Thursday, August 27, 2009

Historically Speaking: Skirt Check

It's a fun-filled Thursday morning here inside the House of Georges. Click on past the jump for a couple of facts watered down with splashes of speculation.

* The year was 1889 when George LaBlanche defeated Jack "Nonpareil" Dempsey for the first loss of Dempsey's career. The Irish-born middleweight boxing champion, born John Edward Kelly, would lose but three times in 65 fights before dying of tuberculosis a month before his 34th birthday. His name is frequently confused with that of the heavyweight champion Dempsey, who, known as the Manassa (CO) Mauler, went 66-6 with 51 knockouts and five straight title defenses in the early 1920s. LaBlanche's 1889 victory over Dempsey was later overturned as the Canadian's "pivot punch" was deemed illegal.

* In 1921, the Acme Packing Company, most notably famous for repeatedly selling its products to Wile E. Coyote, purchased a pro football team. A.C.P.'s owner J.E. Clair honored his plant workers by naming the club -- the Packers -- after them. Though rumored, it was never determined if Acme attempted to sell the franchise to Coyote.

* Today in 1976 the United States Tennis Association decided to prohibit Renee Richards from competition in the U.S. Open. This decision was made not because Richards used performance-enhancing drugs or gambled on tennis, but because Richards was born Richard Raskind, but became Renee Richards, if you know what I mean, in 1975. Richards disputed the ban, and the following year, the New York Supreme Court ruled in his her favor.

* Same day, following year, the Texas Rangers played a game of baseball at Yankees Stadium, edging out New York, 8-2. During the contest, Toby Harrah and Bump Willis hit back-to-back inside-the-park home runs in the seventh inning.

* 'Twas 1982, when Oakland A R.N.H. Henderson stole four bases in a game against the Brewers of Milwaukee. The four swipes put his season total at 122, breaking Lou Brock's former record of 118. Henderson would end the year with 130, but never really come close to that number ever again. In fact, after '82, he didn't do much of anything except toy with 30 home runs a couple of times.

And your Sports Illustrated quote of the day came from the mouth of... Minnesota Viking third-string quarterback Steve Bono, who, in 1985, was asked his thoughts on one day replacing Tommy Kramer (starter) and Wade Wilson (backup). His response: "If I'm fortunate, in five or six years, I'll be the one being booed. He was only five years shy and one team north of being correct.