Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Game 7 Tonight: Let It End With a Hero

Tonight is it. Game 7 of the World Series. Progressive Field in Cleveland. The Cleveland Indians, who haven't won the World Series in 68 years -- as long as the Boston Red Sox had gone at the time of their oh-so-close call in 1986 -- play the Chicago Cubs, who haven't won it in 108 years, and hadn't even been in it for 71 years.

Whichever team wins, their fans will know joy unlike any they have ever experienced in their lives. I just hope they celebrate like human beings, don't wreck anything, and don't become assholes in victory like Red Sox fans did after winning the 2004 World Series, and like New York Rangers fans did after winning the 1994 Stanley Cup.

Whichever team loses, their fans will hit rock bottom, especially if the star of the game is a goat rather than a hero. This will especially be the case if it's the Indians, who led 3 games to 1 with Games 6 and 7, if necessary (as they turned out to be), at home. But, either way, the losing team's fans will be like, "We couldn't beat them? That bunch of historical losers? What hope do we have?"

On Opening Day, if you had asked Indian fans or Cub fans, "If I told you right now that your team would get all the way to Game 7 of the World Series, with no guarantee as to whether you would win it, would you take it?" I would hope that they would all say, "Yes."

I have no preference. Either team winning would be fine with me. I just want the winner to have won well, and the loser to have not blown it or thrown it away. Another Bill Mazeroski would be fine with me. I don't want another Fred Snodgrass moment (even if Snodgrass was hardly alone in losing the 1912 World Series, and did man up about it), or another Don Denkinger moment.

Let it end with a hero.

We shall see. Game 7 is scheduled for 8:00 PM Eastern Time. Kyle Hendricks starts for the Cubbies, Corey Kluber for the Tribe. Game on.


November 2, 1795: James Knox Polk is born in Pineville, North Carolina, now a suburb of Charlotte. He lives most of his life in and around Columbia, Tennessee, now a suburb of Nashville. He graduated from the University of North Carolina, well before the invention of basketball. However, UNC still beats Duke: Its Presidential connection is that Richard Nixon graduated from its law school.

A member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Tennessee from 1825 to 1839, Speaker of the House from 1835 to 1839, and Governor of Tennessee from 1839 to 1841, Polk was elected President in 1844. Texas was annexed right before his Inauguration, so he doesn't get credit for adding Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. But in 1846, he launched the Mexican-American War, which was essentially won in a year and a half. Having achieved his ambitions, he kept his promise to not run for re-election, contracted cholera, and died on June 15, 1849, just 3 months after leaving office -- the shortest ex-Presidency ever.

Cities whose teams are possible because of his expansionism are San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Diego, Phoenix, Salt Lake City and, as soon as their hockey team starts (and the Raiders move there, if they do), Las Vegas.

November 2, 1865: Warren Gamaliel Harding is born in Blooming Grove, now a part of North Bloomfield Township, Ohio, outside Columbus. November 2 remains the only day on the calendar to be a birthday of 2 Presidents. That will remain the case no matter who wins next Tuesday.

He lived most of his life in nearby Marion, ran a newspaper, and was elected Lieutenant Governor and then a U.S. Senator. Elected President in 1920, he died in office on August 2, 1923, as the Teapot Dome scandal began to swirl around his Administration.

He got off easy with the law (2 of his Cabinet officers went to prison), but not with history (he is generally regarded as one of the worst, and dumbest, Presidents ever, and that's before you get into his womanizing).

He was a big baseball fan, and on Opening Day of the 1923 season, as the Yankees visited Washington to face the Senators, he threw out the ceremonial first ball, and shook hands with Babe Ruth.
November 2, 1881: The American Association of Professionals is founded, challenging the National League, with the motto "Liberty to All." The members are St. Louis‚ Cincinnati‚ Louisville‚ Allegheny‚ Athletic (Philadelphia)‚ and Atlantic (Brooklyn). This AA has officially, for many years, been considered by Major League Baseball to be a "major league."

The AA elects H.D. McKnight as its president. It votes to honor the NL blacklist in the case of drunkenness, but not to abide by the NL reserve clause. The new league will rely on home gate receipts‚ visiting teams getting just a $65 guarantee on the road‚ as opposed to the NL's policy of giving 15 cents from each admission to the visitors. The AA will allow Sunday games‚ liquor sales‚ and 25-cent tickets (about $6.50 in today's money)‚ all prohibited by the NL (which then charged 50 cents for all games).

Six of their clubs would eventually join the National League. Two would be contracted out of existence in 1900: The Louisville Colonels and the original Baltimore Orioles. The other 4 are still in business today, albeit under other names: The St. Louis Browns (St. Louis Cardinals), the Cincinnati Red Stockings (Cincinnati Reds), the Pittsburgh Alleghenys (Pittsburgh Pirates), and the Brooklyn Grays (who replaced the Atlantics in 1884, and are known today as the Los Angeles Dodgers).

November 2, 1889: North Dakota is admitted to the Union as the 39th State. At the same time, South Dakota is also admitted, as the 40th State. This is the only time 2 States have been admitted on the same day, and it begins a 10-day stretch in which 4 States are added.

Neither State has any major league teams, and very few professional teams at any level, due to being so sparsely populated: Between them, they have only 1.6 million people, and aside from Mount Rushmore, which is outside Rapid City, South Dakota, they don't have much in the way of tourist attractions.

For the most part, the Dakotas are considered part of the Minneapolis-St. Paul sports "market," and most people there are Twins and Vikings fans, though western South Dakota has a noticeable presence of Denver Broncos fans.

November 2, 1898: Cheerleading is started at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, with Johnny Campbell leading the crowd in cheering on the football team.


November 2, 1902: Victoriano Santos Iriarte is born in Montevideo, Uruguay. A forward for Racing Club de Montevideo, he scored the winning goal for Uruguay in the 1st World Cup Final, beating Brazil on home soil in 1930. He lived until 1968.

November 2, 1903: Travis Clayton Jackson is born in Waldo, Arkansas. The shortstop played on the New York Giants' Pennant winners of 1922, '23, '24, '33 and '36, winning the World Series in 1922 and '33.

He managed in the minor leagues from 1936 to 1960. In 1982, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, in his 45th year of eligibility -- the longest any player has had to wait, and still live to see his election. He died in 1987.

November 2, 1913: Former St. Louis Browns manager George Stovall is the 1st figure from either of the established major leagues to jump to the Federal League‚ signing to manage the Kansas City Packers.

With glib salesman Jim Gilmore as its president‚ and backed by several millionaires‚ including oil magnate Harry Sinclair and Brooklyn baker Robert Ward‚ the Feds declare open war 2 weeks later by announcing they will not honor the major leagues' reserve clause. It will prove a long‚ costly struggle‚ but with more losers than winners‚ similar to the AA's and AL's beginnings.

On this same day, Burton Stephen Lancaster is born in Manhattan. One of the most acclaimed actors of the 20th Century, one of his last roles (but not his very last) was as an old doctor who used to be a baseball player in Field of Dreams.

November 2, 1914: John Samuel Vander Meer is born in Prospect Park, Passaic, County, New Jersey, and grows up in nearby Midland Park, Bergen County. On June 11 and 15, 1938, pitching for the Cincinnati Reds, he became the 1st, and remains the only, pitcher ever to throw back-to-back no-hitters. He blanked the Boston Braves at Crosley Field in Cincinnati, and then did the same to the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field, in the 1st major league night game ever played in New York City.

Many years later, Johnny Vander Meer was interviewed by a reporter for the Chicago Daily News for the anthology book My Greatest Day In Baseball. He said, "It would seem natural for me to name the second successive no-hitter I pitched in 1938 as my biggest day in baseball, and I'll have to explain why it isn't. I was still just a novelty, a kid who had done a freakish thing."

He was sick the next year and couldn't get untracked. While the Reds won the Pennant, he was not called on to pitch in the 1939 World Series, which the Reds lost to the Yankees. He got sent back to the minors in 1940. "I knew that was what I needed. At the same time it made me realize just how quickly a fellow can fall from the pedestal."

He pitched solidly for the Indianapolis Indians, then the Reds' Triple-A team, and was called back up. On September 18, 1940, he started what could have been the Pennant-clinching game for the Reds, against the Philadelphia Phillies at Shibe Park. The game went 13 innings, and he pitched 12 innings. He batted in the top of the 13th and doubled, was sacrificed to 3rd, and Ivan Goodman hit a sacrifice fly to get him home. He was relieved by Joe Beggs for the bottom of the 13th, and the Reds won, 4-3. The Reds won the Pennant, and Vander Meer had his greatest day in baseball.

This time, he pitched in the World Series, tossing 3 scoreless innings against the Detroit Tigers in Game 5. The Reds won in 7 games, and he had his ring.

He went 16-12 in 1941, and came close to a 3rd no-hitter. He peaked at 18 wins the next year, and led the NL in strikeouts in 1941, '42 and '43. He was a 4-time All-Star, so he wasn't just a guy who caught lightning in a bottle for 5 days.

He served in the U.S. Navy in World War II. Although he missed the entire seasons of 1944 and '45, at ages 29 and 30, prime years, he said that pitching on a Navy team helped his control, and the statistics do back that up somewhat. He won 17 in 1948, but that was it, and after a stint with the Chicago Cubs, he last pitched in the majors in 1951 with the Cleveland Indians. In 1952, pitching for the Tulsa Oilers of the Texas League, he pitched another no-hitter, at age 37.

Much like a later no-hit hero, Don Larsen, Vander Meer was actually slightly under .500 for his career: In his case, 119-120. He had allowed so much as 1 hit in each of those 1938 games, he might be remembered today for that feat, but not nearly as well.

Instead, for 78 years, every time a pitcher has thrown a no-hitter, the name of Johnny Vander Meer has come up, with people wondering if the new no-hit hero can match his feat. None ever has -- at least, not in the major leagues. I have heard that 1 pitcher did it in the minors since 1938, but I can find no reference to this achievement.

Vander Meer became a minor league manager in the Reds' organization for 10 seasons, before retiring in 1962. He then worked for a brewing company. He was inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame in 1958. He retired to Tampa, where the Reds long had their spring training complex, threw out ceremonial first balls at 6 World Series for the Reds (1961, 1970, 1972, 1975, 1976 and 1990), jsat for an interview for the Reds' 100th Anniversary team video in 1992, and lived until October 6, 1997, suffering an abdominal aneurysm. He was 82.


November 2, 1920: KDKA begins broadcasting out of Pittsburgh, the 1st commercial radio station in America. The first broadcast is the results of the Presidential election. Warren Harding becomes the only person elected President of the United States on his birthday, defeating Governor James M. Cox of Ohio in a landslide. It is the 1st time women in all States can vote for President.

A year later, KDKA will become the 1st radio station to broadcast a baseball game, and the 1st to broadcast a football game. Eventually establishing itself at 1020 on the AM dial, it was long a Westinghouse Broadcasting station, but since 1996 has been part of CBS. It broadcast Pirates games from 1955 to 2006, including the 1960, '71 and '79 World Championships.

November 2, 1921: William Mosienko (no middle name) is born in Winnipeg. A 5-foot-8 right wing for the Chicago Blackhawks, he's in the Hockey Hall of Fame. On March 23, 1952, he scored 3 goals in just 21 seconds, still an NHL record, as the Hawks beat the New York Rangers 7-6 at Chicago Stadium. He died in 1994.

November 2, 1924: Uruguay, which recently won the Gold Medal in soccer at the Olympics in Paris (including with the aforementioned Santos Iriarte), playing at home at Parque Central in Montevideo, plays Argentina to a 0-0 draw. That's good enough to clinch the South American Championship, the tournament now known as the Copa América.

That night, a group of Argentine fans gathered at the door of the Colón Hotel, where the Argentina delegation was staying. The fans began to sing, and the players came out to salute them. But a Uruguayan began a counterdemonstration, and, as had so often happened before in soccer fandom, and has since, the songs and insults flew. Soon, objects were being thrown. Then came the shooting, and 3 men were wounded. One of them, Pedro Demby, a 26-year-old bank clerk who had been punching Argentines, died.

He went down as the 1st man ever to die as a result of violence connected to South American soccer. He would not be the last.

November 2, 1928: William Raymond Daniel is born in Swansea, Wales. A centreback, he played for North London club Arsenal in the 1952 FA Cup Final, despite having a broken arm. Walley Barnes' injury in that game forced him to leave the pitch, but Ray Daniel played on, leaving Arsenal with essentially 9 men, 2 at the back, and they lost to Newcastle United.

But Daniel missed only 1 match in the 1952-53 season, and Arsenal edged Preston North End in the closest title race in Football League history. He then went to Sunderland (who know a thing or two about hating Newcastle), and played for both of the big clubs in Wales, Cardiff City and Swansea Town (now Swansea City). He later worked for the postal service, and lived until 1997.

November 2, 1936, 80 years ago: The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) is founded. It picks up Canada's favorite (or, should I say, its favourite) radio show, Hockey Night In Canada, which began in 1931. In 1952, a bit late, they began TV broadcasting, and HNIC remains the country's most popular TV show.

On the same day, the British Broadcasting Corporation begins the BBC Television Service, inventing what we would now call "network television." In 1964, it is renamed BBC1.

"The Beeb" beat America to network by 11 years. Oddly, they would be behind the curve when it came to "colour" TV: While nearly every U.S. TV show that had not already switched to broadcasting in color would do so by the start of the 1965-66 season, the CBC the next season, and the U.K.'s BBC and ITV wouldn't do so until 1969.

November 2, 1937: A benefit game -- effectively, an all-star game -- is held for the family of the late Montreal Canadiens legend Howie Morenz at the Montreal Forum. Morenz had broken his leg in a game the preceding January, and then died of a heart attack in March, often blamed on the near-party atmosphere his former teammates kept bringing to his hospital room.

The Howie Morenz Memorial Game featured a combined team of the 2 Montreal clubs, the Canadiens and the Maroons. (The Great Depression finally caught up with the Maroons, and they went out of business at the conclusion of the 1937-38 season.) Canadiens Hall-of-Famers in this game included Aurel Joliat, Toe Blake, and Babe Siebert -- who would drown in a boating accident 2 years later, and whose family would be the subject of the next NHL benefit game, also at the Forum. The Maroons included Frank "King" Clancy, at the end of the line after a Hall of Fame career with the Ottawa Senators and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Montreal team played an All-Star team made up of the rest of the NHL, including Hall-of-Famers: From the Leafs, Red Horner, Charlie Conacher and Harvey "Busher" Jackson; from the New York Rangers, Frank Boucher; from the New York Americans, David "Sweeney" Schriner and Leafs legend Clarence "Hap" Day; from the Boston Bruins, Clarence "Tiny" Thompson, Eddie Shore and Aubrey "Dit" Clapper; and from the Detroit Red Wings, Ebenezer "Ebbie" Goodfellow and Marty Barry. The 2 representatives from the Chicago Black Hawks, Johnny Gottselig and Harold "Mush" March, aren't in the Hall, but should be.

The Canadiens retired Morenz's Number 7, and then the Montreal All-Stars lost to the NHL All-Stars 6-5. The attendance was 8,683, not a sellout, but $26,595 (Canadian) was raised for the Morenz family.

Morenz's son, Howie Morenz Jr., was 10 years old at the time, and was presented with his father's jersey. He went on to play professionally, but bad eyes kept him from reaching the NHL, and he became an executive in the food supply industry, before dying in 2015, at age 88.

Howie's daughter Marlene married a later Canadiens Hall-of-Famer, Bernie "Boom-Boom" Geoffrion. Their son Dan Geoffrion played for the Canadiens, the Quebec Nordiques and the Winnipeg Jets. And Dan's son Blake Geoffrion played for the Nashville Predators before coming to the Canadiens, honoring his grandfather Boom-Boom (whose Number 5 is retired) and his great-grandfather the Stratford Streak (number 7) by wearing Number 57. Unfortunately, a head injury ended his playing career in 2013.

Bernie died in 2006. Dan is now a scout for the Leafs. And Blake is now an executive in the Columbus Blue Jackets' organization.

November 2, 1939: Enrico Albertosi is born in Pontremoli, Tuscany, Italy. A goalkeeper, he helped Florence club Fiorentina win the Coppa Italia in 1961 and 1966, the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1961, and the Mitropa Cup in 1966.

He helped Sardinia club Cagliari win a miracle League title in 1970, and with AC Milan won the 1977 Coppa Italia and the 1979 League title. He played for Italy in the 1962, 1966, 1970 and 1974 World Cups, reaching the Final in 1970, and won Euro '68. He was still playing professionally at age 44, and is still alive at 77.


November 2, 1945: Lawrence Chatmon Little is born in Savannah, Georgia, and grows up in Miami. The guard helped his hometown Miami Dolphins reach Super Bowl VI, win Super Bowl VII with the NFL's only perfect season (17-0), and win Super Bowl VIII.

Larry Little played in 5 Pro Bowls, and was named to the Miami Dolphins Honor Roll (though his Number 66 has not been retired), the NFL 1970s All-Decade Team, the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and, in 1999, The Sporting News' 100 Greatest Football Players. He later coached a small-college team in North Carolina, and is still alive.

November 2, 1946, 70 years ago: The NBA's Boston Celtics play their 1st game, losing 59-53 to fellow New Englanders the Providence Steamrollers at the Rhode Island Auditorium.

The Steamrollers, named for a defunct NFL team, would only last the 1st 3 NBA seasons. The Celtics would take a few years to get untracked, but became the NBA's dominant franchise, winning 16 titles in 30 season from 1957 to 1986, and a 17th in 2008. They and the New York Knicks are the only original NBA franchises still playing in their original city.

November 2, 1948: The most famous newspaper headline of all time? It might be the New York Daily News of October 30, 1975: "FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD." Or it might be the one the Chicago Tribune (a proud Republican paper at the time) put up the morning after today's Presidential election.
As it turned out, despite all predictions and despite all polls, Governor Thomas E. Dewey of New York, the Republican nominee, did not defeat the incumbent Democrat, President Harry S Truman. This made Truman the patron saint of every Presidential underdog since.

The problem is, Harry was smarter than most of them. Which is why he's enjoying himself so much in the photo above: He fooled 'em all.

But how dumb was Dewey to have blown what should have been a sure win?

Top 5 Reasons You Can't Blame Thomas Dewey for Losing the 1948 Presidential Election

5. Republican Complacency. They didn't give him the support he needed, because they presumed he wouldn't need it.

4. The Cold War. It was supposed to be Dewey's winning issue. Instead, it was Truman's, with the Truman Doctrine protecting Greece and Turkey from Communist takeover, and the Berlin Airlift preventing West Berlin from getting starved into capitulation.

3. The Curse of Herbert Hoover. After 16 years, voters still didn't trust Republicans with the economy. Truman never mentioned Hoover by name, because they were on good terms (whereas Hoover was definitely not on good terms with FDR -- or with his own Republican predecessor, Calvin Coolidge), so he blamed the Republicans in general for the Depression of the 1930s, and it worked.

2. The Ghost of FDR. Truman was good friends with his running mate, Albert Barkley, the Kentuckian who was the Democrats' Senate Leader. But he hitched his wagon to Franklin Roosevelt's legacy, effectively making FDR's ghost his running mate.

1. Harry Truman. He knew he could win, and how: By going to the people themselves, in what the GOP derisively called "a whistle-stop campaign," a phrase Truman ran with, and explaining the truth to people where they were and in terms they could understand. He connected with people the same way FDR did, even though they were very different men. 


November 2, 1950: The Baseball Writers Association of America selects Phillies relief pitcher Jim Konstanty as the NL's Most Valuable Player. This was the 1st time it had been awarded to a relief pitcher, and, presuming you think pitchers should be eligible at all, it was totally justified. Without him, the Phils would have been in the middle of the stadings; with him, they won the Pennant.

It would be another 31 years before another reliever won it, Rollie Fingers of the 1981 Milwaukee Brewers. In 1974, Mike Marshall of the Los Angeles Dodgers became the 1st reliever to win the Cy Young Award.

November 2, 1958: Willie Dean McGee (not "William") is born in San Francisco. The center fielder starred for the St. Louis Cardinals, winning the World Series in his rookie year of 1982, including hitting 2 home runs and making a great catch in Game 3 of the Series. He won National League batting titles in 1985 and 1990, and won 3 Gold Gloves, making 4 All-Star Games.

He reached the postseason with the Cardinals (1982 World Championship, 1985 NL Pennant, 1987 Pennant), the Oakland Athletics (1990 AL Pennant), the Boston Red Sox (1995 AL East title), and the Cardinals again (1996 NL Central title). The Cards elected him to their team Hall of Fame, and, while it is not officially retired, they have not handed out his Number 51 since he retired after the 1999 season. With a .295 batting average and 2,254 hits, he is a borderline case for the Hall of Fame.

November 2, 1960: George Weiss‚ recently turned 66‚ resigns as general manager of the Yankees. He had seen the firing of manager Casey Stengel by co-owners Dan Topping and Del Webb, and figured he was next, so he "got out of Dodge."

He said the Yankee farm system was drying up, and no one knew that better than he did: He'd built it, and seen Topping and Webb tell him, year after year, to trade prospects for a player or two who could help them win the Pennant in a given year. He said, at the time, that he gave the Yankees 5 years before they all fell apart. In the next 4 years, they won the Pennant. In the 5th, 1965, they crashed to 6th place.

Weiss is in the Hall of Fame, for having been GM for 11 Pennants and 8 World Championships, and for having been farm system director for 8 Pennants and 7 World Championships before that. But don't expect to see him ever get a Plaque in Yankee Stadium's Monument Park: He was hated by the players for being so cheap, and was very much a racist. He's one of those "He was great at what he did, but... " figures in sports history.

He should not be confused with George David Weiss, who, in 1961, would write 2 classics of the early Rock and Roll Era: "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" by the Tokens, and "Can't Help Falling In Love" by Elvis Presley.

November 2, 1962: Derek Mountfield (no middle name) is born in Liverpool, Merseyside, England. A centreback, he was part of the mini-dynasty at hometown soccer team Everton, winning the 1984 FA Cup, the Football League title in 1985 and 1987, and the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1985.

After managing in England's lower divisions and in Ireland, he is now what we would call a high school gym teacher.


November 2, 1971: The Baltimore Orioles' Pat Dobson pitches a no-hitter against the Tokyo-based Yomiuri Giants‚ winning 2-0 at Korakuen Stadium. It is the 1st no-hitter in the history of exhibition games between Japanese and American teams. The Orioles compile a record of 12-2-4 on the tour.

November 2, 1972: Former Boston Red Sox shortstop Freddy Parent dies at the age of 96. Parent had been the last surviving player from the 1st modern World Series between Boston and Pittsburgh in 1903. He was also the last surviving player from the first Pennant race between the teams now known as the Yankees and the Red Sox, in 1904.

November 2, 1974: The Atlanta Braves trade Hank Aaron to the team that replaced them in Milwaukee, the Brewers, for outfielder Dave May and a minor league pitcher to be named later. Aaron will finish his major league career in Milwaukee‚ where he started it in 1954.

Later that off-season, Aaron‚ the Home Run King of American baseball‚ and Yomiyuri Giants star Sadaharu Oh‚ his Japanese counterpart‚ square off for a home run hitting contest at Korakuen Stadium in Tokyo. Aaron wins 10-9. Aaron finishes his major league career with 755 home runs, Oh finishes his Japanese Leagues' career with 868. How many Oh would have hit in the North American majors is a mystery.

Also on this day, Orlando Luis Cabrera is born in Cartagena, Colombia. A shortstop, he played in the major leagues from 1997 to 2011, reaching the postseason with the Boston Red Sox, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the Chicago White Sox, the Minnesota Twins and the Cincinnati Reds.

He won 2 Gold Gloves, and was the starting shortstop on the 2004 World Champion * Red Sox. He was also the last out in Yankee pitcher David Cone's perfect game against the Montreal Expos on July 18, 1999.

November 2, 1975: A surreal event takes place at Madison Square Garden. The New York Rangers had traded popular goaltender Eddie Giacomin to the Detroit Red Wings, sparking outrage among their fans. As it happened, the Rangers' next home game was against the Wings.

Seeing Giacomin in not the white jersey with the blue Number 1, but the red jersey with the white Number 31, the Garden crowd chanted, "Ed-DIE! Ed-DIE! Ed-DIE!" all night long, and actually booed the Rangers when they scored.

The Red Wings won, 6-4, and, for perhaps the only time in Madison Square Garden history, the home fans cheered a visiting team's victory.

It was the end of an era that had seen the Rangers rise to championship contention, but the closest they'd gotten to the Stanley Cup was the 1972 Finals, losing to the Boston Bruins in 6 games. They were knocked out of the previous season's Playoffs by a 3rd-year expansion team, the suburban Islanders.

Just 9 days after The Giacomin Game, they would trade Brad Park, Jean Ratelle and Joe Zanussi to the Bruins for Phil Esposito and Carol Vadnais. The Rangers would miss the Playoffs in 1976 and '77, before bouncing back in '78 and reaching the Finals in '79.

With new management coming in, the Rangers made peace with Eddie, and retired his Number 1 in 1990.

November 2, 1976, 40 years ago: Former Governor Jimmy Carter of Georgia edges incumbent President Gerald Ford, to reclaim the White House for the Democrats. New Jersey voters approve casino gambling in Atlantic City -- which will one day have repercussions in another Presidential race, as Donald Trump will run in 2016 despite building 3 casino-hotels in A.C., and having them all go bankrupt. Some businessman he is.

Also on this day, Sidney Alton Ponson is born in Noord, Aruba, making him a citizen of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. He pitched in the major leagues from 198 to 2003, including brief stints with the Yankees in 2006 and 2008.

He reached the postseason with the 2003 San Francisco Giants and the 2006 Yankees, but never reached a League Championship Series. His career record was 91-113.


November 2, 1989: Stevan Jovetić is born in Titograd, Yugoslavia -- now Podgorica, the capital of the independent nation of Montenegro. He is probably the greatest soccer player that nation has ever produced.

The forward helped Partizan Belgrade win the Double, the Serbian SuperLiga and the Serbian Cup, in 2008. He helped Manchester City win the Premier League and the League Cup (or, as I like to call it, the Baby Double) in 2014. He now plays for Internazionale Milano.

November 2, 1995: The Yankees name Joe Torre as their new manager‚ replacing Buck Showalter. Torre had been a good catcher in the 1960s, a decent 1st baseman in the early 1970s, and a very good hitter throughout his playing career. His managing was another matter. He managed the Mets in the late 1970s, and he didn't have much to work with. He managed the Atlanta Braves in the early 1980s, and got them to a Division title in 1982 and almost to another in 1983, but that was it. He managed the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1990s, and didn't get too far.

The Cardinals fired him in 1995, and he thought he'd never manage again. "I'd run out of teams," he said, noting that he'd played for 3 teams, and managed all of them. He'd been a broadcaster between his Braves and Cardinals jobs, and figured he'd go back into the broadcast booth, and that's how he'd finish out his days in baseball.

Then George Steinbrenner called to offer him the Yankee managing job. Joe had never played in the American League, let alone managed in it. But George thought he was the guy. The New York Daily News didn't think so: Citing his lackluster managerial record up until then, and also the circus that tended to surround Steinbrenner, especially where managers were concerned, they printed the headline "CLUELESS JOE."

You know the rest of the story. World Champions in his 1st season, 1996. Wild Card in 1997. World Champions in 1998, winning more games than any team ever had in a regular season and postseason combined, 125, including a 4-game sweep in the World Series. World Champions in 1999, including the best postseason record of the 1995-present Division Series era, 11-1. World Champions in 2000, beating the Mets in the World Series. American League Champions in 2001, missing another title by 1 run. Division Champions in 2002. AL Champions in 2003, with the dramatic AL Championship Series win over the Boston Red Sox.

Then, of course, the downturn, the kind of things that the Daily News probably expected when it printed the headline. A shocking ALCS loss in 2004. Pathetic performances in the AL Division Series in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

Joe got lowballed by George's heirs: His sons Hank and Hal, Yankee brass Randy Levine and Lonn Trost, and general manager Brian Cashman. He walked out, and managed the Los Angeles Dodgers to a pair of Division titles, before taking a job in Major League Baseball's office.

Joe and the House of Steinbrenner made up. He's been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, and is honored in Monument Park at the new Yankee Stadium.

The Daily News called him "CLUELESS JOE." They get reminded of that more than they do of "FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD."

November 2, 1995 was also the day Seinfeld aired the episode "The Soup Nazi." Happy Anniversary, Schmoopie!

November 2, 1999: The Texas Rangers trade outfielder Juan Gonzalez‚ pitcher Danny Patterson and catcher Gregg Zaun to the Detroit Tigers for pitchers Justin Thompson‚ Alan Webb and Francisco Cordero‚ outfielder Gabe Kapler‚ catcher Bill Haselman‚ and infielder Frank Catalanotto. The trade of "Juan Gone" is the beginning of the breakup of the Rangers' 1st postseason team, winners of 3 of the last 4 AL West titles.

Meanwhile, the Seattle Mariners announce that superstar Ken Griffey Jr. is requesting a trade closer to his home. The Mariners agree to try to trade him during the off-season. The superstar outfielder will get his wish in February when Seattle trades him to the Reds for Mike Cameron, Antonio Perez and Brett Tomko, and minor leager Jake Meyer.

Of course, Cincinnati, where his father Ken Griffey Sr. once played, isn't all that close to Junior's adopted hometown of Orlando, Florida.

November 2, 2004: A groundskeeper finds a grenade in the Wrigley Field turf. Police bomb and arson investigators are called to evaluate the right field discovery. The rusty, hollowed-out shell turns out to be harmless, and its origins remain a mystery.

Also on this day, George W. Bush achieves -- due to shenanigans in Ohio, I won't say "wins" -- a 2nd term as President, defeating the Democratic nominee, Senator John F. Kerry of Massachusetts. Although Kerry was a rich liberal Catholic from Massachusetts with the initials JFK, and had met President John F. Kennedy, he was no Jack Kennedy.

During the campaign, Bush ran as the man who was fighting to avenge the 9/11 attacks, while his fellow Republicans mocked Kerry for saying that Democratic leadership could "reduce terrorism to the level of a nuisance." Today, after 8 years of Barack Obama as President, 4 years of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, and 4 years of Kerry himself as Secretary of State, Kerry has been proven correct: They have reduced terrorism, at least against American targets, at home and abroad, to the level of a nuisance.

November 2, 2005: Andrew Bynum, a native of Plainsboro, Mercer County, New Jersey, plays 6 minutes for the Los Angeles Lakers in their season opener, against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center, becoming the youngest NBA player ever: 18 years and 6 days old. The Lakers won, 99-97.

Ironically, but appropriately, the center had been personally instructed in the preseason by Laker legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who had once (erroneously, it turned ought) been thought to have been the NBA's oldest player ever. Kareem was 42 when he bowed out after the 1989 Finals, but research showed that Pat Hickey, who played with the Providence Steamrollers in the league's 1st 2 seasons, was just short of 46 when he last played in 1948.

Bynum is now 29, but his record still stands. He won NBA Championships with the Lakers in 2009 and '10, and was an NBA All-Star in 2012. But injuries have rendered his career apparently over, well before it should have been. But then, he does have 2 titles, and I don't think we'll be seeing any more 18-year-olds playing in the NBA -- certainly not for a team with a pedigree anywhere near the Lakers'.

November 2, 2009: Game 5 of the World Series. Trying to stave off elimination at home at the hands of the Yankees, the defending World Champion Philadelphia Phillies back Cliff Lee with a 6-1 lead after 3 innings, thanks to 2 home runs by Chase Utley (a future Met villain) and another by Raul Ibanez (a future Yankee hero). Utley's shots tie him with Reggie Jackson for the record for most home runs in a single World Series: 5.

The Phillies lead 8-2 after 7, but the Yankees come storming back, and close to within 8-6 with the tying runs on in the 9th. As the Fox cameras panned Citizens Bank Park, I could see the looks on the faces of Phillies fans. Most remembered 1993. Many remembered 1977. Some remembered 1964. They all at least knew of the earlier team disasters. They all seemed to be saying, "Oh, no, it's happening again!" But Ryan Madson gets the final out for the save, and the Phillies would play Game 6 in New York 2 nights later.

November 2, 2013: The Vancouver Canucks retire the Number 10 of Pavel Bure, and beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-0 at the Rogers Arena.

On the same day, the Colorado Avalanche retire the Number 52 of Adam Foote, and beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-1 at the Pepsi Center.

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