Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Historically Speaking: 4-22-09

Things are lookin' a little better today in the realm of interesting trivia. Since you asked, I'm getting absolutely rocked by noted animal-lover Rustoleum in fantasy baseball this week, which is a shame in more ways than any of us have time to get into, so that said, head past the hop for things folks in the real world might find interesting.

* Think we'll open and close with some pitching feats today. For starters (Editor' Note: No pun intended.) Babe Ruth made his professional pitching debut in 1914 with the Baltimore Orioles, earning himself a six-hit shutout. Less than three months later, the contracts of Ruth, Ernie Shore, and Ben Egan were sold to the Boston Red Sox.

* Couple of ancient-ish Toronto Maple Leaf championships happened today: The Leaves won the Stanley Cup over Detroit, four games to three in 1945, and again in 1962 when they beat Chicago four games to two.

* Today in 1947 was the first NBA championship. The Philadelphia Warriors took care of the Chicago Stags, four games to two. And, hey -- I'll be damned. We go all the way back to today in 1954 when the NBA adopted the 24-second shot clock, and the six team-foul rule.

* The year was 1969 when, in Houston, Joe Frazier knocked out Dave Zyglewicz in the first round to retain his title of heavyweight champ. Frazier had earned the title two years earlier when it was decided that he and Buster Mathis would fight for the vacant belt that had been taken from Muhammad Ali. The knockout of Zyglewicz was his third defense since winning the championship.

* Finally, in 1981, L.A. Dodger Fernando Valenzuela hurls his third shutout in four starts. The lefty tosses 11 strikeouts and nets the game's only RBI with a single, giving his club the 1-0 edge over Houston.

And your Sports Illustrated quote of the day came from the mouth of... Minnesota Twins pitcher Jim DeShaies, who, right around 15 years ago, chose to ignore baseball tradition and change dugout seats with teammate Scott Erickson during Erickson's no-hitter. When asked about it, DeShaies said, "I think everybody gets caught up in superstitions. But I don't put much stock in them -- knock on wood."