Tuesday, September 5, 2000
Updated: October 18, 6:40 PM ET
1938: War Admiral, the 1937 Triple Crown winner, is the 1-4 favorite over Seabiscuit in their mile and three-sixteenths race for $15,000 in Baltimore. The following is famed sportswriter Grantland Rice's reporting: "A little horse with the heart of a lion and flying feet of a gazelle proved his place as the gamest thoroughbred that ever raced over an American track.
"In one of the greatest match races ever run in the ancient history of the turf, the valiant Seabiscuit not only conquered the great War Admiral but, beyond this, he ran the beaten son of Man o' War into the dirt and dust of Pimlico.
"Head and head around the last turn, Seabiscuit, ably ridden by George Woolf, beat War Admiral by a full three lengths down the last furlong with a dazzling burst of speed that not only cracked the heart of the Admiral but, in addition, broke the track record, set by Pompoon. Seabiscuit took a fifth of a second from the track record, which he now holds at 1:56 3-5."
The five-year-old 'Biscuit, a grandson of Man o' War, pays $6.40 to his backers in the crowd of 40,000.
1959: What happens when one team has the best running back in NFL history and the other team has arguably the greatest quarterback?
Baltimore's Johnny Unitas gives a magnificent performance, throwing for four touchdowns and 397 yards. It's not enough.
Cleveland fullback Jim Brown runs for five touchdowns and 178 yards on 32 carries in leading the Browns to a 38-31 upset of the defending NFL champions in Baltimore. His first score is a 70-yard run in which he swivels through Baltimore's highly regarded defensive line and then flattens defensive back Ray Brown. His other touchdowns are from 17, three and two smashes from the one.
"I guess this is my most satisfying day," says the 228-pound bruiser who sports a tiny scratch at the side of his nose as a victory badge. "There's nothing like beating the champs. I do my best all the time, but I just may have been hitting with a little something extra out there today."
After the game, Colts coach Weeb Ewbank tells Brown, "We knew you were quite a runner, but you're even better than we thought."
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1972: To the surprise of absolutely no one, Steve Carlton is the unanimous choice of 24 baseball writers as the winner of the National League Cy Young Award. The tall lefthander, who went 27-10 and accounted for 46 percent of the Philadelphia Phillies' 59 victories, is the first to win the award on a last-place team.
A contract squabble between Carlton and St. Louis owner Gussie Busch led to the Cardinals trading Carlton for pitcher Rick Wise during spring training.
Carlton responded by leading the National League in victories, earned run average (1.97), starts (41), complete games (30), innings pitched (346 1/3) and strikeouts (310). In the 10 games Carlton lost, the Phillies scored 16 runs.
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1952: A fly ball hit by Willie Mays and caught by Joe DiMaggio in the 1951 World Series will lead to today's ruling by the Army that Mickey Mantle is unfit for military duty because of a chronic knee defect resulting from an injury suffered on the play. Mantle, then a rookie, caught his right foot on a drainpipe going after Mays' fly and underwent surgery to the knee.
The New York Yankees' 22-year-old centerfielder had previously been turned down for the military draft because of a history of osteomyelitis of the left leg. However, under a new ruling, men with osteomyelitis may now be accepted provided there have been no recurrences for two years.
After a slow start in 1952, Mantle finished third in the American League in batting at .311 and hit 23 homers. He had a better World Series this year than last, hitting .345 with two homers and five RBI in the Yankees' seven-game victory over the Brooklyn Dodgers. Mantle's solo homer broke a 2-2 tie in the sixth inning of the Yankees' 4-2 win in Game 7.
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1923: How often does a team owner set a playing record? But then, how many people are there like George Halas?
The Chicago Bears' founder, who had a brief career with the New York Yankees as an outfielder, sets an NFL record which will last for 49 years when he returns a fumble 98 yards for a touchdown. It comes in the Chicago Bears' 26-0 victory over the Oorang Indians at Cubs Park in Chicago.
The player who fumbled is none other than Jim Thorpe.
Besides playing end and owning the team, the 28-year-old Halas also coaches the Bears with Ed Sternaman.
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1927: It's not a good morning for Walter Hagen, the winner of eight majors. He falls two-down to Joe Turnesa halfway through their 36-hole match-play final in his bid to win his fourth consecutive PGA Championship. Turnesa stretches his lead to three holes by winning the first hole in the afternoon at Cedar Crest Country Club in Dallas.
Hagen reduces his deficit to one hole with nine remaining and then takes the lead by winning the 12th and 14th holes. He maintains it the rest of the way to record a one-up victory.
Besides setting a record of four straight PGA titles, it also is Hagen's fifth overall PGA triumph. Nobody will better than mark, though Jack Nicklaus will tie it 53 years later.
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1931: Jack Chesbro, who holds the 20th-century record of 41 victories in one season, dies suddenly from a heart attack on his chicken farm in Conway, Mass. He was 56.
Chesbro's best pitch was a spitball, saying it was the "most effective ball that possibly could be used." The 5-foot-9 righthander said he could make the ball drop two or three inches or a foot and a half.
Chesbro, nicknamed Happy Jack, had a 197-128 record in 11 seasons. His best season came in 1904, when he won 41 games with the New York Highlanders, now known as the Yankees. However, in going for his 42nd victory on the season's regularly scheduled final day with New York needing a sweep of Boston to take over first place, he threw a wild pitch with two outs in the ninth inning that allowed the winning run to score. This enabled the Red Sox to clinch the pennant.
That season Chesbro completed 48 games in 51 starts, both 20th-century records, and pitched 454 2/3 innings.
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1991: It's a sad day for basketball and Magic Johnson. The Los Angeles Lakers' versatile point guard, one of the most popular and outstanding players in the game, announces that he is retiring because he has been infected by the virus that causes AIDS.
Johnson says he learned only yesterday that he tested HIV positive and was advised that though he is healthy now, continued athletic involvement could harm his immune system. Johnson, whose uncanny passes and length-of-the-court drives were the focal point of the Lakers' Showtime offense, had led the team to five NBA championships in his 12 seasons.
At a press conference, Johnson says he wants young people "to understand that safe sex is the way to go. Sometimes we think, well, only gay people can get it -- 'It's not going to happen to me.' And here I am saying that it can happen to anybody, even me, Magic Johnson."
1959: No. 1 LSU puts its 19-game winning streak on the line when, trailing by a point, it goes for a two-point conversion in the fourth quarter against Tennessee in Knoxville. But Billy Cannon, who will win the Heisman Trophy this season, is gang-tackled short of the goal line and the Bayou Bengals lose, 14-13, ending their hopes of repeating as national champion.
Cannon outgains the 13th-ranked Vols, rushing for 122 yards while Tennessee has only 112 yards in total offense. But the Vols score their first touchdown on a 59-yard interception return to tie the game 7-7 in the third quarter and then take a 14-7 lead later in the period on a 14-yard run following an LSU fumble. Until those touchdowns, LSU has not allowed a point across its goal line in nine games.
After the two-point conversion fails, LSU has one more scoring opportunity, but Cannon loses a fumble at the Tennessee 20.
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1966: Eleven months after being traded from the Cincinnati Reds to the Baltimore Orioles, Frank Robinson becomes the only player to ever be voted the MVP in both leagues when he is a unanimous choice by the Baseball Writers' Association of America for the American League award.
The righthanded slugger, who had won the National League MVP in 1961 with the Reds, had a Triple Crown season with the Orioles, batting .316 average with 49 homers and 122 runs batted in. His performance sparked Baltimore to its first pennant and a four-game sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series.
The 31-year-old outfielder leads a 1-2-3 Orioles sweep in the voting as Brooks Robinson finishes second and Boog Powell third. For the first time since the writers began voting in 1931, no Yankee finishes in the top 10.
1970: Tom Dempsey, the New Orleans Saints placekicker, doesn't consider himself handicapped despite being born with half a right foot and a stub for a right hand. Using that half foot, Dempsey kicks an NFL record 63-yard field goal on the game's final play to give the Saints a 19-17 victory over the Detroit Lions in New Orleans.
"I knew I could kick the ball that far, but whether or not I could kick it straight that far kept running through my mind," says the 6-1, 264-pound Dempsey.
Wearing a special kicking shoe approved by the league, Dempsey breaks the previous record of 56 yards set by Baltimore's Bert Rechichar in 1953. Dempsey, who had been 5-of-15 on field goals going into the game, connects on 4-of-5 against Detroit.
Dempsey's record will be tied by Denver's Jason Elam, who will kick a 63-yard field goal in 1998.
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1946: Army had humiliated Notre Dame 59-0 and 48-0 the previous two seasons, but with the Fighting Irish having many of its players back from World War II, today's game is billed as the "Game of the Century." A crowd of some 74,000, including General Dwight Eisenhower, is at Yankee Stadium to watch No. 1 Army, the two-time defending national champions, and No. 2 Notre Dame. Both teams are unbeaten, with Army's winning streak at 25 games.
It is not the thrilling offensive spectacle that had been predicted despite the presence of four past and future Heisman Trophy winners (Glenn Davis and Doc Blanchard for Army, Johnny Lujack and Leon Hart for Notre Dame). Neither the slick, fast Cadets nor the deeper Irish can cross the goal line as the game ends in a scoreless tie.
It is the fourth straight time Army has failed to score against Notre Dame coach Frank Leahy, who is back after having served in the Navy the previous two years.
While Army will retain the No. 1 ranking in next week's poll, Notre Dame will be ranked first when the season ends.
1986: In the opening game of the season, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana had suffered a back injury. Today, 55 days after undergoing a two-hour operation to repair a herniated disk and two days after his doctor indicated that it would be crazy for Montana to play again, he's back.
It looks as if Montana's never been gone, as he connects with Jerry Rice for three touchdown passes, of 45, 40 and 44 yards. Given outstanding protection by his offensive line, Montana completes 13-of-19 passes for 270 yards in a 43-17 rout of the St. Louis Cardinals.
"We've gone to an awful lot of places with Joe," says right guard Randy Cross. "Armies fight hard for Lancelot; they fight even harder for King Arthur."
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1928: Scoreless at halftime against unbeaten and favored Army, it's the perfect time for Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne to invoke the death-bed wish of the late George Gipp, the Irish's All-American halfback in 1920. Gipp had asked Rockne that someday, when things looked tough for Notre Dame, for the coach to ask the team "to win one for the Gipper."
Rockne does. But more than his speech, it is a substitution that turns the game in Notre Dame's favor before some 85,000 fans at Yankee Stadium. With the game tied 6-6 in the fourth quarter and the Irish facing a fourth down on Army's 32-yard line, Rockne inserts Johnny O'Brien into the game. O'Brien goes long and when Johnny Niemiec hurls the pass, O'Brien catches it and falls into the end zone to give Notre Dame a 12-6 lead.
But Army isn't through, and All-American Chris Cagle leads the Cadets to the Notre Dame one-yard line with time running out. But the Irish, perhaps bolstered by the spirit of Gipp, hold the line, preserving the 12-6 upset. From somewhere up high, it is presumed that the Gipper nods his head in approval.
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1978: Nebraska hasn't beaten Oklahoma in six seasons, since winning the 1971 "Game of the Century." But the No. 4-ranked Cornhuskers end their frustration today in Lincoln, Neb., thanks to top-ranked Oklahoma fumbling away the ball six times.
Billy Sims, the unbeaten Sooners' 6-foot, 205-pound running back, will win the Heisman Trophy later this year, but this is not one of his better games even though he rushes for 153 yards and scores touchdowns on runs of 44 and 30 yards. After Nebraska's Billy Todd kicks a tie-breaking 24-yard field goal with 11:51 left in the game, Sims, the nation's leading rusher, fumbles twice in Nebraska territory in the final 8 1/2 minutes. The second lost fumble is at the three-yard line with 3:27 remaining.
Nebraska, which had scored both its touchdowns following Oklahoma fumbles, runs out the clock to preserve its 17-14 victory.
1984: The Edmonton Oilers had ended last season skating with the Stanley Cup and began this season with 12 victories and three ties in their first 15 games, a National Hockey League record to start a season. But Philadelphia has troubled the Oilers, who haven't defeated the Flyers in their past five meetings over two seasons.
The Flyers continue their excellent play against the Oilers, halting their 15-game unbeaten streak with a 7-5 victory tonight at the Spectrum in Philadelphia. Wayne Gretzky scores two goals for Edmonton, but it's a goal by Mark Howe that breaks a 4-4 tie and propels the Flyers to victory.
The Oilers will finally find a way to defeat the Flyers six months later, when they whip Philadelphia in five games in the Stanley Cup finals.
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1920: In the dark days following the Black Sox scandal, baseball faces an uncertain future. To sanitize the game's soiled image, the owners hire baseball's first commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, a tough-minded United States District Court judge.
In Chicago, Landis receives a seven-year contract to be the Supreme Court of baseball, with an annual salary of $42,500. Landis also will retain his district judgeship and its $7,500 salary.
After getting his new job, Landis, who was named for Kenesaw Mountain, near Atlanta, where his father was wounded in the Civil War, meets alone with Washington Senators owner Clark Griffith, a personal friend. He points to the kids playing in the street.
"Grif, we've got to keep baseball on a high standard for the sake of the youngsters," Landis says. "That's why I took the job, because I want to help."
1988: Barry Sanders, Oklahoma State's magnificent tailback, breaks the NCAA season touchdown record by scoring five times against Kansas in a 63-24 rout in Stillwater, Okla. Sanders has 31 touchdowns in nine games, breaking the record of 29 set by Penn State's Lydell Mitchell in 1971 and tied by Nebraska's Mike Rozier in 1983.
Sanders gains 312 yards on 37 carries, enabling him to become the third player in NCAA history to crack 2,000 yards in a season. He will run for 625 yards in Oklahoma State's next two games, setting an NCAA record of 937 yards in three consecutive games.
The 5-foot-8, 195-pound junior will finish the season with 2,628 rushing yards and 39 touchdowns, both still-standing NCAA records. He also will win the Heisman Trophy in a landslide and then turn pro.
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1982: Before his fight against WBA lightweight champion Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini, 23-year-old South Korean Duk Koo Kim taped a sign on his hotel room wall: "Kill or be killed."
Today's fight in Las Vegas is a war, with both fighters dishing out incredible punishment. In the 13th round, Mancini unleashes a 39-punch sequence, but Kim finishes the round. Early in the 14th, two thunderous right hands to Kim's head drop the challenger, who somehow gets off the canvas before the count of 10. Referee Richard Greene ends the fight anyway.
Moments later, Kim collapses, and he's carried from the Caesars Palace ring on a stretcher. He undergoes 2 1/2 hours of surgery to relieve a blood clot in his brain. He will never regain consciousness and he will die five days later.
"It was murderous," says Mancini's manager, Dave Wolf, immediately after the fight, unaware at the time that the comment would soon take on a macabre ring.
1985: Lynette Woodard, the first woman Harlem Globetrotter, makes her North American debut with the touring team. The former Kansas guard, the most prolific scorer in women's collegiate basketball history with more than 3,600 points, scores seven points in a quarter and a half as the Globetrotters beat the Washington Generals -- of course -- before a less than capacity crowd of 3,250 in Spokane Coliseum in Washington.
"This is the opportunity of the century, the first time in history," says Woodard, who had joined the Trotters during their tour through Australia.
She was first turned on to Globetrotter magic by her cousin, Geese Ausbie, a Trotter star who left the team last spring. She was the captain of the U.S. women's team that won the gold medal at the 1984 Olympics at Los Angeles.
Woodard will play two years with the Globetrotters before leaving the team because she believed the organization hampered her freedom to pursue outside interests while touring with the team.
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1956: Mickey Mantle won the Triple Crown with a .353 average, 52 home runs and 130 runs batted in as the New York Yankees won their seventh pennant (and sixth World Series) in eight years. So today's announcement that Mantle is the unanimous selection as the American League MVP is no surprise.
The 25-year-old switch-hitting centerfielder is the first Yankee other than Babe Ruth to hit 50 homers in a season. He also led the AL with 132 runs and a .705 slugging percentage.
Mantle's teammate Yogi Berra, a three-time MVP, finishes a distant second in voting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
1970: Marshall University's football team suffers one of America's greatest sports tragedies. Returning to Huntington, West Va., after a 17-14 loss to East Carolina, the Thundering Herd's charter crashes on its approach to the runway at the Tri-State Airport in the Appalachian Mountains. All 75 aboard, including 70 passengers, are killed. Among the dead are 37 players and five coaches, with boosters making up the majority of the remaining passengers.
Eyewitnesses report the DC-9 struck the top of a hill, skidded down into a valley and exploded.
A memorial service commemorating the disaster will be held every year at Marshall.
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1943: Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis summons Philadelphia Phillies owner William Cox to a hearing in New York on gambling charges, including allegations that he bet on his Phillies to win.
Three days later, Cox will announce he's stepping down as team president and that he plans on selling his share of the Phillies.
Five days after this, Landis will bar Cox from baseball for life for making about 15 or 20 bets through a bookmaker of between $25 to $100 per game on the Phillies. Also on this day, Cox will announce the sale of his shares of the Phillies to Robert Carpenter Sr., chairman of the board of Du Pont, for $400,000, with the understanding that Robert Carpenter Jr., 28, will run the Phillies.
1960: The previous year, the Lakers' last in Minneapolis, acrobatic forward Elgin Baylor set an NBA record by scoring 64 points. Tonight, early in the Lakers' first season in Los Angeles, the 6-foot-5 Baylor breaks his own mark by scoring 71 points in a 123-108 victory over the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
In becoming the only NBA forward to ever score more than at least 70 points, Baylor makes 28 field goals and 15 foul shots. He is as unpredictable as he is unstoppable. Scoring a good number of his points on orthodox drives and tap-ins, he also makes quite a few shots from angles that seem impossible.
1987: For the past few weeks, Herschel Walker was the Dallas Cowboys' fullback, blocking for Tony Dorsett. Today, in his first start of the season at tailback, the bruising running back rushes for a career-high 173 yards, including a 60-yard run in overtime that gives the Cowboys a 23-17 victory over the New England Patriots in Foxboro, Mass. Until San Francisco's Garrison Hearst runs 96 yards for a touchdown in overtime in 1998, Walker's dash was the NFL record for longest overtime touchdown run.
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1940: Everyone makes mistakes -- even referees. Red Friesell makes a huge one when he allows powerful Cornell a fifth down in the final seconds and the Big Red scores on a six-yard touchdown pass for an apparent 7-3 victory over Dartmouth at Hanover, N.H.
But two days later, after reviewing films of the game at Dartmouth's urging, Friesell will admit he made a mistake and that Dartmouth should have taken over on downs after a fourth-down pass was incomplete. Though there are no rules compelling the outcome to be changed, in an unprecedented act of sportsmanship Cornell will relinquish all claims to the win.
The game will go into the books as a 3-0 Dartmouth victory, ending Cornell's 18-game unbeaten streak.
1980: Earl Campbell, the Houston Oilers' bullish running back, continues his rampage through NFL defenses. For the third time in five games, he runs for more than 200 yards, accumulating 206 on 31 carries in Houston's 10-6 victory over the Bears in Chicago.
The Tyler Rose will tack on another 200-yard game in the season-finale in December, becoming the only player to ever record four in one year. No other back would run for 200 yards -- not even once -- this season.
Campbell will finish as the AFC's leading rusher with an Oilers' record 1,934 yards, 474 yards more than the NFC's top rusher, Walter Payton.
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1968: It's difficult which organization appears more embarrassed, the New York Jets or NBC. With 65 seconds remaining, the Jets kick a field goal to take a 32-29 lead over the Raiders in Oakland. It's 7 p.m. EST, and NBC cuts off its coverage of the game with 50 seconds remaining (except on the West Coast) to begin the two-hour children's movie "Heidi."
The Raiders score two touchdowns in nine seconds to register a 43-32 victory. Thousands of angry fans call NBC, complaining of the decision to abandon the game. The load of calls causes the NBC switchboard to break down. Many callers, unable to reach NBC, call the Police Department and tie up the emergency police number for several hours.
"NBC made a mistake," a network spokesman says. "It regrets it deeply."
The game will forever be known as the "Heidi Bowl."
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1985: New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor has been on many highlight films, but this is one he wishes he didn't appear on. Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann wishes it even more.
On a flea-flicker, the 36-year-old Theismann squirms away from linebacker Harry Carson, but the 243-pound Taylor, the Giants' most feared athlete, leaps and tackles the 198-pound quarterback from the rear. Theismann's right leg twists sideways beneath him as he goes down.
"Joe screamed and we got off as fast as we could," says Giants noseguard Jim Burt, who was on top of the pile, after the Redskins' 23-21 victory.
Theismann is taken to Arlington Hospital, where doctors operate on a compound multiple fracture of the right leg. He will never play again.
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1966: Notre Dame's second "Game of the Century" in 20 years ends the way the first one did -- in a tie. The Fighting Irish, who played Army to a scoreless tie in 1946, settles for a 10-10 deadlock against No. 2 Michigan State in the battle of unbeatens in East Lansing, Mich.
No. 1-ranked Notre Dame, behind second-string sophomore quarterback Coley O'Brien, rallies from a 10-point second-quarter deficit. It ties the game on Joe Azzaro's 28-yard field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter. However, a missed 41-yard field goal by Azzaro keeps the game tied.
With 1:24 left, Notre Dame gets the ball back on its own 30-yard line. The Irish has completed just 8-of-24 passes and coach Ara Parseghian refuses to test the Bubba Smith-led defense. He plays for the tie and lets the clock expire.
Though Notre Dame doesn't win the game, it will remain first in the polls and will win the national championship.
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1960: The Philadelphia Eagles' Chuck Bednarik shows how mean and violent the game of football can be. When the New York Giants' Frank Gifford goes up for a pass late in the game, Bednarik, a nasty linebacker, viciously cracks into Gifford, who coughs up the ball. The Eagles recover to assure a 17-10 victory.
While Gifford lays unconscious on the Yankee Stadium field, Bednarik stands over him and brandishes his fist in an air of triumph. "There's this picture of me like I'm drooling over the guy and Frank is deader than a door nail," Bednarik says years later. The Hall of Famer is proud of the picture and will give away autographed copies, signing it with an expletive and the words "Hello Frank."
Gifford suffers a deep concussion and the Giants' leading runner from 1956-59 will retire from football in 1961. However, he will change his mind in 1962 and return to the Giants, playing wide receiver for the final three years of his career.
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1934: Though Joe DiMaggio was slowed by a knee injury last season, the New York Yankees think enough of the centerfielder to acquire him from the San Francisco Seals for five players to be named later and cash, reportedly between $25,000 and $50,000.
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound DiMaggio, who will be 20 in four days, set a Pacific Coast League record by hitting in 61 consecutive games as an 18-year-old in 1933. Last season, a wrenched knee limited him to 101 games, but he still drove in 69 runs and batted .341.
After remaining with the Seals in 1935, DiMaggio will silence those critics who questioned his knee by hitting .323 with 206 hits, 29 homers, 132 runs and 125 RBI as a rookie with the Yankees in 1936 and helping them win the first of four consecutive World Series.
1931: Notre Dame, in its first post-Knute Rockne season, appears to be headed for its third consecutive national championship as Hunk Anderson's undefeated team leads Southern Cal 14-0 going into the final period in South Bend.
But the Trojans rally. Two touchdown runs by Gaius Shaver cut the deficit to 14-13 with four minutes remaining. After getting the ball back, USC completes two long passes for 73 yards -- its only two successes in 11 attempts. With a minute left, John Baker kicks a 33-yard field goal to give the Trojans a 16-14 victory and end Notre Dame's title aspirations before some 52,000 fans.
In losing for the first time in 27 games, the Irish complete only 1-of-10 passes for 25 yards.
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1965: Though he changed his name after defeating Sonny Liston for the heavyweight crown last year, The New York Times, like most of the media, continues to call the champion Cassius Clay instead of Muhammad Ali.
About the champ's second title defense, The Times' Robert Lipsyte writes: "Like a little boy pulling off the wings of a butterfly piecemeal, Cassius Clay mocked and humiliated and punished Floyd Patterson for almost 12 rounds tonight until the referee halted their heavyweight championship bout because the challenger was 'outclassed.'"
The 23-year-old champ came into the fight angry with Patterson, who said he was going to snatch the heavyweight title from the unworthy head of this loud-mouthed Black Muslim.
During his domination of the fight at the Las Vegas Convention Center, the champion screamed, "No contest, get me a contender." In the 12th round, with Patterson practically out on his feet, the white customers yelled, "Put him away, Clay," while the Black Muslims screamed, "Knock him out, Ali."
1981: Air Coryell is explosive and can beat defenses with its many weapons. Today, it's Kellen Winslow's turn. The future Hall of Fame tight end catches five touchdown passes, tying an NFL record set by Bob Shaw of the Chicago Cardinals in 1950, as Don Coryell's San Diego Chargers crush the Raiders, 55-21, in Oakland.
Winslow is on the receiving end of four touchdown passes from quarterback Dan Fouts and one from running back Chuck Muncie on an option play.
Fouts, also a future Hall of Famer, finishes with six touchdown passes, one shy of the league record but still a San Diego mark.
1925: The day after ending his career at Illinois, three-time All-American halfback Red Grange goes against the advice of both his father and his coach and turns professional.
C.C. Pyle, a Champaign theater owner and promoter, has negotiated an elaborate deal with Chicago Bears owner and coach George Halas. The contract will earn Grange about $100,000. He will play his first game in four days, on Thanksgiving, against the Chicago Cardinals. It will be the start of a hectic schedule that is part NFL, but mostly barnstorming. The Bears will play 19 games in 17 cities in 67 days; Grange will play in 17 games, missing two because of injury.
Grange's jump to play for pay brings credibility to the pro game and shocks the collegiate world. "I'd have been more popular with the colleges if I had joined Capone's mob in Chicago rather than the Bears," Grange said.
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1984: On a wing and prayer, Boston College shows it's not a fluke, but Flutie. That's Doug Flutie, who will clinch the Heisman Trophy with one magnificent "Hail Mary" throw.
Trailing 45-41 with six seconds left and the ball on Miami's 48-yard line, Flutie calls for "Flood Tip," Boston College's version of everybody go deep. The 5-foot-9 3/4 quarterback scrambles back and to his right, giving four receivers time to reach the end zone. From his own 37-yard line, he plants his left foot and lets it fly, 64 yards in the air.
No tip is needed. The ball goes over two Miami defenders and settles poetically into the waiting arms of Flutie's roommate, Gerard Phelan, a yard deep in the end zone. The touchdown gives the Eagles an incredible 47-45 victory over the defending national champions in Miami's Orange Bowl.
Earlier in the game, Flutie had become the first to ever pass for more than 10,000 yards in a major-college career. Until today, no two college quarterbacks had ever surpassed 300 yards apiece in one game. Flutie finishes with 472 yards, while Miami's Bernie Kosar throws for 447.
1975: Minnesota Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton, in his 15th year in the NFL, eclipses Johnny Unitas' record for all-time pass completions. The 35-year-old Tarkenton connects with Ed Marino for a four-yard gain, the 2,831st completion of his career, as Minnesota raises its record to 10-0 with a 28-13 victory over the San Diego Chargers in Bloomington, Minn.
Tarkenton will be voted the league's MVP this season. He will finish his Hall of Fame career in 1978 with 3,686 completions, as well as having the records for attempts (6,467), yards (47,003) and touchdowns (342). The Miami Dolphins' Dan Marino will break all four of Tarkenton's records.
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1963: Two days after President John F. Kennedy's shocking assassination in Dallas horrifies the nation, as Americans mourn the tragedy of his passing, the games of the NFL are played. It is the decision of Commissioner Pete Rozelle not to cancel or postpone the schedule.
Though Rozelle is criticized and later regrets the decision, he stands firm today, believing that Kennedy would have wanted it that way.
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1980: When Sugar Ray Leonard lost his welterweight crown to Roberto Duran in June, he blamed himself for getting into a street brawl because he didn't like Duran's way. In New Orleans, Leonard conquers his stubbornness and boxes the Panamanian macho man into submission.
His taunting gets under the skin of the fighter known for his "Fists of Stone." The worst humiliation comes in the seventh round when Leonard winds up his right hand, as if to throw a bolo punch, and then surprises the 72-1 Duran by slapping a left jab in his face.
With 16 seconds left in the eighth round, Duran, whose professional life had been built upon the precepts of Latin American machismo, has enough. He tells the referee, "No mas, no mas." And the myth of Duran's invincibility is shattered.
After regaining his title, Leonard says, "To make a man quit, to make a Roberto Duran quit, was better than knocking him out."
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Track and Field:
1956: Rev. Bob Richards perhaps has some divine intervention helping him in the pole-vault competition at the Olympics in Melbourne, though he will say it was just the wind. Laying on his back in the sawdust pit for 30 seconds, he gazes up at the crossbar, which had tipped as if to tumble after he had brushed it. While the bar bounces and quivers, it does not fall.
"I was scared to change my position in the pit in case the slightest vibration brought it down," says Richards, who emerges from the pit smiling for the first time during the competition. His hands are pointed to heaven in an attitude of prayer. When American teammate Bob Gutowski misses his next vault at 14-feet, 11½ inches, "Parson Bob" becomes the only pole vaulter to win two Olympic gold medals and three overall.
Richards' 14-11½ leaps sets a then-Olympic record, breaking the mark of 14-11 he established in winning at Helsinki in 1952. "The Vaulting Vicar" had won a bronze medal at the 1948 Games in London.
The wholesome Richards will receive even more fame as the first athlete featured on a Wheaties box.
1991: Six months after coaching the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Stanley Cup, Bob Johnson dies at age 60 of brain cancer at his home in Colorado Springs, Colo., where he had been confined since undergoing an operation in August to remove a brain tumor.
Johnson was the first American to coach a Stanley Cup champion since World War II, and only the second to ever accomplish the feat (Bill Stewart did it with Chicago in 1938). Before moving to the NHL, "Badger Bob" led Wisconsin to three NCAA championships. An optimist who lived for the game, he also coached the U.S. Olympic team in 1976 and was to coach the team again in 1992.
"Winning the Cup was the one unfinished thing in Bob's life," said Johnson's wife Martha.
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1947: Ted Williams hit .406 in 1941 -- and lost the American League MVP award to Joe DiMaggio. "The Splendid Splinter" won the Triple Crown this season -- and he again loses the MVP to "Joltin' Joe."
This time, Williams is beaten by one vote. Incredibly, one writer (Mel Webb) does not even list the Boston Red Sox left fielder on his 10-man ballot. Williams (.343, 32 homers and 114 RBI) receives only three of 24 first-place votes.
DiMaggio (.315, 20 homers and 97 RBI) receives eight first-place votes after helping the Yankees win the pennant by 12 games over second-place Detroit and 14 games over third-place Boston.
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1929: The final score is Chicago Bears 6, Ernie Nevers 40. That's right. The 26-year-old Nevers, who had been coaxed out of retirement before the season, gives one of the great NFL performances. The 205-pound fullback rushes for six touchdowns and kicks four extra points in leading the Chicago Cardinals to a Thanksgiving Day victory before some 7,000 fans at Comiskey Park.
Nevers' 40 points is the NFL's oldest standing record. He is the only NFL player to ever run for six touchdowns in a game, though two others (Cleveland's Dub Jones in 1951 and the Bears' Gale Sayers in 1965) will also score six TDs.
1942: Only special guests and those living within a 10-mile radius of the Annapolis State House are allowed to attend the Army-Navy game because of wartime travel restrictions. With the absence of the Cadet corps (except for a few exceptions), the White House orders half of the 3,200 midshipman to root for Army.
This is one order, though, that the third and fourth battalions do not heed. They ignore their assignment and join with the first and second battalions in whooping it up for their underdog team. And they have plenty to be wildly enthusiastic about, too, as Navy pulls off a stunning 14-0 upset before a crowd estimated at 15,000, instead of the usual 100,000-plus in recent years when the games were played in Philadelphia.
1939: James Naismith, the "Father of Basketball," dies at age 78 of a heart ailment following a cerebral hemorrhage in Lawrence, Kan. His death comes three years after basketball became an official Olympic sport and 20 years before he will become the first individual inducted into the Hall of Fame that will bear his name.
As a gym teacher at the Springfield (Mass.) Men's Christian Association Training School in 1891, the Canadian-born Naismith invented basketball when he set out to develop a new indoor game. The result was a game with a large ball and two suspended peach baskets, 10 feet above the court, because that was the height of a balcony at each end of the gym to which the baskets were attached. Naismith envisioned the game as one for the masses, and the first encounter had nine on a side.
In 1898, he joined the faculty at Kansas and also became its first basketball coach. He is the only Kansas coach to post a losing record, 55-60 in nine seasons. He became the director of physical education and continued to teach until 1937.
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1992: In a freak collision, New York Jets defensive end Dennis Byrd's helmet and shoulder slam into teammate Scott Mersereau's chest as they converge on Kansas Chiefs quarterback Dave Krieg in the third quarter at the Meadowlands. Byrd, who is taken off the field on a stretcher and taken to a hospital, keeps asking the Jets' doctors and trainers, "Am I going to be paralyzed? Am I going to be paralyzed?"
The answer, unfortunately, is yes. Byrd suffers a broken neck and he is paralyzed from the waist down.
Byrd will undergo spinal surgery and then will begin a rehabilitation program. Almost miraculously, Byrd will be walking with the help of two canes by February 1993. On opening day of the next season, he will return to the Meadowlands for the first time since his paralyzing accident, walking unaided onto the field before the game.
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1946: A powerful Army team is unbeaten in 27 games (26-0-1) with Mr. Inside (fullback Doc Blanchard) and Mr. Outside (Glenn Davis) and expects to make fodder of Navy in the season finale. But the Midshipmen, 28-point underdogs after losing seven consecutive games, rally from a 21-6 halftime deficit and are three yards away from pulling off the huge upset of No. 1 Army.
Before some 100,000 fans in Philadelphia's Municipal Stadium, including a hot-dog eating President Harry Truman, the Cadets regroup and their goal-line stand in the final 90 seconds preserves their 21-18 victory.
Besides throwing a scare into Army's juggernaut, Navy's gritty performance also gives it one more parcel of satisfaction. It prevents the Cadets from winning their third consecutive national championship, as No. 2 Notre Dame, after crushing Southern California, will leapfrog Army in the polls.
Davis will have to be content with concluding his career with the Heisman Trophy, after Blanchard had won it in 1945.
1987: A month into his "hobby" as a professional football player, Los Angeles Raider running back Bo Jackson gives a scintillating performance on "Monday Night Football." Jackson, who says his main job is as an outfielder for the Kansas City Royals, sets a Raiders record by running for 221 yards and scoring three touchdowns in a 37-14 victory over the Seattle Seahawks.
One of Jackson's 18 carries is a memorable 91-yard touchdown burst that carries him into a Kingdome tunnel.
In the Raiders' media guide, when it highlights this game, it ignores Jackson's performance. It says, "Raiders become the first NFL team to win 250 league games since 1960" and "win raises Raiders' Monday Night Football record to league-best 25-5-1."
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