club Atlético Madrid, he won Spain's Copa del Rey in 2013, and its La Liga in 2014, also reaching the Final of the Champions League. Chelsea then bought him, and, in 2015, won both the League and the League Cup.
Still, both his face and his style of play are as ugly as sin. He's so ugly (How ugly is he?) that people have speculated that he might be considerably older than 28.
October 7, 1991, 25 years ago: Leo Durocher dies at his home in Palm Springs, California. He was 86. As a player, the shortstop had won the World Series with the Yankees in 1928 and the Cardinals' "Gashouse Gang" in 1934. As a manager, he won Pennants with the Dodgers in 1941 and the Giants in 1951 and 1954, winning the 1954 World Series as well.
His shift from Flatbush to Washington Heights in 1948 made him the most hated opponent in Dodger history. If you know soccer, think how Barcelona fans feel about Luis Figo, or how Tottenham fans feel about Sol Campbell.
He later managed the Cubs during their 1969 "September Swoon," and his managing career came to an end with the 1973 Astros. He was posthumously elected to the Hall of Fame in 1994.
He was played by Christopher Meloni in 42, the 2013 film about Jackie Robinson. Despite the film being sanitized as far as profanity (but not racial slurs) was concerned, it showed Leo's personal life to be a mess. How he and Branch Rickey, baseball's premier moralist, general manager of the 1930s Cardinals and president of the 1940s Dodgers, ever got along, I'll never know.
He believed "Nice guys finish last," and used that as the title for his 1975 memoir. There are many examples of this belief being wrong, including Robinson.
Also on this day, the Yankees fire manager Carl "Stump" Merrill. He had gotten the job in mid-1990, when George Steinbrenner fired former postseason playing hero Bucky Dent. He is replaced by Buck Showalter, and somebody said that the man Buck would be fired for would have to be nicknamed Stumpy.
The former catcher, a native of Brunswick, Maine, whose playing career had ended due to injury in 1971, became a minor-league manager, entering the Yankees' system in 1978. He let West Haven to 1st place in Double-A ball in 1979, and when the team was moved to Nashville, he did it again in 1980 and 1981. He won a Florida State League Pennant in 1982, and finished 1st at Triple-A Columbus in 1984. In 1985 and 1986, he was coaching with the Yankees, and won the Eastern League Pennant with Double-A Albany in 1988 and the Carolina League Pennant with Class A Prince William in 1989.
The 1991 season was the 1st in 4 years that the Yankees did not make a managerial change in mid-season -- probably due to George Steinbrenner's suspension. But, clearly, Stump was not going to be the answer. His managerial record in the major leagues was 138-186, and he's never managed in the majors again.
He has, however, remained in the Yankee organization, won another Pennant with Columbus in 1996, managed the Trenton Thunder in New Jersey in 2003 and 2004, and in 2005 was named to the position of Special Assistant to the General Manager, which he still holds at age 72. (He looked that old while he was managing.)
October 7, 1992: The Tampa Bay Lightning play their 1st game, at home at the Expo Hall of the Florida State Fairgrounds. Chris Kontos scored not only the club's 1st goal, but a hat trick, as they beat the Chicago Blackhawks 7-3.
The Bolts, who beat the Miami-based Florida Panthers to the ice by a year, became popular enough that they easily outgrew the 10,425-seat Expo Hall, and played the 1993-94 season at the ThunderDome, now Tropicana Field. In its hockey setup, they set an NHL record (since totally blown away by Winter Classics and other outdoor games) of 27,227 fans.
They moved into what's now named the Amalie Arena in 1996, and, ironically considering how hot Florida gets and how hockey is played on ice, doing much better at the box office than MLB's Rays and the NFL's Buccaneers. And that was before they reached the 2015 Stanley Cup Finals (but after they won the Cup in 2004).
Also on this day, Markus Lynn Betts is born in the Nashville suburb of Brentwood, Tennessee. Like Met hero William Julius Wilson, he is nicknamed Mookie. The right fielder is in his 1st season as an All-Star, and his 1st postseason with the Red Sox.
October 7, 1995: Game 4 of the ALDS. The Yankees can win the series over the Seattle Mariners at the Kingdome tonight. But Edgar Martinez has other ideas. He breaks an 8th-inning tie with a grand slam, and the Mariners go on to win 11-10, forcing a Game 5.
The Yankees had now blown a 2-games-to-none lead, and I was thinking, "Uh-oh... " I had little confidence that they would win Game 5. They led in it, late, but...
Also on this day, the Montreal Canadiens have their final season opener at the Montreal Forum. They will move to the Molson Centre (now the Bell Centre) in January. They retire the Number 1 worn by Hall of Fame goaltenders Georges Vezina, George Hainsworth, Bill Durnan and Jacques Plante, but only for Plante -- not for Vezina, for whom the NHL's annual trophy for the most valuable goalie is named.
Perhaps the result is poetic justice: Patrick Roy is pulled in the 2nd period after allowing 5 goals, and Les Habitantes fall 7-1 to the Philadelphia Flyers. It will not be Roy's last shelling in Le Sainte Flannelle -- and it will lead to one of the nastiest "divorces" in the history of North American sport. Eventually, however, they will patch things up, and Roy's Number 33 will be retired by the Habs.
October 7, 1998: Game 2 of the ALDS. In the top of the 12th inning, Travis Fryman bunts for the Cleveland Indians. Yankee 1st baseman Tino Martinez fields it, and throws to 2nd baseman Chuck Knoblauch covering 1st. Except the ball hits Fryman in the back, and he reaches base safetly. That would have been bad enough.
Except Knoblauch argues that Fryman ran out of the baseline -- which he had. But the ball is still loose and in play, and Enrique Wilson (later a Yankee), even though he stumbles approaching the plate, scores the go-ahead run. The Indians score 2 more runs in the inning, and win 4-1.
I had gotten up to get a drink, and missed what became known as "the Blauch-head Play." Had I seen it as it happened, I would have gone straight to Newark Airport, where the Yankees would have been heading to fly to Cleveland for the next 3 games, and beaten Knoblauch to a pulp with my bare hands.
Right, I think somebody would have stopped me. But I sure wanted to! He had put the Yankees' magnificent season in jeopardy.
October 7, 2000: Game 3 of the NLDS. Benny Agbayani’s 13th inning home run ends the longest LDS game ever played, 5 hours and 22 minutes. The dramatic round-tripper by the Mets outfielder, who (like a previous Met, Sid Fernandez) wears Number 50 because he's from Hawaii, the 50th State, gives the Mets a 3-2 victory, and a 2-games-to-1 series advantage over the San Francisco Giants.
On the same day, the Columbus Blue Jackets bring the NHL back to Ohio after 22 years, and give the State capital its 1st-ever major league team, unless you count MLS' Crew, or the Columbus Bullies who won the only titles of the 1940-41 American Football League.
Like the Tampa Bay Lightning, their 1st game is at home against Chicago. Unlike the Bolts, they lose, as the Blackhawks win, 5-3 at Nationwide Arena, still their home. Their 1st goal is scored by Bruce Gardiner.
Also on this day, the last event is held in the 77-year history of the original Wembley Stadium in London. The England national soccer team loses to Germany, 1-0. The last goal in the stadium is scored by Dietmar Hamann, who was, at the least, playing for an English club at the time, Liverpool.
Liverpool had been the club at which Kevin Keegan rose to stardom. He had also played in Germany, for Hamburger SV, before returning home, and starring for Southampton and Newcastle United. He had managed several teams, including nearly taking Newcastle to the 1996 Premier League title. So after Glenn Hoddle was properly fired as England manager, Keegan, known as Mighty Mouse for being short but talented, was named manager.
But after this match, the media cornered him in the bathroom of the dressing room, and he resigned. And so, Wembley's history as the home of English football ended with "Keegan quits in the toilet." (In England, "the toilet" is the entire rest room not just the bowl.) Although Keegan has had a few managing jobs since, he has never again managed any national side.
October 7, 2001: On the last day of the regular season -- delayed a week, due to the 9/11 attacks -- Rickey Henderson, now with the Padres, bloops a double down the right-field line off John Thomson of the Colorado Rockies. It is the 3,000th hit of his career.
Tony Gwynn, who is playing in his last game, meets him at home plate, 2 members of the 3,000 Hit Club together. Gwynn retires with a .338 lifetime batting average, which remains the highest of any player who debuted after the 1939 season. (Ted Williams' rookie year, and he finished with .344.) It is also the highest of any black man, whether American or Hispanic.
Also on this day, Barry Bonds extends his major league record for home runs in season to 73*, as he drives a 3-and-2 1st-inning knuckleball off Dodger Dennis Springer over the right field fence. The blast also secures two more major league records * for the Giants’ left fielder, as he surpasses Babe Ruth (1920, .847) with a .863* season slugging percentage, and bests Mark McGwire (1998, one homer every 7.27 AB * ) by homering in every 6.52 at-bats *.
Indeed, it is a day of records. The Chicago Cubs lose to the Pittsburgh Pirates, 4–3. They become the 1st team in major league history to not allow an opposing pitcher to throw a complete game against them all season. Sammy Sosa closes out 2001 with his 64th home run in his final at-bat of the game, and sets a new franchise record with 98 extra base hits, one more than Hack Wilson (1930).
Sosa also finishes with another franchise record of 425 total bases (the seventh best all-time total), 2 ahead of Wilson. His 160 RBI are the highest total in the NL since Chuck Klein posts 170 in 1930; Sosa's RBI total for the past four years also breaks Klein's four-year mark set in 1929-32. To finish out the record day, 5 Cubs pitchers combine for 12 strikeouts as the staff sets a major league record with 1,246 strikeouts. The New York Yankees do the same, setting an AL mark with 1,266 strikeouts.
October 7, 2003: Game 1 of the NLCS at Wrigley Field. The Florida Marlins defeat the Chicago Cubs‚ 9-8‚ on Mike Lowell's pinch-hit homer in the 11th inning. The Cubs had tied the game at 8-8 on Sammy Sosa's 2-out‚ 2-run homer in the bottom half of the 9th to send the game into extra innings. The teams combine to hit 7 homers to set an NLCS record.
Everyone talks about Game 6 of this series. They never seem to consider that if the Cubs had simply won Game 1, there never would have been a Game 6.
October 7, 2004: The Atlanta Braves even their NLDS against the Houston Astros with a 4-2 win in 11 innings. Rafael Furcal wins it with a walkoff home run.
October 7, 2006, 10 years ago: The Mets defeat Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium, 9-5, to complete a 3-game sweep in the NLDS. For their fans, the Mets finally get revenge on the evil O'Malleys, even though that family hasn't owned the L.A. Bums since 1997.
It took the Mets 9 years to win another postseason series. It's worse for the Dodgers: Since beating the A’s in the 1988 World Series, they have not won a Pennant.
On the same day, the Tigers beat the Yankees 8-3, to win their Division series, 3 games to 1. Magglio Ordonez and Craig Monroe homer for the Tigers. Just 3 years after setting an AL record with 119 losses in a season, the Tigers will be playing for the Pennant.
The Yankees had played so well all year long, but in this series, they couldn't hit the ground if they fell off a freakin' ladder. Hideki Matsui batted only .250, Johnny Damon .235, Robinson Cano .133, Jason Giambi .125, Gary Sheffield .083 (1-for-12), and Alex Rodriguez .071 (1-for-14). A-Rod had been hitting so poorly that manager Joe Torre bats him 8th today. With a few exceptions, every Yankee Fan I know thinks it was totally deserved.
Cory Lidle finished the 3rd inning for the Yankees, relieving Jaret Wright, and pitched a scoreless 4th, before getting tagged for 3 runs without retiring a batter in the 5th. Sheffield and Wright never appeared for the Yankees again. Lidle never appeared for anyone again.
Also on this day, Julen Goikoetxea, a Basque from Spain who had won 5 races in his 1st 2 seasons as a competitive cyclist, jumped off the balcony at his home in Ondarroa, killing himself. He was only 21 years old.
October 7, 2010: With only 17 previous instances of a manager being thrown out of a game in the 128-year history of MLB postseason play, 2 such occurrences happen on the same day, when the Rays' Joe Maddon and the Twins' Ron Gardenhire are ejected from different ALDS games.
Maddon, the Tampa Bay skipper, gets the heave-ho in the 5th frame in a game against Texas, for arguing a check-swing with home plate umpire Jim Wolf. The Rangers beat the Rays 6-0. Gardenhire, the Minnesota pilot, suffers the same fate, for arguing balls and strikes with Hunter Wendelstedt, in the 7th inning in the contest against the Yankees, who win 5-2.
October 7, 2013: Game 3 of the ALDS. The Red Sox, as they have been known to do, blew a lead, 3-0 in the 5th. But the Rays also blew a lead, 4-3 in the top of the 9th. The Rays have the last laugh, though: Jose Lobaton takes Koji Uehara over the center field wall in the bottom of the 9th, and the Rays win 5-4.
That is, the Rays have the last laugh for this day. They will not, however, have the last laugh for this series.
October 7, 2014: Cigar, the thoroughbred named Racehorse of the Decade for the 1990s, dies from complications from his osteoarthritis treatments at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. He was 14.
A grandson of 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew, he was a late bloomer, not racing at all at age 2 and not entering any of the Triple Crown races at 3. But in 1995 and 1996, at 5 and 6, he won 16 consecutive races, something not done since Citation, the 1948 Triple Crown winner, did it from 1948 to 1950. His wins included the 1995 Gulfstream Park Handicap, Hollywood Gold Cup, Jockey Club Gold Cup, Pimlico Special, Woodward Stakes and Breeders' Cup Classic; and the Woodward again in 1996.
He very nearly became the 1st racehorse ever to earn $10 million, a 3rd-place finish in his final race in 1996 topping him out at $9,999,815. That stood as a record until Curlin, the 2007 Preakness and Breeders' Cup Classic winner, broke the $10 million barrier in 2008.
October 7, 2015: Harry Gallatin dies following surgery in the St. Louis suburb of Edwardsville, Illinois. He was 88. Although he played minor-league baseball, Harry the Horse was much better at basketball. A 7-time All-Star, he helped the Knicks reach the NBA Finals in 1951, 1952 and 1953, and led the NBA in rebounding in 1954.
In 1963, he was named Coach of the Year for his work with the St. Louis Hawks. He also coached the Knicks in the 1965-66 season. He is a member of the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, but not the Basketball Hall of Fame.