Friday, October 14, 2016

October 14, 1976: Happy Chris Chambliss Day!

October 14, 1976, 40 years ago: For the 1st time in 12 years, the Yankees are in Major League Baseball's postseason. For the 1st time ever, a Kansas City team is.

The Yankees lead the Royals in the deciding Game 5, 6-3, in the top of the 8th inning. But George Brett slams a long home run off Grant Jackson to tie it. The game goes to the bottom of the 9th, and a few fans had thrown garbage onto the field, delaying action. Mark Littell, the Royals’ closer at the time, had to restart his warmup pitches, and it may have unsettled him just a little bit.

Leading off the inning was Yankee 1st baseman Chris Chambliss. Good player. Very good with the glove. Had a little power. But not a big-time slugger like Graig Nettles, who led the American League in homers that year with 32; or Reggie Jackson, the newly-minted free agent who was moonlighting in the ABC booth with Keith Jackson and Howard Cosell.

It was quite a night. Quite a cold night. The game-time temperature was about 40 degrees. A banner read, "NO MATTER HOW COLD, THE YANKS STAY HOT." Among the celebrities there that night was Telly Savalas, star of the CBS cop drama Kojak, who was wearing a big fur coat. The camera caught that big Kojak smile, the newly-renovated Stadium's arc lamps reflecting off both his big bald head and his big white teeth. Cold or no, the man was enjoying himself, and was so macho that nobody dared to tell him a man can’t wear a fur coat.

Cary Grant was at the game. So was James Cagney. The Stadium was back, the Yankees were back, everybody wanted to be there – New York City's fiscal difficulties and the rising crime rate of the Subways and the South Bronx be damned.

The time was 11:43 PM. Littell threw one pitch. Just one pitch. Phil Rizzuto, who once wore the Number 10 now worn by Chambliss, had the call on WPIX, Channel 11:

He hits one deep to right-center! That ball is… outta here! The Yankees win the Pennant! Holy cow, Chris Chambliss on one swing!

And the Yankees win the American League Pennant. Unbelievable, what a finish, as dramatic a finish as you'd ever wanna see! With all that delay, we told you, Littell had to be a little upset. And, holy cow, Chambliss hits one over the fence, he is being mobbed by the fans, and this field will never be the same, but the Yankees have won it in the bottom of the 9th, 7-6!

And on the scoreboard, they're placing, "We're Number 1!" And I wanna tell you, the safest place to be is up here in the booth!

The fans jumped over the fences and come pouring onto the field by the thousands. This had happened in many a ballpark celebration, and I'm sure some of them had seen their fathers or older brothers do it in 1969 when the Mets did all 3 of their clinchings (Division, Pennant and World Series) at home at Shea Stadium. The Mets had also clinched the Pennant at home in 1973.

I'm sure there were a few "Yankee fans" running onto the field that night in '76 who had been "Met fans" in '69 and '73. Maybe some were now running onto their 2nd New York ballfield. Maybe it was the 3rd, 4th, 5th or… 3 in '69, 2 in '73… 6th time.

Chambliss threw his arms into the air before reaching 1st base… As soon as he turned for 2nd, a fan ran over and pulled the base out. Who says you can't steal 1st base? The New York Police Department and Yankee Stadium's orange-capped, orange-blazered ushers, that's who. But there was little they could do at this point, as they were hopelessly outnumbered.

So was Chambliss. He touched 2nd, but was then tripped up. He later said his big fear was falling and being trampled by fans. By the time he got to the 3rd base area, the base was gone. He did the best he could, ran by home plate, and, remembering his training as a high school football player, threw a couple of blocks and got into the dugout.

On Channel 7, doing the game for ABC, this is what happened: Reggie noticed that, as cold as it was, Chambliss had the top button of his jersey undone, something that would likely have gotten him fined today. Of course, Reggie did that a lot, too, once he came to the Yankees and was no longer wearing a pullover jersey, like he had in Oakland and in his one, just-concluded season in Baltimore.

Reggie: Chambliss is so hot right now, he's got his top button undone. He’s in heat!
Keith: Mark Littell delivers, there’s a high drive, deep to right-center field… 
Howard, interrupting: That’s gone!
Keith: It could be, it is… gone!
Howard:Chris Chambliss has won the American League Pennant for the New York Yankees! A thrilling, dramatic game with overtones of that great sixth game in the World Series last year, and the seventh game, too! (Etc., etc., etc., in that oft-imitated Cosellian way.)

The scoreboard – ignoring for the moment that there was still a World Series to play – flashed, "WE'RE #1" for a minute, and then, "N Y YANKEES 1976 AMERICAN LEAGUE CHAMPIONS."
When they got into the locker room, the big question was asked: Did you touch home plate? Of course, Chambliss didn't touch home plate! What home plate? Did you see a home plate? He didn't see no home plate!

Fortunately, Lee MacPhail, President of the AL and a former general manager of the Yankees (and son of former Yankee part-owner Larry MacPhail), was at the game, and the ruling was easy: Since the ball left the field of play, and no one was on base for Chambliss to pass to nullify one or more bases, the home run stood, and the Yankees remain 7-6 victors.

Just to be sure, Chambliss, the umpires, and a couple of cops cleared a path through the fans, walked him over to the locations of 3rd base and home plate, and he stepped on the spots where they were supposed to be, and all was official.

If the Yankees had lost that game, it would have been a terrible way to end what had been a season of rebirth, for the team, for The Stadium, for the beleaguered City which, just 1 year after the worst financial crisis in its history, had hosted the nation's Bicentennial celebrations and the Democratic National Convention at Madison Square Garden. Maybe George Steinbrenner wouldn't have been able to convince Reggie, Goose Gossage, Dave Winfield, etc. to come to the Yankees.

Who knows, maybe the fabled "Yankee Stadium Mystique" would have been considered lost in the renovation process. Maybe, when George began to make noise about wanting out of the South Bronx, he could have added to his arguments, "It's not like there's anything special about this version of Yankee Stadium." And maybe he would have been right.

And maybe a new stadium would have opened in the Meadowlands by 1990 – and, since it wouldn't have had the faux-retro influence of Baltimore's Camden Yards, but would more likely have been a "mallpark" like Toronto's SkyDome or Chicago's new Comiskey Park (now Rogers Centre and U.S. Cellular Field, respectively), it probably wouldn't have been thought of as such a great place once the new/old ballparks of the 1990s were built.

Ah, but the Yankees did win that game. And were set on a course to greatness that made the Yankee Mystique, and the Yankee Stadium Mystique, grow volumes. And it all stems from, as the Scooter put it, "Chris Chambliss on one swing!"
So I'd like to wish a Happy Chris Chambliss Day to everyone.

Chambliss was born the day after Christmas, 1948, in Dayton, Ohio. He is a cousin of basketball star Jo Jo White. He grew up in Oceanside, California, about halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego. He went to UCLA, and was the American League's Rookie of the Year in 1971, with the Cleveland Indians.

He came to the Yankees in 1974, in exchange for 4 pitchers, breaking up a too-lax pitching staff, a trade that became known as the Friday Night Massacre. He was a big cog in the team that won the 1977 and 1978 World Series, hitting "the other home run" in the '77 clincher, when Reggie hit 3. He was an All-Star in 1976, and won a Gold Glove in 1978.

After the 1979 season, he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for Rick Cerone, since the Yankees needed a catcher after the death of Thurman Munson, and they had acquired Bob Watson to play 1st. The Jays immediately traded him to the Atlanta Braves for Barry Bonnell, a bad trade for the Jays. Chambliss helped the Braves win the National League West in 1982, giving Joe Torre his 1st postseason berth, as a player or a manager. He stayed with the Braves through 1986, and had a brief comeback with the Yankees in 1988.

He later coached for Torre in St. Louis, and back in The Bronx. His last uniformed job was on the coaching staff of the Seattle Mariners in 2012. He is now 67 years old, and still returns every year for Old-Timers' Day.

Of the 1976 Yankees: Munson was killed in a plane crash in 1979, utilityman Cesar Tovar died in 1994, pitcher Jim "Catfish" Hunter died of complications from Lou Gehrig's disease in 1999, pitcher Ken Brett died in 2003, catcher Elrod Hendricks died in 2005, pitcher Dock Ellis died in 2008, and outfielder Kerry Dineen died in 2015.

Still alive, 40 years later: Pitchers Doyle Alexander, Ed Figueroa, Ron Guidry, Ken Holtzman, Grant Jackson, Albert "Sparky" Lyle, Dick Tidrow and Jim York; catcher Fran Healy; 1st basemen Chambliss and Ron Blomberg, 2nd basemen Willie Randolph and Sandy Alomar Sr., shortstops Fred Stanley and Jim Mason, 3rd basemen Graig Nettles and Gene "Mickey" Klutts; and outfielders Juan Bernhardt, Rich Coggins, Oscar Gamble, Gene Locklear, Elliott Maddox, Carlos May, Larry Murray, Lou Piniella, Jhn "Mickey" Rivers, Otto Velez, Roy White and Terry Whitfield.

Pitchers Felix "Tippy" Martinez, Rudy May, Scott McGregor and Dave Pagan, and catcher Rick Dempsey, were traded to the Baltimore Orioles in midseason for Alexander, Holtzman and Jackson, although May would be reacquired by the Yankees for 1980. Each of those men is still alive.


October 14, 1066, 950 years ago: On Senlac Hill, 7 miles from Hastings, England, the forces of William, Duke of Normandy, defeat the Saxon army of King Harold II of England.

According to legend, the battle was hours long, was approaching sundown, and was fairly even, until Harold was struck in the eye by a Norman arrow. Once their King and commander fell, the Saxons lost hope.

However, Lord Baltimore and his followers, still loyal to Harold, insist that a young squire named Geoffrey of Mighor interfered with the arrow's path. (Just a joke.)

The Duke, previously known as "William the Bastard" for his illegitimate birth, becomes known as "William the Conqueror." The old joke about King William I is that you should never go into battle against someone called "the Bastard," because he's probably got a chip on his shoulder already; and you should never go into battle against someone called "the Conqueror," because he's probably done something to earn that nickname.

October 14, 1322: This one doesn't go so well for the English either. The Battle of Old Byland is fought at Scawton Moor in Thirsk, North Yorkshire, and Scottish troops under King Robert I, a.k.a. Robert the Bruce, defeat English troops under John of Brittany, Earl of Richmond.

Unlike his father, King Edward I of England, a.k.a. The Hammer of the Scots, King Edward II was no military leader. He was forced to make peace with the Scots, and to accept Scotland's independence. By 1327, he was deposed and assassinated in favor of his son, who became King Edward III -- one of England's least effective monarchs being replaced by one of its most effective.

The Scots tend to make big deals about their victories over the English, such as the Battles of Stirling Bridge, Bannockburn and Old Byland, and their soccer wins at the old Wembley Stadium in London in 1928 and 1967. But as the English never cease to remind them, there was Flodden Field, Culloden, and Euro 96.

October 14, 1633: James Stuart is born at St. James's Palace in London. The son of King Charles I of England, he was created Duke of York. In 1649, his father was overthrown and executed as a result of the English Civil War, and James and his brother Charles had to flee to France. In 1660, the monarchy was restored, and his brother became King Charles II.

In 1664, England took the colony of New Netherland, including its capital, New Amsterdam, from the Netherlands. Both the colony and the city were renamed for James: "New York."

Charles had many illegitimate children (at least 6, some historians believe at least 20), but no legitimate ones, so when he died in 1685, James became King James II of England, and also King James VII of Scotland. But unlike his Protestant brother, James was Catholic, and this terrified the English establishment, who knew their history, including the threats posted by Queen Mary I in the 1550s, her widower King Philip II of Spain in the 1580s, and the Guy Fawkes Gunpowder Plot in 1605 -- the last of these, within the lifetimes of men then living.

The nobles invited James' Protestant daughter Mary and her Dutch husband, William, Stadtholder of Orange, to come, and in 1688 the Glorious Revolution overthrew James. The couple ruled together as King William III and Queen Mary II, while James died in exile at a chateau outside Paris in 1701.

James' Catholic forces fought William's Protestant army at the Battle of the Boyne in Oldbridge, County Meath, Ireland in 1690, and the Protestants won. Despite one more attempt by James' grandson, a.k.a. Bonnie Prince Charlie, to retake the throne, a.k.a. "The 45" (losing the aforementioned Battle of Culloden, outside Inverness, Scotland on April 16, 1746), the monarchs of Britain have been Protestant ever since.

But the religious divide has hung over Britain, including in Glasgow, Scotland, in the soccer rivalry between Celtic Football Club, founded as an advocacy group for the Irish Catholic minority in town, and still the favorite club of many Catholics throughout the English-speaking world (kind of a proto-Notre Dame); and Rangers Football Club, an all-Protestant team until 1989 and still the favorite club of anti-Catholic bigots in Britain, including in Northern Ireland.

After Mary II died, William III ruled alone until his death in 1702. James' other daughter, a Protestant, became Queen Anne. When she died in 1714, that was the end of the House of Stuart, and the House of Hanover began.

October 14, 1644: William Penn is born in Tower Hill, in what was then the center of London. He would go on to found the colony of Pennsylvania in 1682. In 1901, the city he founded, Philadelphia, would place a statue of him, sculpted by Alexander Calder, atop their new City Hall.

It was 585 feet high, counting the statue, and until the completion of the Singer Building in New York in 1908, it was the tallest building in the world. It was also the first secular (non-religious) building to be the tallest building in the world. Penn, a Quaker who deeply believed in religious freedom, would have loved that.

For decades, an "unwritten law" (sometimes called a "gentleman's agreement") stated that no structure in the city could be taller than the hat on the Penn statue. In 1987, One Liberty Place opened. At 948 feet, it was the first structure in the city taller than City Hall – in fact, for a few years, it was the tallest building between New York and Chicago.

From that point forward, no Philadelphia team won a World Championship in any sport. Between them, the Phillies, the Eagles, the 76ers and the Flyers would make 5 trips to their sports' finals, but none would win. No college basketball team from the Philadelphia area even reached the NCAA Final Four, as, between them, Temple, St. Joseph's and Villanova would make 5 trips to the Elite Eight, but none could get into the Final Four. And Smarty Jones, a horse born and trained in the Philly suburbs, won the 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, and was leading in the Belmont Stakes, before falling behind and finishing a close 2nd, so Philly even choked in the thoroughbred Triple Crown.

Some people, believing in forces larger than life, suspected that the building of what were now several structures taller than City Hall's Penn statue began calling the city’s inability to win a major sports championship "the Curse of Billy Penn."

On June 18, 2007, the Comcast Center was "topped off," at 975 feet the tallest in the city and the tallest between New York and Chicago. A miniature version of the City Hall statue of William Penn was placed on top, so that "Billy Penn" could once again look out over his city without having his view obstructed by taller buildings.

Within 16 months, the Phillies won the World Series. Five months after that, Villanova reached the Final Four. The Curse of Billy Penn was broken. However, in between, the Eagles lost an NFC Championship Game, the Flyers lost a Stanley Cup Finals, and the 76ers have still stunk, so maybe there's more to Philly's struggles than the Penn statue. Then again, Villanova won another National Championship this past Spring. So, who knows.

The Comcast Innovation and Technology Center is scheduled to be completed at 1800 Arch Street in 2018. It will be 1,121 feet tall, taller than its namesake a block away at 1700 John F. Kennedy Blvd.


October 14, 1734: Francis Lightfoot Lee is born in Hague, Virginia. He and his brother, Richard Henry Lee, both signed the Declaration of Independence. He died in 1797. The Lee family of Virginia would also produce a General of the American Revolution, Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee, and his son, Civil War General Robert E. Lee.

October 14, 1790: William Hooper dies in Hillsborough, North Carolina, only 48 years old. He also signed the Declaration of Independence, and lost more than most of the men who did, including 2 homes, and his health due to malaria.

October 14, 1842: Joseph Start (no middle name) is born in New York. He was one of the first baseball stars, playing for the Brooklyn Atlantics from 1862 to 1870, the New York Mutuals from 1871 to 1876, the Hartford Dark Blues in 1877, the Chicago White Stockings (forerunners of the Cubs) in 1878, the Providence Grays from 1879 to 1885, and the Washington Nationals in 1886.

He led the Atlantics to undefeated seasons in 1864 and 1865 (although there was no league whose "Pennant" could be won then), helped the Atlantics beat the Cincinnati Red Stockings for the closest thing there was to a "world championship" of baseball in 1870, and the Grays to National League Pennants in 1879 and 1884.

He is said to have been the first 1st baseman to play away from the bag, although like everyone else in the game at the time, he didn't use a glove. He lived on until 1927.

October 14, 1872: Reginald Frank Doherty is born, appropriately enough, in Wimbledon, South London. He would win Wimbledon 4 straight times, from 1897 to 1900. He teamed with his brother Laurie Doherty to win several doubles titles. But he had a bad heart, and died in 1910, only 38.

Laurie won Wimbledon 5 straight times, from 1902 to 1906, and, unlike his brother, won the U.S. Open, in 1903. But he wasn't any healthier, and died of kidney disease in 1919, just 43.

October 14, 1873: Raymond Clarence Ewry is born in Lafayette, Indiana. In events that are no longer part of the Olympics -- the standing high jump, the standing long jump, and the standing triple jump -- he won Gold Medals in Paris in 1900, in St. Louis in 1904, and in London in 1908, a total of 8 Golds. He died in 1937.

Also on this day, Jules Rimet is born in Theuley, France. In 1897, he founded Red Star Football Club, the 1st great French soccer team, although it is in Ligue 2 today. He was one of the founders of FIFA, the governing body of world soccer, in 1904, and ran the tournament at the 1908 Olympics in London.

He was President of the French Football Federation from 1919 to 1921, and of FIFA from then until 1954. He founded the World Cup in 1930, and died in 1956, just after turning 83. The World Cup trophy is named the Jules Rimet Trophy for him.

October 14, 1882: Charles Warrington Leonard Park is born in Prestbury, Gloucestershire, England. The Gloucestershire bowler played from 1900 to 1935, and remains the 3rd-highest wicket-taker in the sport's history. He later became an umpire, and died in 1959, age 76.

October 14, 1888: The Detroit Wolverines, just 1 year after winning the Pennant, drop out of the National League, due to poor finances. The NL accepts the Cleveland Spiders of the American Association to take their place, and the Spiders get most of the Wolverines' players.

There is precedent: The Providence Grays won the Pennant in 1884, but dropped out a year later. Despite already being one of America's largest cities, Detroit will not return to the major leagues until the founding of the American League in 1901.

On this same day, the oldest known surviving motion picture is filmed, in the backyard -- or, as the English would call it, the garden -- of a house in the Roundhay section of Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. It is known as Roundhay Garden Scene, is recorded by Frenchman Louis Le Prince, and features his son Adolphe, and his in-laws, Joseph and Sarah Whitley, who owned the home. It lasts all of 2.11 seconds.

A little over 2 years later, Louis Le Prince disappeared from a Dijon-to-Paris train, and was never seen again. He was 49, and it is suspected that he left the train at some point, and drowned.

October 14, 1890: Dwight David Eisenhower is born in Denison, Texas. He grew up in Abeline, Kansas, and played football and baseball at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He played on the losing side in the legendary upset of Army by the Carlisle Indian School in 1912.

Legend has it that the future Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in World War II and 34th President of the United States tried to tackle the man behind Carlisle's rise, Jim Thorpe, and that Thorpe crashed into Eisenhower and broke the future President's leg.

The truth is less romantic: "Ike" played in Army's next game, and got hurt in that one. So if he did try to tackle Thorpe, it was not injurious. But it probably wasn't all that successful, either, as Thorpe was the greatest football player of the 1910s, and the greatest track star of that time, and played Major League Baseball as well, and remains one of the greatest all-around athletes of all time.

In 1953, his 1st year as President, Ike was invited, as all Presidents had been since 1910, to throw out the first ball on Opening Day at Washington's Griffith Stadium. He declined, saying he had a golf date that day. But it rained, postponing the ballgame, and that enabled him to throw out the first ball. He also threw out the first ball before Game 1 of the 1956 World Series at Ebbets Field. The next day, his election opponent, Adlai Stevenson, threw out the first ball.

When Eisenhower became President on January 20, 1953, there were 16 MLB teams in 10 cities, none further south than Washington, nor further west than St. Louis; there were 12 NFL teams, Coast to Coast, but none in the South; and there were 10 NBA teams, none further south than Baltimore nor further west than St. Louis, and in cities as small as Syracuse, Rochester and Fort Wayne.

When he left office on January 20, 1961, there were 20 teams (at least on paper), from Coast to Coast, and (again, at least on paper) from North to South; there were 22 teams combined in the NFL and AFL, North to South; and there were still only 10 NBA teams, but not the same 10, and the league was now Coast to Coast.

October 14, 1891, 125 years ago: Former Chicago White Stockings (forerunners of the Cubs) pitcher Larry Corcoran, the 1st man to pitch 3 no-hitters, dies in Newark at the age of 32 of the kidney disorder Bright's Disease, exacerbated by alcoholism. Corcoran's best year was 1884, when he went 27-12.

October 14, 1892: The scheduled game between the Boston Beaneaters (forerunners of the Braves) and the Washington Nationals (who fold in 1899 and are not to be confused with any later D.C. team) is postponed because the Senators' field has already been reserved by the Columbia Athletic Club for a football game against Princeton.

As far as I know, this is the 1st time football has ever asserted its authority, whatever that might be, over baseball.

October 14, 1896, 120 years ago: Oscar McKinley Charleston is born in Indianapolis. A center fielder, he played black baseball at its highest professional level from 1915 to 1941, for such stories teams as the Indianapolis ABCs, the Chicago American Giants, the Hilldale Club of Philadelphia, the Homestead Grays of Washington, and, as player-manager, the Pittsburgh Crawfords.

In 2001, Bill James published The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. In it, he ranked Charleston as the 4th-best player of all time. This was a very foolish thing to do, because, as a statistician and a historian, he should have known that the statistics available on Charleston are, as they are with all the Negro League stars, A, woefully incomplete; and, B, based on a standard of competition that, let's be honest, was not at the major league level.

The best Negro League players would have been among the best major league players; the average players would have struggled, at best, in the white majors. To put it another way: Josh Gibson, whom Charleston played with and managed in Pittsburgh, might have hit 500 career home runs in the white majors, but he would not have hit the 800 that Negro League fans claimed he hit there.

That said, in 1976, Charleston was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. In 1999, The Sporting News listed their 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and ranked him Number 67. There's little doubt that he would have excelled in the white majors in the 1920s and '30s. But we'll never know for sure just how much he would have done.


October 14, 1905: Christy Mathewson pitches his 3rd shutout in 6 days‚ giving up 6 hits to Chief Bender's 5. The Giants win, 2-0, and clinch the World Series in 5 games, thus proving their point from last year, when they refused to play the Boston Americans (forerunners of the Red Sox), that they were already the best team in baseball.

The 3 goose eggs make Mathewson, already the most popular player in the game, bigger than any U.S. athlete has ever been. The A's' .161 team BA remains the lowest ever for a Series, and the teams' combined .185 is also the lowest.

The last survivor from the 1905 Giants was shortstop Bill Dahlen, who lived until 1950.

October 14, 1906, 110 years ago: The Chicago White Sox jump on Three-Finger Brown for 7 runs in the first 2 innings‚ and coast behind Guy "Doc" White to a 7-1 Series-ending victory in what is still the only all-Chicago World Series. Despite winning 116 games in the regular season, the Cubs lose to the "Hitless Wonders." But the Cubs will be back. No, that is not a joke.

White, a dentist from Washington, D.C. (so "Doc" wasn't just a nickname), had pitched 45 consecutive scoreless innings that year. That record would be surpassed by Walter Johnson and eventually Don Drysdale. White would live to see both occurrences, dying in 1969, making him the last survivor from the 1906 White Sox.

October 14, 1908: Before the smallest crowd in World Series history, just 6‚210 at Bennett Park in Detroit, the Tigers are tamed on 3 hits by Orval Overall‚ who fans 10 in a 2-0 win. The Chicago Cubs win the series in 5 games. In the 108 years since, they have never won another, despite 15 trips to the postseason. They're in the National League Championship Series again this year, so we'll see.

Upset over seating arrangements at the Series‚ sports reporters form a professional group that will become the Baseball Writers Association of America.

The last survivor of the 1907 and 1908 World Champion Cubs is infielder Henry "Heinie" Zimmerman, not yet ready in 1907 or 1908 to displace 3rd baseman Harry Steinfeldt, shortstop Joe Tinker or 2nd baseman Johnny Evers, but who ends up playing all 3 positions and becomes one of the top 3rd basemen of the 1910s. He lives until 1969.

October 14, 1909: Bernd Rosemeyer is born in Lingen, Lower Saxony, Germany. He became an auto racer, winning Grand Prix races. As with boxer Max Schmeling and the 1936 Olympians, the Nazi Party used him for propaganda purposes. Like Schmeling, he was not happy about this.

On January 28, 1938, he attempted to set a land speed record on the Autobahn between Frankfurt and Darmstadt. He did set a record: 268 miles per hour. Despite the wind picking up, he wanted to extend the record, but his car went out of control, and he was killed, only 28 years old. His wife lived to be 100.


October 14, 1910: John Robert Wooden is born in Hall, Indiana. One of the top basketball players of his time, he led Purdue University's team to a season in 1932 that was retroactively awarded National Championship status. In 1947, he coached Indiana State University to a conference title, and his team was invited to play at a tournament in Kansas City. He declined, because the tournament was segregated, and he refused to leave his team’s one black player behind.

In 1949, he was hired to coach at the University of California at Los Angeles, UCLA. Not until 1962 did they reach what's now known as the Final Four. But in 1964, he coached them to an undefeated season. They would win 10 National Championships in 12 seasons, including 7 in a row from 1967 to 1973, with a 47-game winning streak from 1966 to 1968 and an 88-game winning streak from 1971 to 1974, still the 3rd-longest and longest winning streaks in the history of men's college basketball. (The University of Connecticut's women's team has surpassed it.)

His players included Basketball Hall-of-Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (known by his birth name of Lew Alcindor at the time), Bill Walton and Gail Goodrich, and Olympic Gold Medalists Goodrich and Walt Hazzard.

John Wooden died just short of his 100th birthday, and was the 1st of 4 people who are in the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach. There are few more respected people in the history of sports, living or dead.

October 14, 1913: Hugh Thomas Casey is born in Atlanta. The righthanded pitcher starred in the minors, including with his hometown Atlanta Crackers of the Southern Association, then arrived in the major leagues for 13 games with the 1935 Cubs, then got sent down to the Pacific Coast League’s Los Angeles Angels, then spent 1937 with the Birmingham Barons of the SA and 1938 with that league's Memphis Chicks, before the Brooklyn Dodgers rescued him.

He went 15-10 for the '39 Bums, and was then converted into a reliever. In 1942 and '47, he led the NL in saves, and probably should've been named to the All-Star Game in 1939, '42, '46 and '47. Casey, rather than late '40s Yankee star Joe Page, was the 1st relief pitcher to receive the nickname of "the Fireman."

But he's best remembered for one pitch he threw, to Tommy Henrich of the Yankees, which Henrich missed. That should have been strike 3 and the last out of the Dodgers' win in Game 4 of the 1941 World Series, tying the Series at 2 games apiece. But catcher Mickey Owen couldn’t handle the ball, Henrich saw that, he ran to 1st, and got there safely. Casey came unglued after that, allowing a single to Joe DiMaggio and a double to Charlie Keller, blowing the game.

The Yankees probably would've won that Series anyway, as Dodger manager Leo Durocher -- in a rare moment of blaming himself instead of anybody or everybody else -- admitted that he'd messed up the Dodgers' starting rotation. But Casey got as much of the blame for the mishandled 3rd strike as Owen, as many people (including players on both teams) have speculated that he threw a spitball, catching Owen by surprise.

Casey enlisted in the Navy during World War II, missing the 1943, '44 and '45 seasons -- at ages 29, 30 and 31, usually peak years for a pitcher -- so we shouldn't judge his career statistics too harshly. But, whether due to stress over his pitching, the ridicule from the '41 pitch, or his war experiences, he began to drink heavily. The Dodgers released him in 1948, he was picked up and then released by the Pittsburgh Pirates, and then the Yankees picked him up for the 1949 stretch drive, but he only appeared in 4 games.

He never appeared in the majors again.  He spent the 1950 season back home in Atlanta with the Crackers, was not picked up for another season, and, distraught over the end of his career and his girlfriend breaking up with him, on July 3, 1951, he shot and killed himself. He was only 37.

October 14, 1914: Harry David Brecheen is born in Broken Bow, Oklahoma. In 1946, the St. Louis Cardinal became the 1st lefthanded pitcher to win 3 games in a single World Series. Only Mickey Lolich and Randy Johnson have joined him since.

He was known as "the Cat," and a younger Cardinal lefty who was something of a protégé, Harvey Haddix, became known as "the Kitten." The experience of mentoring Haddix led to a long career as a pitching coach, including with the 1966 Baltimore Orioles, who held the Los Angeles Dodgers to 33 consecutive scoreless innings in the World Series.

October 14, 1916, 100 years ago: Sophomore tackle and guard Paul Robeson is excluded from the Rutgers football team when the players of Washington and Lee University of Virginia refuse to play against a black person. The game, played at Neilson Field in New Brunswick, New Jersey, ends in a 13-13 tie. A friend of Robeson's called it "a wound that never healed."

A month later, West Virginia University sent its team to play Rutgers, and insisted that Robeson not play. This time, Rutgers coach George Foster Sanford stood up for Robeson, saying that if the Mountaineers didn't want to play against a black man, they could go home. They didn't want to forfeit either the game or the money their school would make by playing, so they played, and Robeson made a game-saving tackle near the goal line to preserve a scoreless tie. Afterward, the WVU players lined up to shake his hand.

In 1917 and 1918, Robeson was considered by many observers to be the best player in the country. In 1920, making his all-time All-American team, Walter Camp, the legendary Yale player and coach who invented the "All-American team" concept, named Robeson the best defensive end he'd ever seen.

His pro career was brief, but he did play for the 1st champions of the league that became the NFL, the Akron Pros, led by black coach and back Fritz Pollard. Robeson went on to bigger things in the law, music, acting and social activism.

October 14, 1918: Douglas Thomas Ring is born in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. One of Australia's all-time top cricket bowlers, he played for the Victoria state team in the 1940s, and was a member of the country's "Invincibles" team of 1948. He later became an announcer in the sport, and lived until 2003.

But he may not have been the greatest Australian athlete born on this day. Thelma Dorothy Coyne is born in Sydney, New South Wales. Better known by her married name of Thelma Coyne Long, she won the Australian Open in 1952 and 1954. She lived until 2015.


October 14, 1922: Dudley Field opens on the campus of Vanderbilt University in Nashville Tennessee. The stadium was named for Dr. William Dudley, the late dean of Vandy's medical school. The host Commodores take on national power Michigan, and come away with a 0-0 tie. It is the only blemish on either team's record that season.

In 1981, the stadium was rebuilt, and while Dudley Field was kept for the name of the playing surface, the structure was named Vanderbilt Stadium. Another renovation, in stages from 2008 to 2011, modernized it further. The main 1981 structure makes it, technically, the newest stadium in the Southeastern Conference.

Vanderbilt's football successes have been rare, and the stadium may be best known for the 1998 NFL season, when, after moving from Houston and playing in Memphis to tiny crowds the year before, the Tennessee Oilers moved to Nashville a year earlier than intended, and played at Vandy while what is now Nissan Stadium was built. Team owner Bud Adams figured that the capacity of 41,000 was more than he was getting at the Liberty Bowl, since people in Memphis hate Nashville and vice versa, and Memphians treated the Oilers as brief interlopers that they would soon lose.

It worked: While, of the 8 games the Oilers played at the Liberty Bowl in 1997, only 1 would have sold out Dudley Field/Vanderbilt Stadium, 3 of their 8 home games in Nashville were sold out in 1998, and their smallest crowd there was bigger than all but 1 of their Memphis games. In 1999, they moved to their new stadium, and became the Tennessee Titans.

Also on this day, the University of Alabama goes to Atlanta to play Georgia Tech, and loses 33-7. Tech's head coach, Bill Alexander (for whom their basketball arena would be named), told the Alabama fans, "Your football team isn't worth a nickel, but you have a million-dollar band." The 'Bama band has been "The Million Dollar Band" ever since.

Three weeks later, on November 4, 'Bama went to Philadelphia and beat the University of Pennsylvania 9-7 at Franklin Field. They finished the season 6-3-1, so Alexander was wrong about the quality of the team.

October 14, 1923: Game 5 of the World Series. The Yankees torch the Giants' Jack Bentley for 7 runs in the 1st 2 innings, including a home run from an unlikely source, an inside-the-park job by light-hitting 3rd baseman Joe Dugan. Bullet Joe Bush allows just 3 hits,and the Yankees cruise, 8-1. They can clinch tomorrow.

Dugan would remain the Yankees' starting 3rd baseman through the 1927 and '28 World Champions. Of those "Murderers' Row" Yankees, he would say, "It's always the same. Combs walks. Koenig singles. Ruth hits one out of the park. Gehrig doubles. Meusel singles. Lazzeri triples. Then Dugan goes in the dirt on his can." In other words, after facing 6 straight superstars, pitchers took their frustrations out on him.

October 14, 1927: Walter Johnson, regarded by many as the greatest pitcher of all time, announces his retirement as a player. In 2 weeks‚ the Big Train will sign a 2-year contract to manage the Newark Bears of the International League.

Also on this day, Roger George Moore is born in Stockwell, South London. You might know him by another name: That name is Bond. James Bond. What does that have to do with sports? Well, in Live and Let Die, he raced a boat. In The Man With the Golden Gun and The Spy Who Loved Me, he raced cars. Not good enough? In The Spy Who Loved Me and For Your Eyes Only, he not only skied, but unlike competitive skiers, he actually had to "play defense." Not to mention he got into fights in all his Bond movies. As Mr. Bond, Mr. Moore was definitely athletic.

October 14, 1928: José Héctor Rial Laguía is born in Pergamino, Argentina. A forward, he helped Nacional win Uruguays' league in 1952, before being purchased by Real Madrid. With them, he won 5 La Liga titles, and the 1st 5 European Cups, 1956 to 1960.

Héctor Rial later managed several teams, in Spain and South America, and the national teams of Saudi Arabia and El Salvador. He died in 1991.

October 14, 1929: After a day off, because sports on Sunday are illegal in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (and will remain so until 1934), a special train from Washington brings President Hebert Hoover and his wife Lou to Shibe Park, to see if Howard Ehmke of the Philadelphia Athletics can wind up the Series against Pat Malone and the Chicago Cubs in Game 5.

Ehmke and Malone match zeroes for 3‚ but with 2 outs in the 4th‚ a walk and 3 hits give the Cubs a 2-0 lead. Malone stifles the A's with 2 hits, and the 2-0 lead holds up into the 9th. The A's rally and come up with 3 runs‚ the winning run scoring on a Bing Miller double‚ and take the series 4 games to 1. There won't be another winning rally by a team down 2 runs in the 9th of a Series game in this century; the next team to do it will be the 2001 Yankees.

NL MVP Rogers Hornsby‚ hobbled with a heel spur‚ manages just 5 hits in the Series. This is the last Major League Baseball game played before the stock market begins to crash 10 days later, beginning the Great Depression. As a result, when Hoover attends the 1930 Series in Philadelphia, instead of getting cheered like he was the year before, he will be booed.

The last survivor of the '29 A's, considered by some people to be the greatest team of all time, was right fielder Walt French, who lives until 1984.


October 14, 1933: Stanley Woodward, sports editor of the New York Tribune, writes in that paper, "A proportion of our eastern ivy colleges are meeting little fellows another Saturday before plunging into the strife and the turmoil."

Woodward referred to schools we now associate with the official Ivy League playing nearby schools that never joined it. That day, Harvard beat the University of New Hampshire 34-0, Yale beat Washington & Lee of Virginia 14-0, Princeton beat Williams College of Western Massachusetts 45-0, Columbia beat Virginia 14-6, Dartmouth beat Bates College of Maine 14-0, Brown beat Springfield College 14-6, and the University of Pennsylvania beat Franklin & Marshall College of nearby Lancaster 9-0.

Of the 8 schools that would later officially form the Ivy League in 1954, only Cornell lost, having made the mistake of playing away, and to the University of Michigan, no less, getting walloped 40-0. Rutgers, not an Ivy League school then or now, lost 25-2 away to Colgate. In New York City, in addition to Columbia's win, Fordham hosted West Virginia and won 20-0, while NYU edged Lafayette 13-12.

As Woodward said, the following week, the schools in question began their schedule against each other: Princeton 20, Columbia 0; Yale 14, Brown 6; and Dartmouth 14, Penn 7. The exceptions were Harvard, who lost 10-7 to Holy Cross of nearby Worcester; and Cornell, who lost 14-7 to nearby Syracuse.

Woodward is thus not the creator of the term "the Ivy League," but we wouldn't have that phrase without him. He had played football at Amherst which isn't in the Ivy League, officially founded in 1954, but it rather Ivy-ish.

October 14, 1936, 80 years ago: Hans Kraay is born in Utrecht, the Netherlands. A centreback, he won his country's national league, the Eredivisie, with hometown club DOS in 1958, and with Rotterdam-based Feyenoord in 1962 and 1965.

He later became a manager, including in the old North American Soccer League, with the Edmonton Drillers in 1979 and 1980. One of his players there was his son, Hans Kraay Jr. Hans Sr. is now head scout at NEC Nijmegen, and Hans Jr. is also in management, at the amateur level.

October 14, 1938: Ronald Lancaster (no middle name) is born in the Pittsburgh suburb of Fairchance, Pennsylvania, and grows up in nearby Clairton. He is a great figure in the history of football, and yet most Americans have never heard of him.

Ron Lancaster was a 5-foot-5 quarterback, shorter than Doug Flutie, shorter than even Eddie LeBaron. So no major college wanted him, and he played at little Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio. No NFL or AFL team wanted him, so he headed up north, and became one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the Canadian Football League.

"The Little General" won the Grey Cup, the CFL Championship, in 1960 with the Ottawa Rough Riders, and in 1966 with the Regina-base Saskatchewan Roughriders (yes, 2 teams in the same league with the same name), the 1st title in franchise history. He led them into the Grey Cup Playoffs for 14 straight seasons, and was the 1st CFL quarterback to pass for at least 50,000 yards.

He then went into coaching, going directly from Saskatchewan's quarterback to its head coach in 1979. In 1993, he coached the Edmonton Eskimos to the Grey Cup. In 1999, he did it with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. That's 2 teams as a player, 2 as a head coach, 4 different teams to Grey Cups. No NFL player and coach has come close to matching that admittedly odd feat. He died of cancer in 2008, and is still 4th on the CFL's all-time coaching wins list.

October 14, 1939: Ralph Lifshitz (no middle name) is born in The Bronx. We know him as Ralph Lauren. Drawing on his love of sports, he launched his 1st full line of menswear in 1968, calling it Polo.

On a personal note: On 4 occasions before my 7th birthday, because of problems with my legs, I was a patient at the Hospital for Joint Diseases at 123rd Street & Madison Avenue in Spanish Harlem. HJD has since moved to the Union Square area, and their old hospital is now the Ralph Lauren Cancer Center, founded by Ralph after he had a benign brain tumor removed in 1987.


October 14, 1940: The Buffalo Memorial Auditorium opens. The 1st event is a campaign rally for Republican Presidential nominee Wendell Willkie. He lost -- even in Buffalo, which is normally a Republican city, but Franklin D. Roosevelt was Governor of New York before he was President, and was still beloved in the western part of the State.

The Buffalo Bisons of the American Hockey League -- named for the city's minor-league baseball team -- played there from 1940 until 1970, at which point the NHL gave the city an expansion franchise, the Sabres. In 1946, it hosted a basketball team named the Bisons, but it went bust; the NBA gave it an expansion team in 1970, called the Braves. Necessary for these new teams was an expansion from 10,449 seats to 15,858.

The Braves moved after the 1978 season, and the Sabres built the arena now named the KeyBank Center in 1996. "The Aud" was demolished in 2009, and the Canalside park project has been extended onto the site.

Also on this day, Tommy Harper (apparently, his entire name) is born in Oak Grove, Louisiana, and grows up in Alameda, in California's East Bay. He played all 3 outfield positions and 3rd base, starting with the Cincinnati Reds in 1962. In 1965, he led the NL in runs scored.

In 1969, he was an All-Star with the Seattle Pilots, and the team announced it would hold Tommy Harper Night. He told his teammates he wanted to practice his speech in front of them. Here's his entire speech, as he read it: "'Preciate it. Thanks."

He moved with the Pilots to become the Milwaukee Brewers in 1970, and as the leadoff hitter, he was the 1st batter in both Major League Baseball for a Seattle team and for the Brewers. In 1969 and again in 1974, with the Boston Red Sox, he led the AL In stolen bases. His only postseason appearance was in the 1975 American League Championship Series with the Oakland Athletics, and he last played with the Baltimore Orioles in 1976.

From 1980 to 1984, he was a coach with the Red Sox. But in spring training of 1985, he complained about an incident he saw as racist, and was fired. He sued the Sox for discrimination, and won. From 1990 to 1999, he coached with the Montreal Expos. In 2000, the Sox took him back, and he coached with them through 2002. He was elected to their team Hall of Fame in 2010. He is still alive.

Also on this day, Jesse Carlyle Snead is born in Hot Springs, Virginia. A cousin of Sam Snead, J.C. Snead wasn't quite as good as "Slammin' Sammy." He won 8 PGA Tour events, but the closest he came to a major was finishing 2nd at the 1973 Masters. He is still alive, and a member of the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.

October 14, 1941, 75 years ago: Arthur Louis Shamsky is born in St. Louis. On his 28th birthday, the right fielder (though not starting in front of Ron Swoboda – lucky for the Mets in Game 4) would help the Mets win Game 3 of the World Series. He was also the last Met to wear Number 24 before Willie Mays.

Of course, he's best known for being the hero of NYPD Detective Robert Barone, played by Brad Garrett on Everybody Loves Raymond. Robert loved Shamsky so much as a kid, he named his dog “Shamsky.”

In 1999, on the 30th Anniversary of the Mets' "Miracle," Robert and his brother Ray, a sportswriter for Newsday, played by Ray Romano, drove up to Cooperstown, where some of the '69 Mets were signing autographs at the Baseball Hall of Fame. Ray wanted to use his press credentials to skip to the head of the line. But Tug McGraw recognized Ray, and remembered a critical column that Ray had written. Shamsky wasn't impressed, either, and the brothers got thrown out of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Later, at a diner, Robert said they should have waited in line like everybody else. Ray: "But we're not like everybody else!" Robert: "Obviously, we're not like everybody else. Because everybody else got to meet the Mets!"

Also on this day, Jerry Michael Glanville (not "Gerard" or "Jerome") is born in the Toledo suburb of Perrysburg, Ohio. He was a linebacker at Northern Michigan University, before becoming a graduate student and assistant coach at Western Kentucky. He got his 1st NFL job as special teams coach with the Detroit Lions in 1974, and also served on the staffs of the Atlanta Falcons (developing the "Gritz Blitz" defense that won NFC West titles in 1977 and '78), Buffalo Bills and Houston Oilers.

In 1986, he was named head coach of the Oilers, and get them into the Playoffs 3 times in 4 years. He then got the Falcons into the 1991 Playoffs. His career head coaching record in the NFL -- as he put it to a rookie referee, "which stands for 'Not For Long' when you make them fuckin' calls" -- was 69-73, and he's probably best known for that comment, famed for NFL Films' use of it, and for criticizing the Falcons' drafting of Brett Favre due to his party-animal lifestyle, and then for making them see his point and get rid of Favre. (It should be noted, though, that Favre got the Green Bay Packers to only 2 Super Bowls, just 1 more than the Falcons were in over the same stretch.)

He was a studio analyst for CBS' The NFL Today, and then coached Portland State University's team from 2007 to 2009. He now runs a truck racing team.

October 14, 1942: Charles Cooke (no middle name) is born in St. Monans, Fife, Scotland. A left winger, Charlie Cooke helped West London club Chelsea win the 1970 FA Cup and the 1971 European Cup Winners' Cup.

He later played in North America for the Los Angeles Aztecs, the Memphis Rogues, the Calgary Boomers, the California Surf, the Cleveland Force and the Dallas Sidekicks. He is still alive.

October 14, 1946, 70 years ago: Albert Oliver Jr.(no middle name)  is born in Portsmouth, Ohio. A 7-time All-Star, the center fielder (later 1st baseman) was a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 1971 World Champions. In 1970, Al hit the last home run at Forbes Field and drove in the first run at Three Rivers Stadium. In 1978, he was traded to the Texas Rangers, and switched from Number 16 to Number 0 – not a zero, but an O for Oliver.

His 2,743 career hits make him 5th among players currently eligible for the Hall of Fame but not in, trailing Rafael Palmeiro (who is not banned but will never get in due to steroids), Barry Bonds (ditto), Harold Baines and Vada Pinson. His son Aaron Oliver played for Texas A&M’s football team in their 1998 Big 12 Conference Championship season, and now teaches at a Texas high school.

October 14, 1947: Captain Charles E. Yeager, U.S. Air Force, pilots a Bell X-1 plane he named Glamorous Glennis, after his wife, to a speed of 700 miles per hour, over the Rogers Dry Lake in the Mojave Desert of California. At his altitude, 45,000 feet (about 8 1/2 miles above sea level), that was faster than the speed of sound, making Chuck Yeager the 1st human to travel faster than sound.

Yeager retired from the USAF with the rank of Brigadier General (1 star), and is now 93 years old, having lived long enough to see the start of the Space Age, the 1st Moon landing, and the speed of sound surpassed by a land vehicle -- by a pair of British Royal Air Force pilots in Utah, the day after the 50th Anniversary of Yeager's flight. The Glamorous Glennis is now at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum in Washington.

Also, this may have been the birthdate of Spider-Man. The character debuted in Amazing Fantasy #15, with a cover date of August 1962. Peter Parker is generally agreed to have been 16 years old at the time of his debut. So, October 14, 1947, in Forest Hills, Queens, New York City.

Also on this day, Robert John Kuechenberg is born in Gary, Indiana, outside Chicago. A 6-time Pro Bowler, the linebacker started for the Miami Dolphins' back-to-back Super Bowl winners in the 1972 and '73 seasons.

Also on this day, Charles B. Joiner Jr. (I have no record of what the B. stands for) is born in Many, Louisiana. The receiver began his pro football career with the 1969 Houston Oilers. When he retired in 1986, he was the last active player who had played in the American Football League.

A 3-time All-Pro, he caught 750 passes for 12,146 yards. The San Diego Chargers elected him to their team Hall of Fame, and their 40th and 50th Anniversary Teams. He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He has also been an NFL assistant coach, most recently with the 2012 Chargers.

October 14, 1948: Eduardo Figueroa Padilla is born in Ciales, Puerto Rico. He was actually signed by the other New York team, and is one of the few major league players who actually served in combat in Vietnam. He got out all right, but hurt his arm in the Mets' farm system, and they released him. Yet another boneheaded Met transaction.

He signed with the San Francisco Giants, who traded him to the California Angels in 1973, and he made his debut with them in 1974. The Yankees picked him up on December 11, 1975, along with center fielder Mickey Rivers, in exchange for Bobby Bonds, who hadn't really fit in with them in his 1 season in Pinstripes.

It was a great trade, as Figgy and Mick the Quick helped the Yankees win the next 3 AL Pennants. Figgy led the 1976 Pennant winners with 19 wins, won 16 for the 1977 World Champions, and in 1978 he went 13-2 down the stretch to become the 1st, and still the only, Puerto Rican-born pitcher to win 20 games in a season.

He started and lost Game 4 of the 1976 World Series, and an injured finger kept him out of the 1977 Fall Classic, and in the 1978 Series, he lost Game 1 and did not figure in the decision after starting Game 4. Nonetheless, he won 2 World Series rings.

He got hurt in 1979, and ended up pitching for Texas and Oakland, and retired in 1982. He now runs Mexican-themed restaurants in the Puerto Rican capital of San Juan.

October 14, 1949: David William Schultz is born in Manheim, Saskatchewan. A left wing, Dave was infamous as "The Hammer," perhaps the scariest of the Philadelphia Flyers' 1970s "Broad Street Bullies." But he wasn't just a thug: He scored 20 goals in the 1974 season, on the way to the 1st of back-to-back Stanley Cups for the Flyers, the only ones they've ever won. The Flyers elected him to their team Hall of Fame.

October 14, 1953: The Brooklyn Dodgers force Charley Dressen's resignation as manager when he refuses to sign anything less than a 2-year contract. The club reportedly offered him a $7‚500 raise‚ but, on the insistence of his wife, he tried for a 2-year contract, and lost.

My Grandma, a major Dodger fan in those days, hated Dressen, telling me decades after the fact about how bad he was: "Oh, that Dressen was so stupid!" And she confirmed that his wife bossed him around and demanded that he ask for the 2-year contract. But for as long as Walter O'Malley and his son Peter owned the Dodgers, from 1950 to 1997, the Dodgers only offered their managers 1-year contracts – 23 such contracts to Walter Alston, Dressen's replacement, and then 20 such contracts to Alston's successor, Tommy Lasorda.

Dressen immediately signs to manage the Oakland Oaks in the Pacific Coast League. He had previously been one of Casey Stengel's coaches with Oakland. He would later manage the Washington Senators and the Detroit Tigers, and died as the Tigers' manager in 1966. As far as I know, he remains the last MLB manager to die in office. He was also an early pro football player, an original member of the 1920 Decatur Staleys, the team that became the Chicago Bears.


October 14, 1960: Steven Cram (no middle name) is born in Gateshead, Tyne-and-Wear, England. In a span of just 19 days in the Summer of 1985, he set world records in the 1,500-meter, mile and 2,000-meter runs. He is now a TV presenter for the BBC.

October 14, 1961: The expansion Mets, preparing for their 1st season, are loading up on as many ex-Yankees, ex-New York Giants and ex-Brooklyn Dodgers as they can get their hands on. They purchase Johnny Antonelli, one of the heroes of the Giants' 1954 World Championship. Rather than play for such a lousy team, Antonelli retires. He is only 31 years old.

This is a policy that won't work any better for the New Jersey Devils when they start in 1982, as the ex-Rangers and ex-Islanders they could sign were also mostly washed-up stars and backups.

October 14, 1962: Ronald Dwayne Pitts is born in Detroit. He was the son of Green Bay Packer running back Elijah Pitts, and played at Orchard Park High School while his father was an assistant coach in that city for the Buffalo Bills. He played cornerback at UCLA, and for the Bills and the Packers.

After his last playing season in 1990, he broadcast college football for ABC. From 1995 to 2012, he was an NFL analyst for Fox Sports. He now broadcasts for CBS, and has done some acting, mostly playing himself or a fictional announcer.

October 14, 1964: Joseph Elliott Girardi is born in Peoria, Illinois, and grows up in neighboring East Peoria. On the plus side, Joe Girardi was a good catcher, who reached the postseason with the 1989 Cubs and the 1995 Colorado Rockies, and 4 times with the Yankees. In 1996, he caught Dwight Gooden's no-hitter, and his triple off Greg Maddux got the Yankees on the scoreboard in Game 6 of the World Series. He mentored Jorge Posada, and while Posada caught David Wells' perfect game in 1998, Girardi caught David Cone's perfect game in 1999.

Joe was named National League Manager of the Year with the 2006 Florida Marlins, but was fired after just 1 year anyway. After a year in the YES Network broadcast studio, the Yankees named him manager. As a Yankee player, he wore Number 25; as manager, he switched to 27, a sign that he was determined to win the Yankees their 27th World Championship. In 2009, he did, joining Billy Martin and Ralph Houk as the only men to win World Series with the Yankees as both player and manager.

He then switched to 28, but he hasn't been able to get that 28th World Championship. And now we get to the minus side: While injuries have hampered the Yankees, Girardi has this nasty habit of trusting his "binder" rather than his eyes. He is in thrall to pitch counts, and instead of saying, "You know what, this guy is cruising, showing no sign of tiring, I'm going to leave him in for another inning," he'll take him out.

And, all too often, he'll make one of the same mistakes as his predecessor, Joe Torre: Bring in a pitcher to pitch to 1 batter because they're of the same hand. This is a bad idea, especially when you need to get a lefthanded batter out and your lefty reliever is Boone Logan. Girardi still doesn't know how to properly manage a bullpen; the 2009 title was won mainly because the Yankees got the key hits when they needed to.

That said, having won 3 Series as a player and 1 as a manager is enough to make Girardi a Yankee Legend. I would not be surprised to see him receive a Plaque in Monument Park one day, even if he doesn't win another Pennant. But I'd still like to see a new manager for the Yankees. My 1st choice would be Willie Randolph, even if he is 10 years older.

Also on this day, in Yankee history, Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle hit home runs on back-to-back pitches from Curt Simmons‚ and Joe Pepitone belts Gordie Richardson for a grand slam. The Yankees win, 8-3 at St. Louis, and send the World Series to a deciding Game 7. With all the home runs that Mickey and Roger hit, this is the only time they hit back-to-back homers in a postseason game.

Also on this day, James Philip Rome is born in Tarzana, California. But any man whose 2 favorite athletes of all time are Manny Ramirez and Rickey Henderson – in that order – gets no respect from me.

October 14, 1965: Game 7 of the World Series, at Metropolitan Stadium in the Minneapolis suburb of Bloomington. So far, every game in this Series has been won by the home team.

The Minnesota Twins stunned Los Angeles Dodger pitchers Don Drysdale in Game 1 and Sandy Koufax in Game 2 in Minnesota. But the Dodgers came back in Los Angeles, winning Game 3 behind Claude Osteen, Game 4 behind Drysdale, and Game 5 behind Koufax. Back in Minnesota, the Twins took Game 6 thanks to a shutout and a home run by Jim "Mudcat" Grant.

Now, working on 2 days rest‚ and throwing only fastballs so that his great curveball doesn’t hurt his aching elbow as much as it hurts the Minnesota batters, Koufax fights both the pain and the home-team trend, pitches a 3-hitter, and blanks the Twins, 2-0. In other words, the Twins, led by Hall-of-Fame 3rd baseman Harmon Killebrew and should-be Hall-of-Fame right fielder Tony Oliva, knew exactly what was coming, but it was so good that they still couldn’t hit it.

This is the Dodgers' 4th World Championship, their 3rd since moving to Los Angeles, and their 2nd in 3 years. In each of the last 2, Koufax was named Series MVP.

There are 14 members of the 1965 Dodgers who are still alive, 51 years later. Koufax, shortstop Maury Wills, 1st baseman Wes Parker, left fielder Lou Johnson, right fielder Ron Fairly, 2nd baseman Dick Tracewski and 3rd baseman John Kennedy played in the game. On the roster, but not appearing in this game, were outfielders Tommy Davis, Wally Moon and Al Ferrara; 2nd baseman Jim Lefebvre, catcher Jeff Torborg, and pitchers Claude Osteen and Ron Perranoski.

Playing for the Twins in this game, and still alive: Oliva, center fielder Joe Nossek, 2nd baseman Frank Quilici (who later managed the Twins as one of MLB’s last player-managers), pinch-hitters Rich Rollins and Sandy Valdespino, and pitchers Jim Kaat, Jim Merritt and Jim Perry.

October 14, 1966, 50 years ago: Le Métro de Montréal opens, the 2nd subway system in Canada after Toronto's in 1954. With its speed, its quiet rubber tires, and its artwork, it might be the best subway in North America. Certainly, it inspired the one that opened in Washington, D.C. 10 years later. In so many ways, Montréal is like New York. This is one way in which it is very different.

Atwater station would be used for Canadiens games at the Forum; Parc station for Expos games at Jarry Park; Pie-IX for Expos and Alouettes games at the Olympic Stadium, and Impact games at Stade Saputo; McGill station for McGill football and current Alouettes games at Molson Stadium; and Bonaventure station for Canadiens games at the Bell Centre.

October 14, 1967: The San Diego Rockets make their NBA debut. The St. Louis Hawks beat them 99-98 at the San Diego Sports Arena, as Zelmo Beaty lights them up for 39 points. They will make the Playoffs in 1969, and move in 1971, becoming the Houston Rockets.

Also on this day, the Indiana Pacers of the American Basketball Association play their 1st game. They beat the Kentucky Colonels 117-95 at the Fairgrounds Coliseum. They will win 3 ABA titles, the only team to do so, before entering the NBA in 1976. They have only reached 1 NBA Finals, though, and lost it.

Also on this day, the Los Angeles Kings make their NHL debut. They beat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-2, at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, their temporary home until the Forum in suburban Inglewood is ready later in the season. Brian Kilrea scores their 1st goal, and later serves as longtime coach of the Ontario Hockey League's Ottawa 67's, and it is in that capacity that he was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Also on this day, Patrick Franklin Kelly is born in Philadelphia. He played 2nd base for the Yankees from 1991 to 1997. In 1995, his home run brought the Yanks back from behind to win a key game against those pesky Blue Jays in Toronto, and enabled them to clinch the 1st-ever AL Wild Card. He was a member of the Yankees' 1996 World Championship team, although he was not on the active roster for the postseason.

He should not to be confused with 2 other Pat Kellys who have played Major League Baseball, an outfielder for the Baltimore Orioles on their 1979 Pennant team, and a catcher who had a cup of coffee with the Blue Jays in 1980.

Also on this day, Sylvain Jean Lefebvre is born in Richmond, Quebec. A defenseman, he was with the Quebec Nordiques when they became the Colorado Avalanche in 1995 and then won the 1996 Stanley Cup. He's now the head coach of the St. John's Icecaps, a Montreal Canadiens farm team.

Also on this day, Stephen Anthony Smith is born in Manhattan. He's one of the titanic talking heads of ESPN, and I loved reading his column in the Philadelphia Inquirer in the late 1990s and early 2000s. I won't always agree with him, but I love reading him.

October 14, 1968: American sprinter Jim Hines becomes the 1st man ever to break the 10-second barrier in a 100-meter race without the aid of wind, at the Olympic final in Mexico City. His time is 9.95 seconds. This will stand as a world record for 15 years. Hines also anchors the U.S. 4×100-meter relay team, the 1st all-black team of any kind, in any sport, from any country, to win an Olympic Gold Medal. This night became known as "The Night of Speed."

Like baseball legend Frank Robinson and basketball legend Bill Russell, Hines is a graduate of McClymonds High School in Oakland, California. Unfortunately, he is not as well remembered as some other Gold Medalists from the ’68 Olympics, such as George Foreman, Dick Fosbury and Tommie Smith.

Like a few great sprinters, he got a pro football tryout, and he played 10 games with the Miami Dolphins in 1969 and 1 with the Kansas City Chiefs in 1970, but dropped so many passes he got the nickname "Oops." (No, I'm not making that up.) He later worked on oil rigs in Houston, and now, at age 69, runs an inner-city youth advocacy program.

Also on this day, Matt Le Tissier was born in St. Peter Port, the capital of Guernsey, in the Channel Islands. – closer to France than to England, and he's ethnically French, but a citizen of England and of the United Kingdom of Great Britain. A midfielder for English soccer club Southampton, he is regarded as the greatest player in the Hampshire club’s history, their fans calling him "Le God."

He was 47-for-48 on penalty kicks in his career, and is often considered to be the greatest player ever at that task. His only miss was on March 24, 1993, when he was stopped by Matt Crossley of Nottingham Forest.

Also on this day, Dwayne Kenneth Schintzius is born in the Tampa suburb of Brandon, Florida. He played center for the Nets in the mid-1990s, and played Ivan Radovadovitch, Georgian (ex-Soviet) center, in the 1996 film Eddie, starring Whoopi Goldberg as a fan who becomes coach of the Knicks. He died of leukemia in 2012. He was only 43.

October 14, 1969: The Mets continue their "Miracle," winning Game 3 of the World Series, 5-0 over the Baltimore Orioles. Ed Kranepool, the last remaining Met from their original, pathetic 1962 squad, justifies his place on this team by hitting a home run. So does Tommie Agee, who makes 2 sensational running catches in center field.

Also on this day, Collier Brown Jr. is born in Detroit. We know him as P.J. Brown. I don't know why. My theory is that his father, who must have been named Collier Brown Sr., had a nickname that started with a P, and thus Collier Jr. became P(whatever it was) Junior, thus "P.J." Either that, or he once got locked out of his hotel room in his pajamas (P.J.'s).

A teammate of Schintzius on those Nets, he was also in a movie, playing a cop in Romance & Cigarettes. He closed his playing career as an NBA Champion, with the 2008 Celtics.

Also on this day, Arnie Herber dies of cancer in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The former Packer quarterback, known for connecting with Don Hutson as the NFL's 1st great passing combination, was just 59. He was a 4-time NFL Champion: 1930, 1931, 1936 and 1939. He was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the NFL's 1930s All-Decade Team.


October 14, 1970: The NBA's 2 new expansion teams debut against each other.The Buffalo Braves defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers, 107-92, at the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium, on the 30th Anniversary of The Aud's opening.

Both teams will struggle that 1st season, the Cavs especially so. But both would become Playoff teams by the mid-1970s. The Cavs have never won an NBA title, and until this past season had never even won an NBA Finals game. But that beats what happened to the Braves: They were moved in 1978 to become the San Diego Clippers, and in 1984 to become the Los Angeles Clippers, and they've never even played in a Conference Finals.

Also on this day, Pär Zetterberg is born in Falkenberg, Sweden. A midfielder, he played for Anderlecht, and, despite having diabetes, helped them win Belgium's top division, the Jupiler League, in 1994 (as well as the Belgian Cup for a Double), 1995, 2000, 2004 and 2006. He remains with the club, as a youth scout.

Also, this was early in the 2nd season of the PBS kids' show Sesame Street. In this season, the character of Grover would become a regular. Grover's birthday would later be given as October 14.

However, he made his debut, in a considerably less cute form, on The Ed Sullivan Show on December 24, 1967. Ed was a fan of the Muppets, and frequently invited Jim Henson to bring his Muppeteers onto the "really big shew." On a sketch airing on Christmas Eve, a greenish version of Grover, named Gleep, was said to be a monster inhabiting Santa Claus' workshop.

October 14, 1971: Just 4 years after their 1st NBA game, in San Diego, the Houston Rockets play their 1st game under their new name. It doesn't go any better: They lose to the Philadelphia 76ers, 105-94 at Hofheinz Pavilion. They will get good in the late 1970s, thanks to Rudy Tomjanovich, Calvin Murphy and Moses Malone. They will reach the Finals in 1981 and 1986, and Rudy T will then coach them to titles in 1994 and 1995 with Hakeem Olaujwon.

Also on this day, Jorge Paulo Costa Almeida is born in Porto, Portugal. Usually listed as Jorge Costa, the centreback starred for hometown club F.C. Porto, winning his national league 8 times from 1993 to 2004, winning the Taça de Portugal 5 times (including League ad Cup "Doubles" in 1998 and 2003), and the UEFA Champions League in 2004.

He managed CFR Cluj to the Romanian league title in 2012, and is now the manager of the national team of the African nation of Gabon.

October 14, 1972: Oakland Athletics catcher Gene Tenace becomes the 1st player ever to hit home runs in each of his first 2 World Series at bats‚ leading the A's to a 3-2 opening-game win over the Cincinnati Reds at Riverfront Stadium.

This is the 1st postseason victory for the A's franchise since Game 7 of the 1931 World Series, when the A's were still in Philadelphia (though that game was played in St. Louis).

Also on this day, the expansion Atlanta Flames play their 1st home game, at The Omni in Atlanta. This is the 1st event at the arena. After losing their 1st games, this time, they don't lose. The manage a tie, 1-1 with the Buffalo Sabres.

The manage a decent 1st season, and become a Playoff team comparatively quickly, but never catch on at the box office, and in 1980 they moved to Calgary.

October 14, 1973: The Mets win Game 2 of the World Series‚ 10-7‚ scoring 4 runs in an 11th inning featuring what turns out to be the last major league hit by Willie Mays, and 2 errors by A's 2nd baseman Mike Andrews.

Andrews, who'd previously played for the Red Sox in their 1967 "Impossible Dream" Pennant season, is subsequently put on the "disabled list" by an enraged A’s owner Charlie Finley, triggering the baseball equivalent of a constitutional crisis, just as the one started by the Watergate scandal is reaching a new peak.

October 14, 1975: In a game featuring 6 home runs‚ 3 by each team‚ Game 3 of the World Series is won by the Cincinnati Reds, 6-5 in the 10th inning. The inning is marked by a controversial play involving Cincinnati’s Ed Armbrister and Boston's Carlton Fisk: Armbrister lays down a sacrifice bunt, and seemingly hesitates breaking out of the batter's box; Fisk’s subsequent throwing error leads to the Reds' winning run. The Sox scream for an interference call from umpire Larry Barnett‚ but to no avail.

Tony Kubek, former Yankee shortstop and now one of the NBC broadcasters, says on the air that Barnett blew the call. Barnett ends up getting thousands of angry letters, some of them death threats, nearly all of them from the New England States.

I've seen the film: Maybe this is just the Yankee Fan in me, used to hating the Red Sox, making this judgment, but I can't say for sure that Armbrister intentionally interfered with Fisk.

The Armbrister play happened 41 years ago, but Red Sox fans still complain about it. It was even mentioned in the U.S. version of the movie Fever Pitch. Finally having won 3 World Series has done nothing to diminish Sox fans' feelings about it. They still think that, if interference had been called on Armbrister, they would have won the Series.

I guess it never occurred to them that, Curse of the Bambino or no, the game was still tied when it happened, and, considering everything that's gone wrong with their favorite team, they could have lost the game later in another shocking way.

It also hasn't occurred to them that, instead of blaming Armbrister or Barnett, they should blame their own players for blowing leads in Games 2, 5 and 7, any one of which would have resulted in their World Series drought ending at 57 years… and the next one ending at 29 years. But then, these are Red Sox fans. It’s been a long time since I gave up on expecting them to be rational.

Today, Ed Armbrister is 68 years old, living in his native Bahamas, and is a consultant to the national Ministory of Sports.

October 14, 1976, 40 years ago: Henry Antonio Mateo Valera is born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. A 3rd baseman and left fielder, he was with the Montreal Expos when they moved to become the Washington Nationals.

October 14, 1977: The Yankees win Game 3 of the World Series, defeating the Dodgers 5-3 at Dodger Stadium. Mike Torrez goes the distance for the win, and Mickey Rivers collects 3 hits, 2 of them doubles.

Also on this day, Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby dies at age 74. How good a golfer the legendary singer and actor known as "Der Bingle" was is open to debate, but he did sponsor the Bing Crosby Open tournament.

Golf isn't a real sport? I agree. Okay, then: From 1946 until his death, he was a part-owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates, while his frequent movie costar and golfing buddy Bob Hope was a part-owner of the next-closest big-league team, the Cleveland Indians. Fortunately for them, the 2 teams are in different leagues, so the nasty Pittsburgh-Cleveland football rivalry did not spill over into baseball. (In fact, 2013 marked the 1st time both the Pirates and the Indians ever made the postseason in the same year.)

Also on this day, Francis "Hun" Ryan dies in Philadelphia at age 69. A midfielder, he was a member of the U.S. soccer team at the 1928 and 1936 Olympics, and the 1934 World Cup. He lived long enough to see himself elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame.

Also on this day, Joseph Anthony Didulica is born in the Melbourne suburb of Geelong, Victoria, Australia. A goalkeeper, he won League titles in the Netherlands with Ajax Amsterdam in 2002 and AZ Alkmaar in 2009, and in Austria with Austria Wien in 2006. He also won the equivalent of the FA Cup with Ajax (the KNVB Beker) in 2002 and Austria Wien (the ÖFB-Cup) in 2004 and 2006 (the latter making for a Double).

He represented his parents' homeland, Croatia, in international football because the Australian manager at the time had refused to select him for senior matches, even though he was eligible. He played for Croatia in Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup. He retired in 2011 after concerns about head and neck injuries.

October 14, 1978: It's Game 4 of the World Series at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees trail the Dodgers, 3-1 with 1 out in the bottom of the 6th. The Dodgers are 11 outs away from taking a 3-games-to-1 lead in the Series. But Reggie Jackson singles home a run, and Thurman Munson takes 2nd base on the play. Then Lou Piniella comes to bat. Sweet Lou hits a low line drive toward shortstop Bill Russell.

It's important to remember that this ball was very low. If it had been any higher, the umpires would probably have invoked the infield-fly rule, which would automatically have declared the batter, Piniella, out with the 2nd out of the inning, and forced Munson to stay at 2nd and Jackson at 1st. But there is no time for the IFR to be called, and Russell… drops the ball. Thurman sees this and heads for 3rd. Russell steps on 2nd to force Reggie, who's stuck just off of 1st, seemingly frozen. Russell throws to 1st, and…

And the ball hits Reggie on the leg and caroms away into foul territory. Lou gets to 1st safely. Thurman rounds 3rd and scores. The Yanks now trail 3-2, with Lou on 1st and 2 outs.

Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda storms out of the dugout, and furiously argues with the umpires' crew chief, AL ump Marty Springstead, that Lou should be called out due to Reggie's intentional interference. Springstead decides that he cannot determine Reggie's intent, and he lets the result of the play stand. Lasorda would later say he was impressed with Reggie’s presence of mind to attempt the "tactic," which becomes known as "the Sacrifice Thigh," but he still thought it was an illegal play.

The Yankees tie the game in the 8th when Thurman doubles home Paul Blair. The score remains tied until the bottom of the 10th, when Piniella singles home Roy White with the winning run, tying the Series at 2 games apiece.

This game still ticks off Dodger fans, but since when do I give a damn what they think? They're rooting for a team that belongs in Brooklyn.

Also on this day, Ryan Matthew Church is born in Santa Barbara, California. The right fielder played for the Montreal Expos when they moved to become the Washington Nationals, and was traded to the Mets in the trade in which the Mets gave up on Lastings Milledge. He suffered 2 nasty concussions in 2008, and was never the same player. He retired after the 2010 season.

Also on this day, Javon Liteff Walker is born in Galveston, Texas, and grows up in Lafayette, Louisiana. He was a Pro Bowl honoree in 2004, as a receiver for the Green Bay Packers. He last played in 2009, for the Oakland Raiders.

Also on this day, Steven Howard Thompson is born in Paisley, Scotland. With Glasgow-based Rangers, the striker won the Scottish Premier League in 2003 and 2005, the Scottish Cup in 2003 (making for a Double), and the Scottish League Cup in 2005. In 2008, he helped Lancashire club Burnley get promoted to the Premier League. He returned to Scotland, and helped St. Mirren with the Scottish League Cup in 2013. He retired at the end of last season.

Also on this day, Usher Raymond IV is born in Dallas, but grows up in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and is usually identified with Atlanta, where he lives and records. A big Braves fan, he has a talent for cheating on the women he supposedly loves. I understand he does some singing, too. Yeah. Yeah.

Okay, in all fairness, Usher did a fantastic job playing a young Marvin Gaye in the 1960s-themed TV series American Dreams, singing "Can I Get a Witness." But he also "discovered" Justin Bieber, and he will have to answer for that.

October 14, 1979: Fresh off their trip to the Stanley Cup Finals the previous season, the New York Rangers open a new season at Madison Square Garden. For the 1st time in their 53-year history, they retire a uniform number, the 7 of their all-time leading scorer, Rod Gilbert. They beat the Washington Capitals 5-3.

This will prove to be the highlight of their season. They may the Playoffs, but struggled most of the way. In response to the ridiculous commercial shot for Sasson designer jeans by Phil Esposito, ROn Duguay, Dave Maloney and Anders Hedberg, frustrated fans would sing, "Ooh, la la, you suck!"


October 14, 1980: Philadelphia pitcher Bob Walk becomes the 1st rookie to start a World Series opener since Joe Black of the 1952 Dodgers, and the Phillies rally from a 4-0 deficit to beat the Royals 7-6. Kansas City's Willie Aikens hits a pair of homers‚ becoming only the 3rd player to do so in his first Series game. Bake McBride homers for the Phils.

Also on this day, Terrence Dewayne McGee is born in Tyler, Texas. He's not the best football player to come from there -- that would be Hall-of-Famer Earl Campbell, the Tyler Rose -- but he played 12 seasons as a cornerback for the Buffalo Bills, and was a Pro Bowler in 2004 and 2005.

October 14, 1981: Game 2 of the ALCS. Graig Nettles singles twice in a 7-run 4th inning to become the first player ever to collect 2 hits in 1 inning in LCS play. The Yankees set LCS records for runs and hits (19) in a 13-3 rout of the Oakland Athletics.

As he had before Game 1, A's manager Billy Martin got a huge ovation from the Yankee Stadium crowd. George Steinbrenner's reaction to these ovations has not been recorded. Martin, from West Berkeley, California, is managing what is essentially his hometown team, has the A's playing an aggressive style that's become known as "Billy Ball," and has gotten back a lot of the respect he lost from his 2 crashed-and-burned tenures as Yankee manager. He seems to be happy, although losing this series certainly didn't help.

Also on this day, John Paul Bonser is born in St. Petersburg, Florida. The pitcher eventually changed his legal name to his childhood nickname: Boof Bonzer. He spent most of his career with the Twins, but injuries cut it short, finishing 19-25. He last pitched in the Atlantic League in 2014.

October 14, 1982: In only its 3rd episode, Cheers airs an installment that starts with the Yankees beating the Red Sox 5-0 at Fenway in a game watched at the bar. The Sox actually did lose 5-0 to the Yankees just 12 days earlier, but that was at Yankee Stadium. The game shown on the TV at the bar was clearly at Fenway, with first Tommy John, then George Frazier pitching for the Yankees.

A guy calling himself "Big Eddie" comes into the bar and winds the Cheers regulars up for a few minutes. He recognizes bar owner Sam Malone (played by Ted Danson) as a former Red Sox pitcher, and starts some good-natured banter. Sam's heard it all before ("What was it like, coming in with the bases loaded... and so were you?") and takes it in stride, but Carla (played by Rhea Perlman, and who, let's face it, was always in love with Sam) jumps on Eddie's back, grabs him by the ears, and starts slamming his head into the bar. (Refresh my memory: Which character was the alcoholic?)

Eddie threatens to sue unless Sam fires Carla, so Sam sends Carla to an anger-management class.  When Eddie returns, he tests her, starting by saying, "Boston stinks." Then, "This bar stinks." It gets worse and worse, until he mentions hockey, and Sam warns him against that. "A sore spot, eh?" He asks, and bellows, "The Bruins are a bunch of ugly... stupid... sissies!" Carla holds her tongue, and Sam finally says, "What more do you want, Eddie?" He gives up, and starts to walk out, when he is met by a Bruin player, who, we can presume, gave Eddie his comeuppance outside.

The scriptwriters did not have him say "Boston sucks," but "Boston stinks." Which, to be honest, in some spots of the city, is much closer to the truth. Oddly, the scriptwriter got one thing wrong: He has Eddie say the Yankees have won 23 World Series, 1 more than they actually had at the time.

Big Eddie was played by Ron Karabatsos, who must've been cast because he looked like a typical loudmouth ethnic N’Yawkah. Close: He was a cop in Union City, New Jersey and a pro wrestler calling himself the Golden Greek. He was also in the movies Prince of the CityFlashdance, The Cotton Club and Get Shorty. He died in 2012, shortly before his 79th birthday, meaning he was 39 when he appeared on Cheers. He looked a lot older.

October 14, 1983: Jim Palmer pitches 2 innings of scoreless relief, and gets win as the Baltimore Orioles beat the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 3 of the World Series, 3-2. The future Hall-of-Famer thus becomes the only pitcher in baseball history to win a World Series game in 3 different decades.

October 14, 1984: The Detroit Tigers beat the San Diego Padres, 8-4, and win their 4th World Series, their first in 16 years, in 5 games. Series MVP Kirk Gibson blasts 2 upper-deck home runs at Tiger Stadium, including a 3-run shot off Goose Gossage in the 8th inning. Tiger fans riot all over the city‚ another black eye for their beleaguered hometown.

The Tigers have not won another Series in the 3 decades since. The Red Wings have since won 4 Stanley Cups, and the Pistons 3 NBA titles, but the Tigers are without another ring. They've since lost 2 World Series, 2 ALCS, and an ALDS, and blown 3 Division titles that they should have won. Strangely, no one calls them underachievers. I'm starting to wonder.

Also on this day, LaRon Louis Landry is born in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie, Louisiana. A safety, he won a National Championship with Louisiana State in 2003. He was a Pro Bowler with the Jets in 2012, but was suspended for using performance-enhancing drugs with the Indianapolis Colts in 2014, and hasn't played since.

Also on this day, Alexandra Virina Scott is born in London. Alex is a defender with Arsenal Ladies Football Club, and has played for England 123 times, not counting the 5 games she played for the combined Great Britain squad in the 2012 Olympics in her hometown. After playing in America with the Boston Breakers in 2009, '10 and '11, she has returned to Arsenal. This year, she won Bear Grylls' reality TV show Mission Survive.

October 14, 1985: Ozzie Smith homers off Tom Niedenfuer with 1 out in the bottom of the 9th, to give the Cardinals a 3-2 lead in the NLCS. It is the switch-hitting Smith's 1st big-league home run while batting lefthanded. Cardinal broadcaster Jack Buck tells the fans, "Go crazy, fans, go crazy!" They do, although they don't riot or storm the field. They know the Cards still have to win 1 of the last 2 games in Los Angeles.

October 14, 1986, 30 years ago: Breaking out of a 1-for-21 slump‚ Mets catcher Gary Carter drives in the winning run of the Mets' 2-1 win over the Houston Astros in the bottom of the 12th‚ rendering meaningless Nolan Ryan's 9 innings of 2-hit‚ 12-strikeout pitching. Jesse Orosco earned the win by hurling 2 perfect innings.

With no score in the top of the 2nd, Dwight Gooden surrendered consecutive singles to Kevin Bass and José Cruz, putting runners on the corners with nobody out. He then caught Alan Ashby looking on a full count, and induced Craig Reynolds to ground into a double play to escape the jam.

Keith Hernandez would reveal in 2011 that he had stepped off the bag as the 1st baseman. Hernandez would say, "[Reynolds] clearly beat it, but I cheated and we got the call." Had Reynolds correctly been called safe, Kevin Bass would have scored from third and the Astros would have taken an early 1–0 lead. So the Mets cheated. They still have to win 1 of the last 2 games in Houston.


October 14, 1992: For the 1st time ever, a team from outside the United States of America wins a Major League Baseball Pennant. The Toronto Blue Jays win the ALCS in 5 games with a 9-2 victory over the Oakland Athletics. Joe Carter and Candy Maldonado both homer, while Juan Guzman gets the win.

The NL Pennant is also won today, in Game 7. With the Atlanta Braves down 2-0 to Doug Drabek of the Pittsburgh Pirates entering the 9th‚ the decisive blow comes with 2 outs‚ as seldom-used 3rd-string catcher Francisco Cabrera drives in the tying and winning runs with a pinch-hit single.

The scene of ex-Pirate Sid Bream, often ridiculed as the slowest man in baseball, somehow reaching home plate before the tag of Pirate catcher Mike LaValliere, is one of the signature plays in the Braves' postseason years of 1991 to 2005. John Smoltz‚ who works 6 strong innings without a decision‚ is named the series MVP.

It took 21 years, until last season, for the Pirates to even have another winning season, let alone make the postseason. An entire generation of Western Pennsylvanians was born and reached adulthood without ever having had a real Pennant race in their lifetime.

Also on this day, Ahmed Musa is born in Jas, Nigeria. The soccer winger won the Russian Premier League with CSKA Moscow in 2013, 2014 and 2016, making a Double with the 2013 Russian Cup. He signed in the recent off-season for defending English Champions Leicester City. He helped Nigeria win the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.

October 14, 1995: The man playing Cleveland Indians mascot Slider, a large, furry fuchsia-colored creature, falls 6 feet off an outfield wall, and tears knee ligaments. For the rest of the postseason, he shows up at games with a bandage over his costume's knee and a crutch. The Indians win Game 4 of the ALCS anyway, 7-0 over the Seattle Mariners, and tie up the series.

October 14, 1997: The Florida Marlins win their 1st Pennant by defeating the Braves‚ 7-4‚ and winning the NLCS‚ 4 games to 2. Kevin Brown goes the distance for the clincher‚ while Bobby Bonilla gets 3 RBIs to lead Florida.

October 14, 2000: The Yankees whitewash the Seattle Mariners‚ 5-0‚ behind Roger Clemens' 1-hit shutout. Clemens fans 15 Mariners as the Yanks take a commanding 3-games-to-1 lead over Seattle. The Yankees score their runs on a 3-run homer by Derek Jeter and a 2-run blast by David Justice.

Al Martin's double off the glove of Tino Martinez in the 7th inning is the Mariners' only hit. Had Tino gotten his glove just 2 inches higher, Clemens would have had the 2nd no-hitter in postseason history. Alas, a no-hitter is an accomplishment that will elude Clemens.

It will be 12 years before another Yankee pitcher throws a complete game in the postseason: CC Sabathia in Game 5 of the 2012 ALDS against Baltimore.

Also on this day, Art Coulter dies at the age of 91. He won 2 Stanley Cups, with the 1934 Chicago Blackhawks, and as the Captain of the 1940 New York Rangers. The defenseman is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Also on this day, Tony Roper is killed in a truck-racing crash at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. He was 35, and had never won a race, although he'd finished in the top 10 of races 8 times.

October 14, 2001: The Yankee bats finally come alive as the defeat the A's, 9-2 at the Oakland Coliseum‚ to even their ALDS at 2 games apiece. Orlando Hernandez gets the victory as he improves his postseason mark to 9-1. Bernie Williams has 5 RBIs to lead the Yankees. A's outfielder Jermaine Dye breaks his leg when he fouls a ball off his left shin. He will miss the rest of the postseason and the start of spring training next year.

October 14, 2002: The Giants beat the Cardinals‚ 2-1‚ to take the NLCS and move on to the World Series against Anaheim. Kenny Lofton's base hit in the bottom of the 9th scores David Bell with the winning run.


October 14, 2003: David Wells hurls the Yankees to a 4-2 win over the Red Sox and a 3-games-to-2 lead in the ALCS. Karim Garcia, victim of a Pedro Martinez fastball off his back in Game 3, delivers the key hit with a 2-run single in the 3rd.

But despite the implications of a Yankees-Red Sox postseason game, and everything that happened in Game 3 of that series, today's action at Fenway Park pales in comparison to what happens at MLB's other surviving pre-World War I ballpark, Wrigley Field in Chicago.

By advancing to the NLCS, the Cubs had already won a postseason series for the 1st time in 95 years. Now, leading 3-0 with 1 out in the 8th inning, and with ace Mark Prior on the mound, the Cubs are just 5 outs away from their 1st Pennant in 58 years. Wrigley and the surrounding streets are jammed with people anticipating the Cubs' 1st trip to the World Series since 1945, shortly after World War II ended.

But Marlins' 2nd baseman Luis Castillo – Met fans will recognize that name from his 2009 miscue against the Yankees – hits a fly ball down the left-field line. Cub left fielder Moises Alou – another name Met fans will go on to remember with regret – reaches for the ball at the fence, but he can’t get it. A Cub fan named Steve Bartman reaches for it, and knocks it away.

Despite appeals from the Cubs, umpire Mike Everitt rules there was no interference, that Bartman had not reached out into the field of play, and thus was entitled to try to catch the ball every bit as much as Alou was.

Castillo, with his at-bat extended, draws a walk. Iván Rodríguez singles, to make it 3-1 Cubs. Miguel Cabrera hits a ground ball to to Cub shortstop Alex Gonzalez – the Marlins had a shortstop of the same name – and he bobbles the ball. He could have turned a double play to end the inning and preserve the Cubs' lead. Instead, all runners are safe, and the bases are loaded. Derrek Lee doubles, tying the score and chasing Prior from the game.

Cub manager Dusty Baker brings in a new pitcher… Kyle Farnsworth! Oh no! Foreshadowing his later Yankee screwups, he delivers an intentional walk to load the bases and set up a force play. But he gives up a sacrifice fly that scores Cabrera with the go-ahead run. He repeats the set-up-the-DP intentional walk, and then gives up a double to Mike Mordecai that clears the bases and makes it 7-3. The Marlins score another run for the final score of 8-3, and tie up the series.

Bartman had to be led away from the park under security escort for his own safety, as Cubs fans shouted profanities towards him, and others threw debris onto the field and towards the exit tunnel from the field. News footage of the game showed him surrounded by security as passersby pelted him with drinks and other debris. Bartman’s name, as well as personal information about him, appeared on Major League Baseball’s online message boards minutes after the game ended. As many as 6 police cars gathered outside of his home to protect Bartman and his family following the incident.

Afterwards, then-Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich suggested that Bartman join a witness protection program (look who's talking), while then-Florida Governor Jeb Bush offered Bartman asylum. For once, Jeb Bush was a better man than a Democrat; but, of course, living on Fisher Island, 15 miles from Joe Robbie Stadium, his gesture could be seen as a rather snarky one.

Shortly after the incident, Bartman released a statement, saying he was "truly sorry." He added, "I had my eyes glued on the approaching ball the entire time and was so caught up in the moment that I did not even see Moisés Alou much less that he may have had a play." His family changed their phone number to avoid harassing phone calls. He requested that any gifts sent to him by Marlins fans be donated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (a Cub cause celebre due to its association with former star-turned-broadcaster Ron Santo).

Prior and former Cubs pitcher-turned-broadcaster Rick Sutcliffe spoke out in defense of Bartman. Even Jay Mariotti, then a Chicago Sun-Times columnist and a panelist on ESPN's Around the Horn, who seems to revel in the miseries of his favorite team, defended Bartman. But Michael Wilbon, columnist for the Washington Post and co-host of ESPN's Pardon the Interruption, a Chicago native and a huge Cub fan, has repeatedly said that he refuses to forgive Bartman.

To this day, Bartman refuses to make public appearances to talk about it, despite huge offers. I’m waiting for someone to do a Chris Crocker-style video and say, "Leave Bartman alone!"


October 14, 2006, 10 years ago: Magglio Ordonez hits a walkoff 3-run homer with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th, to give the Tigers a 6-3 win over the Athletics at Comerica Park, a sweep of the ALCS, and their 1st Pennant in 22 years.

The only season to date in which Oakland has won a postseason series with Billy Beane as general manager comes to an ignominious end. In 18 seasons, they have never won an ALCS game. Someone tell me again that Beane is a "genius."

Despite having had such heavy hitters as Ty Cobb, Sam Crawford, Harry Heilmann, Goose Goslin, Charlie Gehringer, Hank Greenberg, Rudy York, Al Kaline, Norm Cash, Rocky Colavito, Willie Horton, Kirk Gibson, Lance Parrish and Cecil Fielder, this is the first postseason walkoff homer in the Tigers' 106-year history. It remains the only one in their now 116-year history.

On this same day, Silas Simmons, believed to be the oldest former professional baseball player of all time, celebrates his 111th birthday. Born the same year as Babe Ruth, "Si" is joined by former players of the Negro Leagues, and receives a 1913 Homestead Grays jersey with No. 111 stitched beneath his name from Steve Henderson of the Devil Rays, at his home in the Westminster Suncoast retirement community in St. Petersburg. (When he played, there were no uniform numbers.)

A native of Middletown, Delaware, he played professional baseball from 1913 to 1926. He died just 15 days after the meeting.

Also on this day, Florida International University and the University of Miami meet for the 1st time, at the Orange Bowl, in what was supposed to be the beginning of an annual crosstown rivalry game. Nine minutes into the 2nd half, a brawl breaks out, including one injured FIU player on crutches and one UM player using his helmet as a weapon. The violence later spills into the stands, where several spectators were arrested and later released without charges. 31 players were later punished for the incident, including 13 Miami players and 18 FIU players. Two FIU players were kicked off the team.

The brawl appeared to have gotten into the heads of the FIU players, as Miami won the game 35-0.

October 14, 2007: Keeping Up with the Kardashians premieres on E! Lock up your athletes.

October 14, 2011: Game 5 of the National League Championship Series. When you make the postseason as often as the St. Louis Cardinals do, you take advantage of mistakes. So when you make the postseason as rarely as the Milwaukee Brewers do, you should avoid mistakes.

Instead, the Brewers make 4 errors, and the Cardinals win 7-1 at Busch Stadium, taking a 3-2 lead. The winning pitcher is Octavio Dotel -- the same Dotel that Bobby Valentine kept in the bullpen, instead bringing on Kenny Rogers to pitch to Andruw Jones in the 1999 NLCS.

October 14, 2012: Game 2 of the American League Championship Series. Aníbal Alejandro Sánchez retires the 1st 15 Yankees and pitches a 4-hit shutout, with help from Phil Coke (who stunk as a Yankee). The Detroit Tigers beat the Yankees 3-0. Yankee Stadium has not hosted an ALCS game since.

October 14, 2013: Game 3 of the NLCS. Hyun-jin Ryu pitches 7 shutout innings, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Cardinals 3-0 at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers still trail the series 2-1.

October 14, 2014: Game 3 of the NLCS. The San Francisco Giants score 4 runs in the bottom of the 1st inning, but the Cardinals tie the game in the top of the 7th. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny discovers why I once nicknamed Yankee reliever Randy Choate "Randy Choke": In the bottom of th 10th, He issues a leadoff walk to Brandon Crawford and a single to Juan Pérez. Gregor Blanco tries to bunt them over, but Choate fields, the bunt, and makes a bad throw to 1st base, and Crawford scores. The Giants win, 5-4 at AT&T Park, and take a 2-1 series lead.

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