Saturday, October 1, 2016

Something of Autumn About It

Bicentennial Park in my hometown, East Brunswick, New Jersey.
Date unknown, but it has to be after its 1976 opening.

C.S. Lewis wrote of Narnia as "a land where it is always Winter, but never Christmas."

This month that just began is October. But, for the 3rd time in the last 4 years, for me and all other Yankee Fans, it will be October, but not the postseason.

The Playoff teams are as follows: The despised Boston Red Sox won the American League Eastern Division, the Cleveland Indians won the AL Central, the Texas Rangers won the AL West; the Baltimore Orioles will probably host the Wild Card game, against one of the following: The Detroit Tigers, the Toronto Blue Jays or the Seattle Mariners; the Washington Nationals won the National League East, the Chicago Cubs won the NL Central, the Los Angeles Dodgers won the NL West; the Mets, of all teams, will probably host the NL Wild Card game, and their opponent will be the San Francisco Giants.

The Mets, the Giants, the Dodgers. The Yankees will be the only current or former New York team not in the Playoffs.

All because Brian Cashman traded away Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller and Carlos Beltran, for no one that will be helping us in 2016, 2017 or 2018.

I am reminded of "The Green Fields of the Mind," which A. Bartlett Giamatti, so emblematic of the thoughtful, erudite, romantic, pre-1998, pre-Pedro Martinez, pre-chav, pre-thug Red Sox fan, wrote in 1977, while he was a professor of comparative literature at Yale University, right before being appointed Yale's President, before becoming the President of the National League, before becoming the Commissioner of Baseball, before the confrontation with Pete Rose that hastened his death from a heart attack at only 51 years old, and before his sons Paul and Marcus Giamatti became famous as actors.

Bart Giamatti was born in Boston, and grew up in nearby South Hadley, in the Berkshire region of Western Massachusetts. His specialty was how Italian Renaissance literature, particularly the pastoral poetry that tried to show city people that rural life was simpler and thus better, influenced English-language literature. Since the defining feature of what's come to be understood as New England life is the small town, not the big city (the 6 States, combined, really only have 1 big city, Boston), this appealed to him.

Not to me: As a New Jerseyan, the defining feature of New Jersey life is the town that is close to a big city (New York or Philadelphia) and has the advantages of city life (the sense of community, the easy access to conveniences) but not the drawbacks (the high crime rates, the venal politicians, although many New Jersey cities have each of those).

Giamatti, born in Boston but raised nearby but not in it, working in New Haven, Connecticut which combines city and small-town academic life and serves as kind of a "neutral zone" between Red Sox Nation and Yankees Universe, loved the Red Sox, but understood fans of all kinds.

These sound like the words of a New Englander. Or a New Yorker, a New Jerseyan, a Philadelphian, or perhaps a Midwesterner. No matter how much a person from the Sun Belt might love baseball, he could not have written this, as Bart did at the age of 39:

It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone.

You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops.

Today, October 2, a Sunday of rain and broken branches and leaf-clogged drains and slick streets, it stopped, and summer was gone.

Somehow, the summer seemed to slip by faster this time. Maybe it wasn't this summer, but all the summers that, in this my fortieth summer, slipped by so fast. There comes a time when every summer will have something of autumn about it. 

It goes on in that vein, but there are specifics that won't apply in most situations. I have not edited this for grammar: Where I might have stopped a sentence and started a new one, or added a comma, I didn't. This man was a professor of literature: If he thinks it was fine as he wrote it, I'm not going to dispute him. On baseball, maybe; on language, no. I am not going to change his writing style to suit mine.

This was my 47th Summer. I am less than 5 years younger than Bart Giamatti was when he died. I will never be as accomplished as he was, or as admired as he already was when he wrote that at 39.

The knowledge that my team has already won 7 World Series in my lifetime, and his won none, and that my team out-Pennanted his 11 to 4, is small consolation for that.

Not that there aren't joys in my life. And sports has provided many. A big one is how I passed my love of the Yankees on to my 1st 2 nieces, now 9 years old -- and now have the chance to do so with a 3rd.

But the last 3 years have been financially tight. I haven't had a standard Summer since 2013. My father died just as Summer 2014 began. I lost a job just as Summer 2015 began.

And, baseball-wise, despite coming close to the Playoffs in 2013, '14, '15 and '16, there's always been this thought that, as long as Brian Cashman is making decisions for the Yankees in the front office, and as long as Joe Girardi is making decisions for them on the field, even if they had made the Playoffs, it would end badly, as it did in last year's Wild Card game. No ultimate victory followed by a parade. No valiant last stand where our courage in the face of defeat could be admired. Not even a, "Well, we just got shut down, nothing we can do but tip our caps to the opposition."

Just a pathetic effort, and the result such effort earns: Ignominious defeat. Like in the 2003 World Series. Or the ALCS of 2010 and 2012. Or the last 4 games of the 2004 ALCS. Or the ALDS of 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2011. Or last year's Wild Card game. Or the stretch runs of 2013, 2014 and this September.

No matter how hot and muggy, these Summers had something of Autumn about them.

And then, on Friday night, the chill rains came, and, right on cue, the Yankees were mathematically eliminated from postseason consideration.

Baseball hasn't stopped yet. It continues, but with 10 teams other than the Yankees.

And the air is chilled, and the streets are wet, and the leaves are falling, making the streets even slicker. Football and European soccer are underway, North American soccer is closing its regular season, hockey will arrive shortly, basketball a little bit after that.

Yankees: Done, as of tomorrow. Red Bulls: In the Playoffs. Arsenal: A very promising season well in progress. Devils: Looking improved. Rutgers football: Don't ask, they're playing Ohio State as I type this, and I can't look. East Brunswick football: Playing a Saturday afternoon game, once a weekly ritual, now, in the era of Friday night lights, a rarity.

I used to love this time of year. But that was when the Yankees were in the postseason every year: 1995 to 2012, except for 2008. They didn't always win, but at least they were always in it. At least they'd always given themselves a chance.

Life moves on. One day, it will move on without me. Frequently, it already feels like it moves on without me, with me only as an observer, not as a spectator, let alone as a participant.

The green fields of the mind are covered with fallen branches. Soon, it will be fallen leaves of many colors. But is that a comfort?

As George Carlin said, "Baseball begins in the Spring, the season of new life. Football begins in the Fall, when everything is dying!"


October 1, 331 BC: The Battle of Gaugamela is fought, near what is now Dohuk, in northern Iraq, part of what some call Kurdistan. Ancient sources put the size of the Persian Empire army of Darius III at anywhere from 250,000 to a million, but modern estimates suggest it was more like 100,000. Which means the army of the Hellenic League, led by King Alexander III of Macedonia, was still outnumbered 2-1.

With particularly deft use of light infantry, Alexander won anyway, utterly wrecked the Persian army, and tried to chase Darius all the way back to Babylon, once the largest city in the world (believed to be the first to have over 200,000 people, about 50 miles south of present-day Baghdad).

But by the time Alexander got there, Darius had been killed by a cousin, who escaped. When Alexander found this out, he was outraged, and gave an enemy he admired a proper royal burial. As usual, he allowed anyone willing to be loyal to him to maintain their ranks, privileges, fortunes and ways of life. What we would now call "an enlightened despot."

The Persian Empire thus ended, and Alexander became known as Alexander the Great. A historian once called him "a two-thousand-year man," and we are still dealing with the consequences of his actions, 2,348 years later. He spread Greek culture to the south, to Egypt; and far to the east, to present-day Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, although not quite to the current borders of India.

In Baghdad and in the Egyptian city of Alexandria -- which he founded and named for himself -- the stories and wisdom of ancient Greece that preceded him, and ancient Rome that followed him, were preserved through the Middle Ages or "The Dark Ages" of 410 (the Sack of Rome) to 1401 (a date sometimes given by historians as the dawn of the Renaissance).

By spreading Greek culture, Alexander also spread the athletic ideal that was exemplified by the ancient Olympic Games. Today, while we don't have an entire world ruled by one enlightened despot, we do have a world linked by ideas, including the idea of sport.

October 1, 1207: Prince Henry of Winchester is born in Winchester Castle in Hampshire, in southern England. He is the youngest son of King John of England, who also ruled the western half of France at this time. When John dies in 1216, his son had just turned 9, but was now King Henry III.

He reigned for 56 years, a record for English monarchs until Queen Victoria, 600 years later. He was popular early in his reign, but then, he was just a kid, and not ruling without regents. He would eventually become hated, and was even imprisoned as a result of losing the Battle of Lewes during the Second Barons War in 1263, before his son won a battle and broke him out the next year. He was quite repressive, particularly toward Jews, and died in 1272.

If you've seen Braveheart, you might think his son and successor, Edward I, was a really nasty guy. Actually, he was more enlightened than his father (if not as enlightened as Alexander the Great). And that wasn't the only thing that movie got wrong.


October 1, 1730: Richard Stockton is born in Princeton, Mercer County, New Jersey, at Morven, the home of his father, John Stockton. John was one of the founders of Princeton University, and Richard became a trustee in it, as well as perhaps the foremost lawyer in the Colony of New Jersey. He married poet Annis Boudinot, and their children included future Congressman Richard Stockton, and Julia Stockton, who married the father of American medicine, Dr. Benjamin Rush.

However, Richard Stockton Sr. may also have been the first cynic about New Jersey politics, writing, "The public is generally unthankful, and I will never become a Servant of it, till I am convinced that by neglecting my own affairs I am doing more acceptable Service to God and Man."

He had little choice: Because of his influence, he was appointed to the Provincial Council and then the Provincial Supreme Court, all before his 44th birthday. He was elected to the Continental Congress, as was his son-in-law Rush, and both signed the Declaration of Independence. He lost the subsequent election to be the 1st Governor of the State of New Jersey to William Livingston by a single vote. As a consolation prize, he was unanimously elected Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court.

But on November 30, 1776, he was captured by the British Army. He was offered a pardon if he would "remain in peaceful obedience to the King." He turned it down. He was imprisoned for 5 months and intentionally starved. His health never recovered. Morven was stripped of its belongings, and all the books of its renowned library removed and burned. He resigned from the Continental Congress, returned to the practice of law, developed cancer due to smoking, and died on February 28, 1781, at Morven.

Morven still stands, and from 1956 to 1981 was the official Governor's Mansion of the State of New Jersey. It is now a museum. It is on U.S. Route 206, which is named Stockton Street. Further south on Stockton Street is a much larger house, Drumthwacket, which became the Governor's Mansion. Stockton University in Galloway, Atlantic County, New Jersey is named for him.


October 1, 1841, 175 years ago: Two friars from St. Augustine's Church in Philadelphia buy the 200-acre Belle Air estate in Radnor, Pennsylvania, 11 miles northwest of Philadelphia. A year later, on the farm, they open "the Augustinian College of Vilanova."

In 1844, the Philadelphia Nativist Riots burned St. Augustine's, and with the church's financial backing required for its own rebuilding, the college was closed. It reopened, and graduated its 1st class in 1847. It closed again as a result of the Panic of 1857, and was unable to reopen until after the Civil War, in September 1865.

Villanova University, as it is now known, became one of basketball's "Philadelphia Big Five," along with the University of Pennsylvania, La Salle University, Temple University and St. Joseph's University. although it is not in Philadelphia proper. This was emphasized during a game a few years ago, when, about to beat St. Joe's and go undefeated against the other Big 5 schools, 'Nova fans started to chant, "We own Philly!" and the St. Joe's fans answered, "You ain't Philly!" They were on shaky ground, as the SJU campus straddles the City Line.

Villanova won college basketball's National Championship in 1985, and again this year. Those are the only titles won by a Philadelphia school since La Salle did it in 1954. Villanova's basketball legends include Paul Arizin, Wally (later Wali) Jones, Bill Melchionni, Chris Ford, Rory Sparrow, Ed Pinckney, Kerry Kittles and Tim Thomas.

They also have a legendary track & field program, led in the 1950s and '60s by head coach James "Jumbo" Elliott, who coached 5 Olympic Gold Medalists: Ron Delany (1956 1500 meters), Charles Jenkins (1956 400 meters), Don Bragg (1960 pole vault), Paul Drayton (1964 4x100 meter relay) and Larry James (1968 4x400 meter relay). The program has also produced Marty Liquori, Eamonn Coghlan,

While Villanova suspended its football program from 1981 to 1984, and now competes in the NCAA's FCS (formerly Division I-AA), it has produced Jets Super Bowl winner Al Aktinson, Miami Dolphins Super Bowl winner Kevin Reilly, Philadelphia Eagles GM Jim Murray and running back Brian Westbrook and Raiders Hall-of-Famer Howie Long.

Other notable Villanova graduates include actors Victor Buono, Maria Bello and Bradley Cooper; singer Jim Croce; the late New York archbishop, John Cardinal O'Connor; former Philadelphia Mayor and Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell and his wife, federal Judge Marjorie Rendell; disgraced former Connecticut Governor John Rowland; former Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire; and outgoing Second Lady Jill Biden.

October 1, 1865: The Trenton Business College is founded, at Temperance Hall in downtown Trenton. The 1st President is Andrew J. Rider. In 1897, shortly before Rider retired as President, the school was renamed for him: The Rider Business College.

It became Rider College in 1921, and moved to the nearby suburb of Lawrence in 1959, becoming Rider University in 1994. Its teams, the Broncos (not "Broncos"), compete in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC), making them a "mid-major" in basketball, and their most famous alumnus is ESPN analyst and former Notre Dame coach Richard "Digger" Phelps. They ran out of money to fund their football team in 1951, and yet they claim they are "undefeated since 1951."

October 1, 1866, 150 years ago: A crowd of 30,000 people, believed to be the largest in baseball history to that point, watches a game in Philadelphia between the host Athletics (no connection besides name to the American League team founded in 1901) and the Atlantics of Brooklyn. As would be the case after World Wars I and II, the hunger for normal, everyday things like sports was insatiable after the Civil War.

The Atlantics were considered the best team in the country at the time, having gone through the 1865 season undefeated, albeit a short season by our standards: They were 18-0. The A's score 2 runs in the 1st inning, but the crowd rushes the field, and the game is called when they won’t get off. It is never rescheduled.

Those original Athletics, who played from 1860 to 1876, included Lipman "Lip" Pike, possibly the 1st Jewish baseball player, possibly also the 1st man paid (under the table) to play baseball. The Atlantics, who played from 1855 to 1882, included early greats George Zettlein, Joe Start and Bob Ferguson, so good a defender he became known as "Death to Flying Things." Pike would later play for them as well.

October 1, 1867: Hugh McQueen (no middle name) is born in Harthill, Lanarkshire, Scotland. A winger, he played for Scottish club Leith Athletic, and was part of the original Liverpool Football Club team in the 1892-93 season, in which they went unbeaten, allowing them to be admitted to the Football League. He later played for Derby County, and helped them reach the 1898 FA Cup Final. He died in 1944.

October 1, 1878: Duquesne University is founded in Pittsburgh. Pronounced "Doo-KANE," it is a Catholic school whose teams, the Dukes, compete in the Atlantic 10 Conference, except for their football team, which competes in the Northeast Conference (FBS, formerly Division I-AA).

Their basketball team won the NIT in 1955, when that was still considered a big deal. Their annual "City Game" against the University of Pittsburgh is a big deal in the Steel City, especially since Pittsburgh hasn't had an NBA team since the league's dawn in 1946-47, or any pro team since the Condors dropped out of the ABA in 1972.

Pittsburgh Steeler owners Art and Dan Rooney, Negro League player and executive Cumberland Posey, 1930s football and soccer start Aldo "Buff" Donelli, 1st drafted black NBA player Chuck Cooper, 1969 World Series Most Valuable Player Donn Clendenon were Duquesne graduates. So are Steeler Super Bowl winner turned judge Dwayne Woodruff, former Los Angeles Lakers star Norm Nixon, ESPN football analyst John Clayton, former Congressman Bud Shuster, former CIA Director Michael Hayden, and singer Bobby Vinton.

October 1, 1891, 125 years ago: The 1st classes are held at Leland Stanford Junior University in Palo Alto, California. Among the 1st students are a future President and First Lady, Herbert Hoover and his future wife, Lou Henry.

The Stanford football team, long known as the Indians but later the Cardinals and now just the Cardinal (for the color), has won 15 titles in the league now known as the Pacific-12. It has produced early NFL star Ernie Nevers, and later a long line of fine quarterbacks including Frankie Albert, John Brodie, Jim Plunkett, John Elway, and current NFL stars Alex Smith and Andrew Luck. Star cornerback Richard Sherman is also a Stanford man.

However, its most famous games have been defeats: Losing 49-0 to Fielding Yost's "Point-a-Minute" Michigan in the 1st Rose Bowl in 1902; losing to Notre Dame's "Four Horsemen" backfield in the 1925 Rose Bowl; and the 1982 edition of their annual "Big Game" with their cross-Bay rivals, the University of California, which ended on a lateral-filled touchdown that became known as "The Play."

While its basketball team hasn't been as successful, it did win the National Championship in 1941, reached the Final Four again in 1998, and usually makes the NCAA Tournament. Golfer Tiger Woods is also a Stanford graduate. So was Bob Mathias, the 1st man to win the Olympic decathlon twice, and later a Republican Congressman from California.

Current Stanford professors include Internet pioneers Vint Cerf and Norman Abramson. Graduates include (in alphabetical order within each category):

* From show business: Richard Boone, Andre Braugher, Jennifer Connelly, Roger Corman, Ted Danson, Edith Head, Heather Langenkamp, Jack Palance, Danny Pintauro, Megyn Price, Jay Roach, Fred and Ben Savage, Sigourney Weaver, Adam West and Reese Witherspoon.

* Journalism: Gretchen Carlson, Richard Engel, Donna Hanover (the 2nd Mrs. Rudy Giuliani), Ted Koppel, Rachel Maddow and Daniel Pearl.

* Literature: Ann Bannon, Stewart Brand, Ram Dass, Allen Drury, George V. Higgins, Douglas Hofstadter, Ken Kesey, Robert Pinsky, Richard Rodriguez, Joel Stein, Scott Turow and Tobias Wolff. John Steinbeck and David Harris, antiwar activist and ex-husband of Joan Baez, studied there, but did not get their degrees.

* Astronauts, as it's a major science and engineering school: Eileen Collins, Mae Jemison, Bruce McCandless and Sally Ride.

* Business, with Stanford's location between San Francisco and the Silicon Valley jumpstarting the computer revolution: Brian Acton of WhatsApp, Michael Arrington of TechCrunch, Len Bosack and Sandy Lerner (husband and wife) of Cisco Systems, Sergey Brin and Larry Page of Google, Joe Coulombe of Trader Joe's, Ray Dolby of Dolby Labs, Richard Fairbank of Capital One; David Filo, Marissa Mayer and Jerry Yang of Yahoo!; Doris Fisher of The Gap, stock trader and adventurer Steve Fossett, Andrew Grove of Intel, Reed Hastings of Netflix, William Hewlett and David Packard of Hewlett-Packard, Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn, Jawed Karim of YouTube, Vinod Khosla and Scott McNealy of Sun Microsystems, Phil Knight of Nike, Mike Krieger of Instagram, Henry McKinnell of Pfizer, Robert Mondavi of Robert Mondavi Winery, Blake Ross of Mozilla Firefox, Charles Schwab of the brokerage system that bears his name, Jeffrey Skoll of eBay, Evan Spiegel of Snapchat, and Peter Thiel of PayPal. Steve Ballmer of Microsoft attended Stanford, but dropped out. Carly Fiorina is a Stanford graduate, but I don't think Hewlett-Packard wants to be reminded of her, as she nearly destroyed the company.

* U.S. Cabinet officials: Secretary of State Warren Christopher, Secretary of Defense William Perry, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice.

* U.S. Supreme Court Justices William Rehnquist, Sandra Day O'Connor, Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer -- meaning that, from 1994 to 2005, the Court nearly had a Stanford majority.

* U.S. Senators: Thomas Storke, Alan Cranston and Dianne Feinstein of California; Carl Hayden, Ernest McFarland and Paul Fannin of Arizona; Charles McNary, Mark Hatfield, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley of Oregon; Henry "Scoop" Jackson of Washington, Frank Church of Idaho, Lee Metcalf and Max Baucus of Montana, Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, and Cory Booker of New Jersey.

* U.S. Representatives: Pete McCloskey, Don Edwards, Xavier Becerra and Zoe Lofgren of California; Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin; Joaquin Castro of Texas (Julian's brother); and Joe Kennedy III of Masschusetts, RFK's grandson and JFK's grandnephew. Also a Stanford graduate: JFK & RFK's sister, the founder of the Special Olympics, Eunice Kennedy Shriver.

* Governors: Goodwin Knight and Gray Davis of California (but not Pete Wilson), Dixy Lee Ray of Washington and Mitt Romney of Massachusetts.

* Chelsea Clinton, and Hillary Clinton advisers Cheryl Mills and Ann O'Leary.

* National leaders (besides President Hoover): Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak of Israel, King Philippe of Belgium, Prime Ministers Taro Aso and Yukio Hatoyama of Japan; and people who have served as Presidents of Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Maldives and Peru.


October 1, 1903: The 1st World Series game is played, at the Huntington Avenue Grounds in Boston. Deacon Phillippe of the Pittsburgh Pirates outpitches Cy Young of the Boston Pilgrims. Jimmy Sebring of the proto-Red Sox hits the 1st World Series home run, but the Pirates win, 7-3.

Northeastern University's Cabot Gym is now on the site, and a statue of Young stands at the approximate location of the pitcher’s mound.

October 1, 1910: Bonnie Elizabeth Parker is born in Rowena, Texas. She grew up in Dallas, got married right before her 16th birthday, and last saw her husband when she was 19, but never actually divorced him.

In 1930, she met Clyde Barrow, and a legend was born, as the Barrow Gang committed several armed robberies. Although the Gang as a whole appears to have been responsible for the deaths of 13 people, Bonnie herself is not known to have ever shot anyone. She and Clyde were ambushed by lawmen on May 23, 1934 in Bienville Parish, Louisiana, near Shreveport. She was 23, he was 25.

October 1, 1915: "Die Werlandung" – alternately translated as "The Transformation" and "The Metamorphosis" – by Franz Kafka is published in the German magazine The White Pages: A Monthly. The magazine would go out of business in 1920, in the post-World War I chaos of Germany, but not before it had also published works by novelist Herman Hesse and theologian Martin Buber.

What does this have to do with sports? Well, certain sports teams have undergone some ugly transformations. The Yankees since July 26 of this year, for example. And some teams -- the Mets, the Chicago Cubs, the Boston Red Sox before 2004, the Philadelphia Phillies before 2007 with the exception of 1980, the NFL's Buffalo Bills, and a few others -- have had bad and strange things happen to them that have been called "Kafkaesque," as Kafka had written other stories that focused on the absurdities in human life.

Also on this day, Hemingway Stadium opens on the campus of the University of Mississippi in Oxford. It is named for Judge William Hemingway, a law school professor at "Ole Miss." The Rebels lose to Arkansas State, 10-0.

In 1982, longtime head coach Johnny Vaught's name was added. In 1998, a booster, Dr. Jerry Hollingsworth, was honored by having the field named for him. So the current name of the 66,000-seat stadium is Vaught-Hemingway Stadium at Hollingsworth Field. Attached is a practice facility, named for 2 of the school's legendary quarterbacks, Archie and son Eli: The Manning Center. (Peyton went to the University of Tennessee.)

October 1, 1919: Game 1 of the World Series, at Redland Field (later renamed Crosley Field) in Cincinnati. The starter for the Chicago White Sox is knuckleballer Eddie Cicotte. The 1st batter for the Cincinnati Reds is Morrie Rath. Cicotte, not known as a dirty pitcher, but who had taken $10,000 (about $139,000 in today's money) from gamblers the night before, hits Rath with a pitch. This is the signal to the gamblers that the fix to which they'd agreed is still on.

In the bottom of the 4th, the game is tied 1-1. So far, nothing has happened to suggest to the unaware spectator that anything is amiss. But then Cicotte melts down, and allows 5 runs. The Reds win, 9-1, and the "upset" is on, as is what became known as the Black Sox Scandal.

Also on this day, Robert Richard Boyd is born in Potts Camp, Mississippi. A 1st baseman, Bob Boyd wasn't very big and didn't hit many home runs, but was nicknamed "Rope" for the line drives he hit. He became a Negro League star, and played in the major leagues from 1951 to 1961, with the Chicago White Sox, Baltimore Orioles, and in his last season with the Kansas City Athletics and the Milwaukee Braves.

He batted .293 in the major leagues, rarely struck out, and had a career fielding average of .991. He died in 2004, at age 84.


October 1, 1920: Walter John Matthow is born on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Under the name Walter Matthau, he would star in many legendary films, most notably as the uncouth, sloppy sportswriter Oscar Madison in the 1968 film version of The Odd Couple, with Jack Lemmon as the cultured, fussy TV news writer Felix Ungar. (That was the spelling of Felix's name, and his profession, on stage and on screen. On TV, Tony Randall would play Felix Unger, and he'd be made a commercial photographer. Another difference in the TV version is that Oscar, played by Jack Klugman, had no children, whereas he did in the play and the movie.)

That film included a scene shot in the press box of Shea Stadium, where Felix interrupts Oscar by calling him on the phone, and making him miss a triple play. It was filmed before a game between the Mets and the Pirates on June 27, 1967. Director Gene Saks staged the scene with the Mets' Jack Fisher pitching to the Pirates' Bill Mazeroski, who said:

I knew I had to hit a liner to the third baseman. It only took two takes. The first pitch, I hit a line drive that went just foul. The second one, I hit a one-hopper right to third. He caught it, stepped on third, threw to second, threw to first, a triple play. Now that took talent! 

Matthau had other prominent sports-themed roles. In 1966, he appeared in The Fortune Cookie, playing a lawyer representing a man injured at a football game at Cleveland Municipal Stadium, and won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He also played Little League coach Morris Buttermaker in the 1976 classic The Bad News Bears.

In 1994, Matthau came to New Jersey, to play Albert Einstein in Einstein's adopted hometown of Princeton, to film I.Q. I was very skeptical about this casting, but, what can I say: It turned out to be genius. He died in 2000, at 79.

October 1, 1921: Ray Schalk, one of the White Sox players who had no role in the Scandal, does something no catcher had ever done before, nor has since: He makes a putout at every base at least once in a game. The White Sox beat the Cleveland Indians, 8-5 at Comiskey Park.

This victory, or rather this Indians loss, is significant, because it allows the Yankees to clinch their 1st Pennant, if they can beat the Philadelphia Athletics in either of the games of today's doubleheader, at the Polo Grounds in Upper Manhattan. They win the opener, 5-3, and, for the 1st time in their 19-season history, are American League Champions.

Hail the Champions, in their batting order: Elmer Miller, center field; Roger Peckinpaugh, shortstop; Babe Ruth, right field; Bob Meusel, left field; Wally Pipp, 1st base; Aaron Ward, 2nd base; Mike McNally, 3rd base; Wally Schang, catcher; and Carl Mays, pitcher. Meusel, who lived until 1977, was the last survivor, outliving Peckinpaugh by 11 days.

A triple by Miller made the difference. The Yankees would also win the 2nd game, 7-6 in 11 innings. But they would lose their 1st appearance in the World Series to their Polo Grounds landlords, the New York Giants. They would also lose to the Giants in the 1922 Series. But in 1923, in their 1st Series in the original Yankee Stadium, they would beat the Giants.

Also on this day, James Allen Whitmore Jr. is born in White Plains, Westchester County, New York, and grows up outside Buffalo in Snyder, New York. A fine actor with a strong resemblance to Spencer Tracy, he was a Marine Lieutenant in World War II. He married twice, the 2nd time to Audra Lindley, while she was playing Helen Roper on Three's Company. My generation knows him for his commercials for Miracle-Gro plant food. He died in 2009. His son James III, as "James Whitmore Jr.," has directed many episodes of NCIS.

What does he have to do with sports? Well, in 1963, he appeared in "On Thursday We Leave for Home," an episode of The Twilight Zone. He played the Captain of a space colony ship that was lost in 1963, and rescued 30 years later. (Of course, such a ship isn't possible now, let alone in 1963.) It had been only 6 years since the Dodgers moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles, and one of the stranded people asked one of the rescuers, "Where do the Dodgers play now?" The prediction came true: "Los Angeles."

October 1, 1922: The baseball regular season ends, and Rogers Hornsby of the St. Louis Cardinals has won the National League Triple Crown, with a .401 batting average, 42 home runs and 152 RBIs.

Someone once said that if not for Babe Ruth, the 1920s would have been remembered as the Age of Hornsby. He had a point: While the Rajah didn't have the long-term excellence of other contenders for the title of Greatest Hitter In National League History -- Mel Ott, Stan Musial, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron (and, if you ignore the cheating, Barry Bonds) -- the way he hit from 1920 to 1929 was as good as anybody aside from Ruth ever did over any 10 years.

Also on this day, the NFL's flagship franchise, having been the Decatur Staleys in the 1st season of 1920 and the Chicago Staleys in 1921, plays their 1st game under the name they have used ever since, the Chicago Bears -- named for the team from whom they now lease their home field, the Chicago Cubs. (Cubs Park would be renamed Wrigley Field in 1926.)

But this game would not be played in the as-yet-un-ivied North Side ballyard. Instead, it was an away game, against the Racine Legion, a hard-fought 6-0 victory for George Halas' ursine warriors. The Bears would win 8 of their 1st 9 games, but drop 2 of their last 3, costing them the NFL title. The Legion, who'd been playing since 1915, went out of business after the 1926 season.

October 1, 1924: Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis bans New York Giants outfielder Jimmy O'Connell from playing in the World Series, after O'Connell confesses that he tried to bribe Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Heinie Sand to "go easy" in the season-ending series between the teams.

O'Connell also implicates 3 future Hall-of-Famers on his own team: Frankie Frisch, George "Highpockets" Kelly and Ross Youngs. Landis finds no evidence against them, and they are cleared to play. O'Connell, just 23 and with only 2 years of major league play under his belt, never plays professional ball again, and dies in 1976.

Also on this day, James Earle Carter Jr. is born in Plains, Georgia. As Governor of his home State in 1974, he watched Henry Louis Aaron of the Atlanta Braves hit his 715th career home run, breaking Babe Ruth's record, and presented him with a personalized Georgia license plate: HLA 715.

In 1976, Carter was elected President. He didn't seem to like baseball, attending only 1 major league game during his Administration. It was a big one, though: Game 7 of the 1979 World Series in Baltimore, then the closest major league city to Washington. While Richard Nixon began the tradition of Presidents calling from the White House to congratulate winners of sports' World Championships, Carter remains the only one to do so in person, complimenting the Pittsburgh Pirates on their "Family."

After leaving the White House, and continuing the work that eventually earned him a Nobel Peace Prize, Carter rediscovered baseball, attending Braves games at Fulton County Stadium and now Turner Field, with his wife Rosalynn, as guests of then-owner Ted Turner and his then-wife Jane Fonda. In 2014, Jimmy and Rosalynn were shown on the ballpark's "kiss cam," and they obliged.

Despite a cancer diagnosis, he has been in good health for most of his life. At 92, he still has a chance to break the record for oldest former President, held by the man he defeated in 1976, Gerald Ford: 93 years, 165 days. He has already had the longest ex-Presidency ever, nearly 36 years.

On the same day, William Donald Rehnquist is born in Milwaukee. He later changed his middle name to Hubbs. As stated earlier, he went to Stanford University, graduating in the same class as Stanford Day O'Connor. Both became prominent lawyers in Arizona.

In 1971, President Richard Nixon appointed him to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1986, President Ronald Reagan, having already made O'Connor the Court's 1st female Justice, promoted Rehnquist to Chief Justice. One of the most conservative Justices in the Court's history, he was responsible for the decision in Bush v. Gore that made George W. Bush President. He died in 2005.

Also on this day, Louis Jacob Weertz is born in Omaha, Nebraska, and grows up in Des Moines, Iowa. He became a famous pianist under the name Roger Williams, best known for his recording of the instrumental "Autumn Leaves," which hit Number 1 in 1955. He died in 2011, just after his 87th birthday.

October 1, 1927: Michigan Stadium opens in Ann Arbor. The University of Michigan defeats Ohio Wesleyan 33-0. At the time, it seated 72,000. By 1956, it would top 100,000. Today, officially, capacity is 107,601.

Fielding Yost, Michigan's coach at the time, had it set up so that the foundations for expansion well beyond 72,000 -- he imagined as much as 150,000, since Soldier Field in Chicago could supposedly hold that many -- were in place. A later Michigan coach, Herbert "Fritz" Crisler, resumed the Wolverines' winning tradition that Yost began. In 1969, athletic director Don Canham laid down the Big Ten Conference's 1st artificial turf field.

This led the school's radio broadcaster, Bob Ufer, to call the Stadium "The hole that Yost dug! Crisler paid for! And Canham carpeted!" It was switched back to real grass in 1991, and then to FieldTurf in 2003.

"The Big House" holds the following all-time single-game attendance records: College football, in any on-campus stadium, 115,109 (September 7, 2013, Michigan 41, Notre Dame 30); hockey, anywhere in the world, 105,491 (January 1, 2014, Toronto Maple Leafs 3, Detroit Red Wings 2 in the NHL Winter Classic); and soccer, anywhere in the United States, 109,318 (August 2, 2014, Manchester United 3, Real Madrid 1 in the International Champions Cup).

Also on this day, Thomas Edward Bosley is born in Chicago. He won a Tony Award playing New York's Mayor LaGuardia in the 1960 musical Fiorello! But he became a legend as Howard Cunningham, the genial dad trying to understand the changes in the 1950s and '60s in the Milwaukee-based 1974-85 sitcom Happy Days. He was the 1st member of the main cast to die, in 2010.

Howard was once shown taking his son Richie, played by Ron Howard, to a Braves game at Milwaukee County Stadium, where he caught a home run ball hit by Hank Aaron. He also mentions having run away from home in 1930, and going to New York, and seeing Babe Ruth play.

On another episode, when Arthur Fonzarelli (Henry Winkler) bemoaned his difficulty in teaching high school kids his automotive skills, Howard reminded him of Rogers Hornsby, the great hitter who couldn't win as a manager, because he had no patience with players who weren't as good as he was. Howard reminded The Fonz that the reason he's there to teach is that these kids aren't as good as he is, but they want to learn. The Fonz went on to become one of the most popular teachers as Jefferson High School.

(Milwaukee doesn't actually have a Jefferson High, but it has a Washington High, where exterior scenes were filmed.)


October 1, 1930: Richard St. John Harris is born in Limerick, Ireland. A renowned rugby player as a schoolboy, he had to quit when he contracted tuberculosis. He went into acting, and in 1963 played a rugby player in the film This Sporting Life.

He played King Arthur in the 1967 film version of the musical Camelot, and Albus Dumbledore in the 1st 2 films of the Harry Potter franchise, before dying in 2002. (Michael Gambon played the role thereafter.) But he may be best known for singing Jimmy Webb's magnum opus "MacArthur Park" -- in all 3 verses, incorrectly giving the name of the real-life park in downtown Los Angeles as "MacArthur's Park."

October 1, 1931: The George Washington Bridge opens, connecting Upper Manhattan with Fort Lee, New Jersey. It is a major entrance and exit in New York City for fans going to Yankee games. Many is the time that Yankee broadcaster Phil Rizzuto wanted to leave a game early, saying, "I gotta get over that bridge!"

Of course, these days, it's best known for the scandal that sank the Presidential campaign of New Jersey's current Governor, Chris Christie, and may yet lead to a criminal investigation and an early end to his Governorship.

Also on this day, Fred Leo Kipp is born in Piqua, Kansas. A pitcher, he debuted with the Dodgers in their last season in Brooklyn, 1957, and was still with them in Los Angeles in their World Championship season of 1959, although he did not appear in the World Series, and did not get a World Series ring. He was with the Yankees in 1960, but that was it. His career record was 6-7. He founded a successful construction company in the suburbs of Kansas City, and is still alive, at 85.

October 1, 1932: Did he or didn't he? Surely, Babe Ruth did not point to center field in Game 3 of the World Series against the Chicago Cubs and say, "I’m gonna hit the ball there." But a home movie discovered in 1992 certainly shows him pointing at pitcher Charlie Root. It looks like he's sending some sort of message. On the next pitch, boom. Message received. So, by my definition, yeah, Babe Ruth "called his shot."

The last living player from either team was Charlie Devens, Yankee pitcher 1932-34, died August 13, 2003, at age 93. The last to have actually played in the game was Frank Crosetti, Yankee shortstop 1932-48, and coach 1949-68, died February 11, 2002, at age 91.

Also on this day, Joe DiMaggio makes his professional debut. Like Mickey Mantle, who would succeed him as the Yankees’ center fielder, it was as a shortstop. Also like Mantle, his time at shortstop doesn't last long. A few weeks short of his 18th birthday, DiMag has been put into the lineup for the last game of the season for his hometown club, the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League. A year later, he will become the best pro ballplayer west of St. Louis. Maybe the best one east of it, too.

October 1, 1933: The baseball regular season ends, and, with the days games meaning nothing in either League's standings, Babe Ruth pitches for the last time, in order to draw a big crowd in the finale of a season in which the Yankees did not win. It doesn't work: Only 25,000 fans come out.

The Babe goes the distance against his former team, the Red Sox. He gives up 5 runs on 12 hits and 3 walks, with no strikeouts. But the Yankees win, 6-5. Ruth also hits his 34th home run of the season, the 686th of his career, and retires with a career won-lost record of 94-46.

Also on this day, the American League Champion Washington Senators close out their regular season with a 3-0 loss to the Philadelphia Athletics at Griffith Stadium. Rube Walberg of the A's and Ray Prim of the Senators both threw goose eggs for 10 innings, but singles by Doc Cramer and Jimmie Foxx in the top of the 11th give Connie Mack's club the win.

The game ended with a pinch-hitting appearance by Nick Altrock, who does not reach base. The Senators coach is 57 years old, the oldest player in MLB history to that point. (Only Satchel Paige, who pitched an inning at 59 in 1965, has been older.)

His last previous appearance had been in 1924, when, at 47, he became the oldest player ever to hit a triple. He had debuted as a pitcher in 1898, so this makes him the last remaining player from the 19th Century, and the 1st man to play in MLB in 5 different decades. (Minnie Minoso of the Chicago White Sox would match that in 1980.)

He won 23 games in 1905 and 20 in 1906, so he was a good pitcher for a while. He helped the Boston Red Sox win the World Series in 1903 and the Chicago White Sox do it in 1906. He was a coach for the Senators from 1912 to 1953, 42 straight seasons, a record for a single franchise. He died in 1965, age 88.

Also on this day, both Leagues' seasons end with a Triple Crown winner -- and both in Philadelphia. In the AL, Foxx batted .356 with 48 home runs and 163 RBIs. In the National League, Chuck Klein of the Phillies batted .368 with 28 homers and 120 RBIs.

October 1, 1935: Julia Elizabeth Wells is born in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, England. We know her as Julie Andrews. What does she have to do with sports? Not much: Even her flying as Mary Poppins was done with special effects rather than athleticism.

October 1, 1936, 80 years ago: Duncan Edwards (no middle name) is born in Dudley, Worcestershire, England. The left wing half -- today, he'd be a "defensive midfielder" -- was perhaps the best of the "Busby Babes" playing for manager Matt Busby on the Manchester United team that won the Football League title in 1956 and 1957, and had advanced to the Semifinal of the 1958 European Cup.

But on February 6, 1958, on the way back from the Quarterfinal, having advanced by beating Red Star Belgrade of what was then Yugoslavia, United's plane had to be refueled in Munich, West Germany. Attempting to take off in snowfall, it crashed. Edwards survived until February 21, dead at 23.

He was 1 of 8 United players killed, 23 people overall. Two other players were so badly hurt that they never played again. Busby was also injured, and unable to return to managing the team until the next season. Amazingly, they avoided relegation, and reached a 2nd straight FA Cup Final, but, as in 1957, lost.

To this day, there are people who think that, with Edwards and the other United players available, England would have won the 1958 and 1962 World Cups. There's just 2 problems with this theory: Brazil, and England themselves. Even when they won in 1966 (Edwards could have made that team, as he would have been only 29), they needed a very questionable goal to win it.

Also on this day, Roger Alvin LeClerc is born in Springfield, Massachusetts. A defensive tackle and placekicker, he is 1 of 16 surviving members of the 1963 NFL Champion Chicago Bears.

October 1, 1939: The St. Louis Browns beat the Chicago White Sox 4-3 at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis. Jimmy Dykes, of the 1929-31 Philadelphia Athletics dynasty, now 42 and the White Sox' manager, finishes the game at 3rd base, coming to bat once and failing to reach base. This makes Dykes the last remaining player who had played in the 1910s.


October 1, 1940: The 1st section of America's 1st true superhighway, the Pennsylvania Turnpike, opens between Irwin and Carlisle. It was extended to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh in 1950, to the New Jersey and Ohio Turnpikes in 1954, and the Northeast Extension to Scranton opened in 1957.

Today, it runs 360 miles, using what is now Interstates 70, 76 and 276 (going west to east). It costs $48.90 to drive its entire length using cash, $34.93 using E-Z Pass. Since the 1950s, it has been used by travelers to get to the games of the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh sports teams, although the main Penn State campus is considerably north of it.

Also on this day, John Schuerholz Jr. (no middle name) is born in Baltimore. The son of a minor-league ballplayer, he served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, and graduated from Towson University outside his hometown, to which he later made a big donation, and its baseball complex is named for him.

From 1966 to 1968, he worked in the front office of his hometown Baltimore Orioles. In 1969, his immediate boss, Lou Gorman, was hired by the expansion Kansas City Royals, and he took Schuerholz with him. In 1981, having just turned 41, he was named the Royals' general manager, the youngest GM in MLB at the time. He adjusted the team that lost the World Series in 1980, and made it the team that won it in 1985.

In 1990, tired of losing, Atlanta Braves owner Ted Turner hired him as GM. Over the next 15 seasons, the Braves won 14 Division titles, 5 National League Pennants and the 1995 World Series. Schuerholz was brought upstairs as club President in 2007, and just retired from that role.

UPDATE: On December 4, 2016, having just become eligible due to his retirement from an active role, he was elected to the Hall of Fame, through the Veterans' Committee.

October 1, 1941, 75 years ago: Game 1 of the World Series. Brooklyn Dodger manager Leo Durocher surprises everyone by starting Curt Davis, and later admits he messed up the Dodgers' rotation for the Series, one of the few times Leo the Lip admits a mistake, rather than blaming someone else.

In hindsight, while the rotation was all out of whack, Davis pitched fairly well. But a home run by Joe Gordon and the pitching of Red Ruffing gave the Yankees a 3-2 win.

October 1, 1942: Game 2 of the World Series. The Yankees score 3 runs in the top of the 8th to tie the game, but the St. Louis Cardinals score in the bottom of the 8th to win, 4-3, and tie up the Series.

October 1, 1944: The St. Louis Browns clinch the American League Pennant. It is their 1st. They are the last of Major League Baseball's "Original 16" teams (a term not used back then) to do so. They will not win another until 1966, by which point they are the Baltimore Orioles.

There will not be another team winning their 1st Pennant until September 23, 1957, when the Milwaukee Braves do it -- or, if you don't count moved teams, until October 6, 1969, when the Mets pull off their "Miracle."

All the 1944 Browns are dead now. The last survivor was 2nd baseman Don Gutteridge -- who, ironically, started his career with the Cardinals. He lived until 2008, age 96.

October 1, 1945: The U.S. War Production Board ends its wartime ban of the manufacture of radio and television equipment for consumer use. This puts America back on course to begin the TV Era, which will turn out to be incredibly important for many things, including the development of sports.

Also on this day, a baby is born on a train in Gatun, Panama Canal Zone. The doctor attending the new mother was named Rodney Cline. In gratitude, she named her son for him: Rodney Cline Carew.

Rod Carew grew up in Panama, but at age 14 moved to Washington Heights, Manhattan with his family, and attended George Washington High School. He served 6 years as a combat engineer in the U.S. Marine Corps, while playing Major League Baseball, although he was never called to serve in the Vietnam War.

In 1967, the Minnesota Twins 2nd baseman was named AL Rookie of the Year. In 1977, having moved to 1st base, he flirted with a .400 batting average for most of the season, finishing with a .388 average, a Gold Glove, 14 homers (tying a career peak), his only 100-RBI season, and the AL Most Valuable Player award.

An 18-time All-Star and a 7-time batting champion, he demanded a trade from the Twins' racist, cheapskate owner Calvin Griffith. A rumor got around that he would be traded to the Yankees in exchange for their own 1st baseman, Chris Chambliss, plus washed-up outfielder Juan Beniquez, and prospects Damaso Garcia (2nd base) and Dave Righetti (pitcher). Instead, he was sent to the California Angels. After winning the AL Western Division title with the Twins in 1969 and '70, he won 2 more with the Angels in 1979 and '82, but never won a Pennant. In 1985, he joined the 3,000 Hit Club, and retired.

The Twins (following a change in management) and the Angels have both retired his Number 29. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his 1st year of eligibility. In 1999, The Sporting News listed him at Number 61 on their list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players.

Although his 1st wife was Jewish, and they raised 3 children as Jewish, Rod himself, contrary to popular belief (including Adam Sandler's "Hannukah Song"), has never converted.

On the same day that Carew was born, so was Vladimir Peter Sabich Jr., in Sacramento. A competitive skier, "Spider" was shot and killed -- accidentally, she said -- by his live-in girlfriend, French singer Claudine Longet, in Aspen, Colorado. He was just 31.

Also on this day, Donny Edward Hathaway is born in Chicago, and grows up in St. Louis. One of the top soul singers of the 1970s, he became known for his duets with Roberta Flack, and for singing the theme song to the CBS sitcom Maude. But he suffered from schizophrenia and depression, and jumped out he window of his hotel suite at the Essex House on New York's Central Park South on January 13, 1979. He was only 33.

As far as I know, Donny Hathaway had nothing to do with sports. Although she wasn't born for another few months, singer Alecia "Pink" Moore has called him her favorite singer of all time. So did Amy Winehouse, who mentioned him in her song "Rehab." Justin Timberlake has called him "the best singer of all time." And, during Donny's lifetime, no less than Stevie Wonder said, "When Donny sings any song, he owns it."

October 1, 1946, 70 years ago: For the 1st time in major league history, a playoff series to determine a League's Pennant is played, between the St. Louis Cardinals and Brooklyn Dodgers. The Cardinals take the 1st game, 4-2, at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis, as Howie Pollet holds the Dodgers to 2 hits, a homer and an RBI-single by Howie Schultz.

Also on this day, Jonathan Edgar Warden is born in Columbus, Ohio. A pitcher, Jon Warden made 28 appearances in the major leagues, all with the 1968 Detroit Tigers, winning the World Series. His career record was 4-1. He is 1 of 15 surviving players from that iconic team.

October 1, 1947: Game 2 of the World Series. The Yankees score 4 runs in the 7th inning, thanks in part to typical wildness from Rex Barney (2 walks and 2 wild pitches), and beat the Dodgers 10-3. Tommy Henrich added a home run. The Yankees lead the Series 2 games to 0.

It was said of Barney, "If home plate were high and outside, he'd be in the Hall of Fame." My grandmother, a Dodger fan from Queens, said that Barney was a good guy, but hopeless. He did, however, pitch a no-hitter in 1948. He later became the public address announcer for the Baltimore Orioles. Grandma and I attended one of the last games at Memorial Stadium in 1991, and she was thrilled to know that Barney was still in baseball. He died in 1997.

Also on this day, Lee William Capra is born in Chicago. "Buzz" debuted as a pitcher with the Mets in 1971, and was a member of their 1973 Pennant winners. In typical dumb Met fashion, they then sold him, 5-10 thus far in his career, to the Braves, where he went 16-8 in 1974, leading the NL with a 2.28 ERA and making the All-Star Team.

Alas, he went just 10-19 over the rest of his career, finishing 31-37 in 1977, pitching his last game just before his 30th birthday. Later serving as a pitching coach with both teams and the Philadelphia Phillies, he now runs an instructional school in the Chicago suburbs.

Also on this day, Mariska Veres (no middle name) is born in The Hague, The Netherlands. Her father was a Hungarian Romani violinist, and her mother was born in Germany but was half-French, half-Russian. You might not know Mariska's name, but you might remember her face, and you definitely know her voice: She was the lead singer of the Dutch band Shocking Blue, who hit Number 1 with "Venus" in 1970. She was still performing when cancer overtook her in 2006, and she died at age 69.

October 1, 1949: Joe DiMaggio Day is held at Yankee Stadium. The Yankee Clipper wasn't retiring, but he'd had an inspirational season, and, with Joe's family in the stands because the Red Sox were in town, including Joe's brother, Boston center fielder Dominic, they chose this day to honor him. "I'd like to thank the Good Lord for making me a Yankee," Joe says.

The Yankees need to win this game to make the next day, the last game of the season, the title decider. The Red Sox take a 4-0 lead, but the Yankees come back, and Johnny Lindell hits a home run in the 8th inning, to give the Yankees the 5-4 win.

Also on this day, the People's Republic of China is proclaimed by Mao Zedong whose name would usually be written in English as "Mao Tse-tung" until the late 1970s. His Communists had overthrown the government of "Nationalist China" after a long civil war, which was put on hold while they joined forces against invading Japan. Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist government flees to the island of Formosa, which becomes Taiwan.

China's rise to sports prominence would take a bit longer, as Mao was not one of those dictators who used sports as propaganda for his government and his country. Indeed, he seems not to have cared about it. He died in 1976, apparently of several ailments. One theory is that he may have been in the early, but noticeable, stages of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a.k.a. Lou Gehrig's disease.

The People's Republic, a.k.a. the PRC or "Red China," began competing in the Olympics in 1984, and the International Olympics Committee began refusing to allow Taiwan to compete under that name, or under the name "Nationalist China," or even to compete under the old flag of Nationalist China. Instead, they must compete under a special, Olympic-themed flag, and under the name of "Chinese Taipei." China hosted the Olympics in Beijing in 2008, and have become particularly successful in swimming and diving, gymnastics, and weightlifting.


October 1, 1950: Dick Sisler hits a home run in the top of the 10th inning at Ebbets Field, and the Phillies beat the Brooklyn Dodgers 4-1, to clinch the National League Pennant. It is the only Pennant the Phils would win in a 65-year stretch from 1915 to 1980. This is also the last major league game as a manager for Burt Shotton, who'd managed the Dodgers to Pennants in 1947 and 1949, and eased the path of Jackie Robinson. 

Still alive from this game, 66 years later: For the Phillies, only backup infielder Ralph "Putsy" Caballero; for the Dodgers, Don Newcombe (who gave up Sisler's homer) and Tommy "Buckshot" Brown.

Also today, the Philadelphia Athletics complete a massively disappointing 102-loss season by beating the Washington Senators, 5-3 at Shibe Park. It is the last game for A's manager Connie Mack: Approaching his 88th birthday, his sons Earle, Roy and Connie Jr., agreeing on little else, agree to gang up on him and force him to finally retire as manager -- something he, as also the owner, did not want to do. Before the A's move to Kansas City, the Phillies, new owners of the ballpark, will rename it Connie Mack Stadium, and will erect a statue of him outside.

Shotton and Mack were the last managers to wear street clothes during a game. Although no rule specifically mandates that a manager must wear a uniform, there is now a rule that states that, aside from medical and security personnel, no one is allowed on the field of play during a game unless they are wearing some form of baseball uniform.

October 1, 1951: Game 1 of the National League Playoff at Ebbets Field. Jim Hearn outpitches Ralph Branca, who gives up a home run to Bobby Thomson in the 4th inning, a foreshadowing. Monte Irvin also homers for the Giants, who win, 3-1.

Also on this day, Peter McWilliam dies at age 72. A left back, he played for Scottish soccer team Inverness Caledonian Thistle, and for English team Newcastle United, before managing Middlesex's (now North London's) Tottenham Hotspur and North Yorkshire's Middlesbrough.

October 1, 1952: Game 1 of the World Series. Joe Black, a "rookie" at age 28 (the Plainfield, New Jersey native had already helped the Baltimore Elite Giants win 2 Negro League Pennants), becomes the 1st black pitcher to win a World Series game, backed by home runs from Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider and Pee Wee Reese. The Dodgers beat the Yankees, 4-2.

The Yankees and Dodgers played each other in 7 "Subway Series." Only in 1952 and 1956 did the Dodgers win Game 1. And yet, the Yankees still won both of those Series.

Also on this day, Jacques Martin (no middle name) is born in Saint-Pascal Baylon, Ontario. He was the head coach of the NHL's St. Louis Blues from 1986 to 1988, of the Ottawa Senators from 1995 to 2004 (getting them to their 1st Playoff berth in 1996 and to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2003), the Florida Panthers from 2005 to 2008, and the Montreal Canadiens from 2009 to 2012. He is now an assistant with the Pittsburgh Penguins, and finally won his 1st Stanley Cup this past June.

Also on this day, Robert Howard Myrick is born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He was a pitcher who went 3-6 for the Mets in 1976, '77 and '78. He died in 2012.

October 1, 1953: Game 2 of the World Series. Mickey Mantle hitting a home run, especially in a World Series game, is already not a surprise. Billy Martin doing it is one. Both do it, powering the Yankees to a 4-2 victory over the Dodgers, as Eddie Lopat outpitches Preacher Roe. The Yankees now lead the Series 2 games to 0.

Also on this day, Peter Frank Falcone is born in Brooklyn. His alma mater, Lafayette High School, has produced more major league players than any other high school, including Hall-of-Famer Sandy Koufax. It also produced Joe Pignatano, the last Dodger to bat at Ebbets Field, the man whose triple-play groundout ended the Mets' atrocious 1st season in 1962, a longtime Met coach, and Falcone's cousin.

Falcone was a lefthanded pitcher who pitched for one of the New York City teams, but he was no Koufax. Debuting with the San Francisco Giants in 1975, he pitched for the Mets from 1979 to 1982, and, saying he was "just tired of baseball... tired of the lifestyle," retired as a Brave in 1984. He was 70-90 for his career, including 26-37 for the Mets.

It was hardly all his fault, as the Mets were dreadful then. This was the years when M. Donald Grant's demolition of the team that had won Pennants in 1969 and 1973 led to attendances so small, Shea Stadium was known as Grant's Tomb. But Falcone didn't help himself much, despite a 1980 game where he tied a major league record by striking out the 1st 6 batters he faced

There was a game, I can't remember what year it was, but my father and I were watching the Mets on WOR-Channel 9, and Falcone walked home 2 runs with the bases loaded. With every pitch Falcone threw that missed the plate, my father laughed harder. Ever since, walking home a run has been known in my family as "pulling a Falcone."

Also on this day, Grete Andersen is born in Oslo, Norway. As Grete Waitz, no person, male or female, has won the New York City Marathon more times: 9. She died of cancer in 2011, just 57 years old.

October 1, 1955, 60 years ago: Game 4 of the World Series at Ebbets Field. Gil McDougald hits a home run for the Yankees, but Roy Campanella, Duke Snider, and, making up for previous Series slumps, Gil Hodges knock 'em out for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Clem Labine pitches just well enough to win, and Dem Bums tie up the Series, 8-5.

Also on this day, a new show premieres on CBS. Well, sort of: The Honeymooners had been a sketch on The Jackie Gleason Show, but now it becomes a standalone half-hour situation comedy, perhaps the greatest in history.

The 1st episode, appropriately enough, discusses television itself: It is titled "TV Or Not TV," and shows what happens when Brooklyn bus driver Ralph Kramden (Gleason) and sewer worker, upstairs neighbor and best friend Ed Norton (Art Carney) go halfsies on a television set. Ralph's wife, Alice Kramden (Audrey Meadows), doesn't think it will work, but she wants a TV set. Interestingly, unless you count Alice's groan over a tricky sink, Ed's wife, Thelma "Trixie" Norton (Joyce Randolph) has the 1st line in the show's history: "Hiya, Alice!"

There will be the occasional sports reference on the show. In "The Golfer," Ralph tries to learn how to play golf to impress a bus company official. In "Here Comes the Bride," Ralph notes that Alice's sister, finally getting married, has been a bridesmaid so often, she caught her own bouquet. Alice said her foot slipped, and Ralph says, "If my food could slip like that, I'd be playing center field for the New York Giants!" In "Young At Heart," Ralph wears a varsity football letter sweater. The letter is V, although the name of his school is never revealed. And in the last episode, "A Man's Pride," Ralph runs into a high school nemesis at a boxing card at the old Madison Square Garden.

Also on this day, Jeffrey James Reardon is born in the Boston suburb of Dalton, Massachusetts. He debuted with the Mets in 1979. In a typical dumb Mets deal, in 1981 they traded him to the Montreal Expos for Ellis Valentine, a former All-Star who had been plagued by injuries, and did little for the Mets.

Reardon became the all-time saves leader for a while, with 367. He was a 4-time All-Star, reached the NL Championship Series with the Expos in 1981, won the World Series with the Twins in 1987, reached the AL Championship Series with his hometown Red Sox in 1990, and won a Pennant with the Braves in 1992. With his fearsome look and fastball, he became known as The Terminator. He closed his career with the Yankees in 1994.

Since his retirement, Reardon has struggled with injuries, prescription drug addiction, and the resulting mental illness. He also had a son who struggled with drugs, and died at age 20.

October 1, 1956, 60 years ago: Albert Von Tilzer dies in Los Angeles. He was 78. You may not know his name, his face, or his voice, but you know his tune, to which Jack Norworth wrote words: "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." Aside from that, his most famous composition is "(I'll Be With You In) Apple Blossom Time."

His brother Harry Von Tilzer, also a Tin Pan Alley songwriter, wrote, "A Bird in a Gilded Cage," "Wait 'Til the Sun Shines, Nellie," "And the Green Grass Grew All Around," and "I Want a Girl (Just Like the Girl That Married Dear Old Dad)." (Blues for Sigmund Freud, anyone?)

Also on this day, Theresa Mary Brasier is born in Eastbourne, Sussex, England. We know her under her married name, Theresa May. A member of Britain's House of Commons since 1997, on July 13 of this year, she became Prime Minister. As far as I know, she has nothing to do with sports, although her constituency, Maidenhead in Berkshire, is the hometown of Nick Hornby, the writer who became famous for writing Fever Pitch, a memoir of his fandom for North London soccer team Arsenal.

October 1, 1958: Game 1 of the World Series. Casey Stengel makes a big mistake, and lets reliever Ryne Duren bat for himself in the top of the 10th inning. He makes contact, but grounds back to Warren Spahn, still pitching in this game despite being 37 years old.

A rare miscue by Yogi Berra evokes memories of Mickey Owen 17 years earlier: He drops a 3rd strike on Hank Aaron, but throws him out at 1st. Maybe that rattles Duren, because he allows a single to Joe Adcock. He gets Wes Covington out, but allows a single to Del Crandall and another to Bill Bruton, bringing Adcock home to win the game, 4-3.

October 1, 1960: Nigeria is granted independence by Britain. Today, at 188 million people, it is the most populous nation in Africa. But its politics have been wracked with corruption. Its green-clad national soccer team, known as the Super Eagles, has won the Africa Cup of Nations in 1980, 1994 and 2013; has reached the Round of 16 at the World Cup in 1994, 1998 and 2014; and produced legendary players like Jay-Jay Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu, Peter Odemwingie, John Obi Mikel and Ahmed Musa.

October 1, 1961: Roger Maris makes it 61 in ’61.  He hits the record-breaking home run off Tracy Stallard. It is the only run of the game, as the Yankees beat the Red Sox, 1-0.

Still alive from this game, 55 years later: For the Yankees, Bobby Richardson, Tony Kubek, Hector Lopez and Jack Reed. Whitey Ford and and Ralph Terry are still alive, but did not play in this game. For the Red Sox: Stallard, Chuck Schilling (no relation to Curt), Don Gile, Russ Nixon, and rookie left fielder Carl Yastrzemski. Sox 3rd baseman Frank Malzone, a Bronx native and an 8-time All-Star, died last December.

Also on this day, after providing a venue for the Pacific Coast League's Los Angeles Angels from 1925 through 1957 and the major league expansion team with the same name this season, the West Coast version of Wrigley Field hosts its last professional baseball game. The Halos are defeated by the Tribe 8-5 in front of 9,868 fans. Wrigley West will be torn down in 5 years, to make room for an eventual public playground and senior center.

Also on this day, District of Columbia Stadium opens in Washington, D.C. The Washington Redskins lose to the New York Giants, 24-21. D.C. Stadium will become home of the Washington Senators the following April, and host the 1962 and 1969 Major League Baseball All-Star Games. President John F. Kennedy will throw out the ceremonial first ball at both Opening Day and the All-Star Game in 1962. In 1969, the stadium will be renamed for his brother and Attorney General: Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium.

The Senators left after the 1971 season, and baseball did not return until 2005. The Nationals arrived, and remained through the 2007 season, then moved into Nationals Park. The Redskins played there until 1996, building the NFL's most intimidating home-field advantage, reaching 4 Super Bowls, winning 3.

After hosting the Washington Wolves and the Washington Diplomats of the old North American Soccer League, in 1996 RFK Stadium became the home of D.C. United, a charter team in Major League Soccer. It will continue to be DCU's home through the 2017 season, after which a new stadium will open. RFK Stadium will likely be demolished shortly thereafter. The 1st of the multi-purpose oval stadiums built in America in the 1960s, '70s and '80s, it is one of the last to still be standing. (The Oakland Coliseum is the only other one left.)

Also on this day, Gary Robert Ablett is born in Drouin, Victoria, Australia. One of the greatest players in the history of Australian Rules football, he starred for Geelong in the late 1980s and early 1990s, becoming their all-time leading scorer with 1,030 goals. He is a member of the Australian Football League Hall of Fame.

His sons Gary Jr. and Nathan have also played for Geelong, and, unlike their father, have led them to a league title. His nephew Luke won a title with Sydney Swans. His brothers Kevin and Geoff, and his nephews Shane Tuck and Travis Tuck, have also played in the AFL.

October 1, 1962: Game 1 of the National League Playoff, 11 years after the Giants and Dodgers did it in New York. Now, they do it in California, and Billy Pierce pitches a 3-hit shutout. He hardly needs to, as 2 homers by Willie Mays, and 1 each by Orlando Cepeda and Jim Davenport, give the Giants an 8-0 win at Candlestick Park.

Also on this day, Paul Anthony Walsh is born in Plumstead, South London, England. A forward, he won England's Football League with Liverpool in 1986 (but did not get an FA Cup winner's medal despite Liverpool also winning it that year, their only League and Cup "Double"), and the FA Cup with North London's Tottenham Hotspur in 1991 (their last major trophy).

He is now a pundit on the British TV show Soccer Saturday. His son Mason Walsh plays for Bournemouth.

Also on this day, Johnny Carson, not quite 38 years old, debuts as host of The Tonight Show on NBC. The guests on his 1st show: Rudy Vallee, Groucho Marx, Joan Crawford, Mel Brooks and Tony Bennett. Today, 54 years later, Brooks and Bennett are still alive.

October 1, 1963: Mark David McGwire is born in the Los Angeles suburb of Pomona, California, and grows up in nearby La Verne. You know the story: 1987 AL Rookie of the Year, 12-time All-Star, 3 Pennants and the 1989 World Championship with the Oakland Athletics, 1990 Gold Glove winner, 70 home runs with the Cardinals in 1998, 583 home runs for his career, voted onto the MLB All-Century Team in 1999, named Number 91 on The Sporting News' 100 Greatest Baseball Players the same year.

And then, March 17, 2005: The St. Patrick's Day Massacre. Despite his protestations before Congress, we were there to talk about the past. In 2010, Big Mac finally admitted what most of us had suspected since 1998, but many of us didn't want to admit: He cheated.

Although he has been welcomed back into baseball, as hitting instructor first for the Cardinals and then for the Dodgers, and now as the bench coach for the San Diego Padres, he has never been elected to the Hall of Fame, and the section of Interstate 70 outside St. Louis that had been named the Mark McGwire Highway has been renamed the Mark Twain Highway. (What Twain would have thought of McGwire, who knows, but he was a baseball fan.)

October 1, 1964: The Red Sox beat the Indians, 4-2, in front of only 306 fans, the smallest in Fenway Park history.

October 1, 1965: The Cincinnati Reds clobber the San Francisco Giants 17-2 at Candlestick Park. The Reds get home runs from Frank Robinson, Gordy Coleman, Deron Johnson, and (surprisingly, because he would never be known for hitting them) Pete Rose. No one knows it yet, but it is the last home run that Robinson will hit for the Reds, as he is traded in the off-season.

The Giants use 8 pitchers. One is Masanori Murakami, the 1st Japanese player in MLB history. He had arrived with the Giants the season before, but this is his last MLB appearance, as his family demanded that he return to Japan.

Another is Gaylord Perry, a future Hall-of-Famer, who has nothing. Another is another future Hall-of-Famer longtime Braves pitcher Warren Spahn. Age has finally caught up to the durable Spahnnie, now 44 and the winningest lefthander ever with 363 victories. He relieves Perry in the 7th inning, walks Johnny Edwards, allows a grounder to Leo Cardenas that results in an error and a run, but an out at the plate, and then an RBI single to Sammy Ellis. Mercifully, manager Herman Franks removes him for Bill Hands, and Spahn's major league career, which began in 1942, is over.

Also on this day, Clifford John Ronning is born in the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby, British Columbia. A center, he played for several teams in a hockey career from 1986 to 2004, closing with the Islanders. His son Ty Ronning is now in he Rangers' minor-league system.

October 1, 1966, 50 years ago: George Tawlon Manneh Oppong Ousman Weah is born in Monrovia, Liberia. Easily the greatest soccer player ever to come from his country, he is 2nd only to the Mozambique-born Portugal star Eusebio as the greatest ever to come from the African continent.

Like many African players, due to France holding several lands as colonies and spreading their language, George Weah headed to France to begin his European career. He won the Coupe de France with AS Monaco, managed by future Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, in 1991. With Paris Saint-Germain, he won Ligue 1 in 1994 and the Coupe in 1993 and '95. Moving on to Italy, he won their Serie A with AC Milan in 1996 and 1999. He finally played in England with West London club Chelsea, and at age 33 (old for a forward) helped them with the FA Cup.

In 1995, he won the FIFA Ballon d'Or (Golden Ball) as world player of the year. He is now a member of the Liberian Senate.


October 1, 1967: A much happier day at Fenway than the one on this date 3 years earlier. Carl Yastrzemski gets 4 hits, including a game-tying single in the bottom of the 6th, and cements the Triple Crown -- a feat that will not be achieved in the major leagues again for another 45 years. Jim Lonborg pitches a complete game, and the Red Sox beat the Twins, 5-3, to eliminate the Twins from the AL race on the final day of a season with a rare 4-team race. The White Sox had been eliminated 2 days earlier.

But the Pennant is not yet clinched. If the Detroit Tigers can sweep a doubleheader with the California Angels, they would forge a tie with the Red Sox-Twins winner, and force a 1-game Playoff the next day.

In those pre-Internet days, CBS managed to link up their Detroit station, WWJ, and their Boston station, WHDH (850, once again the Sox station but with call letters WEEI), so that people in the Boston area could listen the the nightcap in Detroit. The Angels won, and the Sox had their 1st Pennant in 21 years, only their 2nd in 49 years -- a Pennant whose theme song was the Broadway hit "The Impossible Dream."

Still alive from this game, 48 years later: From the Sox: Yaz, Lonborg, 2nd baseman Mike Andrews, shortstop Rico Petrocelli, 3rd baseman Dalton Jones, center fielder Reggie Smith, right fielder Ken Harrelson, and right fielder Jose Tartabull (Danny's father pinch-ran for the Hawk and took his place in the field); from the Twins, the aforementioned Rod Carew at 2nd base, right fielder Tony Oliva, replacement shortstop Jackie Hernandez, replacement left fielder and usual starting 3rd baseman Rich Rollins, replacement catcher Russ Nixon (who played for Boston in the Maris 61 game), pinch-hitter Frank Kostro (usually an infielder), and pitchers l Worthington and Jim "Mudcat" Grant. Sox pinch-hitter Norm Siebern, a former Yankee, and Twins starter Dean Chance, the 1964 Cy Young Award winner with the Angels, both died in the last year.

Also on this day, the Yankees beat the Kansas City Athletics 4-3 at Yankee Stadium. Frank Fernandez and Joe Pepitone hit home runs for the Bronx Bombers, who finish an uncharacteristic 9th. The A's, who finish a very characteristic 10th, get a home run from Dave Duncan, who will later enjoy better times with the franchise. Mel Stottlemyre gets the win over Catfish Hunter.

This is the last game the A's will play representing Kansas City. In the off-season, they will move to Oakland, where they will dominate the American League from 1971 to 1975. Members of that championship team that played in that game include Hunter, Rick Monday, Joe Rudi, Dick Green, Bert Campaneris, Sal Bando and Ted Kubiak (a native of nearby Highland Park, Middlesex County, New Jersey) -- but not the 21-year-old rookie outfielder from the Philadelphia suburbs, Reggie Jackson. The A's had played their last game in Kansas City on September 27, losing 4-0 to the Chicago White Sox at Municipal Stadium.

Also on this day, Michael A. Pringle is born in Los Angeles. He might be the greatest football player you've never heard of. I know what you're thinking, but, no, this time, when I say "football," I mean the gridiron game, not soccer.

Mike Pringle was a running back at Washington State, but washed out, and transferred to Cal State-Fullerton. He was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in 1990, but they were scared by his 5-foot-9, 200-pound size, and he was never sent on to play so much as a down for them. This was a year before the Falcons drafted Brett Favre, and didn't know what to do with him, either. The Falcons were good on the field at the time; in the boardroom, not so much.

Pringle was signed by the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League, and later moved to the CFL's Baltimore Stallions (the league experimented with U.S. teams for a brief time), who became the new Montreal Alouettes in 1996 (the old Als had folded in 1986). He was named a 7-time CFL All-Star, the CFL Most Outstanding Player in 1995 and 1998 (in the latter year becoming the 1st man to rush for 2,000 yards in a CFL season, still a unique achievement), and won the Grey Cup (Canada's Super Bowl) with the Stals/Als 3 times, in 1995, 2002 and 2003.

The Denver Broncos took notice of him in 1996, and invited him to their training camp, but cut him. So he went back to the Als, and kept on running and kept on winning. He rushed for 16,425 yards, and 137 touchdowns. He's in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, and the Alouettes have retired his Number 27. In 2006, TSN, the Canadian version of ESPN, voted him the Number 4 CFL player of the last 50 years.

Also on this day, Scott Allen Young is born in Clinton, Massachusetts. The right wing won the Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991 and the Colorado Avalanche in 1996. The Boston University graduate returned to the Boston area as the coach of a team at a Catholic high school, and is now an assistant coach at BU.

Also on this day, Geraldine Heaney (no middle name) is born in Lurgan, Northern Ireland, and grows up in Toronto. One of the greatest female hockey players ever, her skill as a defensewoman got her compared to Bobby Orr. At age 34, she led Canada to the Gold Medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

She has since gone into coaching, and was the 3rd woman, after Angela James and Cammi Granato, to be elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame.


October 1, 1969: Igor Sergeevich Ulanov is born in Krasnokamsk, Russia. The defenseman played for several NHL teams from 1995 to 2006, including the Rangers.

Also on this day, Zachary Knight Galifianakis is born in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. The actor, producer and screenwriter has nothing to do with sports, unless you want to count casting Mike Tyson in his Hangover trilogy.

October 1, 1970: Twenty years to the day after the greatest day in Phillies history thus far (and it would remain such for another 10 years), perhaps the darkest day in Phillies history takes place -- and this was in a win.

The Phils play the final game at Connie Mack Stadium, formerly Shibe Park, and the irony of playing the Montreal Expos, a team that only began in 1969, at a stadium that opened in 1909 is felt. The game goes to 10 innings, and Oscar Gamble singles home Tim McCarver with the winning run, as the Phils win, 2-1.

Before McCarver can cross the plate, fans are already storming the field, and they tear the stadium apart. The grass is torn up. The scoreboard and the advertising signs are ripped out. Seats are unscrewed. According to a story I read, a man described as "one muscular miscreant" went into the men's room, ripped out a toilet bowl, carried it out of the park, and toted it down Lehigh Avenue and into the Broad Street subway.

The next year, Veterans Stadium opened, and a fire gutted what remained of the old park. In 1976, knowing that the place was a danger to area residents, Mayor Frank Rizzo gave the order: "Tear the fucking thing down!"

When I first visited the site in 1987, it was an empty lot, and the only evidence that baseball had been played there for 62 seasons was a strip mall across 21st Street with a store called The Phillies Pharmacy. In 1991, a church was built on the site. A historical marker now stands on Lehigh Avenue, telling of the glory days of the A's and the Phils.

Also on this day, Alexei Yuryevich Zhamnov is born in Moscow. The center won an Olympic Gold Medal with the no-longer-Soviet, not-yet-Russian "Unified Team" at the 1992 Winter Olympics. He starred for the hockey team of the legendary sports club Dynamo Moscow (originally sponsored by the KGB), and played for the Winnipeg Jets in their last 4 seasons, 1992 to 1996.

He played 8 years with the Chicago Blackhawks, and 1 each with the Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins, plus the 2004-05 lockout season back in Russia, before retiring in 2006. He is now the general manager of the hockey team of legendary Russian sports club Spartak Moscow.

Also on this day, Simon Davey (no middle name) is born in Swansea, Wales. The midfielder won the Welsh Cup with hometown club Swansea City in 1991, and now teaches at an American soccer school.

October 1, 1971: Walt Disney World opens at Lake Buena Vista, southwest of Orlando, Florida. It is almost solely responsible for the development of tourism in Central Florida, having led to the building of Sea World, Universal Studios Orlando, and the venues that have become home to the NBA's Orlando Magic and professional soccer teams Orlando City (men's) and the Orlando Pride (women's). In 1997, it became home to Cracker Jack Stadium, now Champion Stadium, the Spring Training home of the Atlanta Braves.

October 1, 1972: Jean Paulo Fernandes is born in Guarujá, São Paulo state, Brazil. Known professionally as simply Jean, the goalkeeper helped Belo Horizonte club Cruzeiro win the 1997 Copa Libertadores, South America's version of the UEFA Champions League. His son, known as Jeanzinho, is a goalkeeper for Brazilian club Bahia.

October 1, 1973: Only 1,913 fans come out to Wrigley Field, under threat of rain with the Cubs far out of the race, to see a doubleheader that had to be made up due to an earlier rainout. The Mets beat the Cubs in the opener, 6-4, and win the National League East, their 2nd 1st-place finish.

The Division Title that no one seemed to want to win has been won with an 82-79 record, which is still the worst 1st place finish ever in a season of at least 115 games. When the rain comes after the opener, the umpires call off the now completely meaningless 2nd game. The Mets were 52-63 on August 14, but won 30 out of 44 down the stretch, including 18 of their last 22.

Back in New York, the day after the last game at the pre-renovation original Yankee Stadium -- an 8-5 loss to the Detroit Tigers, with Yankee manager Ralph Houk resigning -- the renovation of The Stadium begins, when Mayor John Lindsay, who had brokered the deal to get it done and keep the Yankees in The City, gets into a bulldozer, and ceremonially scoops out a piece of right field.

Claire Ruth was given home plate. Eleanor Gehrig was given 1st base. Some time later, Joe DiMaggio, in town to film commercials for the Bowery Savings Bank, would pose for a few pictures amid the renovation work. They should have given him a small section of center field sod. Mickey Mantle? The whirpool, since his injuries caused him to spend so much time in it.

Also on this day, John Carl Thomson is born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and grows up in Sulphur, Louisiana. He pitched in the major leagues from 1997 to 2007, including 2002 with the Mets. He reached the postseason with the Atlanta Braves in 2004 and '05, but his career was cut short by injury. His career record was 63-85. Last year, he won a local golf tournament in Denver.

October 1, 1974: Needing to win both of their last 2 games of the regular season against the Milwaukee Brewers, and for the Orioles to lose at least 1 of their last 2 games against the Tigers -- or to split their own and hope the O's lost both -- the Yankees go into County Stadium without their marquee player, Bobby Murcer, who had injured his hand breaking up a fight between Rick Dempsey and Bill Sudakis.

The Yankees got a strong pitching performance by George "Doc" Medich, and 2 hits each by Roy White, Thurman Munson, Chris Chambliss and Sandy Alomar Sr. But Medich, still pitching in the bottom of the 10th, allows a leadoff double to Jack Lind. John Vuckovich sacrifices him over to 3rd. Don Money is walked intentionally to set up the double play, and then Medich unintentionally walks Sixto Lezcano. George "Boomer" Scott, in between tours of duty with the Red Sox, singles Lind home, and the Brewers win, 3-2.

The Orioles beat the Tigers 7-6 in Detroit, and wrap up the AL East title with a game to spare. This was the 1st time the Yankees had gotten close to the postseason in 10 years, but it was not to be.

On this same day, at the Astrodome, Mike Marshall establishes the major league mark for the most appearances by a pitcher when he throws 2innings in the Dodgers' 8-5 victory over Houston. With
his 106 appearances, the right-handed reliever appears in 65 percent of the games that his team played this season. He goes 15-12, with a 2.42 ERA and 21 saves (actually 10 less than he had the year before), and becomes the 1st reliever in either League to receive the Cy Young Award.

In 1979, pitching for the Twins, Marshall would appear in 90 games, giving him the record for most games pitched in a season in each League.

Also on this day, Mats Anders Lindgren is born in Skellefteå, Sweden. A center, he played in the NHL from 1993 to 2003, including for the Islanders. He is anow an assistant coach for hometown club Skellefteå AIK.


October 1, 1975: Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Ali fights former Heavyweight Champion Joe Frazier for the 3rd time, at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, the capital of the Philippines. Quezon City is the national capital, and the arena is located about 5 miles east of the country's largest city, Manila.

When they met for "The Fight of the Century" at Madison Square Garden in 1971, it was the 1st time 2 undefeated Heavyweight Champions had ever met in the ring. It was a hard, even fight until the 15th and final round, when a classic Philly left hook floored the Louisvillian, and Ali received his first-ever knockdown, from which he got up to finish the fight, and his first-ever professional loss. Ali got revenge in 1974, also at The Garden although neither man was champion at the time. Frazier had lost the title in 1973 to Foreman, whom Ali subsequently beat to regain the title in Kinshasa, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), the fight known as "The Rumble In the Jungle."

Ali mocked Frazier for his fighting ability and his looks, saying, "It'll be a thrilla and a chilla and a killa, when I get the Gorilla in Manila!" So it became known as "The Thrilla In Manila." Frazier clobbered Ali in the 9th round, leading him to go back to his corner and tell his trainer, Angelo Dundee, "Man, this is the closest I've ever been to dying." But Ali had landed so many punches that Frazier's face was swelling, and he was having trouble seeing. Early in the 13th round, Ali hit Frazier in the jaw with a thunderous right hook, sending Frazier's mouthpiece flying out of his mouth and out of the ring. Ali dominated the 14th as well, because Frazier was too tired and having too much difficulty seeing. Ali was hitting Frazier with the same kind of punches that knocked out Foreman a year earlier.

But Frazier had more courage and endurance than sense, and refused to go down, and refused to quit. As the 15th and final round approached, Frazier wanted to continue. His trainer, Eddie Futch, told him that he was going to stop the fight. Frazier said no: "I want him, boss." He was unable to talk Futch out of it: "The fight's over, Joe. No one will forget what you did here today." And he told the referee, Carlos Padilla, to stop the fight. Padilla did so.

Ali retained the crown, the belt, the title, whatever you want to call it. He got up off his stool, raised his right arm in victory... and collapsed. He had nothing left to give. If Futch had let Frazier fight the 15th round, he would have knocked Ali out.

It's been called the greatest prizefight in history. Today, 40 years after the fight, most people know the name Manila for 3 things: The brown office folders that bear its name, its role in the Pacific Theater of World War II, and Ali-Frazier III.

Howard Cosell, who covered the fight for ABC Wide World of Sports, later said, "A big piece of Ali remained in that ring." Indeed, at age 33, with nothing left to prove, Ali probably should have retired right there. Instead, he kept fighting for 6 more years. So did Frazier. Both men would have their moments, but neither was ever so good again.

"The Greatest of All Time" is still alive, at age 73, but has had Parkinson's disease as a result of his taking so many blows to the head. The big mouth that got him the early nickname "The Louisville Lip" is now mostly silent. He's had other health difficulties, was hospitalized last December, and rumors of his impending death circulated earlier this year. What the true state of his health is, only his doctors know for sure.

"Smokin' Joe" would continue to alternately feud with Ali and reconcile with him, restart the feud, and reconcile again. Joe died of liver cancer in 2011, at age 67, after 30 years of training fighters at his gym in North Philadelphia. Ali died earlier this year, a result of multiple illnesses, at 74.

Opened in 1960, the Araneta Coliseum is still used for sporting events and concerts. A shopping center 2 blocks away is named Ali Mall.

Also on this day, Larry MacPhail dies in Miami. How he drank so much and lived to be 85, I don't know. As general manager of the Cincinnati Reds, he brought permanent lights to baseball in 1935. As GM of the Dodgers, he brought lights and radio to New York baseball. As GM and part-owner of the Yankees, he brought lights to Yankee Stadium.

He won a Pennant with the Dodgers in 1941, setting them up for their 1947-56 glory days. And he won the World Series with the Yankees in 1947. But at the postgame victory celebration, already roaring drunk, he berates his partners, Dan Topping and Del Webb, humiliating them, and himself, in public. They buy him out the next day, and he never works in baseball again, although his son Lee will one day join him in the Hall of Fame, Cooperstown's only father-son pair.


October 1, 1976, 40 years ago: Perhaps the strangest baseball game ever is played on this day. In a comic dated October 1976 -- which is why I'm assigning it this date -- a game is played between DC Comics' superheroes and its villains. It seems a husband & wife team of villains disagrees that the villains can beat the heroes, given equal chances -- that is, without the villains cheating and the heroes' using their powers. To coerce the heroes into doing it, the villainous couple take enough hostages to fill a stadium.

Result? I don't want to spoil it for you, but here's a link to the story. And the stakes are tossed aside. The villains do cheat -- and one hero does, sort of, use his powers. The villain husband, Sportsmaster, who uses sporting goods to commit crimes, is the Villains' pitcher, and he decides to hit Superman with a pitch. But Superman can't turn off his invulnerability, and the pitch bounces off him and nearly hits Sportsmaster.

Also on this day, The Kansas City Royals lose 4-3 at home to the Minnesota Twins, but the Oakland Athletics lose 2-0 to the California Angels in 12 innings in Anaheim. So, despite losing 7 of their last 8 games, the Royals clinch the AL West, ending the A's' 5-run run at the top.

Also on this day, Denis Gauthier Jr. is born in Montréal. A defenseman, he played in the NHL from 1997 to 2009. In 2004, he reached the Stanley Cup Finals with the Calgary Flames.

October 1, 1977: Pelé, the greatest soccer player who ever lived, plays his last game at a sold-out Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. It is his testimonial, and he plays the 1st half for the New York Cosmos, with whom he recently won the North American Soccer League Championship, and scores a goal; and the 2nd half for Santos, for whom he starred so long in Brazil. The Cosmos win, 2-1.

When it's over, he stands at midfield with a microphone, and asks the crowd, "Please, say with me, three times: Love! Love! Love!" They do.

President Jimmy Carter attended. So did Muhammad Ali, the Heavyweight Champion of the World, who frequently called himself "the Greatest of All Time." This time, he says, "Now, I understand: He is greater than me."

The rain that fell on Pelé's testimonial at the Meadowlands comes down much harder on The Bronx, as the Yankees sit through a 2-hour, 42-minute rain delay in a game against the Detroit Tigers. But the Baltimore Orioles beat the Boston Red Sox, and that gives the Yankees the American League Eastern Division title for the 2nd straight season. When their game is finally finished, the Yankees lose, 10-7.

Also on this day, the St. Louis Blues retire the Number 3 of Bob Gassoff, a defenseman who'd been with them since 1973. The preceding May 27, he was killed in a motorcycle accident in Gray Summit, Missouri. He'd been racing motorcycles with friends at a barbecue at the home of teammate Garry Unger, but had driven off the property, wasn't wearing a helmet, and was hit by a car. The native of Quesnel, British Columbia was only 26.

October 1, 1978: A Yankee win or a Red Sox loss would give the Yankees the AL East title for the 3rd straight season. But the Yankees get beat 9-2 at home by the Cleveland Indians. The winning pitcher is Rick Waits, feeding into a myth that grew out of the fits the Kansas City Royals gave the Yankees in the 1976 and '77 ALCS: "The Yankees can't beat lefthanded pitchers."

At Fenway, the auxiliary scoreboard over the center-field bleacher triangle shows the score, and adds, "THANK YOU RICK WAITS." The Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-0 on a Luis Tiant shutout, and, as Red Sox broadcaster Dick Stockton says, "We go to tomorrow! We got to tomorrow!"

It didn't seem possible in June, July and August that the Yankees would still be eligible to play a 163rd game. It didn't seem possible for the last 3 weeks that the Red Sox would still be. Now, after the Sox blew a 14-game gap over the Yankees on July 20, and the Yankees blew a 3 1/2-game gap over the Sox on September 16, they will play a 163rd game against each other at Fenway.

Also on this day, pitching for the San Diego Padres, Gaylord Perry strikes out Joe Simpson of the Dodgers for his 3,000th career strikeout. He is the 3rd pitcher to reach the milestone, following Walter Johnson and Bob Gibson. He wins the NL Cy Young Award. Having won it with the Indians in 1972, he becomes the 1st pitcher to win it in each League.

October 1, 1979: Coca-Cola first airs a commercial with Joe Greene, the All-Pro defensive tackle for the Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers. Some people say the commercial revealed Greene as a nice guy, thus ruining his image as "Mean Joe Greene." The Steelers went on to win a 4th Super Bowl in 6 years anyway.

The boy's name was Tommy Okon. Today, he is 46 years old, lives in Yonkers, New York, and runs a landscaping business.

Other countries borrowed the idea, usually with soccer players: Argentina with Diego Maradona, Brazil with Zico, France with Michel Platini, Italy with Dino Zoff, and Germany with Harald Schumacher. Oddly, when Britain did it with David Beckham, it was for Coke's great rival, Pepsi. This is equivalent to Beckham's team, Manchester United, singing Liverpool's anthem, "You'll Never Walk Alone." But I prefer Pepsi to Coke, so maybe it isn't like that.

Also on this day, Burudi Ali Johnson is born Petersburg, Virginia, outside Norfolk. "Burudi" is Swahili for "cool," and his parents were big fans of Muhammad Ali. Known as Rudi Johnson for short, he grows up in the Richmond suburb of Chester, and becomes a Pro Bowl running back for the Cincinnati Bengals. He now runs the Rudi Johnson Foundation, raising money for medical research, including bone-marrow donation.

Also on this day, Ryan David Pontbriand is born in Houston. He was a 2-time Pro Bowl center for the Cleveland Browns.


October 1, 1981: David Johnny Oduya is born in Stockholm, Sweden, the son of a Swedish mother and a Kenyan father. Black people in Sweden are rare, and this was also true of the NHL when the defenseman arrived with the New Jersey Devils in 2006.

Johnny gave the Devils 3 solid seasons, including the move from the Meadowlands in East Rutherford to the Prudential Center in Newark in 2007. I still don't know whether I liked him, or simply liked saying his name, because it sounds like, "Oh, do ya?"

He was with the Atlanta Thrashers when they moved to become the new Winnipeg Jets in 2011, before moving on to the Chicago Blackhawks, with whom he won the 2013 and '15 Stanley Cups. He now plays for the Dallas Stars.

Also on this day, Júlio César Clemente Baptista is born in São Paulo, Brazil. "The Beast" starred for hometown club São Paulo F.C., before starring in Spain with Sevilla and Real Madrid.

In the 2006-07 season, Real loaned him to English club Arsenal. In the quarterfinal of the League Cup, he scored 4 goals against Liverpool. In the 1st leg of the semifinal against Tottenham, he tried to head away a corner, but ended up scoring an own goal to make it 2-0 to "Spurs." He made up for it by scoring 2 proper goals and leveling the tie. Arsenal won the home leg, but lost the Final to Chelsea. He only scored 3 goals for the Gunners in League play, and missed 3 penalties.

Arsenal were happy to not ask Real Madrid for another loan, but he rewarded Real's faith by helping them win La Liga in 2008. He returned to Brazil, winning the Campeonato Brasileiro with Belo Horizonte club Cruzeiro in 2013 and '14. He also helped his country win the Copa America (continental championship) in 2004 and '07, and the Confederations Cup (the warmup for the World Cup, always held in the preceding year in the host country) in 2005 and '09. He now plays for Orlando City in America.

October 1, 1982: Fred Stanley, a good-field-no-hit shortstop with the nickname Chicken -- but whose name was also that of the Earl of Derby who, as Lord Stanley, founded the Stanley Cup -- plays his last major league game, making him the last active player who'd played for the ill-fated 1969 Seattle Pilots of Ball Four fame/infamy.

Following a career that included 3 Yankee Pennants and 2 World Series wins backing up Bucky Dent at shortstop and finishing the Bucky Dent Game as the Yankee 2nd baseman, he goes 1-for-3. Dwayne Murphy hits a home run for the Oakland Athletics, but they lose to the Kansas City Royals, 12-7 at Royals (now Kauffman) Stadium in Kansas City. The Royals get home runs from Hal McRae, Jamie Quirk, Jerry Martin and Willie Aikens

October 1, 1983: A team from Oklahoma won a World Championship? In 1983? Not exactly. But one did win a North American Championship.

Soccer Bowl '83, the championship game of the original North American Soccer League, is played at the new BC Place in Vancouver, British Columbia. Being all the way across their country appears to negate any home-field advantage for the Toronto Blizzard, as the Tulsa Roughnecks beat them 2-0 on the artificial surface.

The game is scoreless at the half. Njego Pesa, a forward born in Croatia but raised in Queens, scores in the 56th minute. Former Luton Town striker Ron Futcher doubles the lead in the 62nd, and the game is effectively killed off. Pesa is named Man of the Match.

This is the closest any Oklahoma team has come to a major title in America. The Oklahoma City Thunder lost the 2012 NBA Finals in 5 games, and even if the Oklahoma Outlaws had won the USFL title in their only season, 1984, it wouldn't have been as big as the Roughnecks winning Soccer Bowl '83, as the NASL still had some credibility.

Also on this day, Mirko Vučinić is born in Nikšić, Montenegro. The forward is easily the greatest player ever to come from that small country, previously a part of the Holy Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Austrian Empire, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and Serbia and Montenegro.

He left his homeland to play in neighboring Italy, first for Lecce. With capital club AS Roma, he won the Coppa Italia in 2007 and '08. He helped Turin giants Juventus win the League in 2012, '13 and '14. He now plays for Al Jazira Club in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Also on this day, Mohamd Abdelwahab is born in Faiyum, Egypt. A left back, he helped Egypt's greatest soccer team, Cairo club Al Ahly, win the 2005 and 2006 Egyptian Premier League titles, and helped Egypt win the 2006 African Cup of Nations. But on August 31, 2006, he collapsed during training (what we would call "practice") with Al Ahly, and died. He was only 22, and an autopsy discovered a previously unknown heart defect. The club retired his Number 3.

October 1, 1984: Bowie Kuhn, the biggest knucklehead ever to be Commissioner of Baseball, officially hands the job over to Peter Ueberroth, famed for his production of the recent Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Kuhn may have been a lawyer, but he sure didn't seem smart enough to get into law school. In contrast, while I didn't always agree with Ueberroth, he was far more sensible. One of the 1st big things he does is reinstate Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays, whom Kuhn had suspended from official activities indefinitely because they were working for casinos in Atlantic City -- even though they were specifically kept off the gambling floors by management.

Also on this day, Hall of Fame manager Walter Alston dies from heart trouble in Oxford, Ohio. He was 72. He had managed the Dodgers to 7 Pennants and 3 World Championships, including their only Brooklyn title in 1955. The Dodgers retired his Number 24.

Also on this day, Matthew Thomas Cain is born in Dothan, Alabama. A 3-time All-Star, he's won 3 World Series with the Giants, and pitched a perfect game against the Astros on June 13, 2012, the 1st one ever pitched in the long, bicoastal history of the Giant franchise.

October 1, 1985: The Mets arrive in St. Louis, and essentially need to sweep the Cardinals in 3 straight at Busch Memorial Stadium to win the NL East. They get off to a good start, as a dual shutout by Ron Darling and John Tudor is won in the 11th inning by a home run by Darryl Strawberry off Ken Dayley. Jesse Orosco is the winning pitcher.  

October 1, 1988: For the 1st time, I attend a football game at Bloomfield High School, the North Jersey school I would have attended had my parents not moved to the Central Jersey town of East Brunswick in 1972.

The move paid off for me, for several reasons, one of which is that, while I attended East Brunswick High School, in the 1984, '85 and '86 seasons, their football record was 24-6-1, with Conference Championships in 1984 and '86 and trips to the Central Jersey Group IV Finals in '84 and '85; while Bloomfield went 0-26-1.

My visit was well-timed: Under new head coach Chet Parlavecchio, a former linebacker for Penn State, the Green Bay Packers and the St. Louis Cardinals, Bloomfield scored in the 4th quarter, and beat Paramus Catholic 7-0. It was the Bengals' 1st win in nearly 5 years, since October 29, 1983.

They would go on to win 3 games that season, and went 8-2, won a Division title, and made the North Jersey, Section 2, Group IV Playoffs in 1989. Parlavecchio would coach at some other North Jersey high schools, and was briefly the linebackers coach for the Tennessee Titans.

The 1935 all-concrete version of Foley Field, named for Bloomfield's legendary football coach, where I watched that game, was demolished, and rebuilt with a more modern structure in 1911, in time for the 100th Anniversary of the BHS building at Broad Street and Belleville Avenue, a mile south of the Foley Field complex. Bloomfield College, an NCAA Division III school, also uses it.

Also on this day, the Bradley Center opens in Milwaukee, with a preseason NHL game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Edmonton Oilers. The NBA's Milwaukee Bucks and minor-league hockey's Milwaukee Admirals moved in, and are expected to leave it for a new arena a couple of blocks away in 2018.


October 1, 1990: Jan Tilman Kirchhoff is born in Frankfurt, Germany. A centreback, he helped Bayern Munich win the German Cup (DFB-Pokal) in 2014 and the national league (Bundesliga) in 2015 and 2016. He now plays for Sunderland in the North-East of England.

October 1, 1992: Xander Jan Bogaerts is born in Oranjestad, Aruba, a Caribbean island that is a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. If you had never heard of him, then, with that information, you might presume that he is a Dutch soccer player. Indeed, he has played for the Netherlands -- but in the World Baseball Classic.

A shortstop, he has played for the Red Sox since 2013, winning the World Series in his rookie year, and made his 1st All-Star Game this season. He speaks 4 languages: English, Spanish, Dutch, and Aruba's native language, Papiamento.

October 1, 1993: Lennox Lewis retains the WBC's version of the Heavyweight Championship of the World, as he defeats Frank Bruno by TKO in the 7th round at Cardiff Arms Park in Cardiff, Wales.

October 1, 1995: The expansion Jacksonville Jaguars win for the 1st time. After starting their 1st NFL season 0-5, they beat the Houston Oilers, 17-16 at the Astrodome.

Ironically, Jacksonville almost got the Oilers: In 1987, unhappy with his lease at the Astrodome, Oilers founder-owner Bud Adams threatened to move them to the Gator Bowl. Instead, he got some of the stadium improvements he wanted, and J-ville renovated the Bowl to become what's now named EverBank Field, and in 1993 were granted the expansion franchise. But after the 1996 season, Adams moved the Oilers anyway, and they became the Tennessee Titans.

Also on this day, Dave Winfield plays his last major league game, for the Cleveland Indians against the Royals. He pinch-hits for Paul Sorrento in the bottom of the 7th inning, and grounds to 2nd against Rusty Meacham.

Sorrento had homered earlier, as had Billy Ripken, temporarily swiping the spotlight from his brother, who will join Winfield in the Hall of Fame. The Indians pound the Royals 17-7 at Jacobs Field. Dave is not included on the Indians' postseason roster, and does not play in their unsuccessful World Series against the Atlanta Braves.

Also on this day, Lauren Hill (no middle name) is born in Greendale, Indiana, and grows up in nearby Lawrenceburg. Not to be confused with Fugees singer Lauryn Hill, Lauren was a high school basketball star, who moved on to Cincinnati's Mount St. Joseph University, when she was stricken with cancer.

It became clear that she would not have the strength to play once her treatment began, so their season opener was moved up. The attention the story got led to the game being moved from Mount St. Joseph's 2,000-seat gym to the 10,250-seat Cintas Center, home court of of a much larger Catholic school in Cincinnati, Xavier University.

She played in 4 games and made 5 layups, raised $1.5 million for cancer research, and received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from her school, before dying on April 10, 2015, only 19 years old. Her funeral was private, but a public memorial service was held at the Cintas Center. She was posthumously inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.

October 1, 1996, 20 years ago: The Texas Rangers play the 1st postseason game in their 25-year history – 36-year history, if you count their previous incarnation as the "new" Washington Senators. They are not intimidated by the power of the current Yankee team, or by the legacy of Yankee Stadium. A 5-run 4th inning includes home runs by Juan Gonzalez and Dean Palmer off David Cone, and the Rangers win, 6-2.

Suddenly, what had been a magical season for the Yankees is in serious jeopardy. The Rangers look like they're in control, especially after they take a 4-1 lead in he 3rd inning of Game 2 -- with Games 3 and, if necessary, 4 and 5 in Arlington. They will not win another postseason game for 14 years.

October 1, 1997: The Carolina Hurricanes, who had been the New England/Hartford Whalers from 1972 to 1997, play their 1st game. They visit the Tampa Bay Lightning, and lose 4-2. They will play their home games at the Greensboro Coliseum for 2 years, before their arena can open in Raleigh. It is now known as the PNC Arena.

October 1, 1999: As part of the league-wide celebration of the retirement of his Number 99, the Edmonton Oilers, his 1st NHL team, specifically honor Wayne Gretzky by retiring the number.

Also on this day, the Pepsi Center opens in Denver, with a concert by Celine Dion. The NBA's Denver Nuggets and the NHL's Colorado Avalanche move in, and it remains their home.


October 1, 2000: The Pittsburgh Pirates play their last game at Three Rivers Stadium. They lose to the Chicago Cubs 10-9. Adrian Brown and John Wehner hit the last 2 home runs at Three Rivers, but it's not enough, as Scott Sauerbeck melts down and allows 3 runs in the 8th inning. Turnabout is fair play: The Pirates had swept a doubleheader from the Cubs on the last day at Forbes Field, June 28, 1970.

Hall-of-Famer Willie Stargell, with Roberto Clemente dead the greatest living Pirate, throws out a ceremonial last ball at the closing ceremony. He would receive a statue to be dedicated outside PNC Park on Opening Day 2001, along with those of Clemente and Honus Wagner, which were moved there. He was also going to throw out the first ball at the new park, but died that very morning.

The Steelers will play out the 2000 season at Three Rivers, which will be demolished on February 11, 2001, and then move into Heinz Field.

Also on this day, Arsenal beat Manchester United 1-0 at home at Highbury in North London. Thierry Henry scores one of the most amazing goals you will ever see. And he does it against United's goalie Fabien Barthez, his teammate on the France squad that won the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000.

October 1, 2004: Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners grounds a single up the middle, and collects his 258th hit of the season. The record had belonged to George Sisler of the St. Louis Browns since 1920 -- 84 years.

If there was anyone left who still doubted whether Ichiro was a bona fide Hall-of-Famer in the making (and I was a doubter), they now believe it.

October 1, 2006, 10 years ago: After leading the AL Central by 10 games on August 7, the Detroit Tigers lose 31 of their last 50, including their last 5 in a row, the last being the blowing of a 6-0 lead over a terrible Kansas City Royals team to lose 10-8 in 12 innings. The Tigers thus blow the Division Title to the Twins, one of the great choke jobs of recent times.

They do get the Wild Card, however, and shock the Yankees in the Division Series, while the Twins get surprised by the A's, and then the Tigers sweep the A's to win the Pennant anyway. Never has a team looked so bad down the stretch and still managed to reach the World Series -- not even the 1949 or 2000 Yankees, or the 1982 Milwaukee Brewers.

The 2006 season is also the first one ever, except for the strike-shortened seasons of 1981, '94 and '95, in which there were no 20-game-winning pitchers in either League. Chien-Ming Wang of the Yankees and Johan Santana of the Twins each win 19, while no National League hurler wins more than 16 -- 6 of them win that many.

The Twins have another honor (that does them little good after their ALDS loss), as Twin Cities native Joe Mauer becomes the 1st catcher to win an AL batting title, and the 1st catcher to lead both leagues in batting average, with .347, ahead of NL batting champion Freddie Sanchez of the Pittsburgh Pirates with .344.

Also on this day, the Yankees hold one of their more recent traditions. Joe Torre allows one of his veteran players to manage the last game of the season. The player Torre chose was the presumably retiring Bernie Williams.

The game, which is meaningless as the Yankees have already clinched the AL East title, does not go well. Jaret Wright, whom Bernie started because it was his turn in the rotation, does not have good stuff. Jorge Posada hits a home run, and the game is tied 5-5 going to the 9th inning, despite Bernie having used Scott Proctor, who, incredibly, pitched a scoreless 8th.

But Bernie pushes his luck, and sends Kyle Farnsworth out to pitch the 9th. Kerosene Kyle gets the 1st 2 outs, then gives up a single to Alex Rios and a home run to Adam Lind. In the bottom of the 9th, Scott Downs strikes out Kevin Thompson and Wil Nieves, to put the Yankees down to their last out.

Knowing that DH Miguel Cairo was up next, and that, at age 38, he wouldn't take the field if the game went to extra innings, Bernie sends himself up to pinch-hit, and gets a huge standing ovation from the Yankee Stadium crowd of 54,886, which includes yours truly, knowing that this is it, as he has not been selected for the postseason roster. Bernie, a switch-hitter, bats righthanded against the lefthanded Downs, and smacks an opposite-field double. And doesn't remove himself for a pinch-runner. But Andy Phillips ruins the moment by striking out to end the game. Pesky Blue Jays 7, Yankees 5.

October 1, 2007: Needing a Playoff for the Playoffs, the Colorado Rockies beat the San Diego Padres in the bottom of the 13th inning, 9-8. Jamey Carroll hits a sacrifice fly, and Matt Holliday scores on a disputed play at the plate.

The Padres have not reached the Playoffs since, and this play burns their fans up. The Rockies closed the regular season (and this game counts as such, as it's officially not a postseason game) winning 14 of their last 15.

Also on this day, Al Oerter dies of heart trouble in Fort Myers, Florida. He was 71. A native of Astoria, Queens, he grew up in New Hyde Park, Long Island, and was the 1st man to win an event at 4 straight Olympics: Winning the discus throw in 1956 in Melbourne, 1960 in Rome, 1964 in Tokyo and 1968 in Mexico City.

October 1, 2009: The Colorado Avalanche retire the Number 19 of Joe Sakic, who'd just retired after being with the team since 1988, and Captain since 1990, including the 1995 move from being the Quebec Nordiques, and their 1996 and 2001 Stanley Cups.

October 1, 2010: The Amway Center opens in downtown Orlando, with a public walk-through as the inaugural event. The NBA's Orlando Magic move in, and it remains their home.

October 1, 2013: The Pittsburgh Pirates defeat their traditional rivals, the Cincinnati Reds, 6-2 in the NL Wild Card game at PNC Park. Ex-Yankee Russell Martin hits 2 home runs, Marlon Byrd adds 1, and Francisco Liriano gets the win.

Also on this day, Tom Clancy dies of heart trouble in Baltimore. He was 66, one of the biggest-selling authors of the late 20th Century, and owned a small share of the Baltimore Orioles.

October 1, 2014: The Pirates go for 3 straight wins in NL Wild Card games, but come up short, losing at home to the Giants, 8-0. Brandon Crawford becomes the 1st shortstop ever to hit a grand slam in a postseason game, and Madison Bumgarner pitches a 4-hit shutout, presaging his postseason pitching heroics to come.

October 1, 2015: The Yankees defeat the Boston Red Sox, 4-1 at Yankee Stadium II, thanks to home runs by veteran Carlos Beltran and rookies Greg Bird and Rob Refsnyder, and the fine pitching of CC Sabathia, Adam Warren and Dellin Betances.

The Yankees, who led the AL East by 7 games on July 28, thus finally, with 3 games to spare, clinch a berth in the AL Wild Card play-in game. It is the 52nd time in franchise history, going back to 1903, that they have reached the postseason. It is also the 10,000th win in franchise history. And the cherry on the sundae is that it comes against the Auld Enemy, a.k.a. The Scum.

October 1, 2016: The Rutgers football team goes to Columbus, and, in front of 105,000 people, loses 58-0 to Number 3 Ohio State. As the great New York sportscaster Warner Wolf (who is still alive, nearly 79, and hosts a weekly show on ESPN Radio) would say, "If you had Rutgers and 57 points, you lost!" (The spread was 38 points.) Warner also would have said, "Come on, give me a break!" No, let's not go to the videotape!

Also on this day, Mosaic Stadium opens in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. In a rivalry game, the University of Regina defeats the University of Saskatchewan, 37-29. The Canadian Football League's Saskatchewan Roughriders will move in next season.

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