Saturday, October 22, 2016

Happy Birthday, Princeton University!

Nassau Hall. That black thing in the middle
is the now-buried "Big Cannon." 

October 22, 1746, 260 years ago: The College of New Jersey receives its royal charter from King George II of Britain. The college will be located in Elizabeth, New Jersey. It moves to Newark in 1747, and to Princeton in 1756, where Nassau Hall is built, leading to the school's nickname, "Old Nassau."

On January 3, 1777, in the War of the American Revolution, the Battle of Princeton was fought. It was an American victory, commanded by George Washington himself. Three American cannonballs hit Nassau Hall, which (along with the rest of the town and much of New Jersey) was occupied by the British. One bounced off a wall. Another did some damage that can still be seen today.
And another crashed through a window and smashed into a portrait of Britain's King George III -- "decapitating the King." It's been said that this shot was fired by Washington's aide, Colonel Alexander Hamilton, who had been rejected by the school, before being accepted by King's College in New York, which became Columbia University.

Briefly, from June 30 to November 4, 1783, Nassau Hall was where the Congress of the Confederation convened, due to issues with Philadelphia -- making Princeton the capital of the United States of America for 4 months.

On November 6, 1869, a group of students went up the road (now named New Jersey Route 27) to New Brunswick, and played against Rutgers College in what's recognized as "the first college football game." It was essentially a 25-a-side soccer game, and Rutgers won 6 goals to 4. A week later, they met again in Princeton, and the hosts won 8-0. Rutgers wouldn't beat them again until 1938.
Palmer Stadium, Princeton's 42,000-seat home field, 1914-1996

On occasion, a Revolutionary War cannon was stolen by Rutgers and stolen back by Princeton. A 1946 attempt by Rutgers resulted in the car meant to tow it back up Route 27 being ripped in half. This "Big Cannon" is now buried in the backyard of Nassau Hall, in an area called Cannon Green. Unable to steal it now, Rutgers students occasionally snuck in to paint it their school color, scarlet red.

In 1896, while its president is Class of 1878 graduate Woodrow Wilson, the school was renamed Princeton University. He was the 2nd President to be one of its graduates. The 1st was James Madison. It's also produced First Lady Michelle Obama, and current Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Samuel Alito.
The current Princeton athletic facilities include (top to bottom)
Jadwin Gymnasium (1969), Weaver Track & Field Stadium,
and the 27,773-seat Powers Field at Princeton University Stadium.
The Tigers had to play all their 1997 games on the road
while the new football and track stadiums were built
on the site of Palmer Stadium, opening in 1998.

The Princeton Tigers have been retroactively credited with 22 of the 1st 40 National Championships of college football, between 1869 and 1909. When the NCAA split Division I into Division I-A (now the Football Bowl Subdivision or FBS) and Division I-AA (now the Football Championship Subdivision or FCS), Rutgers stuck with I-A, hoping to go "big-time," while Princeton stuck with the other Ivy League schools (Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Pennsylvania, Cornell, Brown and Dartmouth) in I-AA.

The Rutgers-Princeton rivalry stopped on September 27, 1980, with a 44-13 RU victory at the old Rutgers Stadium. Rutgers had won the last 5 games, the last 3 by lopsided scores, and had gone 9-3-1 since 1968. But Princeton's dominance before that -- 33 straight wins from 1869 to 1937 (RU scoring only 29 points on PU in those 68 years), 8 from 1949 to 1957, and 6 from 1962 to 1967 -- meant that Princeton still won the all-time series, 53-17-1.

Since the official establishment of the Ivy League in 1955, Princeton has won or shared the football title 10 times: 1957, 1963, 1964, 1966, 1969, 1989, 1992, 1995, 2006 and 2013. They've also excelled in basketball and hockey.

In 1935, head football coach Herbert "Fritz" Crisler introduced the "winged helmet" design, thus invented the football helmet logo as we've come to know it. In 1938, he was hired by the University of Michigan, and they made the design nationally famous. Princeton abandoned it for many years, but has since brought it back. The University of Delaware also uses it, and uses Michigan's navy blue and gold colors. (Or, as Michigan calls it, "Maize & Blue.")

Princeton has started this season 4-1, beating Lafayette and Brown at home and Columbia and Georgetown away, and losing to Lehigh away and, today, 3-time defending Ivy League Champion Harvard in overtime at home.
Photo clearly not taken today.

Princeton graduates from the world of sports include Knicks star and U.S. Senator Bill Bradley, New York Red Bulls manager Jesse Marsch, Heisman Trophy winner Dick Kazmaier, hockey player Hobey Baker (for whom the hockey version of the Heisman is named), catcher-turned-spy Moe Berg, football player turned Superman actor Dean Cain, soccer coach Bob Bradley and his son/player Michael Bradley, Dallas Cowboys quarterback and now head coach Jason Garrett, Boston Red Sox president Larry Lucchino, Atlanta Falcons president Rich McKay, Sacramento Kings GM and Portland Trail Blazers retired number honoree Geoff Petrie, Dallas Mavericks president Terdema Ussery, Washington Nationals and former Yankee pitcher Ross Ohlendorf, Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson III, and sportswriters Frank Deford and Alexander Wolff.

In 1996, Trenton State College in nearby Ewing changed its name to The College of New Jersey, taking on Princeton's former name. They compete in NCAA Division III and the New Jersey Athletic Conference, their opponents being Rutgers-Newark, Rutgers-Camden, Montclair State, the New Jersey City University (formerly Jersey City State), Ramapo, William Paterson, Kean University, Rowan University (formerly Glassboro State College) and Stockton.


October 22, 4004 BC: According to the calculations made in 1650 by an Irish bishop named James Ussher, the Biblical Creation happened at 6:00 PM on this date. However, the Hebrew calendar begins 243 years earlier, on October 7, 3761 BC. Oy vey.

At any rate, believers in "Young Earth Creationism" believe that any archaeological or geological records that reveal any artifact, any skeleton (human or animal), any fossil, any rock, to be older than 6,020 years old are not merely wrong, but blasphemous: They believe that the Bible is not merely the final word on the subject, but the only word on it. Or, as the William Jennings Bryan analogue said in the play Inherit the Wind, about the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial, "I am more interested in the Rock of Ages than in the age of rocks."

If the Chicago Cubs win the Pennant tonight, or tomorrow night, it won't be the 1st time since 4004 BC. But, for many Cub fans, it will feel like it.

October 22, 1844: William Miller, a Baptist preacher operating out of Hampton, New York (outside Albany, not on eastern Long Island), had predicted this date -- using the aforementioned Ussher Chronology and his interpretation of the Bible -- as that of the Second Coming of Jesus. He had about 600,000 followers, at a time when the U.S. population was about 19 million, so this as a big number.

It didn't happen, and the Millerites called it The Great Disappointment. Miller kept checking his figures, and revising, and issuing new "end of the world" dates, until the end of his world came in 1849.

Moral of the story: No matter how bad things look, in life or in sports, remember: It's not the end of the world.

October 22, 1845: The New York Morning News – not to be confused with the New York Daily News, which begins publication in 1919 – reports that in yesterday's "friendly match of the time honored game of Baseball" the New York Club beat Brooklyn 24-4. A box score of the game is included in the account.

Henry Chadwick, the New York Clipper writer who did much to popularize the game, is often credited with inventing the box score, but this appears not to be the case, as he would not first write about baseball until 1857.

Two oddities: First, this account lists the name of the sport as 1 word, "baseball," not 2 words, "base ball," as was common even at the end of the 19th Century.

Second, we have been told that "the first baseball game" – usually defined as the first game under codified rules, as written by Alexander Cartwright and the Knickerbocker Club in September 1845, was played on June 19, 1846, between the Knickerbocker Club and the New York Club, and that this club, often referred to as "the New York Nine," beat the Knickerbockers 23-1 in 4 innings – 21 runs constituting a win under the rules of that time – despite rule-writer Cartwright serving as umpire for a contest involving the club of which he was a member.

Hello? Conflict of interest! But somebody had to be the ump; who better to enforce the rules of the game than the man who literally wrote them? (Even if he wasn't the originator of all of them, though he probably was the originator of some of them, particularly the 90-feet-apart rule for the bases.)

I've often wondered how the Knickerbocker Club, the people who are the closest thing we have to the definitive inventors of the game, could get their heads handed to them, so soon after they wrote the rules. Were the members of the New York Club quick studies? Or were the Knickerbockers truly bad at the game they "invented"?

Now I know: While this game may not have been under the Cartwright rules, those rules were based in part on the way the game had already been played for a while, and, clearly, the NY9 was already quite good at that version of the game, and it appears they did not need to do much adapting to the Cartwright rules.

October 22, 1857: The Atlantic Club defeats the Eckford Club‚ both of Brooklyn‚ to take the best-of-3-games match and claim the championship for 1857. The baseball custom, by this point, has become that the championship can only be won by a team beating the current title holder 2 out of 3 games.

And, of course, at this point, baseball is still all-amateur. Nobody is getting paid to play. At least, as far as anybody is willing to say publicly. There is, as yet, no surviving evidence that anyone in the pre-Civil War period had been paid to play for any team.

October 22, 1864: Philip De Catesby Ball is born in Keokuk, Iowa. An ice magnate, Phil Ball owned the St. Louis Terriers of the Federal League in 1914 and '15. When the FL folded, he was offered ownership of the American League's St. Louis Browns, and owned them until his death in 1933.

He is probably best remembered for letting general manager Branch Rickey -- whom he didn't like much, due to Rickey's moralizing and his own carousing and profane nature -- get away to the Cardinals in 1919, which probably doomed the Browns in the long term.


October 22, 1872: The Boston Red Stockings win the National Association championship‚ winning their 39th game by defeating the Brooklyn Eckfords 4-3. When the season ends on the 31st (only 17 matches will be played this month) Baltimore and Mutual (of New York) will be the closest teams finishing behind Boston‚ with 34 wins.

The Boston Red Stockings were direct descendants of the first openly all-professional team, the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings. Harry Wright was the owner, the manager, and the left fielder. His younger brother George Wright was the shortstop, and, at this point, the best player in the game. Cal McVey was the catcher, Charlie Gould played 1st base, and Andy Leonard was in right field. That’s 5 out of the 10 Boys of '69.

Their 2nd baseman was Roscoe "Ross" Barnes, who would move on to the Chicago White Stockings, forerunners of the Cubs, when the National League was founded in 1876, and not only win the 1st batting championship of what’s now considered a "major league," but hit the 1st home run in NL competition.

The Red Stockings' leading pitcher was 21-year-old Albert Goodwill Spalding, who will go to Chicago with Barnes and form the White Stockings, and later found the sporting goods empire that still bears his name and will go on to dominate the sport, and thus make him the closest thing baseball had to a commissioner in those days.

By winning the 1872 Pennant, the Red Stockings resume the dominance they had enjoyed as the Cincinnati club from April 1869 to June 1870, until their legendary defeat by the Brooklyn Atlantics. This is the 1st of 4 straight NA Pennants that they will win, and upon entering the NL in 1876, they will win Pennants in 1877, '78 and '83.

By the time of that 1883 Pennant, they will be known by another name, indicative of their city: The Boston Beaneaters. They will win Pennants in 1891, '92, '93, '97 and '98, before a change in management damages them and ends their dominance. From 1899 to 1956, they will win just 2 Pennants in 58 seasons; from 1899 to 1990, only 4 Pennants in 92 seasons. By 1912, they will be known as the Boston Braves; in 1953, they move to Milwaukee; in 1966, to Atlanta.

Thus they, not the franchise founded in 1882 and known these last 132 seasons as the Cincinnati Reds, are the descendants of the first professional baseball team, and thus the oldest continuously-operating professional sports franchise in North America. But as the Atlanta Braves, they cannot legitimately claim the 1869 Cincinnati "world championship," or the 14 Pennants and the 1914 World Series won in Boston, or the 1957 World Series and 1958 Pennant won in Milwaukee.

The last survivor of the 1872 Boston Red Stockings, and of the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings, was George Wright, who lived until 1937.

October 22, 1873: The Boston Red Stockings clinch the NA Pennant by defeating the Washington Nationals‚ 11-8‚ in Washington. George Wright leads the attack with a triple and 2 singles. Note that there are teams today named the Boston Red Sox and the Washington Nationals, but neither is connected to these 19th Century teams.

By this point, the Red Stockings had added catcher and 3rd baseman James Laurie "Deacon" White, from the Cleveland Forest Citys. He would win the 1st 2 National League RBI titles in 1876 and '77, and the '77 NL batting title, and finish his career in 1890. He was the last survivor of this team, outliving even George Wright, living until 1939.

October 22, 1878: According to sources I have found, the first rugby match under floodlights takes place at the Yew Street Ground in Salford, outside Manchester, England, between host Broughton and visiting Swinton.

How was this done, exactly 1 year to the day before Thomas Edison invented the light bulb? Earlier that year, in the English city of Newcastle, Joseph Wilson Swan demonstrated an electric lamp using a carbon-paper filament. The year before that, Charles Francis Brush used a similar set of lamps to light up Public Square in Cleveland. But their filaments burned out quickly -- perhaps lasting long enough for an hour-and-a-half rugby match to be played under their lights.

As for the match, Broughton won, scoring "two goals, three tries, three touchdowns," while Swinton was held scoreless. A contemporary account suggests that there were 8-10,000 people on hand.

October 22, 1879: Thomas Alva Edison successfully tests his incandescent lamp, with a carbon filament that glows for 13 1/2 hours at his lab in the Menlo Park section of Raritan Township, Middlesex County, New Jersey. Soon, he could make it last 1,500 hours -- over 2 months. So while Edison didn't "invent the light bulb," he did make the 1st practical one, thus he gets the credit.

(What credit he deserves for other things is debatable, so if anyone posts this on Reddit, let the record show that he did screw over Reddit's secular god, Nikola Tesla.)

This made possible artificially lit sporting events. The 1st night football game will be played in 1892, the 1st night game in the NFL and the 1st night game in professional baseball in 1930, and the 1st night game in Major League Baseball in 1935. This also makes the indoor sports of basketball and hockey possible without windows large enough to let in enough sunlight to get in the players' eyes.

Raritan would be renamed The Township of Edison in 1954.

Also on this day, Joseph Francis Carr is born in Columbus, Ohio. He founded one of the earliest great professional football teams, the Columbus Panhandles. In 1920, he brought them in as one of the founding teams of the NFL. From 1921 until his death in 1939, he was the President of the NFL. He also founded the American Basketball League, the 1st professional hoops circuit, in 1925, and served as its 1st President until 1927. He was a charter inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963.

October 22, 1885: John Montgomery Ward, a licensed attorney as well as "a clever base ballist" (as someone called him at the time, a phrase used as the title of a 21st Century biography of him), and several teammates secretly form the Brotherhood of Professional Base Ball Players, the 1st players' union in any American sport. The Brotherhood‚ strengthened by fights against salary restrictions and abuses of the reserve clause‚ will become a force to be reckoned with by the end of the decade.

October 22, 1895: John Dewey Morrison is born in Pellville, Kentucky. A pitcher, "Jughandle Johnny" led the NL in shutouts in 1921 and '22, and in saves in 1925, helping the Pittsburgh Pirates win the World Series. He led the NL in saves again in 1929, this time with the Brooklyn Dodgers. He lived until 1966.

Also on this day, John Beckman is born in Manhattan. With the New York-based team known as the Original Celtics (having no connection to the later Boston team), playing in Joe Carr's ABL, he was known as the Babe Ruth of Basketball (but wasn't the only man with that nickname). He died in 1968, and was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1973.


October 22, 1903: Jerome Lester Horwitz is born in Brooklyn. He became known as Jerry Howard, but he's best known as Curly of the Three Stooges. Not an athlete? Maybe not, but he did some sports scenes in the Stooges films.

And all of that head trauma he suffered in slaps from his brother Moses Horwitz (Moe) led to him suffering a stroke that incapacitated him at age 43 and killed him at 49, mirroring what we have now seen from football players.

October 22, 1907: James Emory Foxx is born in Sudlersville, on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The 1st baseman known as "Jimmie," "Double X" and "The Beast" was said by Yankee pitcher Lefty Gomez to be so strong, "even his hair has muscles." Gomez also said, "He wasn't scouted, he was trapped."

In 1937, Foxx became the 1st player to hit a home run into the upper deck in left field at Yankee Stadium, which was much harder to left than to right because of the angle of the seats. He hit it off Gomez, who was asked how far he thought it went: "I don't know, but I do know it took somebody 45 minutes to go up there and get it." After the Apollo 11 mission in 1969, it was said that the astronauts on the Moon found an object there that they couldn't explain. Gomez said, "I know exactly what it was: It was the home run that Jimmie Foxx hit off me in 1937!"

Foxx helped the Philadelphia Athletics win the World Series in 1929 and '30 and the Pennant in '31. He hit 58 home runs in 1932, then 2nd only to Ruth's 60 in 1927. He won the Triple Crown in '33, and won the 2nd of back-to-back MVP awards that year.

After the 1936 season, Boston Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey opened the vault and paid A's owner Connie Mack $150,000 for Foxx's contract -- $2.6 million in 2016 money. This time, Foxx did break a record of Ruth's, the $125,000 purchase of 1920 ($1.5 million).

Foxx even looked a lot like Ruth, and both were from the State of Maryland. Foxx hit 50 homers for Boston in 1938, making him the 1st man to hit 50 homers in a season for 2 different teams. (He has since been joined by only Mark McGwire.)

At his retirement, he had a .325 lifetime batting average and 534 home runs, which remained 2nd all-time to Ruth and 1st among righthanded hitters, until surpassed by Willie Mays in 1966. Until Alex Rodriguez, he was the youngest player ever to reach 500, doing so shortly before his 33rd birthday. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in his 1st year of eligibility.

His life was a sad one, though, as he was plagued with alcoholism, was perennially broke, and choked to death before he turned 60. Jimmy Dugan, the Tom Hanks character in A League of Their Own was based on him. (A banner was made to hang in the Hall of Fame, showing that Dugan had hit 58 homers in 1936.)

In an additional sad note, because Foxx played so long ago, died before the rise of baseball nostalgia films and books, did not give a televised interview, and did his best work for a team that technically no longer exists (the Philadelphia A's), he has been largely forgotten today.

It doesn't help that the A's don't retire numbers from their Philadelphia days, and the Red Sox haven't retired his number, either: He usually wore Number 3. But The Sporting News didn't forget: In 1999, publishing their list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, Foxx, who hadn’t played a game in 55 years, and with most of his teammates, like himself, dead and unable to speak on his behalf, came in at Number 15.


October 22, 1915: McGill Graduates Stadium opens on the campus of McGill University in Montreal. In 1919, it is renamed Percival Molson Memorial Stadium, after a McGill athlete who had been killed in World War I.

McGill, the Harvard of Canada (and whose 1874 game against Harvard essentially created the American football we know today), has played football on the site ever since. The Canadian Football League's Montreal Alouettes played there from 1947 to 1967, and have again since 1998, although, due to the stadium's seating capacity of just 25,012, they play Playoff games at the Olympic Stadium. The Als have won 4 of their 7 Grey Cups while playing regular-season games at Molson Stadium.

Also on this day, Andrew Jackson Lummus Jr. is born on a farm outside Ennis, Texas. Jack Lummus (LOO-mis) played baseball and football at Baylor University, then was a 2-way end with the Giants in the 1941 season. When America entered World War II, he joined the Marines, rose to the rank of 1st Lieutenant, and was killed at the Battle of Iwo Jima on March 8, 1945. He was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

As he was dying, he said, "Well, Doc, the New York Giants lost a mighty good end today." The Giants recognized this by putting a plaque in his honor on the center field clubhouse of the Polo Grounds, along with another of their players killed in The War, Al Blozis. (Also so honored with plaques in New York's "original Monument Park" were baseball Giants Christy Mathewson, Ross Youngs, manager John McGraw and Mayor Jimmy Walker, an old friend of McGraw's. Eddie Grant,a baseball Giant killed in World War I, had a monument on the field in front of the clubhouse.)

On October 11, 2015, to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of his birth and the 70th Anniversary of his sacrifice, the Giants elected him to their Ring of Honor at MetLife Stadium.

October 22, 1916, 100 years ago: Herbert Kilpin dies in Milan, Italy, as a result of his smoking and drinking. He was just 46 years old. A native of Nottingham, England, at age 13 he played for a soccer team named after Giuseppe Garibaldi, the freedom fighter who unified Italy in 1861, wearing, like Garibaldi's soldiers, red shirts.

In 1891, he had the chance to move to Turin, to work for a Nottingham textile manufacturer with offices in Italy. Internazionale Torino, the 1st Italian football club, was founded, and he played for it, becoming the 1st Englishman to play professionally on the European continent.

In 1899, he and fellow Englishman Samuel Davis founded Milan Foot-Ball and Cricket Club. Now known as Associazione Calcio Milan, or AC Milan, their crest has always included the English Cross of St. George, and stripes of red and black, which became the uniform's colors. In Kilpin's words, "We are a team of devils. Our colors are red as fire, and black to invoke fear in our opponents." With him as Captain, they won the national title (pre-Serie A) in 1901, 1906 and 1907. He retired a year later.

October 22, 1917: Bob Fitzsimmons dies of pneumonia in Chicago. He was just 54. He was Heavyweight Champion of the World from 1897 to 1899. It would be 100 years, until Lennox Lewis, before another British citizen was the undisputed Heavyweight Champ.

October 22, 1918: Louis Frank Klein is born in New Orleans. Lou Klein was the starting 2nd baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals when they won the NL Pennant in 1943, then served in World War II, and, when he and previous starter Red Schoendienst returned from the war, Klein accepted an opportunity to "jump" to the Mexican League. He was immediately suspended indefinitely by Commissioner Happy Chandler.

He and the other "Mexican Jumping Beans" were reinstated in 1949. He soon became a coach with the Chicago Cubs, and is now best known for being a part of the Cubs' ridiculous "College of Coaches" experiment in 1961-62. He died from a stroke in 1976, only 57.


October 22, 1920: Harold Potts (no middle name) is born in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, England. A forward, he played for Lancashire club Burnley, then managed them to the 1960 Football League title and the 1962 FA Cup Final. He died in 1996.

October 22, 1922: Juan Carlos Lorenzo is born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. A midfielder, including for hometown club Boca Juniors, "Toto" Lorenzo later managed them to the 1976 league title and the 1977 and 1978 Copa Libertadores, the South American equivalent of the European Cup/Champions League. He died in 2001.

October 22, 1923: Peter Louis Pihos is born in Orlando, Florida. Today, a great football player born and growing up in Florida is understandable. In the 1920s and '30s, it was a big deal. His father was murdered when he was 13, and his mother moved the family to be with her family in Chicago. He starred as a 2-way end at Indiana University, and then served in the U.S. Army in World War II, awarded a Silver Star and a Bronze Star.

He was a 6-time Pro Bowler, helping the Philadelphia Eagles to win the 1948 and 1949 NFL Championships. He was named to the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame, the Eagles' team Hall of Fame, and the NFL 1940s All-Decade Team. One of many athletes nicknamed the Golden Greek, Pete Pihos lived until 2011.

Also on this day, Bernhard Carl Trautmann is born in Bremen, Germany. Many athletes have been said by their fans to be willing to die for their teams. This man didn't die for his team, but he did come close.

Known as Berndt Trautmann in Germany, he kept goal for his hometown club, Werder Bremen, and remained a supporter of theirs throughout his life. When World War II came, he joined the Luftwaffe as a paratrooper. It is important for me to point out that he was never a member of the Nazi Party, and went on record saying that he never subscribed to their racist and anti-Semitic beliefs. He was a soldier only, and had nothing to do with the Holocaust.

He was a good soldier, winning the Iron Cross and other medals on the Eastern Front. Transferred to the Western Front, he was captured by the British. He chose to go back with them after V-E Day. He signed for St. Helens Town, and in 1949 was purchased by Manchester City. Now usually called Bert Trautmann, he became the 1st European star to win over an English crowd, and they didn't mind that he had fought for the enemy.

Man City reached the FA Cup Final at London's Wembley Stadium in 1955, led by Welsh captain and halfback Roy Paul and striker Don Revie, later the legendary manager of Leeds United. But Trautmann let in a goal by Newcastle United's superstar striker, Jackie Milburn, in the 1st minute, and Newcastle won, 3-1. (They haven't won the Cup since.)

Man City got back into the Final in 1956, against Birmingham City. Unlike the year before, when they wore their traditional sky blue, this time, neither team wore their traditional blue: Birmingham wore white, and Man City wore maroon with white stripes. Trautmann wore the traditional English goalkeeping color of green.

This time, it was Man City who struck first, with Joe Hayes scoring in the 3rd minute. Noel Kinsey equalized for the Brummies in the 15th. Bobby Johnston and Jack Dyson scored within 2 minutes of each other after the hour, and Man City led 3-1.

In the 73rd minute, Trautmann saved a shot by Peter Murphy, who slid, and his knee hit Trautmann in the neck. Trautmann was knocked unconscious. There were no substitutes allowed until the 1966-67 season, so another player would have to move into goal and leave the Mancs with 10 men. But Trautmann perked up, and, despite his pain, insisted on continuing. He made 2 more saves, and a collision with teammate Dave Ewing nearly knocked him out again.

The 3-1 score held, and Man City had won the Cup. As the players walked up the steps to the royal box to receive the Cup and their medals from Prince Philip, the film shows Trautmann rubbing his neck. Three days later, an X-ray revealed he had a broken bone in there, and 5 vertebrae dislocated. So, quite literally, Bert Trautmann broke his neck for Manchester City Football Club. A doctor determined that he could very easily have died.

He was out until the following December, then continued playing for Man City until 1964. Because he was playing outside his homeland, he was never selected for the West Germany team, and missed out on winning the 1954 World Cup. 

He later managed clubs in England and Germany, and the national teams of Burma, Tanzania, Liberia and Pakistan. He settled in Valencia, Spain, attended the local side's La Liga games, maintained his connections to Werder Bremen and Manchester City, and died in 2013, age 89. A statue of him making a save now rests inside the City of Manchester (Etihad) Stadium.

October 22, 1925: Slater Nelson Martin Jr. is born in Elmina, Texas. A point guard, the University of Texas retired his Number 15. A 7-time All-Star, Slater Martin, a.k.a. "Dugie," helped the Minneapolis Lakers win 5 NBA Championships: 1949, 1950, 1952, 1954 and 1955.

He later coached the Houston Mavericks to the 1969 ABA Playoffs, and was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame. Basketball maven Bob Ryan has cited his defensive skills as the reason he would be the only player from the Minneapolis dynasty, which played before the institution of the 24-second shot clock, who would make it in today's NBA. Slater Martin died in 2012.

October 22, 1927: New York Giants outfielder Ross Youngs‚ one of manager John McGraw's favorite players‚ dies of the kidney ailment Bright's disease at age 30‚ cutting short a 10-year career in which he batted .322. Youngs had been accompanied by a specialist as early as 1924‚ and after the illness had been identified‚ the Giants hired a nurse to travel with him. He was bedridden in 1927‚ after appearing in just 95 games in 1926.

For years, McGraw had no pictures of former players in his office. Two years earlier, when Christy Mathewson died, he became the 1st player so honored by McGraw. Youngs would become the 2nd.

Decades after his death, Youngs will be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Since he died before uniform numbers were worn, there is no number to retire for him.

October 22, 1928: Jack Dunn dies of a heart attack in the Baltimore suburb of Towson, Maryland, at age 56. The native of Bayonne, New Jersey pitched for the National League Champion Brooklyn Superbas (forerunners of the Dodgers) in 1899 and 1900, and for the Pennant-winning New York Giants in 1904.

In 1907, he became the manager of the Baltimore Orioles of the International League, and bought the team in 1909. He developed a working relationship with Connie Mack, manager and part-owner of the Philadelphia Athletics, over a decade before Branch Rickey invented the farm system concept with the St. Louis Cardinals, producing such future A's talent as Lefty Grove and Jimmie Foxx. Dunn's Orioles would win 8 Pennants under his guidance.

But he's best known for signing a pitcher from a local Catholic orphanage/trade school/reform school: George Herman Ruth Jr. By 1914, Dunn had also developed a working relationship with the Boston Red Sox, and when Ruth arrived in Boston, he became known as "Jack Dunn's $10,000 Baby." This nickname became "Baby" and finally "Babe."

October 22, 1929: Lev Ivanovich Yashin is born in Moscow. He was a goaltender for both the soccer and ice hockey teams at Dinamo Moscow, the team sponsored by the Soviet Union's secret police -- first the NKVD, then the KGB.

With their soccer team, he won 5 Soviet league championships and 3 Soviet Cups, and led the USSR to the 1956 Olympic Gold Medal and the 1960 European Championship -- still the only major "professional" tournament won by the Soviets or any of their post-1989 breakaway nations, including Russia. In 1963, he was named European Footballer of the Year, and he remains the only goalkeeper ever to receive this award.

He had jet-black hair and a dark complexion, and his warmup tracksuit was black. These factors, and his dexterity which made it seem like he had 8 arms and legs, won him the nickname The Black Spider. And, like Eusébio, the Mozambican who played for Portgual (and who called Yashin "the peerless goalkeeper of the century"), he was known as The Black Panther.

He played for the Soviets at the 1958, 1962, 1966 and 1970 World Cups, reaching the Semifinals in the latter 2, and winning the admiration of the entire world, even among those who despised Communism and the KGB. (He wasn't actually a KGB agent; indeed, he'd been purchased by Dinamo from a team sponsored by a factory.)

In 1967, while still an active player, he was awarded the Order of Lenin. His testimonial match brought over 100,000 fans to the Lenin Stadium (now the Luzhniki Stadium), and Pelé, Eusébio
and Franz Beckenbauer attended.

He died of cancer in 1990. In 2000, FIFA named him the goalie on their World Team of the 20th Century. In 2003, in celebration of its 50th Anniversary, UEFA named a "Golden Player" for each member nation, designating them as that country's best-ever footballer, and Yashin was posthumously so awarded for Russia. A statue of him was erected outside Dinamo Stadium in Moscow, the leading stadium of the Soviet Union from 1928 until the Luzhniki opened in 1957. Dinamo Stadium was demolished, and a new stadium is being built on the site, to open in 2018, complete with Yashin's statue.

Yashin shared his birthday with Bert Trautmann, and once said that the only great goalkeepers in the world at the time were himself and Trautmann.

Also on this day, Philadelphia Phillies catcher Walt Lerian is hit by a truck and killed in his native Baltimore. He was only 26.


October 22, 1933: St. Louis Browns owner Phil Ball dies of septicemia on his 69th birthday. His estate would own the team until 1936, selling to Donald Lee Barnes, but the franchise may already have been mortally wounded.

The deathblow came when Gussie Busch bought the Cardinals in 1953, and began putting his beer money into it, and then-owner Bill Veeck could not financially compete, and the team was moved to become the Baltimore Orioles.

October 22, 1934: Gerald Edwin James is born in Regina, Saskatchewan. He is the only man to play in the Finals of Canada's 2 greatest trophies, the Grey Cup and the Stanley Cup, in the same season.

A running back, he won the Grey Cup with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 1958, '59, '61 and '62. A right wing, he played for the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1960 Stanley Cup Finals, just 4 months after winning the Grey Cup. However, the Leafs lost to the Montreal Canadiens.

His father Eddie James also played for the Bombers, and both are members of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame. Gerry went on to coach youth hockey, and is still alive.

October 22, 1935: Tommy Tucker dies in Montague, Massachusetts, not far from his birthplace of Holyoke. He was 71 years old. A 3rd baseman, "Noisy Tom" was the 1889 American Association batting champion with the old Baltimore Orioles (to whom the current team with the name is not connected).

He was a member of the Boston Beanaters' (forerunners of the Atlanta Braves) NL Pennant winners in 1891, '92 and '93. Unfortunately, he closed his career with the worst team in Major League Baseball history, the 1899 Cleveland Spiders (20-134).

October 22, 1936, 80 years ago: Robert George Seale is born in Dallas, and grows up in Oakland, California. Bobby Seale, the Black Panther Party co-founder (with Huey Newton) who was ordered bound and gagged for his outbursts during the Chicago Eight trial, went the opposite way of the A's: He left Oakland for Philadelphia, where he taught at Temple University.

He has written a barbecue cookbook and founded a youth-outreach organization, and has moved back to Oakland, and remains involved in youth outreach programs. I suppose he's been trying to show that the Black Panthers were about more than just brandishing firearms and threatening the white power structure of the 1960s.

October 22, 1938: Derek George Jacobi is born in Leytonstone, East London. He starred in the title roles in the miniseries I, Claudius and the mystery series Cadfael, and, despite being British, was one of the voiceover readers for Ken Burns' Baseball.

Also born on this day, in Stamford, Connecticut, is Christopher Allen Lloyd, who watched the World Series with Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, played "Reverend" Jim Ignatowski on Taxi, played a Klingon ship commander who ordered the killing of James T. Kirk's son in Star Trek III, played a cartoon character masquerading as a hardline judge in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, and invented a time machine in Back to the Future.

In the 1st film in the BTTF trilogy, Lloyd's Dr. Emmett Brown told Michael J. Fox's Marty McFly how nice it would be to know who's going to win the next 25 World Series -- with Game 6 of the 1985 World Series scheduled to take place mere hours later, resulting in the missed call by umpire Don Denkinger.

But in the 2nd film, whose "future" sequence took place on October 21, 2015 -- a year ago yesterday -- Marty buys a sports almanac, planning on bringing it back to 1985 with him, so he can place bets on games that hadn't happened yet and make money. Doc warned Marty how dangerous it might be to know things about the future and bring that information back to the past. He was soon proven right.

October 22, 1939: For the 1st time, a professional football game is televised, on experimental New York station W2XBS, the forerunner of WNBC-Channel 4. The Brooklyn Dodgers -- yes, there was an NFL team with that name -- play the Philadelphia Eagles at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. The Dodgers win, 23-14.

There's no record of how many people paid to watch it in person, but there were apparently less than 300 TV sets capable of receiving the signal. No footage of the game survives, not even on newsreel.

Also on this day, George Reginald Cohen is born in Kensington, in Central London. He was the right back on the England team that won soccer's World Cup on home soil in 1966. He played all 13 seasons of his career for West London club Fulham, winning no trophies.

He retired at age 29 due to injury, and could still have been playing in 1975 when Fulham reached their one and only FA Cup Final (which they lost to East Londoners West Ham United). But, when you've got a World Cup winner's medal, you're a national icon and a world hero of the sport. (Unless you got it dishonestly, like Diego Maradona.)

A recent poll named him the greatest right back in the history of English football, ahead of, to use 3 more recent examples, Phil Neal of Liverpool, Lee Dixon of Arsenal and Gary Neville of Manchester United. He still attends Fulham home matches. His nephew Ben Cohen also won the World Cup for England, but in rugby, in 2003. He played most of his club rugby for Northampton.


October 22, 1942: Robert Gaston Fuller is born in Baytown, Texas, a suburb of Houston. In 1966, with his band, the Bobby Fuller Four (including his brother Randy), he had a huge, iconic hit record with "I Fought the Law."

But within a few weeks, he was murdered. It has never been solved. He could have become one of the giants of rock and roll. Instead, we have only his one real hit and a few other tracks.

October 22, 1943: Catherine Fabienne Dorléac is born in Paris. "Share the fantasy," the French actress better known as Catherine Denueve said in her Chanel No. 5 perfume commercials. She has been the object of many a fantasy.

She and director Roger Vadim had a son, Christian Vadim. She and actor Marcello Mastroianni had a daughter, Chiara Mastroianni. Both children, now grown, are also actors.

October 22, 1944: Paul Reaney (no middle name) is born in Fulham, West London. He was the right back on the Leeds United teams that won the League in 1969 and 1974 and the FA Cup in 1972. Since retiring as a player in 1981, he has been an athletic counselor at a children's camp in Derbyshire.

On December 11, 1968, he was brought on as a substitute in England's 1-1 draw with Bulgaria at the old Wembley Stadium in London. As he is mixed-race, although he faced little abuse because most fans thought he was white, this made him the 1st black player for the England senior team. Usually, that distinction is credited to Viv Anderson of Nottingham Forest, also a right back, in England's 1-0 win over Czechoslovakia on November 29, 1978. 

October 28, 1948: Michael Hendrick (no middle name) is born in Darley Dale, Derbyshire, England. Mike Hendrick starred for Derbyshire County Cricket Club throughout the 1970s, noted especially for his bowling (pitching). "Hendo" is still alive. 

October 22, 1949: Arsène Charles Ernest Wenger is born in Strasbourg, in Alsace, a region that France and Germany spent the better part of 1870 to 1945 fighting over. He grew up in neighboring Duttlenheim, where his German father and French mother ran a bistro named La Croix d'Or (The Cross of Gold), where he would spend hours studying the behavior of the football-loving customers.

He got an economics degree at the University of Strasbourg, and played as a sweeper with FC Strasbourg, winning the Ligue 1 title in 1979 -- but that club has since been liquidated and reformed, its successor club RC Strasbourg Alsace playing in the 3rd tier of the French football system, roughly equivalent to baseball's "Double-A ball."

As a manager, he led AS Monaco – keep in mind that Monaco is a separate, though very small, nation but their soccer team is in the French league – to the 1988 Ligue 1 title and the 1991 Coupe de France, and Nagoya Grampus Eight to Japan's Emperor's Cup in 1996. That's when he was signed to manage the Arsenal Football Club of North London.

Wenger led "the Gunners" (whose fans are called "Gooners") to the Premier League title in 1998, 2002 and 2004, and to the FA Cup, England’s national tournament, in 1998, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2014 and 2015 – taking both titles, a.k.a. "The Double," in 1998 and 2002. His 6 FA Cup wins are the most of any manager in the last 100 years.

The 2004 Arsenal team is known as "The Invincibles," as they went through an entire league season undefeated: 26 wins, 12 draws, 0 losses. It is the only undefeated season in the Football League since its very first, 1889, when Preston North End did it in far fewer games. Their undefeated streak eventually reached 49, breaking the former record of 42 set by the Nottingham Forest team of Brian Clough in 1978-79.

Arsenal infamously went 9 seasons without a trophy until the 2014 FA Cup. He then won the 2015 FA Cup. He then finished 2nd last season. Today, Arsenal let him down against Middlesbrough, though the draw puts them, at least until Manchester City play tomorrow, top of the League, and they are top of their Champions League group as well.

For many Arsenal fans -- forgetting how the club was not nearly as successful before Le Boss arrived -- it's never enough. True Arsenal fans support the team, and thus they support the manager. Wenger isn't going anywhere, so the people who want him gone should be the ones to go. "Arsène Knows."

Joyeux Anniversaire, mon chef.


October 22, 1956, 60 years ago: Frank Michael DiPino is born in Syracuse, New York. The pitcher was 35-38 in a career that included the 1986 National League Western Division title with the Houston Astros. He was particularly effective against Tony Gwynn, whose .338 lifetime batting average is the best of any player to debut since World War II: Against DiPino, Gwynn was just 1-for-20, for .050 (although he did have 3 walks). DiPino is now the pitching instructor at a baseball school in Syracuse.

October 22, 1958: Keena Turner (no middle name) is born in Chicago. A Pro Bowl linebacker in 1984, he played on the San Francisco 49ers' 1st 4 Super Bowl winners, in the 1981, 1984, 1988 and 1989 seasons. He now works in the Niners' front office.

October 22, 1960: The New Yorker magazine publishes "Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu," an article by 28-year-old John Updike, which chronicles Ted Williams' last game in the major leagues. The future Pulitzer Prize-winning author, among the 10,454 fans to watch the otherwise meaningless game at Fenway Park in Boston, includes the words, "Gods do not answer letters,” as an explanation of why the 42-year old retiring superstar did not acknowledge the Fenway faithful after homering in his final major league at-bat.

Even if you don't like the Red Sox (and I sure as hell don't), you really should read it. It is one of the best pieces of sportswriting ever -- and it's by someone whose writing training was not in sports at all, even if his most famous character, Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom, had been a high school basketball star.

Also on this day, Mark Peter Falco is born in Bethnal Green, East London. A forward, he helped North London team Tottenham Hotspur win the 1984 UEFA Cup, the tournament now known as the UEFA Europa League. He is now a tour guide at Spurs' ground, White Hart Lane, and runs a cleaning business with former Spurs teammate John Pratt.

October 22, 1963: Roy Hamey resigns as Yankee general manager. Field manager Ralph Houk is promoted to replace him. He had managed 3 seasons, and won the Pennant all 3 times, including winning 2 World Series.

Soon, Houk will ask the man to whom he was backup catcher, Yogi Berra, "How would you like to manage?" Yogi says, "Manage who?" Houk says, "The Yankees!" Yogi says, "Sure."

Also on this day, Brian Boitano is born in Mountain View, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area. He won the Gold Medal in men’s figure skating at the 1988 Winter Olympics. Before losing his hair, he bore a striking resemblance to Bronson Pinchot, a.k.a. Balki Bartokomous on the ABC sitcom Perfect Strangers.

October 22, 1964: Drazen Petrovic is born in Šibenik, in what was then the Croatia province of Yugoslavia. He starred for his national team – first the united Yugoslavia, then Croatia – medaling in 3 Olympics, and was an All-Star for the New Jersey Nets, before a car crash in Germany killed him in 1993. The Nets retired his Number 3, and he was posthumously elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

October 22, 1965: Otis Smith III (no middle name) is born in New Orleans. A cornerback, he played the 1995 season with the Jets, then played in Super Bowl XXXI  for the New England Patriots under Bill Parcells, then returned with Parcells to the Jets for the revival from 1997 to 1999, and then returned to the Patriots, winning Super Bowl XXXVI. He is now an assistant coach for the Kansas City Chiefs.

October 22, 1966, 50 years ago: Valeria Golino is born in Naples, Italy. The actress has nothing do to with sports, unless you want to count her equestrian scenes in Hot Shots! So why do I mention her? Why do you think I mention her? Google her or YouTube her, and you'll find out why I mention her!

October 22, 1967: Ulrike Maier is born in Salzburg, Austria. The skier won Gold Medals at the 1989 and 1991 World Championships, but had not done well at the 1992 Winter Olympics. She was preparing for the 1994 Winter Olympics, when she was killed in a crash at the World Cup in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. She was only 26, and left behind a 4-year-old daughter.

Also on this day, Ronald Frederick Bradly Tugnutt is born in Scarborough, Ontario, now a part of the city of Toronto. The goaltender was an original member of both the Anaheim Ducks (in 1993) and the Columbus Blue Jackets (in 2000), and in 1996 became the 1st starting goalie to get the Ottawa Senators into the Playoffs. He is now an assistant coach with his 1st professional team, the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League.

October 22, 1968: Stéphane Yvon Quintal is born in Boucherville, Quebec. The defenseman reached the 1990 Stanley Cup Finals with the Boston Bruins, was with the Montreal Canadiens when they closed the Montreal Forum in 1996, and played the 1999-2000 season with the Rangers.  He is now the NHL's Senior Vice President of Player Safety, reviewing videos of players' injuries to see if they were purposely caused, and, if so, what punishments should be given.

October 22, 1969: Héctor Pacheco Carrasco is born in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic. He pitched in the Playoffs for the 1995 Cincinnati Reds (and might have in his rookie season of 1994 as well, if not for the strike), and was an original Washington National in 2005. He last pitched for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in 2007. His career record was 44-50.


October 22, 1970: Winston Lloyd Bogarde is born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The defender played for Sparta Rotterdam, local rivals of Feyenoord, then for Feyenoord's arch-rivals, Ajax Amsterdam. He won the Dutch League the Eredivisie, with them in 1995 and 1996, and the UEFA Champions League in 1995.

Like many Ajax players, including the legendary Johan Cruijff, he moved from Ajax to Spanish giants Barcelona, and won La Liga in 1998 (adding the Copa del Rey for a Double) and 1999. He played for the Netherlands in the 1998 World Cup.

October 22, 1972: The Oakland Athletics win their 1st World Championship in 42 years, since the 1930 Philadelphia team, with a 3-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds in Game 7 at Riverfront Stadium. Gene Tenace has 2 RBI in the game. Tenace‚ who had only 5 homers in the regular season, had 4 in the Series‚ and is named MVP.

The Reds go on to win 2 World Series in the 1970s, and will win more games in the decade than the A's. They win 4 Pennants and 6 Division Titles in the decade to the A's' 3 Pennants and 5 Division Titles. For these reasons, their surviving players are convinced that they, not the A's, were the team of the decade.

However, the A's won 3 World Series in a row, and, what's more, in the one head-to-head matchup between the A's and the Reds, the A's won, winning 3 of the 4 games in Cincinnati, including the clincher, and doing so without their best player, Reggie Jackson. So there can be no doubt that the A's were the Team of the Seventies.

Besides, neither team was the one that won the most games in the decade: It was the Baltimore Orioles who did that, while winning 5 Division Titles and 3 Pennants, but only 1 World Series.

It would take until 1990 for the Reds to get revenge on the A's.

There are 20 surviving players from the 1972 World Champion Oakland A's: Reggie Jackson, Rollie Fingers, Vida Blue, Sal Bando, Bert Campaneris, Joe Rudi, Gene Tenace, Dick Green, Blue Moon Odom, Darold Knowles, Angel Mangual, Ted Kubiak, Dave Hamilton, Dave Duncan, Allan Lewis, George Hendrick, Mike Epstein, Tim Cullen, Joe Horlen and Bob Locker.

Also on this day, Arthur Agee Jr. (no middle name) is born in Chicago. Along with William Gates, he was the focus of the documentary Hoop Dreams. He attended St. Joseph High School in the Chicago suburb of Westchester, Illinois, as had his hero, Detroit Pistons star Isiah Thomas. But it was too expensive for his parents, and he transferred to John Marshall High School in the city, winning the 1991 Public League Championship.

He played at Arkansas State, but never professionally. He now runs the Arthur Agee Role Model Foundation, "to help underprivileged kids to understand that their role models are not professional athletes, but their parents at home."

Gates stayed at St. Joseph, played at Marquette University in Milwaukee, also fell short of playing pro ball, and is now a minister outside San Antonio. His son, William Gates Jr., now plays basketball at Furman University in South Carolina. Neither man's hoop dream came true, but both are doing a lot of good now.

October 22, 1973: Ichiro Suzuki is born in Kasugai, Aichi Prefecture, outside Nagoya, Japan. The 1st Japanese batter to really make it in the North American major leagues, he may become the 1st player to make it to the Baseball Hall of Fame based on both his Japanese and his North American achievements.

He has won 10 Gold Gloves, and his 1,278 hits for the Orix Blue Wave and his 3,030 hits in the U.S., mostly with the Seattle Mariners, gives him 4,308. This includes 262 hits in 2004, which broke the 84-year-old major league record of 257 by George Sisler.

Granted, those 1,278 Japanese hits weren't all against pitchers good enough to make it in MLB, but if the Japanese leagues are accepted as "major league," then his 4,308 hits would place him ahead of the all-time record of 4,256 hits set by Pete Rose.

After playing for the Yankees late in 2012 and all of '13 and '14, he now plays for the Miami Marlins. He's also made the All-Star Team and won the Gold Glove 7 times each in Japan. But although he won the Japan Series with the Blue Wave in 1996, the closest he's gotten to a major league Pennant was in his 1st season with the Mariners, 2001, when they were eliminated by the Yankees in the ALCS in 5 games. At 43, his option has been picked up by the Marlins, and he shows no signs of wanting to retire, or needing to.

Also on this day, Andrés Palop Cervera is born in L'Alcúdia, Spain, outside Valencia. The goalkeeper, helped hometown club Valencia win La Liga in 2002 and 2004, and the UEFA Cup in 2004. He moved to Sevilla, and helped them win the UEFA Cup in 2006 and 2007, and the Copa del Rey (King's Cup) in 2007 and 2010. Although selected for the Spain team that won Euro 2008, he never actually played a game for his country, being stuck behind Real Madrid legend Iker Casillas and Barcelona star Victor Valdes. Palop now manages Alcoyano, in Spain's 3rd division.

October 22, 1974: The Giants and Yankees swap popular star outfielders: Bobby Bonds goes to New York, and Bobby Murcer heads to San Francisco. Bonds will hit 32 homers and steal 32 bases in 1975‚ becoming the Yankees' 1st-ever member of "the 30-30 Club."

But leg injuries prevented him from doing more that season. He never quite adapted to New York, and after just the 1 season, he is traded to the California Angels for outfielder Mickey Rivers and pitcher Ed Figueroa. They turn out to be 2 major figures in the Yankees’ revival, so Bonds' greatest value to the Yankees was as trade bait.

Today, Bonds is known 3rd for his amazing combination of power and speed, 2nd for being traded so many times, and 1st for being the father of Barry Bonds. That really isn’t fair, as Bobby was a fantastic player, one of the best of the 1970s.

As for Murcer, he loved the city of San Francisco, but hated playing in cold, windy Candlestick Park, both as a batter and as an outfielder. He would be traded to the Chicago Cubs in 1977, and he enjoyed Wrigley Field a lot more. (Sure, Wrigley also has wind issues, but it is also much more of a hitter’s park.)

Still, Murcer was heartbroken to be traded by the Yankees, to whom he had given as much as anybody could in those dark years between 1964 and 1976, and swore he would never forgive them for trading him. But in 1979, George Steinbrenner traded to get him back, and Bobby jumped at the chance, and he remained a part of the Yankee family, as a player until 1983, and then as a broadcaster until his death in 2008.

Also on this day, Pat Pieper dies at age 88. He had been the Cubs' public address announcer since 1916 -- 49 years. "Attention... Attention, please!... Have your pencil... and scorecards ready... and I'll give you... the correct lineup... for today's ball game." Those words became as familiar to Chicagoans as the "Your attention please... ladies and gentlemen... " of Bob Sheppard, the Yankee PA announcer who now holds the record for the majors' longest-serving (57 years) and oldest (97) PA announcer.

Pieper was there when the Cubs' James "Hippo" Vaughn and the Reds' Fred Toney both pitched no-hitters in 1917, Toney keeping his for 10 innings as the Reds reached Vaughn for a hit and the winning run. He was there when Babe Ruth called his shot against the Cubs in the 1932 World Series -- and, unlike most Cub fans, was willing to admit that the Babe did it. He was there when Gabby Hartnett hit his "Homer in the Gloamin'" that won a key Pennant race game for the Cubs in 1938. He was there when the Cubs won their last Pennant in 1945, when Ernie Banks integrated the team in 1953, when they had their thrilling but heartbreaking season of 1969, and in 1970, when Banks hit his 500th career home run and Billy Williams played in his 1,000th consecutive game, a streak he would stretch to a then-NL record of 1,117.

In nearly half a century, he missed only 16 home games, none after 1924, until he fell ill late in the 1974 season. The Cubs inducted him into their Walk of Fame when it was established in 1996.

Also on this day, Miroslav Šatan is born in Jacovce, in what’s now Slovakia. He scored 363 goals in 15 NHL seasons. Despite having a name that sounds like the English name for the Devil (but is pronounced "Sha-TANN" in his language), he never played for the New Jersey Devils. Indeed, he seemed to play particularly well against them, no matter what team he was on, including the 2009 Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins.

He recently retired from the game, and, remembering his good times with the New York Islanders, has settled in Jericho, Long Island, New York.

October 22, 1975: Just 20 hours after Carlton Fisk's home run finished what some still call the greatest baseball game ever played, the Cincinnati Reds and Boston Red Sox have to play Game 7 of the World Series at Fenway Park, to decide the championship of the baseball world.

Before the game, Reds manager Sparky Anderson says of his starter, Don Gullett, "No matter what happens in this game, my starter's going to the Hall of Fame." Told by the reporters that Anderson had said that, Red Sox starter Bill Lee says, "No matter what happens in this game, I'm going to the Eliot Lounge."

The Eliot was a popular Boston watering hole, at the convenient intersection of Massachusetts and Commonwealth Avenues, known for local athletes dining and drinking there. Essentially, it was Boston's answer to Toots Shor's in New York or The Pump Room in Chicago. But since its closing in 1996, people who knew it well have argued that it was not a "sports bar," as if that term diminishes what the Eliot meant to the sports fans of Boston.

The Sox take a 3-0 lead in the 3rd, just as they had in Game 6. And, just as they had in Game 6, as they would say in English soccer, "Three-nil, and you fucked it up." Lee decided to try a blooper pitch against All-Star 1st baseman Tony Perez, and the man known as Big Doggie crushes it, sending it well over the Green Monster. That makes it 3-2 Boston.

Lee allows another run – some sources say he'd developed a blister, or maybe I'm confusing this with Roger Clemens in 1986 – and the game is tied.

Jim Willoughby finishes up the 7th for Boston, and also pitches the 8th. But in the 9th, Sox manager Darrell Johnson pinch-hits Cecil Cooper for Willoughby. Johnson brings in Jim Burton to pitch, and Burton allows 2 runners, and Joe Morgan singles up the middle to bring home Ken Griffey Sr. to make it 4-3 Cincinnati. Will McEnaney stares down Carl Yastrzemski with 1 out to go, and Yaz flies out to center fielder Cesar Geronimo to end it.

The Reds thus win their 3rd World Series, but their 1st in 35 years. The Red Sox have now gone 57 years without winning one, and New England will have to wait.

Many Sox fans wonder what could have been: If Johnson hadn't brought in Dick Drago and blown Lee’s 2-1 lead in the 9th in Game 2; if Ed Armbrister hadn't interfered with Carlton Fisk in Game 3; if umpire Larry Barnett had called interference on that play; if the Sox hadn't blown a 1-0 lead in the 4th in Game 5; if Lee hadn't thrown the blooper to Perez; if Johnson hadn't pinch-hit for Willoughby; if Johnson had relieved Willoughby with someone other than Burton; and if rookie outfielder Jim Rice hadn't been injured late in the regular season, rendering him unavailable for the Series...

This Series has been regarded as one of the best ever, maybe the best. For the Red Sox, Yastrzemski, Fisk and Rice have been elected to the Hall of Fame, and some people think Luis Tiant should also be elected. For the Reds, Anderson, Morgan, Perez and Johnny Bench have been elected, and Pete Rose, named MVP of this Series, would have been elected to the Hall if he hadn't been caught betting on baseball.

However, despite Anderson’s prediction, his Game 7 starter, Don Gullett, developed a shoulder problem, and a promising career was cut short, and he did not achieve election to the Hall. He did, however, help the Reds win the Series again the next year, and then signed with the Yankees as a free agent, and won another, before his shoulder injury ended his career in 1978.

For the 1975 World Champion Cincinnati Reds, 25 of the 26 players who had significant roster time are still alive. Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez, Dave Concepcion, George Foster, Cesar Geronimo, Ken Griffey Sr., Dan Driessen, Doug Flynn, Fred Norman, Ed Armbrister, Don Gullett, Will McEnaney, Gary Nolan, Pat Zachry, Jack Billingham, Rawly Eastwick, Bill Plummer, Darrel Chaney, Terry Crowley, Merv Rettenmund, Clay Carroll, Pat Darcy & Clay Kirby. Pedro Borbon Sr. is the only one who has died so far.

Also on this day, Miguel Ángel "Míchel" Salgado Fernández  is born. His name usually listed as Míchel Salgado, the right back starred for Real Madrid, winning Spain's La Liga in 2001, 2003, 2007 and 2008, and the UEFA Champions League in 2000 and 2002. He closed his career in England with Lancashire club Blackburn Rovers in 2012, and now writes a column for English soccer magazine FourFourTwo.

Also on this day, Martín Cardetti is born in Río Cuarto, Argentina. A forward, he won league titles with Buenos Aires club River Plate in 1997,1999, 2000, 2001 (when he was the league's top scorer) and 2002. Despite this, he never played for the Argentine national team. He now manages Uruguay de Coronado, in Costa Rica's 2nd division.

Also on this day, Jesse Tyler Ferguson is born in Missoula, Montana. Unlike most adult actors, he uses all 3 names. He plays Mitchell Pritchett on Modern Family.

What does he have to do with sports? In real life, not much; on the show, Mitchell and his sister, now Claire Dunphy (Julie Bowen), were a brother-sister ice skating team as kids. The openly gay Mitchell's husband, Cameron Tucker (Eric Stonestreet), played football at the University of Illinois, and coaches it at the Los Angeles high school formerly attended by Claire's daughters Haley (Sarah Hyland) and Alex (Ariel Winter), and still attended by Claire's son Luke (Nolan Gould) and Mitchell's much younger stepbrother Manny Delgado (Rico Rodriguez), who plays on the team.

October 22, 1976, 40 years ago: The New York Nets and Julius Erving make their NBA debuts. Unfortunately for the Nets, it's not in the same game, as the Nets had to sell "Dr. J" to the Philadelphia 76ers so they could afford the entry fee, and the territorial indemnification fee that the New York Knicks demanded.

The badly-weakened last ABA Champions get 30 points from their new star, Nate "Tiny" Archibald, and 27 from "Super John" Williamson, and beat the Golden State Warriors, 104-103 at the Oakland Coliseum Arena.

Doc and the Sixers aren't so lucky. He scores 17 points, Doug Collins 30, and George McGinnis 29, but another former Net, Billy Paultz, scores 27 to lead another former ABA team, the San Antonio Spurs, to a 121-118 win at The Spectrum.

This night will be an exception for both teams during the season: The Nets went from ABA Champions to the worst record in the NBA, while the 76ers won the Eastern Conference and led the Portland Trail Blazers 2-0 in the Finals, before the Bill Walton-led Blazers won 4 straight to take the title. Ironically, from 1976 to 2002, the only NBA Playoff series the Nets would win would be over the defending Champion 76ers in 1984.

October 22, 1977: Stuff Yer Face opens at 49 Easton Avenue in New Brunswick, New Jersey. The restaurant is known for its stromboli and its "beer library," and has become an institution in the hometown of Rutgers University. They are one of those places that likes to say, "We were here before you were born." For pretty much any visiting Rutgers student from the Class of 1996 onward, that has been true.

October 22, 1978: Chaswe Nsofwa is born in Zambia. A forward, he won his country's Premier League in 2003 with Zanaco, and the Mosi Cup, Zambia's version of the FA Cup, with Zanaco in 2003 (making for a Double) and Green Buffaloes in 2005. He represented Zambia at the 2002 African Cup of Nations.

On August 29, 2007, he was playing in Israel for Hapoel Be'er Sheva against crosstown rivals Maccabi Be'er Sheva, when he suffered a heart attack and died. He was just 29 years old Hapoel Be'er Sheva retired his Number 6 in his memory

October 22, 1979: John Drebinger, one of the last active sportswriters from the 1920s' "Golden Age of Sports," dies at age 88 in Greensboro, North Carolina. The Staten Island native covered baseball for The New York Times from 1923 to 1964, from the prime of Babe Ruth to the prime of Mickey Mantle. He was given the Baseball Hall of Fame's award for sportswriters, the J.G. Taylor Spink Award.

Also on this day, Doniéber Alexander Marangon is born in Jundiaí, São Paulo state, Brazil. Known simply as Doni, the goalkeeper won the 2002 Copa do Brazil with São Paulo club Corinthians, moved to Italy and won the Coppa Italia with AS Roma in 2007 and 2008, and moved to England and won the 2012 League Cup with Liverpool.

He won the 2007 Copa América with Brazil, and also represented his country at the 2010 World Cup. He was diagnosed with a heart problem in 2013, and retired.


October 22, 1982: Robinson José Canó Mercedes is born in San Pedro de Macoris, in the Dominican Republic. He lived in Newark for 3 years, and went to my father's alma mater, Barringer High School, before moving back to his homeland. The Yankees' 2nd baseman was named after Jackie Robinson, and wore Number 24 as it is Robinson’s 42 reversed. The 6-time All-Star and 2-time Gold Glove now wears 22 with the Seattle Mariners, as 24 is retired for Ken Griffey Jr. He has 2,210 hits and 278 home runs in the major leagues.

That the Yankees made a mistake in letting Robinson Canó go, instead of throwing a huge salary and a long-term contract at him, has been conventional wisdom. But let's see who was right when he gets to the same point in his Seattle contract that Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira or CC Sabathia got. In the meantime, the Yankees did reached the postseason last year, and he has yet to play a postseason game for the Mariners, after 7 postseason appearances with the Yankees, including the 2009 World Championship.

Also on this day, Earl Heath Miller Jr. is born in Richlands, Virginia. The tight end for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Heath Miller is the winner of 2 Super Bowl rings thus far, and has made 2 Pro Bowls.

October 22, 1985: Deontay LeShun Wilder is born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. On January 17 of this year, at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, he won a unanimous decision over Bermane Stiverne to become recognized by the World Boxing Council (WBC) as the Heavyweight Champion of the World. He has since successfully defended that title twice.

October 22, 1986, 30 years ago: Game 4 of the World Series at Fenway Park. Gary Carter hits 2 home runs, and the Mets beat the Red Sox, 6-2. The Series is tied, and those trash-talking Met fans get their confidence back.

Also on this day, Ștefan Daniel Radu is born in Bucharest, Romania. He led hometown club Dinamo București to the 2005 Romanian Cup and the 2007 Romanian League title. He moved to Italy, and helped Rome club SS Lazio win the Coppa Italia in 2009 and 2013. He is still Lazio's starting left back.

Also on this day, Kara Elise Lang is born in Calgary. Like Sydney Leroux, she was born in Canada but played her collegiate soccer at UCLA. Like Sydney, she now has a child with a fellow athlete, baseball pitcher Ricky Romero.

Unlike Sydney Leroux, who represents the U.S. in international soccer based on her dual citizenship, Kara Lang chose to represent Canada. She did so at the 2003 and 2007 Women's World Cups. She is a member of the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame. She is now a sideline analyst for MLS games on TSN, the Canadian version of ESPN.

October 22, 1987: Game 5 of the World Series. Manager Whitey Herzog gives his St. Louis Cardinals the green light, and they steal 5 bases, tying the single-game Series record set by the 1907 Chicago Cubs. Behind Danny Cox, the Cards beat the Minnesota Twins 4-2.

The home team has won every game in this Series. This is bad news for the Cards, because the Series is going back to Minneapolis.


October 22, 1991, 25 years ago: For the 1st time, a World Series game is played in a place that used to be part of the Confederate States of America. Game 3 is held at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, and Mark Lemke's 2-out single in the bottom of the 12th gives the Braves a 5-4 win over the Minnesota Twins. It is the 1st World Series game won by the Braves since October 5, 1958, when they were still in Milwaukee.

October 22, 1992: Walter Lanier Barber, the Voice of Baseball, dies from complications from surgery. The Old Redhead, who broadcast for the Cincinnati Reds from 1934 to 1938, the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1939 to 1953, and the Yankees from 1954 to 1966, was 84. Since then, he has watched games from the real "catbird seat."

October 22, 1994: Had there been a 1994 World Series, it would have begun on this date, in the home park of the National League's Pennant-winner.

October 22, 1996, 20 years ago: Game 3 of the World Series, at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. Because Games 1 and 2 were delayed a day by rain, the travel day in between Games 2 and 3 was eliminated. The Yankees get a desperately-needed win, 5-2 over the Braves, behind the gutsy pitching of David Cone. John Wetteland gets the save as Bernie Williams drives in 3 runs.

October 22, 1997: With the Jacobs Field game-time temperature hovering at 35 degrees, the coldest start on record for any postseason game, and snow blowing in from Lake Erie, the Cleveland Indians' bats come out smoking in Game 4 of the World Series, scoring 3 runs in the 1st and another 3 in the 3rd.

Highlights of their 10-3 rout of the Florida Marlins include Tribe 3rd baseman Matt Williams reaching base 6 times, and the matchup of 2 rookie starters on the mound: 21-year-old righthander Jaret Wright for Cleveland and 23-year-old southpaw Tony Saunders for Florida. This is only the 6th time that freshman hurlers have opposed one another in the history of the Fall Classic.

Also on this day, actress Lucy Lawless sings "The Star-Spangled Banner" before a game between the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and the Detroit Red Wings, at the Arrowhead Pond (now the Honda Center). She really can sing, and did a great job, considering that, as a native of New Zealand, she almost certainly didn't grow up knowing the words to the song.

But that's not what made this performance memorable. She sang it wearing an Uncle Sam top hat (well, if you're going to wear a hat during the National Anthem, which you're not supposed to do... ), and a star-spangled bustier that would have made Wonder Woman blush. (By the way, Lynda Carter is an amazing singer, too.)

At the end of the song, Lucy had what would later be called "a wardrobe malfunction." She finished the song with one of her "Xena" yells. Whether she was already aware of the malfunction when she did that yell, only she knows for sure. But then, who's going to tell the Warrior Princess that she futzed up the National Anthem? Not me. As far the game, the Wings won, 4-1.


October 22, 2000: Game 2 of the Subway Series, at the original Yankee Stadium, is one of the most bizarre contests in baseball history. In the top of the 1st, with 2 out and a man on, Mike Piazza bats for the Mets against Roger Clemens of the Yankees. Piazza had hit some long home runs off Clemens, and in July, in an Interleague game also at Yankee Stadium, Clemens had nailed Piazza on the helmet with a fastball, giving him a concussion.

This time, Piazza hits a foul ball, and breaks his bat. The barrel of the bat comes back to Clemens, and... he throws the jagged-edged bat barrel across the first-base foul line. Right in Piazza's path, and Piazza almost steps into it.

We may never know what was going on in the head of the Rocket, but what's going on in the head of Piazza is rage. He thinks Clemens was throwing the sharp object at him. Piazza moves toward Clemens and both benches empty. Piazza is furious. For one of the few times in his career, there's an on-field controversy with Clemens on the field, and Clemens is not the most insane man involved.

The umpires restore order, and Clemens finishes the at-bat by striking Piazza out. He pitches 8 strong innings, and the Yankees pound Mike Hampton, and take a 6-0 lead into the 9th.

But the bullpen can't hold it, and the Mets come to within 6-5, including home runs by Piazza (the 1st-ever World Series homer for the alleged "greatest-hitting catcher ever") and Jay Payton, before Joe Torre has enough and brings in the Hammer of God, Mariano Rivera, to slam the door and keep it 6-5. The Yankees take a 2-games-to-0 lead in the Series, which now heads across town to Shea.

Clemens will be fined $50,000 for his what-the-hell moment. But Met fans have never gotten this into their thick skulls: Clemens was not throwing the bat at Piazza. If there's one thing that Roger Clemens made perfectly clear many times in his playing career, it's this: If he wants to throw something at someone with the intention of hitting him, that person will get hit. If he wanted to throw the bat at Piazza, that bat would have hit Piazza.

And now, the question needs to be asked: Which of these men was on steroids, warping their perceptions of what was happening? Was it Clemens? Was it Piazza? Was it both? Until either man, or both men, decide to change their stories, we may never know for sure.

As it turned out, both men played their last game in 2007, meaning that both became eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame in the election of January 2013. Piazza was elected this year. Clemens is still waiting. That did, however, avoid what would have been the most awkward induction ceremony in the Hall's history.

Almost lost in the craziness of this game is that fact that, a few hours earlier, Corey Dillon of the Cincinnati Bengals rushed for 278 yards against the Denver Broncos, breaking Walter Payton’s single-game record of 275, set in 1977. The Bengals had been 0-6, but win this one, 31-21. They win the next week, too, beating their arch-rivals, the Cleveland Browns. But they fall apart, finishing 4-12.

Dillon, who has since been arrested for hitting his wife, has seen his record surpassed by Jamal Lewis and Adrian Peterson -- a cocaine addict and a child abuser. Walter Payton, one of the most decent men in sports history, went to his grave with his record intact. I don't think he would have minded seeing his record broken, but it would have upset him to see the character of the men who have done it.

October 22, 2001, 15 years ago: Bernie Williams, Paul O'Neill and Tino Martinez hit home runs, backing the pitching of Andy Pettitte, and the Yankees win Game 5 of the American League Championship Series, 12-3 over the Seattle Mariners.

Yankee Fans chanted, "One sixteen!" "O-ver-RA-ted!" and, for "rookie" sensation Ichiro Suzuki -- I'm sure most of them didn't realize it was his 28th birthday -- "SAY-o-NA-ra!" (Japanese for "Goodbye.")

For the Yankees, it is their 5th Pennant in the last 6 years, and a tremendous lift for the City of New York after the events of last month. For the Mariners, it is a crushing defeat. They had tied an all-time major league record with 116 wins, but had totally flopped against the Yankees. They haven't played a postseason game since.

Also on this day, Bertie Mee dies in Barnet at age 82. He revived North London's Arsenal as manager in 1966, leading them to the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup (the tournament now known as the Europa League) in 1970, and to the Football League and FA Cup "Double" in 1971.

October 22, 2002: Renel Brooks-Moon becomes the 1st woman to be the public address announcer at a finals game in any major league sport, in Game 3 of the World Series at Pacific Bell Park (now AT&T Park) in San Francisco. Her predecessor with the Giants, Sherry Davis, had been the 1st female P.A. announcer in Major League Baseball. Brooks-Moon was not the 1st female, nor the 1st black, P.A. announcer in the major leagues, but she was one of the earliest of each.

She can't be happy with the result of this game, as the host Giants are pounded 10-4 by the Anaheim Angels. This was the first World Series game played in San Francisco since the earthquake-interrupted Series of 1989 ended in Game 4 at Candlestick Park. (Although the A's had played 2 Series games in Oakland in 1990.)

Born across the Bay in Oakland, Brooks-Moon remains the Giants' P.A. announcer, and has long been a disc jockey at San Francisco radio station 98.1 KISS-FM, and the entertainment reporter for KPIX, Channel 5, the CBS affiliate in the Bay Area. She has now announced 3 World Championship wins for the Giants, in 2010, 2012 and 2014.

October 22, 2003: The Jeff Weaver Game. As Phil Rizzuto would have said, I get agita just thinking about it.

It's Game 4 of the World Series at the Dolphins/Marlins Stadium. I’ve seen the location listed as "Miami," "Miami Gardens," "Miami Lakes," "Carol City" and "Opa-Locka." Just as the stadium itself has gone through several names: Joe Robbie Stadium, Pro Player Stadium, Dolphin Stadium, Land Shark Stadium, Sun Life Stadium, and, currently, Hard Rock Stadium.

The Florida Marlins lead the Yankees 3-1 after 7 innings, but as he strikes out Luis Castillo (a name that will feature in the Yankees-Mets rivalry in 2009) to end the 7th, Roger Clemens walks off the mound, and a crowd of 65,934 gives him a standing ovation, thinking that the 41-year-old legendary fireballer is walking off the field as an active player for the last time. (Within weeks, this will prove to have been greatly exaggerated.) Marlins starter Carl Pavano holds the Yankees to 1 run through 8 strong innings. Like Clemens' retirement, Pavano's frustration of Yankee Fans is happening for the first time, but by no means for the last.

The Yankees rally in the 9th against reliever Ugueth Urbina, whose own post-baseball career will be incredibly troubled. Bernie Williams singles with one out, Hideki Matsui walks and Jorge Posada grounds into a force play. Pinch-hitter Rubén Sierra fouls off two full-count pitches before tripling into the right-field corner to tie the ball game. This is Sierra's 2nd tenure with the Yanks, having made up with manager Joe Torre after Torre had him traded for Cecil Fielder in '96 due to disciplinary issues; this is the biggest hit Sierra ever got for the Yankees – or for anyone else, for that matter. But he is stranded on 3rd.

No matter, as the momentum seems to have shifted to the Yankees, and if they can win the game in extra innings, they will take a 3-games-to-1 lead and can clinch their 27th World Championship tomorrow night over a Marlins team that really was unworthy of being there. (This unworthiness is almost certain now that nearly everybody suspects Ivan Rodriguez of steroid use.)

The Yankees threaten to score in the top of the 11th when they load the bases with one out off Chad Fox. Braden Looper relieves and strikes out Aaron Boone, and replacement catcher John Flaherty pops out to third. (Yes, the same John Flaherty who has since parlayed one big regular-season hit, against the Red Sox in 2004, into a career as a mediocre broadcaster. At least he had one big hit, which is more than the similar Fran Healy ever got.) Still, the Yankees have the chance to win this game.

But in the bottom of the 11th, Torre makes a mistake every bit as critical as the stranding of Sierra on 3rd in the 9th. He had already used Jeff Nelson, and Jose Contreras, originally a starter, had already pitched 2 innings. Torre could have left Contreras in. He could have brought in his closer, Mariano Rivera. He could also have brought in Chris Hammond.

Instead, he brings in Jeff Weaver, who gets through the 11th with no trouble, but Alex Gonzalez leads of the bottom of the 12th. This is not the now-retired Alex Gonzalez, ironically from Miami, whose error at shortstop made the Cubs' collapse in the Steve Bartman Game possible a week earlier. This is the Venezuelan shortstop, who had a .245 lifetime batting average, although he did hit 18 home runs that season, and a respectable 157 for a career that included a 1999 All-Star berth and ended with the 2014 Detroit Tigers.

Weaver throws him a hanging curveball, and Gonzalez hits it down the left-field line, and it creeps over the fence for a game-winning home run. Marlins 4, Yankees 3.

Not since Bill Mazeroski, 43 years earlier, had the Yankees given up a walkoff home run in a Series game. By bringing in Weaver – or, as Red Sox fans would say if this happened to them, Jeff Fucking Weaver – Torre turned the Yankees from a team that was 1 run away from being up 3 games to 1 to a team that ends up losing the World Series to a team that was lucky to even get the NL's Wild Card and then needed both steroids and the Bartman-connected collapse.

The Yankees don't win another World Series game until October 29, 2009.

This loss really, really pissed me off. I was not heartbroken. I was enraged. And that was before I knew the Marlins' emotional leader, Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, was a steroid cheat. And before I knew that Josh Beckett, who shut the Yankees out in Game 6 to clinch it, was going to become a typical classless Red Sock.

I was enraged.  I remain enraged. This loss angers me more 13 years later than it did at the time.

On July 5, 2002, the Yankees traded Ted Lilly to the A's. Lilly was a much-hyped prospect, but had been horrible for the Yankees.  When I heard he'd been traded, I used the old line: "Great trade.  Who did we get?"

It was a 3-team deal, also involving the Tigers. The only player worth mentioning that the A's got was Lilly, who turned out to be a good pitcher -- when he wasn't wearing Pinstripes. The Tigers got Carlos Pena, who's had a pretty good career, and Jeremy Bonderman, who gave them some good pitching.

The only player the Yankees got as part of the deal was Weaver, who, to that point, was an average pitcher at best.  He would be less than that with the Yankees. He pitched poorly in the 2002 Playoffs, had nearly a 6 ERA in the 2003 regular season, and gave up that home run to "the other Alex Gonzalez."

Joe Torre didn't trust Weaver enough to put him on the Division Series roster, or on the League Championship Series roster. But he put him on the World Series roster.

In that Game 4, Torre used Clemens into the 8th, Nelson to get out of the 8th, Contreras in the 9th and 10th, and Weaver in the 11th -- aside from facing Gonzalez to lead off the 12th, that was the only inning Weaver pitched in the entire postseason. Those 4 games against the Minnesota Twins, and those 7 games against the Red Sox, including the epic Game 7? No sign of Weaver. And the Yankees won both series.

As former UCLA quarterback Mark Harmon would say on NCIS, a TV series that began airing on CBS the previous month, would say in character as Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, "There is no such thing as coincidence."

Contreras was a starter. He could have pitched long relief. Torre could also have used Hammond, one of the best middle-relievers of that period, in his only season with the Yankees. He could also have used a pretty good relief pitcher by the name of Mariano Rivera. But Torre had this mental block about using Mo in non-save situations -- Game 7 of the ALCS, just 6 days earlier, being the most notable exception.

In Game 5 the next night, David Wells lasted only an inning, and Torre threw Contreras out there with no notice and about 20 hours' rest. He had nothing, and the Marlins won. In Game 6, the last World Series game ever played at the old Yankee Stadium, Beckett shut out a lifeless bunch of Yankees, and the Marlins were World Champions for the 2nd time -- both times as a Wild Card.  They've been in 6 postseason series in their history, and won them all. Between 1996 and 2003, 8 seasons, the Yankees or the Marlins won 6 World Series.

Torre trusted Weaver, and the World Series turned on that one pitch.

On December 13, 2003, the Yankees traded Weaver and 2 guys you don't need to know about to the Los Angeles Dodgers, for a better pitcher. Or so we thought.

On April 29, 2004, I went to Shea Stadium to see the Mets play the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Mets beat the Dodgers, 6-1. The losing pitcher was Jeff Weaver. I went to that game for the sole purpose of booing Weaver. Cheering for the Mets? That felt lame. But booing Jeff Fucking Weaver? Damn, that felt good.

On June 18 of that year, the Yankees went out to L.A. to play the Dodgers in an Interleague series. I did not go to any games of that series. The Dodgers won that day, 6-3. The winning pitcher was Jeff Fucking Weaver.  Damn, that felt lousy.

But Weaver wasn't done screwing the Yanks over. You know that pitcher the Yanks got for him? Well, he also gave up a major postseason homer for the Yanks. It was Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS.  The batter was David Ortiz. The pitcher was... Kevin Brown.

In 2006, the St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series. On their Series roster was... Jeff Weaver.

Jeff FUCKING Weaver has a World Series ring. You know who doesn't have a World Series ring? Ty Cobb, Nap Lajoie, George Sisler, Ted Williams, Early Wynn, Ralph Kiner, Robin Roberts, Ernie Banks, Luis Aparicio, Harmon Killebrew, Willie McCovey, Juan Marichal, Carl Yastrzemski, Gaylord Perry, Phil Niekro, Ferguson Jenkins, Bobby Murcer, Don Sutton, Rod Carew, Carlton Fisk, Robin Yount, Andre Dawson, Dale Murphy, Ryne Sandberg, Tony Gwynn, Don Mattingly, Ken Griffey Jr., Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza and Trevor Hoffman. And, so far, the still-active Ichiro Suzuki, Curtis Granderson, David Wright, Evan Longoria, Clayton Kershaw and Mike Trout.

You know who else doesn't have a World Series ring so far? Jered Weaver, the younger and considerably better brother of Jeff Fucking. Since reaching the majors with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in 2006 -- he has spent his entire career with them -- he has won 150 games against only 93 losses, and an ERA+ of 113, making him 13 percent better at preventing earned runs since 2006 than the average pitcher over those 11 years.

Jeff, whose career ended in 2010, when he was only 34 years old, had a record of 104-119, and an ERA+ of 93 -- meaning he was 7 percent less effective at preventing earned runs from 1999 to 2010 than the average pitcher was over that stretch.

But Jeff Fucking Weaver has a World Series ring.

I would hate Jeff Weaver's guts -- if he had any guts to hate.


October 22, 2005: For the 1st time in 46 years, a World Series game is played in the City of Chicago. The White Sox take Game 1 with a 5-3 victory over the Astros at U.S. Cellular Field.

Yankee castoff Jose Contreras gets the win for Chicago‚ despite hitting 3 batters in the game, to tie a Series record set by Bruce Kison of the Pirates in 1971. Joe Crede homers and makes a pair of great defensive plays in the field. Jermaine Dye also homers for the Pale Hose, while Mike Lamb connects for Houston.

October 22, 2006, 10 years ago: The Tigers even the Series with a 3-1 win over the Cardinals, behind the rather mysteriously rejuvenated Kenny Rogers. Craig Monroe homers for Detroit, and Carlos Guillen gets 3 hits. This remains, for the moment, the only World Series game won by the Tigers in the last 32 years.

It is also the 1st time that a father-and-son combination have appeared in a World Series game as a player for the same franchise. Scott Speizio, the Cardinals' current 2nd baseman, and his father, Ed, a 3rd baseman for the club in the 1967 and '68, both played (and won) in the Fall Classic with the Cards. Scott had already won a ring with the '02 Angels, thanks in part to his home run that sparked their big Game 6 comeback. And Ed had hit the 1st home run in San Diego Padres history in 1969.

October 22, 2008: Game 1 of the World Series at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, the 1st ever played by the Tampa Bay Rays. For only the 3rd time in World Series history, and the 1st since 1970, both starting pitchers in Game 1 are under the age of 25. Cole Hamels, a 24-year old lefthander, gets the victory when the Phillies beat the Rays and their 24-year old southpaw Scott Kazmir at Tropicana Field, 3-2.

It is also the 1st World Series game broadcast by a father and a son: Harry Kalas of the Phillies, and Todd Kalas of the Rays.

October 22, 2009: Game 5 of the ALCS. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim score 4 runs in the bottom of the 1st. The Yankees score 6 in the top of the 7th. But the Angels score 3 in the bottom of the 7th, and win, 7-6.

The series goes back to New York with the Yankees ahead 3 games to 2. They will have to clinch at home, or not at all.

October 22, 2010: The Texas Rangers win their 1st Pennant.  Unfortunately, they beat the Yankees to do it, winning Game 6 of the American League Championship Series, 6-1 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Nelson Cruz homers off Phil Hughes.

October 22, 2011: Game 3 of the World Series. Albert Pujols hits 3 home runs, matching the feat of Babe Ruth in 1926 and 1928, and of Reggie Jackson in 1977. He gets 5 hits and 6 RBIs, which also tie Series records, on his way to a new Series record of 14 total bases. The Cardinals beat the Texas Rangers 16-7, tying for the 2nd-most runs in a Series game. (The Yankees got 18 in the clinching Game 6 in 1936.)

October 22, 2012: Game 7 of the NLCS. Although this series went to the last game, the last one is no contest. Brandon Belt lives up to his name, and belts a home run off Kyle Lohse. Matt Cain pitches a 7-hit shutout, and the San Francisco Giants beat the St. Louis Cardinals 9-0 at AT&T Park. It is the 22nd Pennant for the Giants -- the 5th, if you only count those won in San Francisco.

October 22, 2014: Game 2 of the World Series at Kauffman Stadium. Omar Infante hits a home run, Kelvin Herrera gets the job done in relief of rookie Yordano Ventura, and the Kansas City Royals tie the Series up, beating the San Francisco Giants 7-2. It is the 1st World Series game won by the Royals since October 27, 1985.

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