April 27, 1994: The Republic of South Africa ends apartheid by holding its 1st all-races general election. Lines of people miles, and hours, long developed, stunning the world with footage. It shook many people up, including Americans, who had taken the right to vote for granted.
The African National Congress won 62 percent of the vote, resulting in 252 seats in the national legislature, the National Assembly. As a result, its Leader, Nelson Mandela, was sworn in as President on May 10.
The National Party, which went into the election as the party holding the government, got just 20 percent, winning 82 seats. Its leader, Frederik W. de Klerk, who had set the end of apartheid in motion by releasing Mandela from his 27-year imprisonment 3 years earlier, lost the post of President, but remained Deputy President under an agreement reached to set the election up.
Coming in 3rd, with 10 percent of the vote and 43 seats, was the Inkatha Freedom Party, led by Zulu tribal Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi. Mandela appointed him Minister of Home Affairs.
Since then, April 27 has been a national holiday in the country: Freedom Day.
On June 21, 1990, 4 months after his release, Mandela had addressed a civil rights rally at the original Yankee Stadium. A former professional boxer, he, like many national leaders -- some more ethical than others -- understood how sports can shape public opinion. He helped inspire South Africa to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup on home soil, which he hoped -- correctly, as it turned out -- would help in bringing his country together.
On April 27, 1994, the day of his election, a Wednesday, there were 12 games played in Major League Baseball. The Yankees were in one, but on the road:
* The Yankees beat the Seattle Mariners, 12-2 at the Kingdome in Seattle. They had 5-run innings in the 3rd and the 5th, but only 1 home run, by Jim Leyritz. Scott Kamieniecki was the winning pitcher, over Dave Fleming.
* The New York Mets beat the San Diego Padres, 3-2 at Shea Stadium. The game went 15 innings, before Fernando Vina singled home a run.
* The Montreal Expos beat the San Francisco Giants, 7-1 at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal.
* The team then known as the Florida Marlins beat the Colorado Rockies, 3-2 at what was then named Joe Robbie Stadium in the suburb of Miami Gardens, Florida. (It's now Hard Rock Stadium.)
* The Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Cincinnati Reds, 3-1 at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh.
* The Cleveland Indians beat the Chicago White Sox, 8-7 at Jacobs (now Progressive) Field in Cleveland. The Pale Hose scored 2 runs in the top of the 12th inning, but the Tribe scored 3 in the bottom half, with a home run by Manny Ramirez, Matt Merullo drawing a walk, Kenny Lofton reaching on an error, and Mark Lewis doubling Merullo home.
* The Minnesota Twins beat the Milwaukee Brewers, 6-0 at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. Scott Erickson pitched a 4-hit shutout.
* The Texas Rangers beat the Toronto Blue Jays, 11-3 at what was then known as The Ballpark in the Dallas suburb of Arlington, Texas.
* On a rare day when both Texas teams were at home, the Houston Astros beat the Chicago Cubs, 8-5 at the Astrodome in Houston.
* The Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 5-4 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Veteran reliever Larry Andersen, forgetting the cliche that walks, especially the leadoff variety, can kill you, began the bottom of the 10th by walking Henry Rodriguez and Tim Wallach, and allowed an RBI single to Cory Snyder.
* On a rare day when both the Dodgers and the team then known as the California Angels were at home, the Angels lost to the Baltimore Orioles, 13-1 at Anaheim Stadium.
* And the Boston Red Sox beat the Oakland Athletics, 1-0 at the Oakland Coliseum. Former Met Ron Darling went the distance in defeat for the A's. In contrast, it took 3 BoSox to pitch a 2-hit shutout: Frank Viola (also a former Met), Scott Bankhead (a former Yankee) and Jeff Russell.
The NFL was in its offseason, but the NHL was into its Playoffs. The NBA had just ended its regular season, and its Playoffs were about to begin. There were 3 Stanley Cup Playoff games played that night, all of them Western Conference Quartefinals:
* The Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Chicago Blackhawks, 1-0 at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. Mike Eastwood scored the winner for the Leafs.
* The San Jose Sharks beat the Detroit Red Wings, 6-4 at the San Jose Arena (now the SAP Center at San Jose).
* And the Vancouver Canucks beat the Calgary Flames, 2-1 at the Saddledome in Calgary. Geoff Courtnall scored the overtime winner for the Canucks.