1974: 1974: With negotiations having broken off over what NFL players term "freedom issues," they go on strike. The players are seeking a bigger voice in trades and switching to other teams when their contracts expire. The owners said the proposals amounted to "anarchy." The players' major gripe is the "Rozelle Rule," which allows commissioner Pete Rozelle to set compensation when a player plays out his option and signs with another team. "The basic issue is with the right of a player to move from one team to another when his contract expires," says Bill Curry, Houston Oilers center and the NFL Players' Association president. "We think he should have that right just as everyone else has." Other "freedom issues" involve easing curfew restrictions at training camp and curbing the right of coaches and Rozelle to discipline players. MLB
1990: Andy Hawkins is shocked. The New York Yankees right-hander, who just three weeks ago was on the verge of being released with a 1-4 record and 8.01 ERA, pitches a no-hitter -- and loses, by four runs. Three errors in the bottom of the eighth inning contribute to the Chicago White Sox scoring four runs with two outs. The big mistake is rookie left-fielder Jim Leyritz dropping Robin Ventura's deep drive with two outs and the bases loaded, allowing all three runners to score. Ventura scores when right-fielder Jesse Barfield, troubled by the sun, drops Ivan Calderon's fly. "I'm stunned, I really am," says Hawkins after the 4-0 defeat. "This is not even close to the way I envisioned a no-hitter would be. You dream of one, but you never think it's going to be a loss. I always dreamed of getting the last out and jumping up and down." "I told him to just think of it as a no-no," teammate Dave Righetti says. "It's something he'll never forget the rest of his life. But you're really not sure how to feel. The guys clapped for him when he came in, but I don't think anybody really knows how to act."
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1938: In the battle of the antagonistic Helens, Wills Moody takes advantage of an injury to her arch-rival Jacobs and wins Wimbledon for an unprecedented eighth time. The score is tied at 4-4 in the first set when Jacobs, serving at 40-30, strains her right Achilles tendon in a vain attempt to volley Moody's passing shot. Jacobs, who first injured the ankle in the semifinals, doesn't win another game, with the second set lasting a mere eight minutes, as Moody registers a 6-4, 6-0 victory. The two do not exchange a single smile or remark from the time they take the court until Moody runs up to shake hands with her defeated rival. "Too bad, Helen," Moody says after beating her for the 11th time in their 12 matches. After emerging from her dressing room, Moody is serenely cool and happy. "I was very sorry about Helen's ankle," she says, "but it couldn't be helped, could it? I thought there was nothing I could do but get it over as quickly as possible." MLB
1963: It's a classic duel of future Hall of Famers, with the Giants' Juan Marichal and the Braves' Warren Spahn matching zeroes for 15 innings at Candlestick Park. But in the bottom of the 16th, another future Hall of Famer decides the game. Willie Mays is 0-for-5 when he homers over the left-field fence to give San Francisco a 1-0 victory over Milwaukee. "It was a screwball," says Spahn, "but it didn't break worth a damn." Spahn allows nine hits, walks one (Mays intentionally in the 14th) and strikes out two (including Mays once) in 15 1/3 innings. Marichal, in winning his ninth straight, gives up eight hits, walks four and fans 11. He says he's "very sore ... my back ... oh, she hurts." Besides the homer, Mays also makes a brilliant defensive play. With two outs and runners on first and second in the fourth inning, Del Crandall singles to center, but Mays quickly charges the ball and uncorks a strike to the plate to get Norm Larker.
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1920: Bill Tilden, using his slice shots to perfection, cuts up Australia's Gerald Patterson to become the first American to win Wimbledon. Even after losing the first set, Tilden is confident of victory. He takes advantage of his opponent's vulnerable backhand, continually using his famous cut strokes to exploit the defending champion's weakness. It looks as if Tilden is toying with his opponent in the final three sets of his 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 victory. "The technique and cleverness (Tilden) displayed, although probably beyond the comprehension of the average spectator in the finer points, were not lost upon seasoned tennis followers," says The Associated Press story in The New York Times. MLB
1966: Just 2½ weeks ago, Atlanta Braves pitcher Tony Cloninger hit two homers in a game. Today, he does it again, but enjoys it even more as both homers are grand slams. He is the first National Leaguer to hit two slams in a game and is the only pitcher to ever accomplish the feat. The 6-foot, 200-pound right-handed hitter also knocks in another run to set a modern major league record for pitchers with nine RBI during the Braves' 17-3 rout of the Giants at Candlestick Park. Both slams come with two outs. The first, on a 3-2 pitch from Bob Priddy, clears the center-field fence to cap a seven-run first inning. The second is an opposite-field liner off Ray Sadecki that sails over the right-field fence in the fourth inning.
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1919: Challenger Jack Dempsey is five inches shorter and 58 pounds lighter than the 6-foot-6, 245-pound heavyweight champion, Jess Willard. But under the broiling sun in Toledo, Ohio, David conquers Goliath with his fists, not a sling shot. With one of his first punches, a devastating left hook, Dempsey breaks Willard's jaw. He knocks Willard down seven times in the first round and wallops him for two more rounds. Besides the broken jaw, Willard has four teeth missing, his eyes are closed, his nose is smashed and two ribs are cracked when he doesn't come out for the fourth round. "I told you I would knock him out in the first round, and to all intents and purpose that is what I did," says Dempsey, the new champion. "He took a lot of punishment in the next two rounds, but was so feeble that I hated to have to hit him." Willard says, "My eye was closed at the end of the third round and I realized that it would be useless for me to continue as I could hardly see. It is hard to admit defeat, but Dempsey is the hardest puncher I ever faced." MLB
1939: A little more than two months after Lou Gehrig played his final game, less than a month after he had learned he had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the New York Yankees hold "Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day." There is Gehrig, surrounded by his teammates from the 1927 and 1939 Yankees, taking his cut at the microphone. Shaken with emotion, he fights back tears as he keeps his eyes focused on the ground. For a moment it looks as if Gehrig won't make it to the plate. But manager Joe McCarthy whispers a few words to his favorite player, and Gehrig regains his composure. In a moment later captured by the Hollywood film "The Pride of the Yankees" starring Gary Cooper, Gehrig delivers an emotional farewell address, speaking slowly and stressing the appreciation he feels for all that is being done for him. "For the past two weeks you have been reading about the bad break I got," he says. "Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth." There aren't many dry eyes in the place when Gehrig concludes. The 61,808 fans and his former teammates know they have been touched in a way they might never be again. After the tumult and shouting and crying ends, and the second game of the doubleheader is finished, Gehrig walks out of Yankee Stadium with catcher Bill Dickey. With confidence in his voice, he tells his close friend, "Bill, I'm going to remember this day for a long time." Less than two years later, Gehrig will die at age 37.
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1947: Nervous and a little frightened, 22-year-old Larry Doby is the first black player to sign a contract with an American League team. Around high noon in Chicago, he signs with Bill Veeck's Cleveland Indians. "Just remember," Veeck tells him, "that they play with a little white ball and a stick of wood up here, just like they did in your league." Doby, playing mostly second base, was purchased two days ago from the Newark Eagles of the Negro National League, where he led the circuit with a .416 average, 14 homers and 16 doubles. Just hours after signing, the left-handed hitting Doby gets his chance in the majors, pinch-hitting in the seventh inning. Despite being struck out by Earl Harriet in Cleveland's 6-5 loss to the White Sox, the fans in Chicago give him a loud ovation on his way back to the dugout. Doby will hit just .156 in 32 at-bats this season, but will go on to have a productive 13-year career in the American League. He will retire in 1959 with a lifetime average of .283 and 253 homers, twice leading the league in dingers. Tennis
1975: Two weeks ago Jimmy Connors announced a $5 million libel suit against Arthur Ashe for having criticized Connors' refusal to join the U.S. Davis Cup team. Connors had previously filed three other suits for a total of $20 million against the Association of Tennis Professionals, of which Ashe is president. So there's no love lost when the fiery Connors and cool Ashe meet in today's Wimbledon final. Connors, the defending champion who hasn't lost a set in the tournament, is a 3-20 favorite, 9-10 to win in straight sets. Just in case Connors has forgotten about the Davis Cup controversy, Ashe is wearing a blue warmup jacket with "USA" in red on the chest when they come out for the match. After Connors win the first game, Ashe takes him apart. Relying on "junk," Ashe chips, dinks and lobs his way as he astonishingly wins 12 of the next 13 games. His 6-1, 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 victory enables him to become the first black man to win Wimbledon. When the dismantling is complete, Ashe puts one more dagger into his adversary, pointing out how Connors had put about 70 percent of his errors "into the middle of the net. He hardly ever put the ball beyond the baseline -- that's a sign of choking."
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1957: Althea Gibson fights back tears as she receives congratulations from England's smiling Queen Elizabeth II after becoming the first African-American to win Wimbledon. "At last! At last!" the 29-year-old Gibson says as the Queen, who is making her first Wimbledon appearance, presents her with the silver plate. Gibson earns the award with her strong serve-and-volley performance in beating Darlene Hard, 6-3, 6-2 on the famed center court in the final. "Althea didn't miss a volley," Hard says. "I usually try to get in after the first volley. Today I didn't get a chance. That first volley after the service was too devastating." Gibson wins the women's doubles title as well, teaming with Hard to defeat Mary Hawton and Thelma Long, 6-2, 6-1. However, her bid for a sweep falls short as she and Neale Fraser lose 6-4, 7-5 to Hard and Mervyn Rose in mixed doubles. Baseball
1933: In conjunction with the World's Fair in Chicago, the first All-Star Game is organized. It's called "The Game of the Century," so it's no surprise that the day's hero is the player of the century. Babe Ruth's two-run homer off left-hander Bill Hallahan in the third inning keys the American League's 4-2 victory over the National League before 49,200 fans at Comiskey Park. "Ruth? He was marvelous," says John McGraw, who came out of retirement to manage the National League team. "That old boy certainly came through when they needed him." The Bambino was happy about his homer and the victory. "Wasn't it swell? Didn't we win?" he says with a huge grin. After Frankie Frisch's solo homer in the sixth closes the National League's deficit to 3-2, the American League gets an insurance run in the bottom of the inning on Earl Averill's run-scoring single.
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1990: Martina Navratilova breaks her tie with Helen Wills Moody and becomes the first player to win nine Wimbledon singles titles when she dismantles Zina Garrison, 6-4, 6-1 in a 75-minute final. "There were no glitches this time," says Navratilova, who lost the last two finals to Steffi Graf. "Everything came up nines." The victory improved Navratilova's Wimbledon singles record to 99-9. A win over Garrison is not surprising for the 33-year-old Navratilova, who is 28-1 over her younger opponent. "She was a step ahead of me the whole time," Garrison says. Navratilova says she hopes to meet the woman she had shared the record with some day. "I was in Carmel (where Helen Roark, formerly Moody, lives in California) a few years ago and I had the itch just to drive by her home, but I didn't want to invade her privacy," Navratilova says. "I've always wanted to meet her, not just because I've broken her record." MLB
1948: It's better late than never when Satchel Paige, a Negro Leagues ace for years, signs with the Cleveland Indians. The lean right-hander will be the first African-American to pitch in the majors, the fourth black to play (Jackie Robinson, Larry Doby and Roy Campanella already are playing). Paige says he's 39, but records will later show that today is his 42nd birthday. "I'm starting my major league career with one thing in my favor, anyway. I won't be afraid of anybody I see in that batter's box. I've been around too long for that," says Paige, who has pitched since the 1920s in the Negro Leagues and frequently faced major leaguers in barnstorming tours. At yesterday's "secret tryout" for owner Bill Veeck and player-manager Lou Boudreau, Paige was impressive. Paige threw some 50 pitches "and only three or four were wide of the plate," Veeck says. Boudreau, who had never seen Paige perform before, managed a few line drives and said, "Now I can believe some of the tall stories they tell about his pitching." As baseball's oldest rookie, Paige will go 6-1 with a 2.48 ERA and help the Indians win the pennant (and then the World Series).
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1984: Because of his terrible temper tantrums, John McEnroe is often referred to as McNasty in the British tabloids. Today, the only person he's nasty to is Jimmy Connors, whom he overwhelms in winning his third Wimbledon championship in four years. In the most one-sided Wimbledon men's final in 46 years, since Don Budge also allowed just four games in 1938, McEnroe plays the match of his life in crushing two-time champion Connors, 6-1, 6-1, 6-2 in only 80 minutes. "That's the best I've ever played. I overpowered him, and that's something I haven't done too often," says McEnroe after beating Connors for the sixth straight time to raise his record to 15-12 against him. McEnroe's serve is devastating, both on his slices wide and his hard one up the middle. The lithe left-hander connects on 74 percent of his first serves, has 10 aces, no double faults and loses only 11 points in his 11 service games. That says a lot because Connors has the best return of service in the game. MLB
1918: Because of the rules prevalent at the time, Babe Ruth loses a home run despite driving the ball deep into the Fenway Park bleachers. In the bottom of the 10th inning of a scoreless tie in the first game of a doubleheader, with Amos Strunk on first base, Ruth hits Cleveland's Stan Covelski's pitch into the stands. But as soon as Strunk crosses home, the game is over, Boston winning 1-0. Ruth is credited with a triple, and his home-run total remains at 11. "Surely there is black-hearted injustice in the scoring rules as they stand," says the game story in the Boston Daily Advertiser. "It ought to be possible to defeat your opponents by more than one run in a case where the ball is batted out of the park by a member of the side's last at bat. Ruth's homer, that wasn't a homer -- the longest and most beautifully executed skyscraper he has ever delivered in the home town of his team -- should be scored for what it really was." In 1920, the rule will be changed, and all balls hit over the fence will be home runs, no matter the circumstance.
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1966: Jack Nicklaus wins the British Open by one stroke and joins Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan and Gary Player as the only golfers to win all four modern majors. After shooting a 33 on the front side at Muirfield, Nicklaus bogeys 11, 13 and 14 to fall into a tie for the lead with Doug Sanders and Dave Thomas. "I decided I'd better start playing golf again," Nicklaus says. "That was when I regained my composure." With Sanders and Thomas in the clubhouse, Nicklaus reaches the par-5, 528-yard 17th hole in two shots and two putts from 15 feet. That birdie enables him to win the championship with a 2-under-par 282. 1977: Exactly 11 years later to the day, Nicklaus will not be as fortunate. Again, it's the 17th hole that is decisive, but this time it's Tom Watson who registers the winning birdie in their epic head-to-head duel. Nicklaus, the king, and Watson, the man who would be king, both shot 65 the previous day and are tearing up the Turnburry course again today. Tied for the lead at 17, Watson birdies. When both players birdie 18, Watson is the winner by a stroke after his second consecutive 65. His 268 not only breaks the British Open record of 276, but the major championship record of 271 as well.
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1934: Before the second All-Star Game, New York Giants left-hander Carl Hubbell receives his MVP award from the previous season. Then he takes the mound at the Polo Grounds as the National League's starting pitcher and puts on a show for the ages. After allowing a single and a walk, he strikes out Babe Ruth looking on a screwball that just catches the outside corner. Then he gets Lou Gehrig to go fishing for a third strike on a full count. Hubbell ends the inning by fanning Jimmie Foxx, normally a first baseman but playing third in this game because of Gehrig's presence at first. Hubbell picks up where he left off in the second inning when he strikes out Al Simmons and Joe Cronin, making it five future Hall of Famers to whiff consecutively. With a one-ball, two-strike count on Bill Dickey, the Yankees catcher snaps Hubbell's streak with a single to left. Hubbell ends the inning by striking out pitcher Lefty Gomez. Hubbell pitches a scoreless third inning, though he doesn't fan anyone and walks Ruth. With the screwballer replaced in the fourth, the American League begins its comeback from a 4-0 deficit and wins 9-7. After the game, Hubbell is praised. "He's the greatest pitcher I ever faced," says Cronin, the shortstop-manager of the American League. "He can throw the ball through a knothole." Ruth says, "He's a great pitcher. I couldn't even see the ball when he threw it."
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1916: Dan Patch, considered the greatest pacer ever, dies at age 20 of an athletic heart induced by a slight sickness on a farm in Savage, Minn. Racing before vast crowds, he was undefeated in his 10 years (1900-1909) on the track. (Though he lost a couple of heats, he never lost a race.) He set nine world records and won hearts throughout rural America. His best performance was his 1:55 mile at the Minnesota State Fair Track on Sept. 8, 1906. During his career, Dan Patch entertained hundreds of thousands of speed-lovers with his many exhibition battles against the stop watch. He also earned more than a million dollars running these exhibitions. Since 1910, he had been a stud for hire. MLB
1985: At age 38, Houston's Nolan Ryan still can bring it. With 3,999 strikeouts and two strikes on the Mets' Danny Heep in the sixth inning, the Astrodome crowd of 20,921 rises, cheering wildly. The place gets even noisier when Ryan fools Heep, who misses badly at the curve in the dirt. Reaching the magical 4,000 strikeouts, the first pitcher to ever achieve this feat, Ryan gets a two-minute standing ovation from the crowd and tips his cap several times. Named to the National League All-Star team earlier in the day, Ryan is clocked as fast as 97 mph. During the Astros' 4-3, 12-inning victory, he strikes out 11 Mets in seven innings, the 158th time he fans at least 10, and has 4,004 strikeouts for his career. The Ryan Express doesn't stop here. He will continue to pitch through the 1993 season and will retire with a record 5,714 strikeouts on his way to the Hall of Fame.
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1979: On Disco Demolition Night, a promotion denigrating disco music devised by a Chicago disc jockey, Chicago's Comiskey Park is rocked as some 5,000 to 7,000 fans in a crowd of 49,000 run amok between games of the White Sox's twinight doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers. After a ritual burning of disco records in center-field, the fans -- many of whom were admitted for 98 cents with a disco record -- overwhelm security men and storm the field. Helmeted police don't arrive until a half-hour later. There are 39 arrests for disorderly conduct and at least a half-dozen injuries. "These weren't real baseball fans," says White Sox president Bill Veeck, the king of innovative baseball promotions. "All I know is we won't try anything like this again. I was amazed. I wish I wasn't." One hour and 16 minutes after the second game is supposed to start, the umpires deem the field unplayable and postpone the game. Tigers manager Sparky Anderson wants a forfeit. The next day, American League president Lee MacPhail will heed his request and award the Tigers a 9-0 forfeit victory.
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1996: Arlington International Racecourse has created a race named in honor of Citation -- the $1.05-million Arlington Citation Challenge -- for Cigar to try and tie Citation's record streak of 16 consecutive wins set from 1948 to 1950. A crowd of 34,223 packs the usually desolate track, outside of Chicago, to see if Cigar can extend a streak that has already spanned eight tracks, including one halfway across the world in Dubai on the Persian Gulf. Despite carrying 130 pounds (giving up 8 to 14 pounds to his nine rivals) and drawing the outside post, where the six-year-old colt is floated wide on the first turn, the growing legend does not disappoint. With only mild urging from jockey Jerry Bailey, the 3-10 favorite wins by 3 1/2 lengths over runner-up Dramatic Gold in the 1 1/8-mile race. "Everything you throw at this horse, he shrugs it off and he just wins," Bailey says. "I'm not an emotional guy, but it almost makes me cry when I ride this horse, he's that good." Cigar's 16th straight comes almost 2 years after the first. The streak unassumingly started on Oct. 28, 1994 when the grandson of Seattle Slew won an allowance race at Aqueduct. It was Cigar's first race on the dirt, a wise change by trainer Bill Mott as Cigar has not lost since leaving grass.
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1970: Pete Rose had dinner with good friend Sam McDowell and Ray Fosse last night and then had the pair over to his house. "First time I'd ever met Fosse," Rose says. "He was telling me how the American Leaguers were going to beat us." It doesn't happen. At tonight's All-Star Game in Cincinnati, Rose has Fosse for dinner. In the 12th inning, Rose scores the N.L.'s winning run on Jim Hickman's single to center when the 220-pound Rose barrels into the 215-pound Fosse with a football shoulder block, flipping the catcher into a somersault. "I didn't want to hurt the guy," says Rose after the 5-4 victory, the National League's eighth straight. "He was straddling the line a few feet in front of the plate. I did the only thing I could." Fosse is 23 years old and playing his first full season with the Cleveland Indians. "I was just about to catch the ball," says Fosse, who suffers a badly injured shoulder. "That's when he hit me. I never did touch the ball. I'll tell you, Pete's a hustler."
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Track and field
1970: Having already won the pentathlon eight days ago at the Olympics in Stockholm, Jim Thorpe adds to his collection of gold by completing his victory in the decathlon. With 8,412 points, he breaks the world record by an incredible 998 points. After seven events the previous two days, Thorpe held a sizeable lead. Then on the final day, he finished tied for third in the pole vault with a leap of 10 ft., 7.95 in.; takes third in the javeline with a throw of 149 ft., 11.2 in.; and wins the 1500 meters in 4:40.1, a personal best by more than four seconds. His final margin is 688 points over the runner-up, Hugo Wieslander of Sweden. When Thorpe is introduced at the awards ceremony there is a great burst of cheers, led by King Gustav V. Besides the gold medals, Thorpe receives a jewel-encrusted chalice in the form of a viking ship (a gift from Czar Nicholas of Russia) for winning the decathalon and a life-size bronze bust of the Swedish king for capturing the pentahalon. In congratulating Thorpe, Gustav tells him, "Sir, you are the greatest athlete in the world." Thorpe reputedly replies, "Thanks, king." MLB
1952: The Detroit Tigers' Walt Dropo, who was obtained in a trade with Boston last month, continues his torrid hitting. After going 5-for-5 against the New York Yankees yesterday, the 6-foot-5, right-hand hitting first baseman gets four singles in four at-bats in the first game of today's doubleheader against the Senators in Washington. Dropo runs his consecutive hit streak to 12 with a triple, single and double in the nightcap, tying Pinky Higgins' record set in 1938. With a chance to be alone in the record book, Dropo fouls out to catcher Mickey Grasso on the first pitch he sees from left-hander Lou Sleater in the seventh inning. In the ninth, Dropo singles in two runs. Despite Dropo's impressive performance, the Tigers lose both games, 8-2 and 9-8. Dropo will hit .276 this season and will retire in 1961 with a lifetime mark of .270.
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Track and field
1932: Babe gives a performance for the ages. Not Babe Ruth, but Babe Didrikson. She single-handedly wins the 1932 AAU championships, which serves as the Olympic qualifying, in Evanston, Ill. The sole representative of Employers Casualty Company of Dallas, Babe scores 30 points, eight more than the runner-up team, which had 22 athletes. In a span of three hours, the 21-year-old Didrikson competes in eight of 10 events, winning five outright and tying for first in a sixth. She sets world records in the javelin (139 feet, three inches), 80-meter hurdles (11.9 seconds), high jump (5 feet, 3 3/16 inches, tying for first with Jean Shiley) and baseball throw (272 feet, 2 inches). Babe's record in the hurdles doesn't last long, as Evelyn Hall wins her heat in 11.8 seconds; Babe beats Hall in the final, running it in 12.1 seconds. Babe also takes first in the shot put (39 feet, 6+ inches) and long jump (17 feet, 6 5/8 inches) and finishes fourth in the discus. MLB
1941: Joe DiMaggio is quick to extend his record consecutive-game batting streak to 56. In the first inning, on the first pitch to him from Cleveland Indians southpaw Al Milnar, DiMaggio rips the ball through the box for a single to center. Joltin' Joe gets two more hits in the Yankees' 10-3 victory in Cleveland -- a pop-fly single to center in the third inning and a long double to left-center in the ninth. "It's mostly a matter of luck," DiMaggio says about his streak. "You have to get lucky breaks to run up a long consecutive batting streak. And I got plenty of them." DiMaggio has not struck out in 126 at-bats since June 8 and just five times during the entire streak. He is batting .408 in the 56 games, with 91 hits in 223 at-bats.
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1941: Where has your hitting streak gone, Joe DiMaggio? Up in smoke, because of some outstanding fielding by the left side of the Cleveland Indians infield. A crowd of 67,468 in Cleveland, a major league record for a night game, sees Joltin' Joe's hitting streak end at 56. Third baseman Ken Keltner makes two outstanding plays, grabbing DiMaggio smashes down the line in the first and seventh innings and throwing him out at first base. In between these at-bats, left-hander Al Smith walks DiMaggio in the fourth. The Yankee Clipper has one more chance to extend his streak when he bats in the eighth with the bases full against Jim Bagby, a young right-hander who just enters the game. DiMaggio hits the ball sharply, but shortstop Lou Boudreau plays a bad hop perfectly and turns the grounder into a double play. "I'm not happy that I failed to get a hit," says DiMaggio after the Yankees' 4-3 victory. "I guess relieved would be a better word. Although I haven't been under much strain, there always was a little pressure until I got a hit." During the streak, which began on May 15 with an inauspicious 1-for-4 game, DiMaggio hit .408 (91-of-223) with 15 homers, 55 RBI and 56 runs. After the game, DiMaggio will start another hitting streak -- 16 games. For the season he batted .357, far behind Ted Williams' .406 mark.
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1927: Having played his first 22 seasons with the Detroit Tigers, it is only appropriate that Ty Cobb, now playing his first year with the Philadelphia Athletics, gets his 4,000th hit at Detroit's Navin Field. Cobb, who holds more records than any player, reaches his latest milestone with a double off former teammate Sam Gibson in the first inning of a 5-3 loss to the Tigers. The Georgia Peach will retire after the 1928 season with 4,191 hits, a record that will stand until Pete Rose breaks it in 1985. MLB:
1989: Recently released by the Kansas City Royals' Omaha farm team, Donnie Moore shoots his estranged wife Tonya in the chest and then turns the handgun on himself. Moore was 35 when he commits suicide in their Anaheim Hills home. Tonya Moore, driven to the hospital by her 17-year-old daughter, survives the shots to her chest and abdomen. Many people attribute Moore's suicide to the homer he gave up to Boston's Dave Henderson in the 1986 playoffs. The Angels were one out from winning the American League pennant when Moore, California's closer, allowed a two-run homer to Henderson in the ninth inning of Game 5 that gave Boston a 6-5 lead. The Angels tied the game, but lost it in 11 innings and then dropped Games 6 and 7. "[After that homer] he was never himself again," says Dave Pinter, Moore's agent of 12 years. "He blamed himself for the Angels not going to the World Series. He constantly talked about the Henderson home run. He couldn't get over it. That home run killed him." Brian Downing, Moore's teammate from 1985-88, says, "Everything revolved around one . . . pitch. You [the media] destroyed a man's life over one pitch. The guy was just not the same after that."
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1947: In her last tournament as an amateur, Babe Didrikson Zaharias wins for the 17th time in 18 events as she plays brilliantly in the Broadmoor Women's Invitational Golf final in Colorado Springs. Combining her powerful drives and precision putting, she routs Dot Kielty, 9-and-8, in taking the 36-hole match. She wins the final four holes with a par and three birdies, including a 15-foot putt on No. 10 to end it. She is eight-under par at 108 for 28 holes when the match concludes. Babe goes five-up in the morning round, including making a 40-foot putt for an eagle. She wins 13 of the 28 holes, with Kielty winning four. The other 11 holes are halved. At the awards presentation, Babe repeats to her rival her simple formula for success: "All you have to do, Dottie, is hitch up your girdle and swing." MLB:
1910: Cleveland's Cy Young becomes the first -- and only -- pitcher to ever win 500 games. The 43-year-old right-hander notches his milestone victory in admirable fashion, defeating Washington, 5-2, in 11 innings. After pitching superbly for eight innings, he lets a 2-1 lead slip away in the bottom of the ninth. But after Washington scores the tying run and puts the winning run on third base with one out, Young strands the runner. When Cleveland scores three runs in the 11th, Young gains No. 500. He will tack on 11 more victories before retiring after the 1911 season with a 511-316 record.
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1937: Earlier in the month, American Don Budge had an easy time in vanquishing Germany's Baron von Cramm in straight sets in the Wimbledon final. But today, on the same court, in the fifth and deciding match of the Davis Cup Interzone finals, the contest is much more competitive. When it's over, some are considering it the most dramatic match ever played. Von Cramm, who received a phone call from Adolph Hitler before taking the court, wins the first two sets, 8-6 and 7-5. But Budge rallies, becoming more aggressive, and takes the next two sets, 6-4 and 6-2. Playing the match of his life, von Cramm goes in front, 4-1, in the final set. Budge rallies again, breaking back to tie the match at 4-4. Each player holds serve until the 13th game, when Budge breaks von Cramm at love. The German, though, doesn't yield easily, saving four match points in the 14h game before Budge finally prevails, 8-6, to win the match. In the stands, Germany's coach, Bill Tilden, is distraught over von Cramm's defeat. Tilden "all but cried when the fair-haired lad was beaten," the Associated Press reports. The next week, the United States will win the Davis Cup for the first time since 1926, when Tilden played for the U.S., by beating England in the final. MLB:
1976: California Angels right-hander Dick Drago tries to get a fastball past Hank Aaron, the designated hitter for the Milwaukee Brewers. Aaron, 42, unleashes his patented power swing and sends the pitch over the left-field fence at Milwaukee County Stadium for his 10th homer of the season and 755th of his storied career. Dick Arndt, a member of the Brewers' grounds crew, retrieves the ball. After the game, he wants to return the ball personally to Aaron, but when told that he can't, he takes the ball home with him. The next day, the Brewers will fire Arndt for leaving the ballpark with club property. They also deduct $5 from his final paycheck to cover the cost of the ball. In his autobiography, Aaron will write that he has offered up to $10,000 for the ball, but that Arndt refuses to sell it to him. The home run is the last that Aaron will ever hit.
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1959: Twelve years after Jackie Robinson's debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers, the Boston Red Sox become the last major-league team to integrate. Pumpsie Green enters Boston's 2-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox as a pinch-runner in the eighth inning and stays in at shortstop. It's taken Green 7+ years to reach the majors, 4+ years in the Red Sox organization. Some believed Green should have made the club out of spring training, but the Red Sox, who were accused of discrimination, tell him to learn to play second base in the minors. Today, his dream finally comes true as he's called up from Minneapolis. "When I was told the Red Sox wanted me to report to Chicago, I suddenly became weak," Green says. "I had to sit down quick. I just couldn't believe the news. My legs felt as if they'd collapsed . . . I packed in a hurry . . . and was landing in Chicago two hours after I received the phone call." Green will play five seasons, four with Boston, and have a lifetime average of .246.
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1963: After losing his heavyweight title via a first-round knockout by Sonny Liston, Floyd Patterson felt humiliated. He sometimes would walk the streets in disguise, not wanting to be recognized. Ten months later, Patterson is hoping the results of his rematch with Liston are better. They aren't. The Big Ugly Bear decks Patterson three times, the third time for the count of 10. The mismatch in Chicago lasts just two minutes and 10 seconds, a mere four seconds longer than their first fight. "Floyd can't beat Sonny at anything but a spelling bee," Jim Murray writes in the Los Angeles Times. "Liston could probably knock him out via smoke signals, and Floyd will probably get woozy if Liston just drove past his house in Scarsdale. You knew the fight was over as soon as you saw Floyd had forgotten a sledge hammer." MLB:
1923: The Big Train makes another stop on his journey to immortality. Walter Johnson is the first pitcher to strike out 3,000 batters when he fans five in pitching Washington to a 3-1 victory over the Indians in Cleveland. The side-arming right-hander already has led the American League in strikeouts 10 times, including eight consecutively, with a high of 303 in 1912. He will lead the league again this season, but with just 130, and next year, with 158. He will retire after the 1927 season with 3,508 strikeouts.
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1996: Kerri Strug may be just 4-foot-9 and 90 pounds, but there's no doubt she has plenty of heart. The last of six U.S. gymnasts to compete in the team competition in the Atlanta Olympics, Strug hears a pop in her left ankle when she lands on her first vault. It's also a poor vault and she scores a predictably low 9.162. Her leg feels like it's on fire. She has less than a minute to decide whether to jump again. The U.S. has a big lead over Russia. With her coaches urging her on, the 18-year-old Strug gets ready for one more vault despite the pain in her leg. "I could feel the gold slipping away," she says later. "I felt like I had to do it. I felt I owed it to everyone." Anesthetized by adrenaline and determination, Strug lands her second vault with her teeth clenched and eyes watering. She holds her feet in place long enough to appease the judges, then crumbles to her knees and calls for help. Her 9.712 clinches the gold medal for the U.S. as it wipes out the team's low score (Dominique Moceanu's 9.2). The U.S. wins by 0.821, meaning Strug could have foregone her second vault and the Americans still would have won on the strength of Moceanu's mark. Strug is carried to the victory stand by her coach, Bela Karolyi, and she shares in the glory of the U.S. winning its first team gymnastics medal. Then she is taken to the hospital. MLB:
1978: Though the New York Yankees have won their fifth straight game, manager Billy Martin's nerves are frayed and he's in a foul mood. The reason might be Martin's still upset with Reggie Jackson, who has admitted no guilt for bunting when he was ordered to swing away. Martin suspended Jackson five games for his transgression, and today is his first day back, though Martin didn't play him. At Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, while the Yankees are waiting for the plane to take them to Kansas City, Martin talks about Jackson and team owner George Steinbrenner, who had been convicted of making illegal-campaign contributions in an outgrowth of Watergate. After several drinks, Martin tells two reporters, "The two of them deserve each other. One's a born liar, the other's convicted." The remark will cause a tearful Martin to resign the next day as Yankees manager, the one job he treasured above all others. If he hadn't quit, it's likely he would have been fired. MLB
1960: Cleveland Indians outfielder Jim Piersall is a colorful character -- some say his elevator doesn't go to the top floor -- and today he pulls another stunt. As Boston's Ted Williams, who earlier homered, bats in the eighth inning, Piersall races, with arms raised, from left-field to left-center. As the second pitch is delivered to Williams, Piersall sprints to a spot in direct line with the center-field flag pole. Umpire Jim Hurley warns Piersall to stop. The Indian outfielder makes a gesture which is interpreted as meaning, "Shut up, go back to the plate and umpire." With that, Hurley ejects Piersall, who comes racing towards the plate. Stopping a few feet from the umpire, Piersall throws his glove and his cap before he's grabbed by first baseman Vic Power. In a locker room after Cleveland's 4-2 victory, Hurley reads rule 406-B, on page 25: "No fielder shall take a position in the batter's line of vision and with deliberate, unsportsmanlike intent act in a manner to distract the batter. Penalty - the offender shall be removed."
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1983: For the first time in major league history, a contest seemingly ends with a player hitting a game-losing homer. The Kansas City Royals are trailing the Yankees, 4-3, with two outs in the ninth when George Brett bangs a drive off Goose Gossage into the Yankee Stadium seats for an apparent two-run homer. But Yankees manager Billy Martin protests, claiming Brett is using an illegal bat because it has too much pine tar on it. In the dugout, Brett is laughing at the sticky situation. But then, home-plate umpire Tim McClelland upholds Martin's point of view and calls Brett out for having the more than 18 inches of pine tar that is legal, giving the Yankees an apparent 4-3 victory. The call drives Brett batty, and the enraged player charges out of the dugout. It appears as if he might run over McClelland, but umpire Joe Brinkman restrains him. Brett rants and raves ("I've never been that mad in my whole life"), but the umpires don't change their decision. Four days later, American League president Lee MacPhail will uphold the Royals' protest. He says that Brett's homer counts because the bat was not "altered to improve the distance factor." The game will be resumed on August 18 and the Royals complete the 5-4 victory.
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1976: The Olympics in Montreal is Edwin Moses' first test on the international scene. The hurdler who would have been his toughest competition, world record holder John Akii-Bua of Uganda, isn't in the field because of an African boycott of the Olympics. After getting off to a slow start in today's final, Moses kicks it into another gear down the back straight, passing the Soviet Union's Yevgeny Gavrilenko. Moses, a 20-year-old Morehouse College student, wins by eight meters over teammate Mike Shine. "The last 60 or 70 meters, I couldn't believe him," Shine says. "I didn't think anyone could pull away that fast." "I pushed hard on the last five hurdles," says Moses. "Anyone can run the first five, but what decides who wins a race is the last five. I'd planned to run a 47.5 today. I guess 47.6 isn't too bad." No, it's not. His 47.64 breaks Akii-Bua's world record by .18 seconds. When the race ends, Moses and Shine embrace in a classic picture. Then they jog a victory lap, with Moses knocking over two hurdles. "I'm glad I didn't do that during the race," he says. MLB:
1966: One was quick with the bat; the other was quick with the mind. Ted Williams, baseball's last .400 hitter, and Casey Stengel, who won 10 pennants and seven World Series in 12 years as New York Yankees manager, are inducted into the Hall of Fame. Williams, who hit .406 in 1941, had been elected in his first year of eligibility. In his 19 seasons as the Boston Red Sox left-fielder, "the Splendid Splinter" had a lifetime batting average of .344 and won six American League batting titles. He hit 521 homers, drove in 1,839 runs, scored 1,798 runs and drew 2,019 walks (compared to striking out just 709 times). His .634 slugging percentage is second all-time to Babe Ruth's .690. Stengel played 14 years in the majors (1912-25) with five National League teams, compiling a .284 lifetime average, but it was his performance as Yankees' manager that got him elected into the Hall. "The Ol' Perfesser" also managed the Brooklyn Dodgers, Boston Braves and New York Mets for 13 years, but none of these teams made it out of the second division. He had a lifetime record of 1,905-1,842.
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1952: Bob Mathias, who started this year by playing fullback for Stanford in the Rose Bowl, ends his decathlon career by retaining his Olympic title in this grueling event in Helsinki, Finland. Despite a bandage covering his painful leg injury, which he suffered long jumping yesterday, Mathias beats his career bests in the javelin (194-3) and the 1,500 meters (4:50.8) in romping to his second gold medal. He finishes the 1,500, the last event, after 10 p.m. in almost complete darkness, with the track highlighted by the illumination from the electronic scoreboard. In breaking his own world record by 62 points with 7,887 in a revised scoring system, he triumphs over teammate Milt Campbell by a whopping 912 points, the largest margin in Olympic history. "This is my last decathlon," says the 21-year-old Mathias, the first to win two gold medals in the event. "This was easier than it was in London, but no more." MLB:
1933: Looking weary and strained, Joe DiMaggio has his record 61-game Pacific Coast League batting streak end when he fails to get a hit in five plate appearances against Ed Walsh, son of the famed Chicago White Sox pitcher. DiMaggio, an 18-year-old rookie with the San Francisco Seals who came out of nowhere to set the record, is moved up today from clean up to leadoff in the lineup to try to help him get more at-bats. While he does get an extra plate appearance, it doesn't help as he grounds out twice, hits into a forceout and flies out twice. His long drive to right in the ninth, though, sends home the winning run from third base in the Seals' 4-3 victory over Oakland. "I'm glad it's over," DiMaggio says. "The strain was getting a bit tough."
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1986: It's great to be an American in Paris, especially if you're Greg LeMond. The 25-year-old cyclist becomes the first American -- the first non-European -- to win the Tour de France since it was first held in 1903. LeMond, who was born in Reno and lives in Sacramento in the offseason, cruises across the finish line at the Champs Elysees after racing 2,500 miles since July 4 over a course that included stretches of the Alps and Pyrenees. His total elapsed time of 110 hours, 36 minutes and 19 seconds is three minutes and 10 seconds faster than five-time winner Bernard Hinault, a French teammate on the Vie Claire team. "Wonderful, it just feels wonderful," says LeMond. "I was nervous, but everything went perfect today." To the victor belongs the spoils and LeMond's winnings' include the deed to a resort apartment worth about $17,000, almost $26,000 in cash, a Sevres porcelain vase and a gold trophy studded with diamonds that is valued at $42,900. MLB:
1984: Next season, Pete Rose will get the significant record, the one he really wants. Tonight in Philadelphia, the Montreal Expos first baseman gets a smaller piece of history, also at Ty Cobb's expense. Batting right-handed against former Phillies teammate Steve Carlton, Rose singles in the seventh inning. It's the 3,053rd single of Rose's career, breaking the all-time record he shared with Cobb for one day. Rose's hit starts a three-run inning as the Expos beat the Phillies, 6-1. NBA:
1993: Boston Celtics captain Reggie Lewis is doing some light shooting with a friend rebounding for him at Brandeis University when he suddenly collapses. Police arrive 10 minutes later and paramedics seven minutes after that. They administer advanced cardiac life support measures before they take him to a nearby hospital, where resuscitation efforts continue to be unsuccessful. Lewis had collapsed with a heart ailment during a playoff game against the Charlotte Hornets three months ago. Since then, there was conflicting opinion among some of Boston's top cardiologists over whether Lewis should return to playing basketball. Some doctors warned Lewis that he would risk his life if he ever played basketball again, while another group of doctors gave a second opinion, that he didn't have a life-threatening heart ailment. The Celtics' first-round draft choice out of Northeastern in 1987, the 6-foot-7 forward averaged 17.6 points in his six seasons in the NBA. Reggie Lewis was 27 years old.
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It's a perfect day in the nineties for two pitchers.
1991: Dennis Martinez, a 36-year-old right-hander who was once thought finished because of a sore shoulder and the stigma of alcoholism, pitches the first perfect game in Montreal Expos history. He retires all 27 Dodgers he faces in Los Angeles to win, 2-0, and when Marquis Grissom catches the final out, Martinez is engulfed in the arms of his teammates. He can't stop crying. "It was like I was dreaming," says the native of Nicaragua. "It was like it was somebody else there instead of me." 1994: Three years later to the day, it's Kenny Rogers' turn to be perfect. The Texas Ranger is only the third left-hander in history to throw a perfect game. (Sandy Koufax and Tom Browning are the others.) Rogers needs a marvelous catch from center-fielder Rusty Greer to preserve his gem in Arlington, Tex. California's Rex Hudler leads off the ninth inning by hitting an 0-2 fastball into the gap in right-center. Hudler is certain it's going to be a hit. But Greer gets a great jump, dives and catches the ball. "When that happened, I thought, 'I guess somebody wants me to have it,'" Rogers says. When Rogers strikes out Bo Jackson and retires Gary DiSarcina -- appropriately on a fly to Greer -- he has his perfect game.
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1996: Michael Johnson is an easy winner in the 400 meters at the Olympics, but the headlines go to Carl Lewis. Though past his peak, the 35-year-old Lewis still has enough spring left in his legs to uncork a leap 27 feet, 10+ inches into a stiff headwind and win his fourth straight gold medal in the long jump before a crowd of 82,773 fans in Atlanta. "You try to give a man a gold watch, and he steals your gold medal instead. You ask him to pass the torch, and he sets your Olympics on fire," Sports Illustrated's Rick Reilly writes about Lewis. The unexpected and stunning victory gives Lewis his ninth Olympic gold medal, tying him for the largest gold collection with U.S. swimmer Mark Spitz, Finnish long-distance runner Paavo Nurmi and Soviet gymnast Larysa Latynina. Lewis also joins discus thrower Al Oerter as the only track and field athlete to win the same event in four consecutive Olympics. Earlier, Johnson set an Olympic record of 43.39 seconds in winning his 55th straight 400-meter final. His margin of victory (.92 seconds) is the largest since 1896. In three days, Johnson will make Olympic history, becoming the first man to win the 200-400 double as he runs an astonishing 19.32 seconds in the 200.
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1976: After finishing 10th in the decathlon at the 1972 Olympics, Bruce Jenner tells the winner, the Soviet Union's Nikolai Avilov, "Next time, I'm going to beat you." Next time is this time, and Jenner is true to his word. The man who wants to be a movie or television star is the matinee idol in Montreal as he breaks Avilov's world record in winning the Olympic gold medal. The 26-year-old Jenner records 8,618 points in the grueling two-day, 10-event competition. He starts the day 35 points behind West Germany's Guido Kratschmer (who will finish second) and 17 behind Avilov (third). But he is confident of victory as his strongest events come on the second day. He runs the 100-meter hurdles in 14.84 seconds; throws the discus 164 feet, 2 inches; leaps a personal best of 15 feet, 9 inches in the pole vault; throws the javelin 224 feet, 9+ inches; and runs the 1,500 meters in 4:12.61, another personal best. When he crosses the finish line, a fan thrusts a small American flag into his hand. After waving it, Jenner throws the flag into the crowd, as if it were a miniature javelin. MLB:
1980: Though J.R. Richard has a 10-4 record, 1.89 ERA and started the All-Star Game earlier this month, the 30-year-old Houston Astros fireballer has been complaining for the past several weeks of fatigue in his right arm. He was hospitalized last week while tests were run on him, but doctors didn't believe there was anything seriously wrong with Richard. Put on the disabled list two weeks ago, the 6-foot-8 right-hander is throwing to former Astros catcher Wilbur Howard in a light workout in the Astrodome when he collapses, victim of a stroke. He is rushed to a Houston hospital, where a two-hour emergency surgery is performed for removal of a life-threatening blood clot in his neck. While the blocked artery is cleared, Richard will never pitch in the majors again. Twice the National League strikeout leader with more than 300, he finishes his career with a 107-71 record.
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1971: The men generally considered the best running back and the greatest coach in NFL history are among the seven inductees into the Pro Football of Fame. Former Cleveland Browns running back Jim Brown, who led the NFL in rushing in eight of his nine seasons, is striking in a white knit jump suit. He is more humble than many had reason to expect of a critic of pro football's leaders. After citing the people who helped him the most, including his mother and friends, he says, "The arrogant, bad Jim Brown can give true love when he is with the people he knows and respects." The late Vince Lombardi won five NFL championships and the first two Super Bowls in his nine seasons as Green Bay Packers coach. "Vince Lombardi did not invent pro football and he did not found the National Football League," says New York Giants president Wellington Mara, Lombardi's presenter. "But he embellished both to a degree that has never been surpassed nor equaled." Also inducted are Y.A. Tittle and Norm Van Brocklin, Bruiser Kinard, Bill Hewitt and Andy Robustelli. MLB:
1954: Before the game at Ebbets Field, Milwaukee Braves first baseman Joe Adcock is told that the Brooklyn Dodgers don't consider him much of a hitter. Then Adcock gives the Dodgers reason to change their minds. Using a borrowed bat -- it belongs to reserve catcher Charley White -- because he broke his regular one last night, the 6-foot-4, 220-pound former LSU basketball player becomes the third player this century to hit four homers in a nine-inning game (Lou Gehrig and Gil Hodges are the others). He also doubles, giving him 18 total bases, a major-league record that still will be standing as the century draws to a close. Incredibly, Adcock sees only seven pitches. Two homers and his double come on the first pitch and the other two homers on the second. His homers are made off four pitchers: Don Newcombe, Erv Palica (who also yielded the double), Pete Wojey and Johnny Podres. Adcock knocks in seven runs as the Braves, who hit seven homers, win their ninth straight, 15-7. MLB:
1978: Taking advantage of a rare fastball from Atlanta Braves knuckleballer Phil Niekro, Cincinnati's Pete Rose grounds a single into right-field to extend his hitting streak to 44 games, tying Wee Willie Keeler (1897) for the longest streak in National League history. A crowd of 45,007, largest of the year in Atlanta, gives Rose a standing ovation of almost two minutes after his bouncer skips past a diving Rod Gilbreath in the sixth inning. Rose is presented a bouquet containing 44 roses as he stands at first base, and fireworks are triggered from atop the center-field scoreboard. Niekro, who at 39 is two years older than Rose, salutes the Reds' star with a gracious bow. It's Rose's only hit in five plate appearances (1-for-4 with a walk) in the Reds' 3-2 victory. In his remarkable streak, which started June 14, Rose has batted .385 (70-for-182) with 30 runs and 11 runs batted in. By comparison, Joe DiMaggio had a .379 average (66-for-174) in the first 44 games of his record 56-game hitting streak.
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