Sunday, October 2, 2016

Happy 80th Birthday, Dr. Dick Barnett!

Ordinarily, I would lead off October 2 by wishing you a Happy Bucky Dent Day. But today is another New York sports milestone.

October 2, 1936, 80 years ago: Richard Barnett (no middle name) is born in Gary, Indiana, outside Chicago. A guard on the Tennessee State University basketball team at the same time that Wilma Rudolph was leading their "Tigerbelles" women's track team, he was then known as "Dick the Skull." He won a championship in the short-lived American Basketball League in 1962. They were the 1st sports team owned by George Steinbrenner, then just 31 years old.

When the ABL folded a few months later, he joined the Los Angeles Lakers, and helped them reach the NBA Finals in 1963 and 1965. His fallaway jump shot led Laker announcer Chick Hearn to nickname him "Fall Back Baby Barnett." The nickname followed him to the Knicks, where he became an All-Star in 1968, and an NBA Champion in 1970 and 1973.

He retired after the 1973 title, got a Ph.D. in education from Fordham University in The Bronx, and taught sports management at St. John's University in Queens until retiring in 2007. Due to his doctorate, he is nearly always referred to as "Dr. Dick."

The Knicks retired his Number 12 on March 12, 1990. He is a member of the College Basketball and Tennessee Sports Halls of Fame, along with his Tennessee State coach, John McLendon.
He is still alive, still attends Knicks home games, and turns 80 today. Happy Birthday, Dr. Dick.

Also on this date, Conrad William Dierking is born in Brooklyn, and grows up in Valley Stream, Long Island. Like Sandy Koufax, "Connie" was born in Brooklyn and played basketball at the University of Cincinnati. Unlike Koufax, Dierking was better at basketball than at baseball. He was a teammate of Dick Barnett's on Steinbrenner's Cleveland Pipers.

He was a teammate of Oscar Robertson in Cincinnati, both on the UC Bearcats and on the NBA's Cincinnati Royals. He remained in the NBA until 1971, and died in 2013. His daughter Cammy Dierking is a news anchor at WKRC-Channel 12 in Cincinnati.


October 2, 1452: Richard Plantagenet is born at Fotheringhay Castle in Fotheringhay, Northamptonshire, England. This is also where Mary, Queen of Scots would be imprisoned and executed in 1587. It was demolished a few decades after that. The subject of this entry wouldn't fare much better than Mary and the castle.

Richard, Duke of Gloucester, of the House of York, was a great horseman (thus tangentially connecting this entry to sports), a great soldier, and, as his supporters would tell us over 500 years later, a great administrator.

Unfortunately, he was also quite evil. He may have been behind the 1471 assassination of the deposed King Henry VI. He may have been behind the charges that led to the 1478 execution of his older brother, George, Duke of Clarence. And then, when his eldest brother, King Edward IV of England, died in 1483, Richard was named Lord Protector of Edward's sons, 13-year-old King Edward V and 9-year-old Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York. Instead of watching over them and the country until young Edward turned 18 and could rule in his own right, he had them imprisoned, declared illegitimate, and murdered. Thus did Gloucester become King Richard III.

This, of course, was told in William Shakespeare's play Richard III, containing the legendary opening soliloquy that begins, "Now is the winter of our discontent, made glorious summer by this sun of York!" and then veers from a telling of the House of York's victory in the War of the Roses into a woe-is-me tirade for the man then 4th in line for the throne that his family didn't even deserve.

Richard was not a hunchback, as Shakespeare suggested, but when his remains were discovered in Leicester in 2012, it was found that he had scoliosis, which could have provided a similar effect. Yet a body double of similar age was found, and given a contemporary-style suit of armor, for a documentary, Resurrecting Richard III, proving that his form of scoliosis would have been no impediment to riding a horse, jousting, or even horseborne combat.

But on horseback in battle did Richard ride, because, after just 2 years, the people of England had had enough of him, and support surged to Henry Tudor, a Welsh-born descendant of Edward III, and Richard fell at the Battle of Bosworth Field in Leicestershire on August 22, 1485. He was 32 years old.

According to Shakespeare, his last words, having been knocked off his horse, were, "A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!" According to history, his last words, as he was hacked to death by the swords of Tudor's men, were one word, repeated over and over again until he could speak no more: "Treason! Treason! Treason!"

Tudor became King Henry VII, and he married Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV and niece of Richard III, thus uniting the Houses of Lancaster (through himself) and York (through her), absorbing the House of Plantagenet into the House of Tudor, and ending the Wars of the Roses after 30 years.

Despite this monumental achievement, Henry VII is best known today, over 500 years after his death, as the father of King Henry VIII.

Oh well, it could be worse: Today, over 200 years after he fell from power for the last time, Napoleon Bonaparte is remembered for his hat, being short (but not as short as we think he was, and not particularly short for his time), and as the namesake of a pastry.


October 2, 1535: French explorer Jacques Cartier -- "Jimmy Carter" in English, if you will -- discovers what will become the Island of Montreal in New France (Quebec). Thus does he make possible 52 Stanley Cup wins (24 by the Montreal Canadiens), 9 Grey Cup wins (7 by the Montreal Alouettes), the integrated baseball debut of Jackie Robinson in 1946 (with the Brooklyn Dodgers' top farm team, the Montreal Royals), the 1976 Olympic Games, and the tragedy of the Montreal Expos.

October 2, 1782: Charles Lee dies of a fever in Philadelphia at the age of 50. He was one of the first generals in the history of the U.S. Army -- and one of the worst.

He fought with George Washington in New York, even though he thought he should have been commander-in-chief of the Continental Army. He proved himself wrong as he made all kinds of mistakes, forcing the Army's retreat through New York, and across the Hudson River to New York. The bridge that stands there now is named for Washington, but the town on the Jersey side is named Fort Lee for him.

In 1776, he led the repulse of a British attempt to capture Charleston, South Carolina. But he was soon captured by the British, and held as a prisoner for over a year. At the Battle of Monmouth in Manalapan, New Jersey in 1778, he made a key mistake that turned a decisive American victory into a minor one, and Washington, as he so rarely did, tore into a junior officer in front of the men. Lee was court-martialed, and his career was over.

He was not related to the Lee family of Virginia, which produced 2 Signers of the Declaration of Independence and, later, Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

October 2, 1800: Nat Turner is born outside Courtland, Virginia. Born into slavery, he had visions that led to him running Baptists services for his fellow slaves, becoming known as The Prophet, and in 1831 led a slave rebellion. Between August 21 and his capture on October 30, he and his men had killed 60 white people. He was convicted, and was hanged on November 11, and 18 of his men were also hanged.

It was the greatest slave revolt in American history, unless you count the Civil War itself. Turner became a cultural touchstone, and has been cited in many books and songs. In 2002, a park in Newark was dedicated and named for him.

October 2, 1803: Samuel Adams dies in Boston, probably as a result of Parkinson's disease. He was 81. One of the leading figures of the American Revolution, he was the man who started the Boston Tea Party (thus giving the name Boston Tie Party to the 1978 Playoff) -- not just because it was good patriotism, but also because it was good business: He was the leading brewer in Massachusetts, and his best friend was John Hancock, the leading distiller and transporter of hard liquor in the Colony. He was an early Governor once Massachusetts became a State. And, of course, he was a cousin of President John Adams.

Today, when he is remembered, it is for starting the Boston Tea Party, and as the namesake of a Boston-produced beer, loved by Red Sox fans. It's good beer -- but because of its connection with the team, I won't touch the stuff. Like Samuel Adams, I am a principled man.

October 2, 1821: Alexander Peter Stewart is born in Rogersville, Tennessee. A West Point graduate, he served in the U.S. Army, then taught math and philosophy in colleges in Tennessee, before enlisting in the Confederate Army as the Civil War began.

He rose to the rank of Lieutenant General, was wounded in the Confederate victory at the Battle of Chickamauga in northern Georgia, was wounded again in the Battle of Ezra Church outside Atlanta, and became the last Confederate commander to surrender a major division, the Army of Tennessee, to Union General Joseph Johnston at Durham Station, North Carolina on April 26, 1865. He went back to teaching, and died in 1908.

October 2, 1847: Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg is born in Posen, Prussia -- now Poznań, Poland. The greatest German military leader of World War I, he admitted in an interview with American journalist George Seldes that the reason the Germans lost the war was because the American troops were fresh, unlike the exhausted British and French troops, and turned the tide.

This was ignored as the Nazis rose to power. Hindenburg was President of Germany from 1925 onward, but by early 1933, decided that the only way to keep civil peace was to appoint their leader, Adolf Hitler, as Chancellor. Once Hindenburg died on August 2, 1934, there was no one to keep Hitler in check.

The zeppelin Hindenburg was named for him, and, today, most people know his name only because that zeppelin crashed at Lakehurst, New Jersey on May 6, 1937.

October 2, 1869: Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is born in Porbandar, Gujarat, India. Despite his nickname "The Mahatma" (meaning "Great Soul") also being given to the great baseball executive Branch Rickey (and I have no idea what he, a devout Methodist, thought of that), as far as I know, he had nothing to do with sports.

But in 1983, an article titled "Gandhi at the Bat" was printed in The New Yorker, taking place in 1933, 50 years earlier, a completely fictional story that featured him meeting Babe Ruth and "playing for the Yankees."

He and his friend Jawaharlal Nehru are the founding fathers of the modern Indian nation, which, despite its oppression by the British, came to love the British sports of cricket and field hockey, and now finally seems to be absorbing soccer as well.

October 2, 1876, 140 years ago: Enrollment begins at the Agricultural & Mechanical College of Texas in College Station. In 1963, the name officially became what everybody called it anyway: "Texas A&M University."

Like several other Texas-based schools, the Aggies define themselves by their football team, noted for its "12th Man" fan base and 1957 Heisman Trophy winner, later the school's athletic director, John David Crow. They are also known for their rivalry with the University of Texas, but since A&M left the Big 12 Conference for the Southeastern Conference, that rivalry is dormant in football.

October 2, 1882: George Wright, with his brother Harry one of the founders of professional baseball with the 1869-70 Cincinnati Red Stockings, and baseball's 1st great shortstop, plays his last game. His Providence Grays lose 2-1 to his former team, the Boston Red Stockings (forerunners of the Atlanta Braves) at the Messer Street Grounds.

After this, only 1 more major league game will feature one of the Boys of '69: Catcher Doug Allison will play 1 game for the Baltimore Orioles of the American Association on July 13, 1883, a 9-4 loss to the New York Metropolitans (yes, they were called the Mets for short) at the original Oriole Park in Baltimore.

October 2, 1890: Julius Henry Marx is born on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. We knew him as Groucho Marx. He made 13 feature films as one of the Marx Brothers, all of them with Leonard (Chico, 1887-1961) and Arthur (Harpo, 1888-1964); 7 with Herbert (Zeppo, 1901-1979). Zeppo, the youngest (and also the last survivor), replaced Milton (Gummo, 1892-1977) while they were still a stage act, before they had appeared in any films.

They do have a sports connection: One of their most famous films was the 1937 horse-racing picture A Day at the Races. Groucho was well-established as a Brooklyn Dodger fan. I suspect that, on occasion, he left Ebbets Field in a huff. Or even in a minute and a huff.

After Chico and Harpo essentially retired from show business in 1949, Groucho embraced television, hosting the game show You Bet Your Life and making many appearances on The Tonight Show and The Dick Cavett Show. It was on The Tonight Show in 1957, hosted by Jack Paar, that all 5 brothers made their last public appearance together. Once Johnny Carson took over as host in 1962, he had Groucho on many times, and, as he always did, Groucho stole the show.

Groucho died on August 19, 1977, at age 86, 3 days after the much younger Elvis Presley did. I have no idea what Groucho thought of Elvis.

October 2, 1891, 125 years ago: For the 1st time, a game in what we would now call Major League Baseball is played in the State of Minnesota. I can find no reason why, but the day was a Friday, so it wasn't due to a team escaping a local "blue law" so it could play on Sunday.

It's one of the last games in the 19th Century American Association, which was considered a major league, not the 20th Century version, which was a minor league. The Milwaukee Brewers (not to be confused with the current team of that name) beat the Columbus Buckeyes 5-0 at Athletic Park in Minneapolis.

Also on this day, Henry Van Arsdale Porter is born in Manito, Illinois. Usually listed as H.V. Porter, he was a longtime official with the Illinois High School Athletic Association (IHSAA), having particular influence in the development of basketball. It was his idea to have the fan-shaped wooden backboard, later replaced with the rectangular glass model. It was his idea to replace the laced leather ball with the molded rubber version.

And in 1939, he published an essay on high school basketball tournaments, which he described as "March Madness," probably the 1st use of that term. He was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in the Contributor category in 1960, and lived until 1975.

October 2, 1893: Albert Eugene Cobo is born in Detroit. An executive at Burroughs, his company loaned his services to the City of Detroit during the Great Depression. He never returned to Burroughs, getting elected the city's Treasurer in 1935, and serving in that office until he was elected Mayor in 1949. Unfortunately, he ran on a platform of opposing the "Negro invasion of white neighborhoods."

He led the drive to build a sports arena and convention center in downtown Detroit, but died on September 12, 1957, just before it could open. It was named Cobo Hall, and later the Cobo Center, in his memory. Given that Joe Louis Arena, which adjoined it, has closed and will be demolished, there is now a movement to rename the Cobo Center for Louis.

October 2, 1896, 120 years ago: The Victorian Football League is founded in Melbourne, in the Australian colony of Victoria. Australia gained independence (more or less) in 1901, making Victoria a State. It would take until 1990 for the League to expand enough to rename itself the Australian Football League (AFL).

Australian rules football -- a.k.a. Aussie rules, or footy -- is, like American football, a derivative of rugby, although the players are dressed more like basketball players, including shorts, with no pads. The ball isn't as pointed as an American football, and the field is oval, since most teams started out playing on cricket grounds. Sort of like basketball, the ball must periodically be bounced. Like American football prior to 1906, forward passing is illegal.

The average attendance for a game is usually over 60,000. The season lasts 22 games, from March to September, and ends with an AFL Grand Final, always at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in the League's hometown, usually on the last Saturday in September or the 1st Saturday in October.

Yesterday, Western Bulldogs, formerly Footscray Football Club, based in Footscray, western Melbourne, won the Grand Final, beating Sydney Swans (themselves formerly a Melbourne team, South Melbourne Football Club, until finances forced them to move in 1982), 13.11 to 10.7. It was the Bulldogs' 1st "premier" (title) in 62 years, in front of a crowd of 99,981. (They couldn't sneak in 19 more people to make it an even 100,000?)
The battle for most premiers is very tight: Essendon, of northwest Melbourne, has won 16, but none since 2000; Carlton, of north Melbourne, has also won 16, but none since 1995; and Collingwood, formerly playing in the north Melbourne suburb of that name but now playing home games at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, has won 15, most recently in 2010. Sydney Swans have won 5, the last in 2010, although they had a drought from 1933 to 2005.

October 2, 1897: William Alexander Abbott is born in Asbury Park, Monmouth County, New Jersey. With fellow New Jersey native Lou Costello of Paterson, Passaic County, Bud Abbott formed one of the great comedy teams of the 1st half of the 20th Century, best known for their "Who's On First?" routine. Legend has it that Abbott was watching that very routine on TV in 1959 when he got a phone call telling him that Lou had died. Bud lived on until 1974.

Also on this day, Giuseppe Profaci is born in Villabate, Sicily, Italy. In the 1920s, Joe Profaci worked his way up through Brooklyn's street gangs, and in 1928 he founded one of New York organized crime's "Five Families." Upon his death in 1962, Joseph Colombo took charge, and it became the Colombo Family.

It has been suggested that Mario Puzo based Vito Corleone of The Godfather on Profaci. However, Don Vito was very much against drug trafficking, while Profaci had no problem controlling it.

October 2, 1898: Unlike the 1891 Milwaukee Brewers, the Brooklyn Superbas (forerunners of the Dodgers) did escape New York City's blue laws so that they could play on a Sunday. They play the Washington Nationals (not to be confused with the current team of that name) across the Hudson River in Weehawken, New Jersey. Candy LaChance hits a home run, and Brooklyn wins, 4-3.

October 2, 1899: Rube Waddell of the Louisville Colonels sets a major league record with 14 strikeouts, beating the Chicago Orphans 6-1. (This team was not yet the Cubs: They got the Orphans named because they "missed their Pop," the now-retired Adrian C. "Cap" or "Pop" Anson), 6-1. Oh yeah: Waddell's 14 Ks came in only 8 innings, because the game was called due to darkness.

Clark Griffith took the loss. He would become the 1st manager of the Chicago White Sox in 1901, and, with himself as staff ace, win the 1st AL Pennant. He would then become the 1st manager of the New York Highlanders (forerunners of the Yankees) in 1903, and nearly manage and pitch them to a Pennant in 1904.

Waddell, already the best lefthanded pitcher in the game, starred for the Philadelphia Athletics, before Connie Mack finally got tired of his drinking and his wandering mind. He died of tuberculosis in 1914, only 37 years old.


October 2, 1903: The 1st World Series is tied at 1 game apiece, as the Boston Americans beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-0. Bill Dinneen pitches a shutout for the proto-Red Sox, and Patsy Dougherty hits the 1st and 2nd World Series home runs, off Pirate pitcher Sam Leever.

October 2, 1908:  In a wild 3-team American League race, every bit as tight as the 3-team race going on in the National League at the same time, the AL has perhaps its greatest pitching duel ever, between 2 future Hall-of-Famers, at League Park in Cleveland.

Big Ed Walsh of the White Sox strikes on 15 batters, breaking Waddell's record, and setting what will be an AL record for 30 years. But it's not enough, as Addie Joss, a.k.a. the Human Hairpin for his slender build and his tight pitching motion, pitches a perfect game for the Cleveland Indians, and the Indians win, 1-0.

And yet, neither team wins the Pennant. The Detroit Tigers do, the Indians finishing half a game behind, the White Sox 1 1/2 behind: Detroit 90-63, Cleveland 90-64, Chicago 88-64. Why wasn't the Tigers' missing 154th game made up? I don’t know: Neither The Unforgettable Season by G.H. Fleming nor Crazy '08 by Cait Murphy explains why.

It's the 2nd of 3 straight Pennants for the Tigers. The ChiSox had won in 1901 and 1906. The Indians will not get this close to a Pennant again until they win it all in 1920. I'll get to that in a moment.

October 2, 1909: The New York Highlanders -- unofficially called what they will be officially named from 1913 onward, the Yankees -- split a season-ending doubleheader with the Boston Red Sox, at the Huntington Avenue Grounds in Boston.

In the 1st game, the Highlanders win 6-5. Taking the loss for Boston is Massachusetts native, but former Yankee ace, Jack Chesbro. It is the last game of the future Hall-of-Famer. The Red Sox win the 2nd game, 6-1.


October 2, 1910: Aldo Olivieri is born in Verona, Italy. A goalkeeper for several Italian teams, he was the starting goalie for Italy's 1938 World Cup winners. He lived until 2001.

October 2, 1914: The Yankees make 5 errors, and lose to the Boston Red Sox, 11-5 at Fenway Park. The Boston pitcher, a 19-year-old rookie, also gets his 1st major league hit, a double off Yankee pitcher Leonard Leslie "King" Cole.

Cole will not be long for this world: He soon develops tuberculosis, and dies in 1916, only 29 years old. But the Sox rookie will be heard from again. His name is George Herman Ruth Jr. That's right, the Babe. There would be 2,872 other hits in his career, 714 of them home runs, 659 of those for the Yankees.

October 2, 1916, 100 years ago: The Philadelphia Phillies beat the Boston Braves, 2-0 at Baker Bowl in Philadelphia, as Grover Cleveland Alexander notches his 33rd win of the season, and his 16th shutout, a record. He got those 16 whitewashes, and 12 the season before, as a righthanded pitcher playing home games in Baker Bowl, whose right-field fence was only 280 feet from home plate.

October 2, 1917: Alexander wins his 30th of this season, defeating the New York Giants 8-2, also at Baker Bowl. He also hits 2 doubles. But this will be his last game in a Philadelphia uniform: Fearing that he might get drafted into World War I, and killed or incapacitated in combat, the Phils sell him to the Chicago Cubs.

He was indeed drafted. Although he was not wounded in combat, the shelling damaged his hearing, and shell-shock -- which became "battle fatigue" in World War II, and today we would call it "post-traumatic stress disorder" -- caused him to develop epilepsy. It also intensified his drinking problem. In spite of his mound success, both before and after "The War to End All Wars," Alexander was a tragic figure.

October 2, 1919: Game 2 of the World Series. The Cincinnati Reds beat the White Sox 4-2, to go up 2 games to none. Sox pitcher Lefty Williams holds the Reds scoreless for 3 innings, but in the 4th, he walks 3 batters, gives up a single to Edd Roush, and then a triple to Larry Kopf.

Sox manager Kid Gleason tells owner Charlie Comiskey that he's suspicious of his players. But Comiskey has been feuding with his old friend Ban Johnson, President of the American League, with the 2 men having founded the League. So Comiskey goes to National League President John Heydler. Heydler tells Johnson about Gleason's suspicions. But Johnson does nothing about it, thinking people will see it as a vengeful act against Comiskey.

Gleason is not the only one who is suspicious: Hugh Fullerton of the Chicago Herald-Examiner, and his protégé, Ring Lardner of the Chicago Tribune, make note of some questionable plays. So does former Giants pitcher Christy Mathewson, covering the Series for a national newspaper syndicate.


October 2, 1920: The only tripleheader ever played in the 20th Century, forced by rainouts, is played at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. The Cincinnati Reds win the 1st 2 games, 13-4 and 7-3, with the Pittsburgh Pirates avoiding the sweep in the finale, 6-0. Peter Harrison is the home plate umpire for all three games.

Also on this day, Lewis Field opens in Stillwater, Oklahoma, named for Dr. Laymon Lewis, a popular professor at the school then known as Oklahoma A&M University. They play Southwestern College to a 7-7 tie.

It remains the home of the school's football team, although the school's name was changed to Oklahoma State University in 1958, and 60,000-seat facility became Boone Pickens Stadium in 2002, after the billionaire oilman made a huge donation to the school.

Also on this day, Ștefan Kovács is born in Timișoara, Romania. A midfielder, he was one of many ordinary athletes who became an extraordinary coach. He led Steaua București to the Romanian league title in 1968, and to the Romanian Cup in 1969 and 1970.

He succeeded the legendary Rinus Michels at Ajax Amsterdam, and in 1972 led them to the 1st-ever Dutch European Treble: The Eredivisie (league), the KNVB-Beker (their version of the FA Cup), and their 2nd straight European Cup. He also led them to the Eredivisie title in 1973, and made it 3 straight European Cups (although "only" 2 under his leadership).

He managed Athens club Panathinaikos to the Greek Cup in 1982, and also managed the national teams of France and Romania. His last managing job was at AS Monaco in the 1986-87 season. He was fired, and replaced with Arsène Wenger. He died in 1995, a few days before Ajax won their 4th European Cup, their 1st under the UEFA Champions League banner.

October 2, 1921: After playing their 1st season as the Decatur Staleys downstate, the Chicago Staleys play their 1st game as a Chicago team, albeit still at Staley Field in Decatur. They beat the Waukegan Legion (not an NFL team), 35-0. The Staleys will rename themselves the Bears the next season.

October 2, 1925: Wren Alvin Blair is born in Lindsay, Ontario. He wasn't much of a hockey player, but as a scout for the Boston Bruins, he convinced them to sign Bobby Orr. That alone would be enough reason to remember him.

When the NHL expanded for the 1967-68 season, he became the 1st head coach and the 1st general manager of the Minnesota North Stars. He later served as GM of the Pittsburgh Penguins, and died in 2013.

October 2, 1926, 90 years ago: Game 1 of the World Series, the 1st ever played by the St. Louis Cardinals. Bill Sherdel allowed only 6 hits for them, but Herb Pennock allowed only 3, and the Yankees won, 2-1.

Also on this day, Memorial Stadium opens at the University of Missouri in Columbia. It rains, and Missouri and Tulane University play to a muddy 0-0 tie. Now seating 71,000, it was renamed Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium for longtime Missouri coach Don Faurot in 1972.

Also on this day, Dyche Stadium opens in Evanston, Illinois, just to the north of Chicago. It was named for William Dyche, a former Mayor of Evanston who oversaw its construction. Northwestern University's football team moves in, and beats South Dakota 34-0.

In 1943 and '44, it hosted the Chicago College All-Star Game, which was otherwise held annually at Chicago's Soldier Field from 1934 to 1976, between a college all-star team and the defending NFL Champions. Because Wrigley Field had fewer than 50,000 seats and (at the time) no lights, the Chicago Bears played their 1st home game of the 1970 season at Dyche Stadium as an experiment, and beat the Philadelphia Eagles 20-16. But Evanston residents voted to forbid it, and the Bears moved to Soldier Field for 1971.

In 1997, Dyche Stadium was renamed Ryan Field, in honor of the chairman of the school's board of trustees, Aon Corporation founder Patrick G. Ryan. At 47,130 seats, it is the smallest stadium in the Big Ten Conference, and the only one without permanent lights. Northwestern's arena, just to the north, is named Welsh-Ryan Arena, also for the Ryan family and for the family of Ryan's wife.

October 2, 1927: A benefit game is played at Shibe Park between Philadelphia's teams, to build a gymnasium at Gettysburg College, alma mater of Athletics pitcher Eddie Plank, a 300-game winner who died the year before. The Phillies score in the 2nd inning, and lead 1-0 after 6, when the umpires call the game due to rain.


October 2, 1932: The Yankees win their 12th consecutive World Series game and sweep the Fall Classic for the 3rd time, for their 4th World Championship overall. At Wrigley Field, the Bronx Bombers (the nickname has now replaced "Murderers' Row") bang out 19 hits as they club the Chicago Cubs, 13-6.

The last survivor of the 1932 Yankees was pitcher Charlie Devens, who lived until 2003 -- insisting to the end that, in Game 3, Babe Ruth did so call his shot.

Also on this day, The Brooklyn Dodgers defeat the Boston Braves 14-0 at Braves Field -- in football. It was the 1st game for Boston's new NFL franchise. The next season, they had to move to Fenway Park, and, not wanting their new tenants associated with the other baseball team in town, the Red Sox insisted that the team change its name. It was cheaper to keep the Indian head logos on the uniforms, so they became the Boston Redskins. In 1937, they moved to Washington, and, despite protests, the Washington Redskins they have remained.

Also on this day, Maurice Morning Wills is born in Washington, District of Columbia. Maury was a switch-hitting shortstop, mostly for the Los Angeles Dodgers, a 7-time All-Star who, along with his White Sox contemporaries Nellie Fox and Luis Aparicio, brought the stolen base back as a major baseball weapon.

In 1962, he stole 104 bases, earning himself the National League Most Valuable Player award, and breaking the established major league record of 96 set by Ty Cobb in 1915. That record would stand for 12 years. Maury helped the Dodgers win the World Series in 1959, 1963 and 1965. He also won 2 Gold Gloves, and finished his career with a .281 batting average and 586 stolen bases.

After broadcasting, and managing in Mexico, he wrote a book titled How to Steal a Pennant, claiming he could take a last-place club and turn it into champions (world, league or division, he didn't specify) in 4 years. Supposedly, the San Francisco Giants offered him their managing job, but he turned it down. (Ill feelings toward them as a result of their rivalry with the Dodgers, perhaps?)

Late in the 1980 season, by which point his son Elliott "Bump" Wills was a 2nd baseman for the Texas Rangers, the Seattle Mariners hired Maury. On May 6, 1981, they fired him, after a series of inexplicable gaffes led to a record of 26-56, a percentage of .317, a pace for 111 losses. He later said he should have taken a minor-league job in organized baseball first, something many players who'd like to manage in the majors have been reluctant to do.

As it turned out, there was an explanation for his behavior: He was an alcoholic and a cocaine addict. He eventually got treatment thanks to the woman who became his 2nd wife. He soon returned to the Dodger organization, played their 3rd base coach in the "present" sequence of the film The Sandlot, and has been a member of the Dodgers Legends Bureau (what some sports teams call a "club ambassador") and a broadcaster for a minor-league team he once managed in Fargo, North Dakota.

Like Roger Maris, who grew up in Fargo, he has a museum there in his honor, even though he's far more associated with D.C. and L.A.

October 2, 1933: Giuliano Sarti is born in Castello d'Argile, outside Bologna, Italy. A goalkeeper, he helped Florence side Fiorentina with Serie A (the Italian league) in 1956, and the Coppa Italia (their FA Cup) and the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1961.

He moved on to Milan club Internazionale, and was the goalie of the "Grande Inter" side that won Serie A in 1965 and 1966, and the European Cup in 1964 and 1965. He played for Italy in the 1966 World Cup. He is still alive.

October 2, 1934: Earl Lawrence Wilson is born in Ponchatoula, Louisiana. On July 28, 1959, he became the 2nd black player for the Red Sox, after Elijah "Pumpsie" Green. On June 26, 1962, pitching against the Los Angeles Angels, he became the 1st black pitcher to throw a no-hitter in the American League. (Sam Jones of the Cubs had done it in the National League, in 1955.) In this game, he also hit a home run off Bo Belinsky, who had pitched a no-hitter earlier in the season.

Wilson is 1 of only 5 pitchers to toss a no-hitter and hit a home run in the same game. The others are Frank Mountain in 1884, Wes Farrell in 1931, Jim Tobin in 1944 and Rick Wise in 1971 (and he hit 2 homers).

Wilson would be traded to the Detroit Tigers, and was part of a rotation that included Denny McLain and Mickey Lolich, and won the 1968 World Series. He went 121-109 over his career, founded an automotive parts company, taught phys ed and coached basketball at a Florida high school, and died in 2005, at age 70.

October 2, 1935: Enrique Omar Sívori is born in San Nicolás de los Arroyos, Argentina. Though only 5-foot-4, the striker was one of the best soccer players of his generation. He helped Buenos Aires club River Plate win Argentina's Primera División in 1955, 1956 and 1957. In 1957, he also helped Argentina win the tournament now named the Copa América.

He was then brought to Italy by Turin club Juventus, and he let them to the Serie A title in 1958, 1960 and 1961, and the Coppa Italia in 1959 and 1960. He won the Ballon d'Or as world player of the year in 1961. In 1962, despite having previously played in international tournaments for Argentina, he was permitted to play for Italy in the World Cup.

He later managed in his homeland, for the national side, and for club sides Rosario Central, Estudiantes de La Plata and Racing Club de Avellaneda. He later served as Juventus' South American scout, and died of cancer in 2005.

October 2, 1936, 80 years ago: Game 2 of the World Series. The Yankees score more runs than any team has ever scored in a Series game, and win by the largest margin in Series history, both records still standing through 2015: 18-4 over the Giants. Tony Lazzeri (only the 2nd grand slam in Series play) and Bill Dickey hit home runs, to make an easy winner out of Lefty Gomez.

On the last play, Hank Leiber hits a tremendous drive to deep center. But, this being the Polo Grounds, rookie center fielder Joe DiMaggio turns his back to the wall, and catches it just short of the steps to the center field clubhouse, his momentum taking him up the steps. This catch was further back than Willie Mays' catch 18 Fall Classics later.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt attended the game, and after the final out, his limousine is driven onto the field to take him out, to assist with the cover of his inability to walk unaided. With Secret Service Agents surrounding him to prevent the 55,000 fans from seeing him, he is carried into the car. It drives off the field, and, as it passes the steps, on which DiMaggio still stands out of respect to the President, FDR waves his hat at him. DiMaggio tips his own cap.

October 2, 1937: Johnnie L Cochran Jr. is born in Shreveport, Louisiana, and spends his teenage years in Los Angeles. As with President Harry S Truman, the middle initial has no period, because it doesn't actually stand for anything.

Johnnie Cochran did stand for things. Perhaps the 1st great black lawyer in the American West, he was an advocate for civil rights and civil liberties for anyone who asked him. He defended comedian Lenny Bruce on obscenity charges. He sued the Los Angeles Police Department on behalf of a woman whose husband was killed by racist cops. He lost, but he became a hero to L.A. blacks as a result.

He switched sides in 1978, because he was offered the chance to become the 1st black Assistant District Attorney of Los Angeles County. In 1983, he switched back, founding what is now known as simply The Cochran Firm, taking on more and more police brutality cases, and winning many.

He is best known for leading the defense team for actor and former football star O.J. Simpson in 1994 and '95. The DA's office thought they could counter Cochran with another black lawyer, Christopher Darden. But Darden was young, inexperienced, and had more ambition than sense, and Cochran pounced on Darden's blunder with the bloody glove: "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit."Cochran turned the case on its head, and (as he had done many times before) essentially put the LAPD on trial. He gained the acquittal.

It seems clear that O.J. actually did it, but Cochran was able to show that the DA's office did not prove that beyond a reasonable doubt, because Darden handed Cochran the reasonable doubt. Had the gloves, and Detective Mark Furhman, not been entered into evidence, O.J. would surely have been convicted.

Cochran later defended Michael Jackson and Sean (Diddy) Combs, but liked to say, "I work not only for the M.J.'s and the O.J.'s, but also the No J.'s." He proved that by representing Abner Louima in his 1997 police brutality case in New York, and winning.

He developed cancer, and his health led him to decline the chance to represent singer R. Kelly and basketball star Allen Iverson. Johnnie Cochran died in 2003, at the age of 67. He was played by Courtney B. Vance in American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson. Denzel Washington's character in the film Philadelphia and Phil Morris' Jackie Chiles on Seinfeld were both based on him. He's also been mentioned in songs by Good Charlotte, Wyclef Jean, The Game and Too $hort.

October 2, 1938: Indians fireballer Bob Feller, just 20 years old, fans 18 Tigers at Cleveland Municipal Stadium, setting a new major league record for strikeouts in a game, surpassing the 17 notched in games by himself and Dizzy Dean. But the Tigers win, 4-1.

Twice, Hank Greenberg is a strikeout victim of Feller's. Greenberg finishes the season with 58 home runs, the 3rd time someone has come close to Babe Ruth's record of 60 set in 1927. (Jimmie Foxx, who hit 50 this year, had hit 58 in 1932. Hack Wilson had hit 56 in 1930.)

Some people argue that, due to Greenberg being Jewish, he was frequently walked (intentionally or "not") so that he wouldn't break the Babe's record. Hank would go to his grave maintaining his belief that pitchers had pitched to him fairly.

I've seen film from this game: Feller, then wearing Number 14 rather than the 19 for which he would later become better associated, was certainly challenging the original Hammerin' Hank, throwing hard, choosing to, as they would say in Jim Bouton's Ball Four, smoke him inside.

October 2, 1939: This was the day after the MLB regular season ended, so, if the film The Natural had been a true story, this would have been the day of the National League Playoff game between the New York Knights and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

In real life, the Cincinnati Reds won the 1939 NL Pennant. The New York Giants, whose place the Knights had taken in the film's world, finished 5th, 18 1/2 games back. And the Pirates finished 6th, 28 1/2 games back.


October 2, 1940: The Sullivans become the 1st father and son to have both played in a World Series when Billy Sullivan is the Tigers' catcher in Game 1 of the Fall Classic, at Crosley Field in Cincinnati. The Tigers beat the Reds, 7-2.

The Detroit catcher's father, Bill Sullivan, appeared in the postseason in 1906, playing the same position for the White Sox, going 0-for-21 in the Hitless Wonders' 6-game triumph over the Cubs.

October 2, 1941, 75 years ago: Game 2 of the World Series. Dolph Camilli's RBI single in the 6th inning gives the Brooklyn Dodgers a 3-2 win over the Yankees, tying up the Series.

Dodger fans are confident, with the next 3 games heading to Ebbets Field. Much like Met fans will later do, they are talking about "taking over New York." But their team will not win another Series game for exactly 6 years.

Also on this day, Jacqueline Evelyn Ellam is born in Newark. She became Gene Autry's business manager, and, after his 1st wife died, became his 2nd wife. Jackie Autry became active, as Gene was, in establishing museums dedicated to the culture of the American West, and served as President of the American Red Cross.

Still holding a share of ownership of her husband's former team, now named the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, she served as President of the American League from 2000 to 2015, making her the highest-ranking woman in baseball history.

October 2, 1942: Stephen Douglas Sabol is born in the Philadelphia suburb of Moorestown, Burlington County, New Jersey. He and his father Ed Sabol founded NFL Films, whose filming of games starting in 1962, interviews with old players and preservation of old football films made them true heroes of football without so much as playing a professional down. (Steve did play at Colorado College, not to be confused with the University of Colorado or Colorado State University.)

Steve won 35 Emmy Awards, and was admired by everyone. Without his contributions to NFL Films, there would almost certainly be no Major League Baseball Productions, and thus no This Week In Baseball or anything else MLB Productions did. Nor would the NBA or the NHL have their own versions. Sadly, he died of cancer in 2012, predeceasing his father by 3 years.

October 2, 1947: Game 3 of the World Series. Yogi Berra hits the 1st pinch-hit home run in Series history. The historic homer comes off Ralph Branca in the 7th inning at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. But the Dodgers win the game anyway, 9-8, and close to within 2 games to 1.

October 2, 1948: Avery Franklin Brooks is born in Evansville, Indiana, and, like Dick Barnett, grows up across the State in Gary. He got a master's degree from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey in 1976, and has lived in New Jersey ever since.

Paul Robeson, who was, among other things, a Rutgers football player in the 1910s, died in 1976, and inspired Brooks to write and star in the play Paul Robeson, which had its premiere at the State Theatre in New Brunswick. Brooks starred as "Hawk" -- I can find no other name for the character -- on the ABC series Spenser: For Hire and A Man Called Hawk, based on the mystery novels by Boston-based writer and baseball fan Robert B. Parker.

But because of the reach of Star Trek, he'll be best remembered as Captain Benjamin Sisko on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. One of the big problems I have with Star Trek is the canon "future history" that says baseball stopped in 2042, due to a lack of popularity. Sisko almost singlehandedly revives the sport throughout the United Federation of Planets in the 2370s.
In the episode "Take Me Out to the Holosuite," he tells his crewmates/teammates, "There is more to baseball than physical strength. It's, uh... (thinks for a moment) It's about courage. And it's also about faith. And it is also about heart." 

Also on this day, Trevor David Brooking is born in Barking, East London. A midfielder, he led East London soccer team West Ham United to the 1975 FA Cup, to the Final of the 1976 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, and to the 1980 FA Cup Final, where he scored the only goal of the game against North London's Arsenal. It remains the last time a team from outside the 1st division has won the Cup. He also played for England in the 1982 World Cup.

He has spent his post-playing career as a pundit for the BBC. In 2004, he was knighted. In 2009, the North Bank at West Ham's stadium, the Boleyn Ground, a.k.a. Upton Park, was renamed the Sir Trevor Brooking Stand. When they moved into the Olympic Stadium this Summer, the north stand there was renamed the Sir Trevor Brooking Stand.

October 2, 1949: October 2 is not a good day in Boston Red Sox history. Especially where the New York Yankees are concerned. But it's a good day in Yankee history. Especially when they play the Red Sox.

They play each other in the last game of the season, and the winner was going to win the AL Pennant (in the pre-Divisional play era). The Yankees lead 1-0 going into the top of the 8th, when Joe McCarthy, who’d led the Yankees to 7 World Championships but was now managing the Red Sox, sends up Tom Wright to pinch-hit for pitcher Ellis Kinder (in the pre-Designated Hitter era).

This proves to be a mistake, as Mel Parnell and Tex Hughson -- pretty good starting pitchers for Boston -- let in 4 more runs in the bottom of the 8th. The Sox pull 3 back in the top of the 9th, but the Yankees hold on to win, 5-3.

Among the Yankees who played in that game, 67 years ago, there are no more surviving players, as Yogi Berra was the last one. Bobby Brown is still alive, but he did not get into the game. From the Red Sox, only Wright and Hall of Fame 2nd baseman Bobby Doerr survive.

The 1949 season was the only one in the single-division era (1901-68) in which both League's Pennant races came down to the final day of the regular season. The Brooklyn Dodgers beat the Philadelphia Phillies 9-7 at Shibe Park, and clinched the Pennant over the St. Louis Cardinals by 1 game.


October 2, 1950: The comic strip Peanuts, by Charles Schulz, is first published. The follies of Charlie Brown and his baseball team became well-known over the 50 years that the strip appeared. So did Charlie Brown (his first and last names always used, except when Peppermint Patty called him "Chuck" and Marcie called him "Charles") falling flat on his back ("WHUMP"!) when Lucy Van Pelt pulled away the football he was trying to kick, and she would come up with a new ridiculous excuse every time.

Charlie Brown's beagle, Snoopy, was his shortstop, and frequently imagined himself playing hockey and tennis, surfing ("There's only one thing that's embarrassing: Whenever I have a 'wipe out,' I have to 'dog paddle.'") and ice skating (intending to go to the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France by walking there, and coming back because, "Well, there was this ocean, see... ")

October 2, 1951: Game 2 of the National League Playoff. The Dodgers bounce back in a big way, with home runs from Jackie Robinson, Gil Dodges, Andy Pafko and Rube Walker. (Home runs on the season: Hodges 40, Pafko 30, Robinson 19, Walker... 4.) Clem Labine pitches a 6-hit shutout, and the Dodgers beat the Giants 10-0 at the Polo Grounds.

The Dodgers and their fans will regret manager Charley Dressen having stuck with Labine the whole way, making it next to impossible for him to pitch in the deciding game tomorrow, also at the Polo Grounds. Instead, when Dressen needs to relieve Don Newcombe, he'll have a choice of Carl Erskine and Ralph Branca. The choice he makes turns out to be one still second-guessed today, 65 years later.

October 2, 1952: Game 2 of the World Series. Billy Martin loved playing the Dodgers. He hits a home run off Billy Loes, to back the pitching of Vic Raschi, and the Yankees tie the Series, 7-1.

October 2, 1953: Carl Erskine, owner of perhaps the best curveball of his generation, strikes out 14 Yankees in Game 3 at Yankee Stadium, to establish a new World Series mark. The Dodger hurler's performance bests the record of Howard Ehmke, who struck out 13 Cubs for the Philadelphia Athletics in Game 1 of 1929 Fall Classic. Roy Campanella homers in the 8th inning to win it, as "Oisk" outpitches Vic Raschi, and the Dodgers beat the Yankees 3-2. They trail the Series, 2 games to 1.

Only 1 player is still alive from this game, 63 years later: Erskine himself.

October 2, 1954: The Giants complete the World Series sweep of the Indians, when Don Liddle beats Bob Lemon, 7-4. The Tribe won an AL record 111 games, not losing 4 straight all season. Now they have.

As for the Giants, it is their 5th World Series win. They would not win another for 46 years. No one would have believed that at the time. Nor would they have believed that the Giants would leave New York just 3 years later. Nor would they have believed that center fielder Willie Mays would never win another World Series.

There are 2 Giants are still alive from their '54 World Series roster, 61 years later: Mays and pitcher Johnny Antonelli.

October 2, 1955: Game 5 of the World Series at Ebbets Field. Despite home runs by Yogi Berra and Bob Cerv, Duke Snider hits 2 home runs, Sandy Amoros adds another, and the Dodgers beat the Yankees, 5-3. Roger Craig outpitches Bob Grim, and Clem Labine, who won Game 4, saves this game.

The Dodgers now lead the Yankees 3 games to 2. The home team has won every game in this Series. That's the good news for the Dodgers. The good news for the Yankees is that Game 6 and, if necessary, Game 7 will be at Yankee Stadium.

October 2, 1957: Game 1 of the World Series, the 1st involving a moved team. Jerry Coleman's squeeze bunt scores Yogi Berra, and Whitey Ford outpitches Warren Spahn. The Yankees beat the Milwaukee Braves, 3-1.

October 2, 1958: Game 2 of the World Series. The Braves shell Bob Turley, scoring 7 runs in the 1st inning. Even pitcher Lew Burdette, the Yankees' nemesis from last season, hits a home run, as does Bill Bruton, and the Braves win, 13-5, to take a 2 games to 0 lead.

October 2, 1959: The Twilight Zone premieres on CBS. Creator, host and main writer Rod Serling was a big sports fan, and included at least 1 baseball-themed and at least 2 boxing-themed episodes. In the 1960 episode "The Mighty Casey," filmed at the Los Angeles version of Wrigley Field, a robot pitcher is signed, in what turns out to be a vain attempt to save a fictional team called the Hoboken Zephyrs from being moved.

In the 1963 episode "On Thursday We Leave for Home," set in 1991, a rescue of a spaceship lost in 1963 is made, and one of the rescued astronauts asks, "What city are the Dodgers in now?" Correctly as it turned out, he is told, "Los Angeles."


October 2, 1960: The original version of the Washington Senators play their last game, before moving to Minnesota and becoming the Twins. One of the big reasons they had to move was that the Baltimore Orioles had arrived in 1954, just 40 miles away, and took away a lot of fans in D.C.'s Maryland market.

And it just so happens that the Senators' last game, at home at Griffith Stadium, is against the O's. Jackie Brandt hits a home run in the 8th inning, Milt Pappas outpitches Pedro Ramos, and the O's win 2-1.

The American League approved the move, but, at the same time, created a new Senators franchise. It played the 1961 season at Griffith stadium, then the next 10 seasons at District of Columbia Stadium (renamed Robert F. Kennedy Stadium in 1969), and then, after 1971, moved to Dallas to become the Texas Rangers. This time, MLB would not return to the Nation's Capital until 2005.

Also on this day, NFL's St. Louis Cardinals play their 1st home game after moving from Chicago, despite keeping the name that gives them the same name as their baseball landlords at the original Busch Stadium (formerly Sportsman's Park). In the 1st NFL game played in St. Louis in 26 years, they lose 35-14 to the Giants.

Also on this day, Glenn Chris Anderson is born in Vancouver. The right wing won the 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988 and 1990 Stanley Cups with the Edmonton Oilers, and was 1 of 7 former Oilers on the Rangers' 1994 Cup win. A 4-time All-Star, the Oilers have retired his Number 9 (he wore 36 with the Rangers, as Adam Graves had 9), and is in the Hockey Hall of Fame. He now runs a hockey school in Connecticut.

Also on this day, Dereck Whittenburg (no middle name) is born in the Washington suburb of Glenarden, Maryland. A guard, it was his desperation shot that Lorenzo Charles dunked in to win the 1983 National Championship for North Carolina State.

He never played in the NBA. But he was an assistant coach at several schools, including 3 separate stints at N.C. State, and served as head coach at Wagner College in Staten Island and Fordham University in The Bronx. He is now an assistant athletic director at N.C. State.

October 2, 1961: Coming out of retirement, former Yankee skipper Casey Stengel agrees to manage the Mets, New York's National League expansion team.  Actually, he goofs, and says, "I'm very pleased to be managing the New York Knickerbockers." I guess nobody told him the real name of the team -- which, since it hadn't played a game yet, was partly understandable.

October 2, 1962: Game 2 of the National League Playoff. As did Game 1, Game 2 holds to the 1951 pattern. The Giants score 7 runs in the top of the 6th, but the Dodgers come right back with 7 runs in the bottom half, and win 8-7 at Dodger Stadium. The Pennant will be decided there tomorrow.

Also on this day, Mark Robert Rypien is born in Calgary, and grows up in Spokane, Washington. One in a long line of star quarterbacks at Washington State, he led the Washington Redskins to victory in Super Bowl XXVI in 1992, winning the game's Most Valuable Player award. He then played in his 2nd Pro Bowl.

But he was frequently injured, and retired in 1998 when his son died from a brain tumor, saying his heart wasn't in it. He made a brief comeback in 2001, and has won charity golf tournaments. He was named to the 70 Greatest Redskins (named on the team's 70th Anniversary) and the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame.

He is a cousin of former NHL players Rick Rypien and Shane Churla. His nephew Brett Rypien is a quarterback at Boise State.

October 2, 1963: Game 1 of the World Series. Ten years to the day after Erskine struck out 14 Yankees for the Brooklyn edition of the Dodgers, Sandy Koufax fans 15 of them for the Los Angeles version, stunning opposing pitcher Whitey Ford and 69,000 fans. He has a perfect game until the 5th inning, when Elston Howard singles.

Tom Tresh hits a 2-run homer in the 8th, but that's all the Yankees get, losing 5-2. "I understand how he won 25 games," Yogi says after the game. "What I don't understand is how he lost 5."

Still alive from this game, 53 years later: From the Dodgers, Koufax, the aforementioned Maury Wills, right fielders Frank Howard and defensive replacement Ron Fairly, left fielder Tommy Davis and 2nd baseman Dick Tracewski; from the Yankees, pitchers Whitey Ford and Stan Williams, 1st baseman Joe Pepitone, 2nd baseman Bobby Richardson, shortstop Tony Kubek, and pinch-hitters Hector Lopez and Phil Linz.

October 2, 1964: The Phillies finally end their 10-game losing streak, beating the Reds 4-3 in Cincinnati, scoring all their runs in the 8th. Meanwhile, in St. Louis, the Mets, 108 losses and all, manage to beat the Cardinals 1-0, on a 5-hit shutout by Al Jackson. In San Francisco, the Giants beat the Cubs 9-0.

The Cardinals now lead the Reds by half a game, the Phillies by a game and a half, and the Giants by 2. The Cards have 2 games left, both against the apparently not-so-hopeless Mets. The Reds and Phils have 1 left, against each other. The Giants have 2 left, against the Cubs. Is a 2-, 3-, or even 4-way tie for the NL Pennant possible? For the moment, the answers are yes, yes, and yes. The Playoff implications must have drove NL President Warren Giles bananas, especially given that he was a former general manager of the Reds.

In the AL, the Yankees beat the Indians 5-2 at The Stadium, and eliminate the Baltimore Orioles from the race, despite the O's beating the Tigers 10-4. But the White Sox beat the Kansas City Athletics 5-4. With 2 games left, the Yanks lead the Pale Hose by 2 games. A Yankee win in either, or a ChiSox loss in either, and the Yanks win the Pennant. But a tie for the Pennant, and a 1-game Playoff between New York and Chicago, could still happen.

Also on this day, Cougar Stadium opens on the campus of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. BYU loses to New Mexico 26-14. In 2000, the 63,000-seat facility was renamed LaVell Edwards Stadium after their longtime coach.

October 2, 1965: Winning 14 of their last 15 games, the Dodgers clinch the Pennant on the next-to-last day of the season at Dodger Stadium. Sandy Koufax gets his 26th victory, defeating the Milwaukee Braves in the clincher, 2-1. He allows only 4 hits, while the Braves' Tony Cloninger allows just 2.

Koufax finishes with 382 strikeouts, a new major league record, breaking the record of Rube Waddell in 1904. Although Nolan Ryan will get 383 in 1973, the 382 of Koufax is still a record for NLers and lefthanders.

Also on this day, "Hang On Sloopy" by The McCoys hits Number 1. Because bandleader Rick Derringer was from Ohio, the song has become a feature of Ohio State's marching band.

October 2, 1966, 50 years ago: Koufax clinches the Pennant again, the Dodgers' 3rd in the last 4 years, working on just 2 days' rest, as the Dodgers beat the Phillies 6-3 at Connie Mack Stadium (formerly Shibe Park).

Koufax finishes the season 27-9 with a 1.73 ERA. Over the last 5 seasons, he has been as good a pitcher as has ever been in baseball. And he's not yet 31 years old. But what few people know is that he has already decided to make this his last regular-season game.

In the World Series, the Dodgers will face the Baltimore Orioles, who won their 1st Pennant since their move in 1954, their 1st since 1944, when they were the St. Louis Browns. They lose to the Minnesota Twins, 1-0 at Memorial Stadium. But Frank Robinson finishes with a .316 batting average, 49 home runs and 122 runs batted in, leading the American League in all 3 categories -- the Triple Crown. He will be named the AL's Most Valuable Player, 5 years after winning the MVP in the NL, while leading the Cincinnati Reds to the Pennant. He is the 1st man to win the MVP in both Leagues. Half a century later, he is still the only one.

Also on this day, the Yankees beat the White Sox 2-0, but still finish in last place -- in this case, 10th in the 10-team AL, half a game behind the 9th-place Red Sox -- for the 1st time in 54 years, since the 1912 New York Highlanders lost 102 games. They had also finished last in 1908, losing a team-record 103. Finishing 70-89, 26 1/2 games behind the Pennant-winning Orioles, this will be the Yanks' only last-place finish between 1912 and 1990.

Just 2 years earlier, the Yankees were playing Game 7 of the World Series. Sports columnist Jerry Izenberg will invoke the musical Fiddler On the Roof by asking, "I don't recall growing older. When did they?"

Also on this day, Estadio Manzanares opens in Madrid, Spain, home to soccer team Club Atlético de Madrid. In 1971, it is renamed Estadio Vicente Calderón, after the club's president. It seats 54,990. Since it opened, Atlético have won Spain's La Liga 5 times: 1970, 1973, 1977, 1996 and 2014. They have won the Copa del Rey (King's Cup) 7 times in that span: 1972, 1976, 1985, 1991, 1992, 1996 and 2013. They won the UEFA Europa League in 2010 and 2012.

Atlético are now building the 73,729-seat Estadio Olímpico de Madrid, and plan to move in for the 2017-18 season. The Calderón will be demolished, and replaced with a waterfront park.

October 2, 1968: Bob Gibson establishes a new World Series mark by striking out 17 batters, as the St. Louis Cardinals defeat the Detroit Tigers in Game 1 of the Fall Classic, 4-0 at Busch Memorial Stadium.

Also on this day, Jana Novotná (no middle name) is born in Brno, in what is now the Czech Republic. She won the "ladies' singles" title at Wimbledon in 1998. 

Also on this day, Glen Edwin Wesley is born in Red Deer, Alberta, about halfway between Calgary and Edmonton. A defenseman, he reached the Stanley Cup Finals with the Boston Bruins in 1988 (his rookie season) and 1990, and remained in New England to play with the Hartford Whalers until 1997, when they moved to become the Carolina Hurricanes. He reached the Finals with them in 2002, and finally won the Cup with them in 2006.

He retired in 2008, and is now a roving defense instructor in the 'Canes' organization. His brother Blake Wesley was also an NHL defenseman, and his son Josh is now playing in the 'Canes' minor-league system.

October 2, 1969: Only 5,473 fans attend the Seattle Pilots' regular-season finale at Sick's Stadium, as the last-place team is defeated by the Oakland Athletics 3-1, for their 98th loss of the year. The AL expansion franchise attracts only 677,944 fans for the season -- an average of 8,370 per game -- and is bankrupt.

As their manager, Joe Schultz, would say, "Ah, shitfuck." The Pilots never did really follow his advice to "Zitz 'em, and then go pound some Budweiser."

This turns out to be the last major league game in Seattle until April 6, 1977, as the Pilots will play in Milwaukee as the Brewers next season.

The last active Seattle Pilot was Fred Stanley. "Chicken," who played for the Yankees from 1973 to 1980, last played in the major leagues for the Oakland Athletics in 1982.

Thanks to their move, pitcher Jim Bouton's book Ball Four, published the following spring, seems more like a novel than a true story. But it was all true.

Also on this day, the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Philadelphia Phillies 3-2 at Busch Memorial Stadium (which replaced Sportsman's Park/Busch Stadium in 1966). Grant Jackson walks Curt Flood with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 12th inning.

The game is significant for 2 reasons. One is that it is the last game broadcast for the Cardinals by Harry Caray, after 25 seasons. Team owner Gussie Busch found out that Harry was having an affair with Susan Busch, wife of Gussie's son Auggie Busch (August Anheuser Busch III). Harry didn't deny it, and Gussie fired him, despite Harry having been exactly what Gussie wanted him to be: Through his broadcasts over the Cards' vast radio network, the greatest salesman that any beer ever had.

It's why, even after having gone to Chicago, first with the White Sox and then, most iconically, with the Cubs, the Cards' arch-rivals, instead of drinking longtime Cub sponsor Old Style, Harry remained a "Cub Fan Bud Man" to the end.

The game is also significant because it was the last game with the Phillies for 1st baseman Richie Allen. He and the Phillies fanbase had pissed each other so much, he had to wear a batting helmet so anything that was thrown at him wouldn't hurt his head. He became known as "Crash Helmet" or just "Crash." He was also the 1st MLB player to have facial hair in over a generation, preceding the 1970s Oakland "Mustache Gang."

A banner at Connie Mack Stadium had read, "OCT 2 SOON RICHIE." Sure enough, after the season, Allen was traded to the Cardinals, along with catcher Tim McCarver, for Flood. But Flood didn't report, and went on to unsuccessfully challenge the reserve clause.

Allen was not a disciplinary problem in St. Louis: Despite it being a semi-Southern city, he found less racial prejudice there than he did in Philadelphia. But he only lasted a year there: The Los Angeles Dodgers traded for him. He only lasted a year there, too: The Chicago White Sox traded for him. They were the 1st team to officially list him under his preferred name: "Dick Allen." Indeed, in Philadelphia, stories had been written calling him "Dick (Don't Call Me Richie!) Allen.

He ended up leading 4 different teams in home runs in 4 straight seasons. That had never happened before, nor has since. So why did he keep getting traded? Yes, teams kept trying to get him, but they also kept getting rid of him.

He did return to Philadelphia in 1975, but, having left Connie Mack Stadium in the North Philly ghetto for Veterans Stadium in the South Philly parking lot, things had completely changed, and he was cheered. He forced his way out of Philly again, but would return to the organization, and remains a popular figure there. His surviving teammates, and his managers before they died, all said he was a great player and a good teammate. So why the reputation?

Also on this day, Gordon Cobbledick dies in Tucson, Arizona at age 70. The sportswriter with the unfortunate surname was a longtime writer for The Plain Dealer in Cleveland. In 2007, he was posthumously given the J.G. Taylor Spink Award, the Baseball Hall of Fame's honor for sportswriters.

Also on this day, Rodney Seymour Wallace is born in Lewisham, Southeast London. A striker, Rod Wallace won England's League title with Leeds United in 1992, and Scotland's with Glasgow-based Rangers in 1999 and 2000, each of those times also winning the Scottish Cup for a "Double," and in 1999 winning the Scottish League Cup for a "Domestic Treble." He is now a coach for Epsom & Ewell, a team based in suburban Surrey, in England's 9th division.


October 2, 1970: A plane crash outside Silver Plume, Colorado kills 31 people, including several members of the Wichita State University football team, traveling to play Utah State. Amazingly, 9 people survived the crash.

The game is canceled, and while the NCAA grants WSU a waiver to allow their freshmen to play, thus making the season's completion possible, the program never recovers. WSU ends their football program in 1986.

Just 43 days later, another crash would kill all 75 people on board, including the entire football team of Marshall University of Huntington, West Virginia. It remains the deadliest sports-related tragedy in North American history. In 2006, the film We Are Marshall, about that crash, premiered. As yet, there is no film about the Wichita State crash the same autumn.

Also on this day, Edward Adrian Guardado is born in Stockton, California. The relief pitcher's ability to pitch with little rest earned him the nickname "Everyday Eddie." He appeared in the postseason with the Minnesota Twins in 2003 and 2008, and was a 2-time All-Star. He is now the Twins' bullpen instructor, and a member of their team Hall of Fame.

October 2, 1972: The Red Sox begin a 3-game series with the Detroit Tigers at Tiger Stadium, which would decide the AL East. (Only 2 Divisions per League back then.) Whoever wins 2 out of 3 will win the Division.

In the top of the 3rd, Carl Yastrzemski doubles off Mickey Lolich. Tommy Harper, who was on 3rd base, scores easily. Luis Aparicio, the legendary shortstop of the Chicago White Sox, was on 1st for the Red Sox and should score easily. And yet…

If you made a list of the Top 10 players in the history of baseball known for baserunning, Aparicio might be on that list. But he trips rounding 3rd, and has to hold there, and Yaz is thrown out trying to stretch his double to a triple. Reggie Smith then strikes out to end the inning. The game is tied 1-1, but should be at least 2-1 Red Sox. The Tigers end up winning 4-1, and win the next night to win the Division.

Also on this day, Bill Stoneman throws the 2nd of his 2 no-hitters, holding the Mets hitless in the Expos' 7-0 victory at Jarry Park. The Montreal All-star right-hander, who also accomplished the feat in 1969 against the Phillies in Philadelphia in just his 5th major league start, becomes the 1st major league pitcher to toss a no-hitter in Canada.

Also on this day, Aaron Fitzgerald McKee is born in Philadelphia. Atlantic 10 basketball player of the year at Philly's Temple University in 1993, he was NBA Sixth Man of the Year with the Philadelphia 76ers in 2001, leading them to the NBA Finals. He is now an assistant coach at Temple.

October 2, 1973: Scott David Schoeneweis is born in Long Branch, Monmouth County, New Jersey, and graduates from Lenape High School in Medford, Burlington County, New Jersey. He won a World Series with the Anaheim Angels in 2002, but he was also a member of the Met teams that collapsed in 2007 and '08. He was released by the Red Sox in 2010 and never played again.

He developed cancer, and his prescriptions included steroids. As a result, his name showed up in the Mitchell Report, although, due to the nature of his prescription, he was cleared of wrongdoing by the MLB office, and has recovered. His 577 major league appearances are the most among Jewish pitchers, and he's probably the greatest player who ever wore the Number 60 in the major leagues.

Also on this day, Paavo Nurmi dies of heart trouble in Helsinki, Finland. "The Flying Finn" was 76. He had won 9 Olympic Gold Medals in track, at the Olympisch Stadion in Antwerp, Belgium in 1920, in Paris in 1924, and in Amsterdam in 1928.

He was active in Finland's resistance to the Soviet Union in the Winter War of 1939-40, and lit the cauldron with the Olympic Torch when the 1952 Olympics were held in Helsinki. He is still the most famous person ever to come from his country.

October 2, 1974: In his last National League at-bat, Henry Aaron of the Atlanta Braves homers off Rawly Eastwick, for his 733rd major league round-tripper. It also his 3,600th career hit. The Braves beat the Reds 13-0, at Atlanta Stadium. (It will be renamed Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium the next season.)

It's Hammerin' Hank's 3,076th game for the Braves -- and his last. That 733 home runs remains a record for honest men in National League play, and a record for any one man with any one team.

Also on this day, future Hall-of-Famer Al Kaline plays his last game. The Tigers retire his Number 6 in a pregame ceremony, the 1st number they had ever retired, but lose 5-4 to the Baltimore Orioles at Tiger Stadium. He goes 0-for-2, finishing his career with 3,007 hits. The previous week, Kaline, a Baltimore native, had collected his 3,000th hit against the Orioles, at Memorial Stadium.

Also on this day, Texas Rangers manager Billy Martin elects not to use a designated hitter, and allows starting pitcher Ferguson Jenkins to bat for himself. It works: Fergie gets a hit in the Rangers' 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins at Metropolitan Stadium.

In one of the last games Billy ever managed, he sort of did it again: On June 11, 1988, he batted pitcher Rick Rhoden 7th, as the DH, and it worked, as Rhoden had an RBI sacrifice fly in an 8-6 Yankee win over the Orioles.

October 2, 1975: Charlie Emig dies in Oklahoma City, at the age of 100. He was from Cincinnati and a lefthanded pitcher, who made 1 big-league appearance, for the Louisville Colonels of the NL, against the Washington Nationals (not the later NL team with the name), at Boundary Field in Washington (Griffith Stadium would be built on the site in 1911), on September 4, 1896.

He started and pitched 8 innings, and got clobbered, although it was hardly all his fault: He allowed 17 runs, but only 7 were earned. He allowed 12 hits and 7 walks, against only 1 strikeout. The Colonels lost the game, 17-3, and then completed the doubleheader sweep by losing the nightcap.

Emig never made a 2nd appearance, but it was enough to officially get him into the books. When he died, he was not only the last surviving Louisville Colonel, but also the last surviving man who had played a Major League Baseball (as we would now call it) game in the 19th Century. Until researchers found Emig in the 1990s, the last surviving 19th Century player was believed to have been Ralph Miller, who was also a pitcher from Cincinnati, and died in 1973. Miller is, however, still believed to be the 1st former major leaguer to live to be 100.

October 2, 1976, 40 years ago: A nasty English soccer rivalry is born, and the teams involved are not close: 48 miles apart. Crystal Palace of Southeast London, and Brighton & Hove Albion of Sussex on the English Channel -- the Eagles and the Seagulls -- contest what's known, for the hgihway connecting them, as the M23 Derby.

The preceding Summer, Terry Venables was appointed manager at Palace, and Alan Mullery at Brighton. Both had been very good players. A few years earlier, at North London club Tottenham Hotspur, Mullery had been Captain, Venables Vice Captain. Both were now trying to get their clubs promoted from Division Three to Division Two. Both would, but that's hardly the story here.

The game on this date, at the Goldstone Ground, then Albion's stadium in Hove, ended in a 1-1 tie. Three smoke bombs were thrown onto the pitch, and fights broke out in the stands and on the streets. The clubs were then drawn together in the 1st Round Proper of the FA Cup. That would also be played at the Goldstone, and ended in a 2-2 tie. Three days later, they played at Palace's stadium, Selhurst Park, and ended 1-1.

Under the rules of the time (today, they'd have gone to extra time and, if still level, a penalty shootout), they needed another replay, set for Stamford Bridge, home of Chelsea F.C. in West London. Twice delayed by bad weather, it was played on December 6, and Phil Holder scored to put Palace 1-0 up after 18 minutes. Brighton had a goal disallowed for a handball. In the 78th minute, Brighton had a penalty disallowed for encroachment, and the retake was saved, and Palace won.

Mullery ended up yelling at the referee, and had to be escorted into the locker room by the police. The clubs have hated each other ever since, even though both have closer rivals. Mullery went on to manage Palace, whose fans seemed to forgive him, making him a traitor to Albion fans. He later went back to Albion, and all was forgiven. As of today, the rivalry is dead even: Each side has won 37 games, with 24 draws.

Also on this day, Rutgers beats Cornell 21-14 at Rutgers Stadium. The Scarlet Knights are now 4-0.

Also on this day, Billy Williams makes his last major league appearance. The former star left fielder for the Chicago Cubs goes 1-for-2 for the Oakland Athletics, and they beat the California Angels, 9-8 at the Oakland Coliseum. He will be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1987.

October 2, 1977: On the last day of baseball's regular season, the Yankees beat the Detroit Tigers 8-7 at the old Yankee Stadium. They have to score 3 runs in the bottom of the 8th to do it, including 2 on a double by Dell Alston. Earlier, they got a home run from Mickey Klutts. Alston and Klutts were both hot prospects who never made it.

Having clinched the American League Eastern Division the day before, while sitting in a rain delay of a game they would lose while Baltimore's defeat of Boston eliminated the Red Sox, they avoid accusations of "backing in" and win their 100th game, a milestone the club reaches for the 1st time in 14 years.

Also on this day, Dusty Baker of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a home run off J.R. Richard of the Houston Astros at Dodger Stadium. This makes the Dodgers, who have already clinched the NL West, the 1st team in MLB history with 4 players hitting 30 or more home runs in the same season: Baker, Steve Garvey, Ron Cey and Reggie Smith.

When Baker approached home plate, on-deck hitter Glenn Burke was waiting for him. Instead of offering his hand for a handshake, or holding it out to slap Baker on the back or the rear end (both common post-homer gestures), he held it high over his head. Baker reached up and slapped Burke's hand with his own. "It seemed like the thing to do," Baker said. And so, the high five was born.

But the Astros won the game, 6-3.

October 2, 1978: The Yankees and Red Sox play that famous one-game Playoff at Fenway Park, the Boston Tie Party. When the top of the 7th begins, the Sox lead 2-0, with Mike Torrez pitching a 2-hit shutout.

Think about it: Today, Torrez would probably have been told he'd pitched a great game, and let the bullpen handle it from here. Although, to be fair, Sox fans generally don't blame Torrez for what happened next. They blame manager Don Zimmer, who leaves Torrez in.

Torrez gets Graig Nettles to fly to right, but allows singles to Chris Chambliss and Roy White. Jim Spencer pinch-hits for Brian Doyle, who was subbing at 2nd base for the injured Willie Randolph. (Fred "Chicken" Stanley took over at 2nd for the rest of the game). Spencer flies to left.

And then up comes shortstop Russell Earl "Bucky" Dent. Very good fielder. Occasional clutch hitter for contact. Very good bunter. Not much power. He takes ball one. He fouls a pitch off his foot for strike one. He gets tended to by Yankee trainer Gene Monahan.

This being an injury time-out, the pitcher is allowed to make as many warmup throws as he can fit in. Torrez makes none.

Mickey Rivers, the on-deck batter, notices that Bucky's bat is broken. He takes one of his own, given to him by White, and tells the batboy, "Give this bat to Bucky. It has a home run in it."

Bucky gets back into the box. You know what happens next: As Yankee broadcaster Bill White said on WPIX-Channel 11: "Deep to left, Yastrzemski will… not get it! It's a home run! A three-run home run for Bucky Dent, and now, the Yankees lead it by a score of 3-2!"

Then Torrez walks Rivers, and then Zimmer pulls him for Bob Stanley. Mick the Quick steals 2nd. Thurman Munson doubles him home, before Stanley finally ends the rally by getting Lou Piniella to fly to right. It is 4-2, and the Yanks would win, 5-4.

On July 20, the Sox led the American League Eastern Division by 9 1/2 games. The Yankees were 14 games back. Now, the Sox have won 99 games, and they don't even make the Playoffs.

The Yankees? They go on to win their 22nd World Championship, all since the Sox won their last, 60 years ago.

To this day, even after their team has finally cheated its way to 3 World Series wins, October 2, 1978 still bothers Sox fans.

Let it.

As for Bucky, he is approaching his 65th birthday, and still runs his baseball school in Florida.

As for you, the Yankee Fan... Happy Bucky Dent Day!

October 2, 1979: Pope John Paul II delivers Mass at Yankee Stadium. A plaque honoring this Mass would be installed at Monument Park, and has been transferred to the new Yankee Stadium. Later in the week, he will also do so at Shea Stadium and Madison Square Garden.

October 2, 1980: Muhammad Ali tries to win the Heavyweight Championship of the World for the 4th time. It is a mistake. He is 38 years old. He is already beginning to show signs of Parkinson's disease, from the poundings he had taken in the ring from 1975 to 1978. He hasn't fought in 2 years. He has gotten his weight down to 217 1/2 pounds, his lowest since he won the title for the 2nd time, from George Foreman in 1974; but, at the same time, he'd lost too much weight too fast, and it had drained him, much like it did for Jim Jeffries against Jack Johnson in 1910. And he's facing Larry Holmes, who's 30, and 35-0 with 26 knockouts.

Sugar Ray Robinson and Archie Moore had been champion boxers in their 40s, but it was a mistake for Ali to even think about getting back in the ring. It is a mismatch. After 10 rounds, Holmes had won every round, and Ali looked like, in boxing terms, a very old man. After the 10th round, Ali's trainer, Angelo Dundee, stopped the fight. It was the only time in his 61 professional fights that The Greatest neither won nor at least went the distance.

Like the rising Rocky Marciano when he inflicted a similar punishment on the aging former champion Joe Louis in 1951, Holmes was seen crying after his victory. He gained very little from the win, and may even have lost respect from many of Ali's fans. This was unfair: If there's anybody with whom they should have been angry, it should have been Ali, for even trying it.

October 2, 1981: For the 1st time ever, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays and Duke Snider all appear together on the same TV show -- not counting All-Star Game broadcasts, of course. The 3 New York center field legends of the 1950s appear on The Warner Wolf Show on New York's WCBS-Channel 2.

October 2, 1982: Tyson Cleotis Chandler is born in Hanford, California, outside Fresno, and grows up in San Bernardino and then Compton, California. Yes, he's straight outta Compton. A 2011 NBA Champion with the Dallas Mavericks, and a 2013 All-Star with the Knicks, he now plays for the Phoenix Suns.

October 2, 1983: Carl Yastrzemski plays in his 3,308th and final game, 5 years to the day after popping up to end the Bucky Dent Game. Playing left field for the Red Sox, he collects a hit, the 3,419th of his career, which includes 452 home runs. Among human beings still alive in 2016, only Pete Rose, Hank Aaron and Derek Jeter have more hits.

After Boston's 3-1 victory over the Cleveland Indians, Yaz takes a lap of honor around Fenway Park, and stays to sign autographs on Yawkey Way for over an hour.

No player in the history of North American major league sports has appeared in more games without winning a World Championship. But Yaz is still one of the all-time greats, now has a statue of himself dedicated outside Fenway, as well as his Number 8 retired by his team, and election to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

October 2, 1985: The Mets' big series in St. Louis continues, and they beat the Cardinals 5-2. George Foster hits a home run off 21-game winner Joaquin Andujar, and Dwight Gooden advances to 24-4, coming within 1 game of Tom Seaver's team record of 25 wins in 1969. The Mets close to within 1 game of the Cards in the NL East, with just 4 games to play. If they can beat the Cards tomorrow night, the Division race will be tied with 3 to play.

Also on this day, Darrell Evans becomes the 1st player in major league history to hit 40 home runs in a season in both Leagues. The Tigers 1st baseman, who had hit 41 with the Braves in 1973, goes deep off Toronto Blue Jays' hurler Dave Stieb. He ends his career with 407 home runs.

But the Yankees can't take advantage of the Jays' defeat, losing 1-0 to the Milwaukee Brewers at Yankee Stadium, a 6-hit shutout by Teddy Higuera. Randy Ready's RBI triple in the 3rd inning makes the difference. The Yankees remain 2 games behind the Jays in the AL East, with 4 to play.

Also on this day, the Galbraith family, owners of the Pittsburgh Pirates since 1946, sells the team to Pittsburgh Associates, who are committed to keeping the team in the Steel City. Thus ends a persistent rumor that the Pirates would move, possibly to Miami.

Also on this day, Brandon Lamar Jackson is born in Detroit. A running back, he starred in both football and track at the University of Nebraska. He was a member of the Green Bay Packers team that won Super Bowl XLV in 2011. He last played in 2013, with the Cleveland Browns.

October 2, 1986, 30 years ago: Yankee 1st baseman Don Mattingly establishes a new team record, collecting his 232nd hit of the season, breaking the mark set in 1927 by Earle Combs. Donnie Baseball will finish the season with a league-leading 238 hits.

The Yankees beat the Red Sox 6-1 at Fenway. It's all futile, though, as the Sox have already clinched AL East title.

Also on this day, East Brunswick High School plays its 1st home night football game. It is played on a Thursday night, because the following night is the start of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

I was a senior at EB at the time, and was really looking forward to this game. I shouldn't have: We had absolutely nothing, and lost 22-0 to our geographic arch-rivals, Madison Central, the school now known as Old Bridge.

Since then, aside from (starting in 1995) the annual Thanksgiving Day clash with Old Bridge, nearly every EBHS home game has been at night. Why? The line of thinking was that, on Saturday afternoon, people would rather sit at home and watch Rutgers, or whoever their alma mater was, on TV than pay to go to a high school game; whereas, on Friday night, they wouldn't have this distraction. There would be more people attending, and thus the school would make more money.

Now, having lights does give a school flexibility in scheduling. After all, if it rains on Friday night, they can reschedule for Saturday afternoon, or Saturday night. But the switch of nearly all home games to Friday night turned out to be monumentally stupid: While our crowds averaged over 4,000 in 1984 and 1985, they dropped to about 3,000 in 1986, even though the team was again a Conference and State title contender. By the early 1990s, when the talent level had dropped off, we struggled to get even 1,000 for home games. Even in Playoff seasons -- 1994, 1998, 2004, 2009, 2010 and 2014 -- the attendance ended up not going up by much.

EB officials never figured it out: If you kick off at 7:00 on a Friday night, people will either still be trying to get home from work, or will be too tired from a long work week to get into a car and schlep over to the high school field to watch a game that may well be emotionally exhausting.

Whereas, if you kick off at 1:00 on a Saturday afternoon, people can bring a portable radio and listen to Rutgers play on WCTC. If they want to watch another big college game, they can record it, and watch it when they get back, just like they would do if they were actually going to Rutgers Stadium.

In the Internet age, when you can check scores on your phone, it's completely stupid to not schedule games for a beautiful Autumn afternoon. If weather reports suggest rain, you can get the visiting school to agree to move the game back to Friday night, or ahead to Saturday night or to Sunday, and then send alerts via e-mail or other social media. I say, bring back day games.

Also on this day, Wayne Valley dies at age 72. A former football player at Oregon State, he got rich building houses in California's East Bay, and was one of the original owners of the Oakland Raiders, from 1960 to 1972, when Al Davis bought him out.

October 2, 1987: Philip Joseph Kessel Jr. is born in Madison, Wisconsin. The right wing survived cancer after his rookie season with the Boston Bruins in 2007, earning him the Bill Masterton Trophy "for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey." A 3-time All-Star while with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Phil demanded a trade last season, as it looked like the Leafs' Stanley Cup drought would reach half a century whether he was with them or not. They traded him to the Pittsburgh Penguins, and he won the Cup with them.

October 2, 1988: In St. Louis, Mets' outfielder Kevin McReynolds establishes a major league record by stealing 21 bases without being caught stealing during the season. The Oakland Athletics' Jimmy Sexton had set the record in with 16 stolen bases without being thrown out in 1982.


October 2, 1990: The A's beat the Angels 6-4, giving Oakland pitcher Bob Welch his 27th win of the season. No pitcher since has even won 24.

Also on this day, Mikkel Morgenstar Pålssønn Diskerud is born in Oslo, Norway. The son of a Norwegian father and an American mother, Mix Diskerud is a midfielder for New York City FC. Because of his dual citizenship, he was able to play for both America and Norway at the youth level, but knew he had to make a choice of one or the other at the senior level.

He chose America, and helped the team win the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup. He was selected for the 2014 World Cup, but did not get into any of the games. He is considered one of the team's brightest hopes for later success.

October 2, 1991, 25 years ago: The Blue Jays clinch the AL East title, beating the Angels 6-5, in their last home game of the season. The sellout crowd of 50,324 allows them to become the first sports franchise in history to draw 4 million fans in one season: 4,001,527.

Also on this day, Roberto Firmino Barbosa de Oliveira is born in Maceió, Alagoas, Brazil. A forward, he played for Brazilian club Figueirense and German club Hoffenheim, before moving to his current side, Liverpool.

Also on this day, Gideon Baah (no middle name) is born in Accra, Ghana. He is a defender for the New York Red Bulls, and scored a goal in their 7-0 demolition of New York City F.C. at Yankee Stadium earlier this year.

October 2, 1992: Mr. Baseball premieres, starring Tom Selleck as Jack Elliot, a former All-Star 1st baseman for the Yankees, who seems washed up, and the only team that will take him is in Japan. He runs afoul of the entire country, and in particular his manager -- and that's before he discovers that his new girlfriend is his manager's daughter.

Frank Thomas, the Big Hurt, has a cameo as the player whose rise leads the Yankees to release Jack, and Dennis Haysbert, who previously played Cuban slugger/voodoo priest Pedro Cerrano in Major League (and would again in a sequel), plays the only other American on the team, who helps straighten Jack out. Former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Brad "The Animal" Lesley, who had pitched in Japan, also plays an expat American player. He would also pitch in the film Little Big League 2 years later.

Also on this day, The Mighty Ducks premieres, starring Emilio Estevez as a lawyer busted for DUI, whose community service requires him to coach a youth hockey team. Unfortunately, this Disney movie is so successful, it inspires Disney to name they expansion team they'd gotten the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. It was a stupid name, and before the 2006-07 season, they changed it to just the Anaheim Ducks -- and won the Stanley Cup.

October 2, 1995: In a 1-game playoff for the AL West title, Seattle Mariners southpaw Randy Johnson throws a 3-hitter and beats the Angels, 9-1. The Big Unit finishes the season with an 18-2 record to establish a new AL mark for winning percentage by a lefthander, of .900, surpassing the record set of .893 by Ron Guidry in 1978. (Guidry still has the mark for lefty AL pitchers winning at least 20 games.)

The Angels led the Division by 11 games on August 9, and 6 games on September 12. But a 9-game losing streak, and a 7-game winning streak by the Mariners, doomed the Halos to one of the worst collapses in major league history.

October 2, 1996, 20 years ago: After losing badly to the Rangers in Game 1 of the AL Division Series, it looks like the Yankees are going to fall behind 2-0 -- at home. Juan Gonzalez hits his 3rd homer of the series -- a drive down the left-field line that is pulled into foul territory by a fan reaching across the foul pole. In other words, he does the exact opposite of what Jeffrey Maier does a week later.

This yutz is soon caught a by Fox Sports camera, yammering on his mobile phone, about what he did and how he's on TV. I'm surprised he didn't get the crap beaten out of him, right there in the stands.

But the Yankees bounce back, tie it up, and send it to extra innings. In the bottom of the 12th, Charlie Hayes attempts to bunt Derek Jeter over to 3rd base (and Tim Raines to 2nd), when Ranger 3rd baseman Dean Palmer, who had homered in Game 1, throws the ball away, allowing Jeter to score the winning run. Yankees 5, Rangers 4.

The Rangers would not win another game that counted until April 1, 1997, and would not win another postseason game until October 6, 2010.

October 2, 1997: DeWitt "Tex" Coulter dies in Austin, Texas at age 83. A center, he was a member of Army's 1944 and 1945 National Championship teams. He reached the NFL Championship Game as a rookie with the 1946 Giants. He moved to Canada, and played in the Grey Cup, their Super Bowl, for the Montreal Alouettes in 1954, '55 and '56, but they lost all 3.

October 2, 1998: Gene Autry dies at age 91. The Singing Cowboy, one of the most beloved entertainers who ever lived, was also the founding owner of the team then known as the Anaheim Angels. They retired their uniform Number 26 for him, as "the 26th Man."

October 2, 1999: The Atlanta Thrashers play their 1st game. They host the New Jersey Devils at Philips Arena. The 1st goal in Thrasher history is scored by Kelly Buchberger, their 1st Captain and a former Stanley Cup winner with the Edmonton Oilers. But the Devils spoil the lid-lifter, 4-1. Bobby Holik (later to be the Thrashers' Captain) scores 2 goals, and tallies are added by very unlikely sources, Sergei Brylin and Polish enforcer Krzystof Oliwa.

A "thrasher" is a bird native to Georgia, not a tough guy who "thrashes" people, or beats them up -- although, in hockey, such confusion would be understandable. The Thrashers would win just 14 games in their 1st season.

Despite a Southeast Division title in 2007, they never won a Playoff game, getting swept that season by the New York Rangers in the 1st round. That was their only trip to the Playoffs, and in 2011, beset by declining attendance, were moved to become the new Winnipeg Jets. Atlanta's 2nd venture into the NHL lasted 12 seasons, a little longer than its 1st, with the Atlanta Flames (1972-80) moving to Calgary.

Also on this day, the Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 3-2 at Tropicana Field. Mariano Rivera finishes the regular season by recording his 45th save. He had allowed only 43 hits all season.


October 2, 2004: Jeff Kent of the Houston Astros hits 2 home runs, reaching 302 for his career, and 278 as a 2nd baseman, breaking the career record set by Ryne Sandberg.

October 2, 2005: In a recorded message shown at the start of the last regular-season game at the 1966 edition of Busch Stadium (they won the NL Central, so there will be Playoff games played there), Joe Buck, unable to be in attendance due to calling a NFL game on national television, asks the crowd to honor his late father by singing the "Star-Spangled Banner" a cappella. A stirring rendition fills the ballpark when 50,000 voices join in unison to sing the National Anthem, a fitting tribute to the late and beloved Cardinal broadcaster.

In the top of the 6th inning, Ozzie Smith emerges from the gate in right field wall in an open convertible. After touring warning track, the former Cardinal shortstop removes the digit "1," his old uniform number, which is affixed to the outfield wall, revealing a "0," to indicate the number regular-season games left to be played in the stadium. The Cards beat the Reds, 7-5.

Also on this day, Mike Piazza plays his last game for the Mets. It is already rumored that the team will not offer him a new contract, so while it is not yet official, the fans have a pretty good idea that this is it. A pregame video montage of his Flushing highlights all but confirms that, and he gets a standing ovation from the Shea Stadium crowd of 47,718 (about 8,000 short of a sellout). He goes 0-for-3 before being lifted for a defensive replacement, and the Mets lose to the Colorado Rockies, 11-3.

Also on this day, for the 1st time, an NFL game is played in San Antonio. The Alamo city had previous had teams in the WFL, the USFL, and the CFL during its U.S. experiment. Unfortunately, the reason for the NFL games there this season is that their Alamodome, standing since 1993 without an NFL tenant and thus a "white elephant," has finally become useful, as the New Orleans Saints needed a temporary home field due to Hurricane Katrina damaging the Superdome.

The Saints beat the Buffalo Bills 19-7. They will also play at the Alamodome on October 19, losing 34-31 to the Atlanta Falcons; and on December 24, Christmas Eve, losing 13-12 to the Detroit Lions. Their 1st "home game" of the season had been switched to the home of their opponents, Giants Stadium at the Meadowlands. Their other 4 "home games" were, at least, in Louisiana, at LSU's Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge.

They went 3-13: Miraculously, they won their 1st game of the season, against the Carolina Panthers; but, thereafter, won only against the Bills in San Antonio and the Jets at the Meadowlands. They lost all 4 games at LSU. But they weren't that bad: 5 of their 13 losses were by 7 points or less. It was the circumstances that doomed them. The Superdome reopened the next season.

Also on this day, comedian Nipsey Russell dies of stomach cancer in New York. He was 87. In 1964, on the ABC show Missing Links, he became the 1st black person to be a regular panelist on a U.S. game show. His appearances on To Tell the Truth, Hollywood Squares and Match Game became legend, partly through his poetic comedy. Example:

There's so much talk about sex today
that I have made a vow
to find the man who invented it
and ask him what he's working on now!

But despite already being in his 50s when the Women's Lib movement again, he understood that, while he could joke about women, he was out of his depth:

Hurricanes are named after women.
They operate on the very same plan:
They start over nothing
make a whole lot of noise
and cannot be controlled by man!


Men who say women are the weaker sex
can't see the trees for the woods.
For no matter how loud the rooster may crow
it's the hen that delivers the goods!

October 2, 2008: In the franchise's 1st postseason game, the Tampa Bay Rays (the "Devil" had been dropped before the season) defeat the visiting White Sox at Tropicana Field, 6-4. Tampa Bay's rookie 3rd baseman, Evan Longoria, joins Gary Gaetti of the 1987 Twins in becoming only the 2nd player to homer in his 1st 2 postseason at-bats.


October 2, 2010: With 70 former players and coaches sitting on the infield clad in white Braves jerseys in front of a sell-out crowd, Atlanta honors Bobby Cox with a pregame ceremony. The longtime manager, who will remain with the team as a consultant, is given a 2010 Lexus LS460 from the team, and an 11-night cruise from his current players during the moving tribute at Turner Field. The Braves lose to the Phillies, 7-0.

Cox will be elected to the Hall of Fame, and the Braves will retire his Number 6. Counting his 1985 AL East title with the Blue Jays, he reached the postseason 15 times, winning 5 Pennants (just missing 3 others), but only 1 World Series, in 1995.

October 2, 2013: The Pittsburgh Pirates beat their Ohio River arch-rivals, the Cincinnati Reds, 6-2 at PNC Park, to win the NL Wild Card Play-in game, and advance to the Playoffs proper. Russell Martin — whom Yankee GM Brian Cashman let get away, resulting in the Pinstripes struggling at the catcher position all season long — hits 2 home runs.

This is the 1st time the Pirates have won a postseason game in 21 years, since George Bush was President. The father, not the son. And it’s the 1st time they've advanced in the postseason since they were "Family" in 1979. The Seventies. The Carter years. The dreaded Disco Period.

October 2, 2016: Today, the Yankees lost 5-2 to the Orioles at Yankee Stadium. Brian McCann hit a home run, but Matt Wieters took Luis Cessa deep, and Cessa didn't get out of the 6th inning.

It was also the last major league game for Mark Teixeira, who had announced his retirement at age 36. He went 0-for-3, grounding to short in the 2nd inning, grounding to 2nd in the 4th, flying out to center in the 6th, and is replaced at 1st base by Tyler Austin in the 7th. Teix retires with a .268 lifetime batting average, 1,862 hits including 409 home runs, 3 All-Star berths, 5 Gold Gloves, and a World Series ring in 2009. He has been hired as a studio analyst for ESPN.

Also on this day, despite being only 20 seasons old, Turner Field in Atlanta hosts its last game as the home of the Braves. Fitting the Braves' historical reputation (since 1991, anyway), their pitching carries the day, as they beat the Detroit Tigers in an Interleague game, 1-0. Julio Teheran started, went 7 innings, and allowed no runs on 3 hits, 1 walk and 12 strikeouts. Freddie Freeman's sacrifice fly drove in Ender Inciarte with the only run.

The Braves will move into SunTrust Park, in Cumberland, Georgia, in Atlanta's northwestern suburbs. Turner Field will be demolished sometime next year.

Also on this day, Vin Scully ends his 67-season MLB broadcasting career by calling his last game for the Los Angeles Dodgers, against their arch-rivals, the San Francisco Giants, at AT&T Park. It ended in disappointment for L.A., as the Giants won, 7-1.

Scully had been with the Dodgers for 17 postseason appearances, 13 trips to the World Series, and all 5 of their World Championships. He had called games for 11 Hall-of-Famers. He had seen 9 National League Most Valuable Player awards, 12 Cy Young Awards, 14 Rookies of the Year, 43 Gold Gloves, and 15 no-hitters by his team and 13 against it.

He had called games during the Administrations of 12 Presidents (nearly 13), 2 British monarchs, 7 Popes, and 9 Commissioners of baseball. He had called games through Brooklyn's urban decline, Los Angeles' massive growth, the Red Scare, the Korean War, the Civil Rights Movement, the dawn of the Space Age, the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War, the Kennedy and King assassinations, race riots (including in Los Angeles in 1965 and 1992), the Moon landings, Watergate, inflation,  the Iran Hostage Crisis, the Space Shuttle era, Iran-Contra, the end of the Cold War, the Persian Gulf War, the O.J. Simpson trial, the impeachment of Bill Clinton, the Millennium, 9/11, the War On Terror and the Iraq War, Hurricane Katrina, and the landmark Presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, and the equally landmark (in a very different way) Presidential campaign of Donald Trump.

He had called games through MLB's expansion from 16 teams in the Northeast and Midwest to 30 teams coast-to-coast, border-to-over-the-border, the rise of artificial turf and multipurpose stadiums, 5 work stoppages that interrupted regular-season play, the rise of the designated hitter, the end of the reserve clause and the start of free agency, and the addition not merely of black players but of Hispanic ones, Asians, Australians and Dutch-South Americans. (Watered-down talent pool? Ha!)

He had been there for Carl Erskine's 14 strikeouts in a World Series game against the Yankees, and Sandy Koufax's 15 strikeouts in a World Series game against the Yankee. He had been there for Koufax's perfect game for the Dodgers and Don Larsen's, Tom Browning's and Dennis Martinez's against them. He had been there for Don Drysdale's record scoreless innings streak of 58 2/3rds, and he had broadcast alongside Drysdale when Orel Hershiser broke that record with 59 20 years later.

He had been there for legendary home runs by Bobby Thomson in 1951, Hank Aaron in 1974, Reggie Jackson in 1977, Rick Monday in 1981, Ozzie Smith and Jack Clark in 1985, Kirk Gibson in 1988, David Justice in 1991, and Barry Bonds in 2001 -- all but Monday's and Gibson's against the Dodgers. He saw Black Friday against the Philadelphia Phillies in 1977, and Blue Monday against the Montreal Expos. in 1981. He saw Fernandomania, Nomomania and Mannywood.

He watched Jackie Robinson and Maury Wills redefine baserunning, and Sandy Koufax, Mike Marshall and Tommy John, each in their own way, redefine pitching. He saw Edwin Snider, whose hair turning white early got him nicknamed Duke; Don Sutton, with his 1970s perm; Steve Garvey, with his 1970s helmet hair; and Manny Ramirez, with his greasy dreadlocks.

He broadcast for the Dodgers in Brooklyn and Los Angeles; against the Giants in New York and San Francisco; against the Braves in Boston, Milwaukee and Atlanta; against the Expos in Montreal and after their move as the Nationals in Washington. He broadcast World Series games in Brooklyn, The Bronx, the South Side of Chicago, the suburbs of Minneapolis, Baltimore, Oakland, and, of course, Los Angeles, first in South Central at the Coliseum and then downtown at Dodger Stadium.

He broadcast games at Shibe Park and Forbes Field, which opened in 1909, and at Marlins Park, which opened in 2012 and is one of several ballparks that could, conceivably, still be used in 2112. He broadcast at a time when Connie Mack, who was born in 1862 and first played in the major leagues in 1884, was still managing; and he broadcast games pitched by Julio Urías, who was born in 1996 and, if he becomes a star, could still be pitching in the late 2030s.

And while he won't be broadcasting any postseason games, the Dodgers will be in them. Who knows what could happen? He might even be invited to throw out a ceremonial first ball.

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