Friday, June 26, 2009

Historically Speaking: 6-26-09

Alas. Friday is upon us. Most teachers schedule something fun for Fridays. I ain't most teachers.

* Ingemar Johansson and Floyd Patterson got in the squared circle today in 1959 to see who would be the heavyweight boxing champion. Johansson took the title from Patterson via a technical knockout in the third round at Yankee Stadium. Patterson, who had held the title since shortly after Rocky Marciano's retirement as champ, faced Johansson twice consecutively after the victory, losing both bouts by way of knockout.

* Baltimore Oriole Frank Robinson hit two grand slams in a 12-2 win over the Washington Senators today in 1970. While Robinson's O's would go on to win the World Series that year, the slugger himself remains one of only 12 to ever accomplish the feat. Among the elite are Tony Lazzeri of the New York Yankees who, in 1936, was the first to do it, Nomar Garciaparra who did it with the Mariners in 1999 and is the only one of the 12 to hit both bases-loaded jacks in his home park, and Bill Mueller, who was not only the last player to do it (2003 with the Red Sox), he's the only hitter to hit the grand slams from both sides of the plate.

* The year was 1979 when Muhammad Ali announced his retirement from professional boxing at age 37. He retired as a champion, much like Ray Bourque of Colorado Avalanche fame, who retired today in 2001, 17 days after winning his first Stanley Cup in a 22-year National Hockey League career.

* Jennifer Capriati won Wimbledon today in 1990 becoming the youngest ever to win the tournament at the age of 14, and Jamaica won the World Cup today in 1998 becoming the first Caribbean team to win it in 60 years.

* The Charlotte Hornets, in 1991, made the University of Las Vegas-Nevada's Larry Johnson the National Basketball Association's number one overall pick. In his 10-year pro career, Johnson played in over 700 games with the Hornets and the New York Knicks. He drained over 4000 field goals, scored 11,450 points, pulled down 5300 rebounds, and accumulated 2298 assists, 515 steals, and 258 blocked shots. He won the NBA's rookie of the year in the 1991-92 season, made two All-Star squads, and his teams made the playoffs on six occasions.

And your Sports Illustrated quote of the day came from the mouth of... San Francisco Giants (among others) Manager Dave Bristol, who, in 1980, addressed his struggling team: "There'll be two buses leaving the hotel for the park tomorrow. The 2 o'clock bus will be for those of you who need a little extra work. The empty bus will be leaving at 5 o'clock."