Thursday, February 12, 2009

Historically Speaking: 2-12-09

The advent of sports equipment makes one wonder how badly guys suffered before things like the catcher's mask, the hockey helmet, the protective cup, and other pieces of gear we wouldn't play without today. Foul-tipped fastball to the tooth? The orbital? Slapshot to the twig and berries? No thanks...

* Frederick W. Thayer earned himself a spot in the annals when, in 1878, he patented baseball's catcher's mask.

* Today in 1879, the first artificial ice rink opened in North America at New York City's Madison Square Garden.

* Leaping ahead nearly a century, North and South Korea pooled their resources in 1991 for the purposes of putting together a rock-star ping pong team.

* Three years later, the 17th Winter Olympic Games opened in Lillehamer, Norway.

* Finally, in 2002, Major League Baseball approved the sale of the Florida Marlins and the Montreal Expos.

And your Sports Illustrated quote of the day came from the mouth of...

...Denver Nugget broadcaster Dan Issel, who said, "This will be the first time the referee drops the ball," as he awaited the opening tip between Denver's 5'10" Michael Adams and the 5'3" Muggsy Bogues of the Charlotte Hornets in 199o.