Thursday, June 25, 2009

Historically Speaking: 6-25-09

Well, another work week has nearly passed us by, which may or may not lend one to unbutton the shirt a bit and relax. Just make sure you get your homework done before you go out and play.

* In what afterwards thought to be the final fight of his professional career, Joe Louis defeated Jersey Joe Wolcott today at Yankee Stadium in 1948. The 11th-round knockout preceded Louis' decision to retire as champion, which preceded one comeback attempt, a unanimous-decision loss to Ezzard Charles two years later, also at Yankee Stadium. Louis' victory over Walcott was his second consecutive, the first coming six months prior, a split-decision win at Madison Square Garden.

* Pancho Gonzalez and Charles Pasarell vollied a tennis ball through 112 games at Wimbeldon today in 1969. The five-hour, 12-minute dual was the longest in the tournament's history.

* An interesting Major League Baseball thing happened today in 1976: Texas Ranger shortstop Toby Harrah became the first at his position to play through an entire double-header without a fielding chance. The shortstop displayed a balancing act, however, logging six hits through both games including a grand slam in the first tilt and another long ball in the second.

* Today in 1985, ABC's "Monday Night Football" debuted with a killer broadcast trio: Frank Gifford, Joe Namath, and Orenthal James Simpson.

* Twelve years ago today, the National Hockey League approved expansion franchises in Atlanta (Thrashers), Columbus (Blue Jackets), Minnesota (Wild), and Nashville (Predators). Professional hockey was new to both Columbus and Nashville, while Atlanta and Minnesota both previously hosted franchises. The Flames played in Atlanta from 1972-80 before moving to Calgary; the North Stars called Minneapolis-St. Paul home 1967-93 before relocating to Dallas.

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

...Kansas City Royals Hall of Fame pitcher Steve Busby, who, in 1975, compared his arm to an MLB HoFer: "I throw the ball harder than Nolan Ryan. It just doesn't get there as fast."