Monday, June 22, 2009

Historically Speaking: 6-22-09

So the first day of summer was yesterday, which means that from here through mid-September, you'll be able to cook an egg on most any Kansas City sidewalk faster than you can on a gas range. My advice? Stay inside. And of course, study your sports history.

* It was today in 1937 when Joe Louis knocked out James J. Braddock in the 18th round in Chicago for the heavyweight boxing title. Though Braddock had been the champion for over two years, his bout with Louis was his first title defense. Louis maintained the belt for over a decade, spanning 25 successful defenses. He retired as the champ in 1949, but came back to take on his replacement in Ezzard Charles, who defeated him by way of a unanimous decision at Yankee Stadium in September 1950.

* A few other boxing notes have occurred on June 22: Louis, in his fourth title defense, disposed of Max Schmeling in 124 seconds on June 22, 1938 in New York City; Charles officially became champion on this day in 1949 when he claimed a unanimous-decision victory over Jersey Joe Wolcott in Chicago; 30 years later, a champion by the name of Larry Holmes defeated Mike Weaver via technical knockout in the 12th at Madison Square Gardens; and in 1996, Michael Moorer beat Axel Schulz via a unanimous decision in Stuttgart, Germany for the International Boxing Federation championship. Schulz had lost a bout for the vacated title in December of the previous year to a fighter named Frans Botha, who later had his belt stripped for steroid use. Thus, the IBF title was vacant again when Schulz and Moorer squared off.

* For those who like to talk Major League Baseball, pitchers, and Cooperstown, the year was 1976 when Robin Roberts and Bob were inducted into baseball's hall. They called it a career with 286 and 207 wins, respectively.

* Some June 22 National Hockey League history: It was today in 1979 when former World Hockey Association clubs the Edmonton Oilers, the Hartford Whalers, the Quebec Nordiques, and the Winnipeg Jets joined the NHL; in 1983 when the league instituted a five-minute, sudden-death overtime period; and it was today in 1991 when the Nordiques, with the first overall pick in the draft, took a turd by the name of Eric Lindros.

* Finally, Reggie Jackson, in 1982, had had enough wearing pinstripes. He then donned the attractive green and yellow of Oakland, landing a four-year, million-dollar-per-season deal with the Athletics.

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

...a fella by the name of Jack Elway. In 1983, then a San Jose State Football coach, Elway said his son John "is a great football player. He used to be my son. Now I'm his father."