Monday, February 16, 2009

Historically Speaking: President's Day 2009

Joe Frazier is probably my all-time favorite boxer. Though I know little about the former champ, I know he was one heck of a fighter. Gotta give some props to someone who battled Muhammed Ali three times, and did a darn fine job in each instance.

* Today in 1970, Joe Frazier defeated Jimmy Ellis via a technical knockout in the fifth, and became the heavyweight champion of the world. He would hold the title for nearly three years before losing to George Foreman, the first loss of his professional career.

* Shortly before Foreman would become the champ, Los Angeles Laker Wilt Chamberlain became the first NBA'er to reach the 30,000 point mark. Chamberlain would achieve the mark in a contest against the Phoenix Suns.

* The Washington Capitals notched their first shutout in 1975, winning a contest 3-0 against the lowly Kansas City Scouts, who would only net 27 wins in their two seasons in KC before relocating to Denver and becoming the Rockies.

* Five years ago today, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig approved a trade between the New York Yankees and the Texas Rangers. New York would get the steroid-laden Alex Rodriguez; Texas would get Alfonso Soriano and a minor-league player.

* One year later, the National Hockey League announced that its 2004-05 season would be cancelled to due a labor dispute, marking the first time -- and I quote -- that a "major sports league in North America" would forego an entire season due to labor disagreements.

And your Sports Illustrated quote of the day came from the mouth of Senior PGA Tour golfer Chi Chi Rodriguez, who, circa 1992, observed a massive John Daly drive in a Florida exhibition.

Rodriguez said, "When I was a kid, I didn't go that far on vacation."