Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Historically Speaking: 4-1-09

You can't very well run a feature like this one if you don't find at least one occasion to squeeze in a photo of this epic moment in sports history. The image of Orr scoring this Stanley Cup Finals goal all but cemented the Bruins championship against the St. Louis Blues who would lose their third consecutive cup finals in their three years in the league as an expansion team under bench boss Scotty Bowman. The Blues would make the bold move of firing Bowman, a decision they later filed under 'O' for oops. But enough about that. We've got hoops, boxing, and baseball to examine.

* The year was 1876 when the first National League baseball game took place. The result: a Boston victory over Philadelphia, 6-5.

* Joe Louis knocked out Harry Thomas in 1938. The match took five rounds in Chicago and was Louis' third defense of his heavyweight title. It was also in 1938 that the Baseball Hall of Fame opened in Cooperstown, NY.

* In 1970 the Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club purchased the Seattle Pilots for $10,800,000. The club was headed by one Allan H. "Bud" Selig. In scarcely related news, the Pilots had, just one year prior, traded Lou Piniella to the Kansas City Royals for outfielder Steve Whitaker and pitcher John Gelnar. Piniella would become the American League rookie of the year for the Royals.

* Ten years later, Wayne Gretzky surpassed Bobby Orr's season-assist record when he tallied helper number 103.

* Finally, we've a few later NCAA men's basketball championships today: In 1985, Villanova beat Georgetown 84-75; in 1991, Duke beat Kansas 72-65; five years later, Kentucky beat Syracuse 76-67 (Editor's Note: Hey look -- palindrome score!); and in 2002 (Note: Double whammy!), Maryland beat Indiana, 64-52.

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

...none other than the one, the only, Wayne Fontes. The former Detroit Lions head coach was asked, circa 1991, if he felt his job was in jeopardy, to which Fontes said no. His elaboration: "When I drive, the fans still wave to me, and all of their fingers show."