May Moments

Updated: October 18, 2005, 6:38 PM ET

May 1
Horse Racing

1948: With only six horses, the Kentucky Derby has its smallest field since 1907. Few believe Citation can be beaten. There is only straight betting on the race, and Citation and Calumet Farm stablemate Coaltown are the 2-5 favorites.

Coaltown leads by eight lengths in the backstretch, but Citation, with Eddie Arcaro aboard, catches him as they head for the homestretch. Then Citation pulls away to a 3.5-length victory over Coaltown in 2:05 2/5 before a crowd of close to 100,000 in Louisville. He earns $83,400 of the $111,450 purse for Calumet Farms and $2.80 to his backers.

Arcaro is the first jockey to win four Kentucky Derbies. Arcaro got the ride on Citation after the horse's regular rider, Al Snider, went boating and never returned, presumed lost at sea. Arcaro gives half of his Derby winnings to Snider's widow. While Ben Jones ties the record for trainers by saddling his fourth Derby winner, it is his son Jimmy who does most of the work with Citation.

Citation will go on to win the Preakness and Belmont, becoming the fourth horse to win the Triple Crown in the forties. He will be the last Triple Crown winner for 25 years, until Secretariat in 1973.

Baseball
1991:
Rickey Henderson started the season needing only three steals to pass Lou Brock as the all-time leader. But Henderson got off to a slow start; he was picked off three times, caught stealing on four of six attempts (including once today) and spent time on the disabled list.

With Brock in today's crowd in Oakland, Henderson takes his lead off second base against Yankees pitcher Tim Leary in the fourth inning and swipes third, his belly flop easily beating catcher Matt Nokes' throw. It is his 939th theft in 13 seasons, compared to Brock's 938 in 18. "I said to myself, 'It's all over,'" Henderson says later. "I'm No. 1 now."

The game is stopped for a ceremony in which Henderson is presented with the base, a statuette of himself, a plaque for his mother and, after the game, a Porsche 911. Rickey's speech to the crowd is long on emotion and short on modesty.

"Lou Brock certainly was a symbol of great base stealing," the Athletics left-fielder says, "but today I am the greatest of all time."

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May 2
Baseball

1939: Lou Gehrig's amazing streak of playing in 2,130 consecutive games ends. With his batting average an unhealthy .143 (4-for-28) after eight games, Gehrig, suffering from an unexplained weakness and sluggishness, removes himself from the Yankees' lineup before today's game in Detroit.

The 35-year-old Iron Horse tells manager Joe McCarthy that he thinks it would be best for the team if somebody else played first base.
"I haven't been a bit of good to the team since the season started," Gehrig tells reporters. "It's tough to see your mates on base, have a chance to win a game, and not be able to do anything about it.

"This record for consecutive games was always meaningless to me. Some of you newspaper guys wouldn't believe it, but maybe you will now."

Babe Dahlgren replaces Gehrig at first base and contributes a homer and double in the Yankees' 22-2 pounding of the Tigers. Gehrig says he expects to be on the bench "for just a few days." However, he will never play again. The results of an examination will reveal he has ALS, a form of infantile paralysis. The illness will come to be referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease. On June 2, 1941 -- exactly 16 years to the day after he replaced Wally Pipp at first base -- Gehrig will die of the disease.

Hockey
1967:
An unexpected prize comes to Toronto when the Maple Leafs dethrone the Montreal Canadiens as Stanley Cup champions.

The aging veterans -- with key goals by two young upstarts -- lead the Leafs to glory one last time before many team members will disappear into retirement or depart in the upcoming expansion draft.

In the 3-1 clincher in Game 6, 37-year-old goalie Terry Sawchuk shows he still has quick reflexes as he makes 40 saves, several of them spectacular.

Taking care of the offense are twenty-somethings Ron Ellis and Jim Pappin, who score second-period goals. Ellis, 22, gives the Leafs a 1-0 lead when he puts in a rebound of a shot by 39-year-old Red Kelly. Late in the period, Pappin, 27, makes it 2-0 on a fluke goal that deflects off Montreal's Jacques Laperriere and past goalie Gump Worsley.

Longtime Leaf captain George Armstrong, 36, seals the victory with an empty net goal after Dick Duff's goal had cut Toronto's lead to 2-1 early in the third period.

The crowd of 15,977 in Toronto savors the triumph, as well it should. The Leafs won't win another Stanley Cup.

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May 3
Horse racing

1986: The year 1986 is a very good one for athletes in the twilight of their sports. Just last month, Jack Nicklaus, at 46, won the Masters. Today, Willie Shoemaker, at 54, gives a superb ride to bring home long shot Ferdinand first in the Kentucky Derby.

Shoe steers Ferdinand, a son of the English Triple Crown winner Nijinsky II, through heavy traffic from last place after a half mile to first at the finish, 2 1/4 lengths in front of Bold Arrangement. Running the 1 1/4 miles in 2:02 4/5, Ferdinand, who had won only two of his nine races, pays $37.40 for $2 to win.

The race is a sentimental triumph for Shoemaker, who becomes the oldest jockey to win the Kentucky Derby. It is his fourth Derby victory, but the last one was 21 years ago, aboard Lucky Debonair.

"This Derby win is the best," says Shoemaker. "Like good old Kentucky bourbon, I improve with age."

Baseball
1936:
The long-delayed major league debut of Joe DiMaggio finally is here. Because of burns he suffered on his leg, the 21-year-old New York Yankee rookie didn't play in April.

Batting third and playing left-field, DiMaggio is an instant hit. He gets two singles and a triple in six at-bats as the Yankees blast the St. Louis Browns, 14-5, at Yankee Stadium. DiMaggio scores three runs and drive in one.

DiMaggio will go on to have a sensational rookie season, batting .323 with 29 homers, 132 runs and 125 RBI. Appearing in 138 games, he also will have 44 doubles and a league-leading 15 triples among his 206 hits.

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May 4
Horse racing
1986:
The year 1986 is a very good one for athletes in the twilight of their sports. Just last month, Jack Nicklaus, at 46, won the Masters. Today, Willie Shoemaker, at 54, gives a superb ride to bring home long shot Ferdinand first in the Kentucky Derby.

Shoe steers Ferdinand, a son of the English Triple Crown winner Nijinsky II, through heavy traffic from last place after a half mile to first at the finish, 2 1/4 lengths in front of Bold Arrangement. Running the 1 1/4 miles in 2:02 4/5, Ferdinand, who had won only two of his nine races, pays $37.40 for $2 to win.

The race is a sentimental triumph for Shoemaker, who becomes the oldest jockey to win the Kentucky Derby. It is his fourth Derby victory, but the last one was 21 years ago, aboard Lucky Debonair.

"This Derby win is the best," says Shoemaker. "Like good old Kentucky bourbon, I improve with age."

Baseball
1936:
The long-delayed major league debut of Joe DiMaggio finally is here. Because of burns he suffered on his leg, the 21-year-old New York Yankee rookie didn't play in April.

Batting third and playing left-field, DiMaggio is an instant hit. He gets two singles and a triple in six at-bats as the Yankees blast the St. Louis Browns, 14-5, at Yankee Stadium. DiMaggio scores three runs and drive in one.

DiMaggio will go on to have a sensational rookie season, batting .323 with 29 homers, 132 runs and 125 RBI. Appearing in 138 games, he also will have 44 doubles and a league-leading 15 triples among his 206 hits.

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May 5
Horse racing
1973:
As a two-year-old last year, Secretariat was named Horse of the Year, an honor that rarely goes to such a young colt. But some doubted his "superstar" tag after he finished third in the Wood Memorial, his last performance before today's Kentucky Derby.

Along with stablemate Angle Light, who won the Wood, they are 3-2 Derby favorites. Secretariat shows again why he is considered the best colt in many generations. Getting off far back in the field of 13, Secretariat bursts into contention in the stretch turn.

Big Red then gives a breath-taking performance, blazing the final quarter in 23 1/5 seconds. Secretariat, with Ron Turcotte aboard, finishes 2 1/2 lengths ahead of Sham in winning in 1:59 2/5, the first horse to ever break two minutes in the Derby. The son of 1957 Preakness winner Bold Ruler pays $5 to win.

Secretariat will go on to win the Preakness and Belmont, becoming the first horse in 25 years to win the Triple Crown.

Baseball
1978:
At 37 and in his 16th season with the Cincinnati Reds, Pete Rose reaches 3,000 hits quicker than anybody in baseball history does. As predicted exactly by Reds manager Sparky Anderson before the game, Rose singles in his second and third at-bats to join 12 others in the prestigious 3,000-hit fraternity.

The switch-hitter, batting left-handed against Montreal Expos right-hander Steve Rogers, reaches safely on a high infield chopper in the third inning and then lines a hard single to left for the milestone hit in the fifth.

The game is stopped while the ball is awarded to Rose, whose teammates rush out of the dugout to congratulate him. He gets a warm hug from Tony Perez, his former teammate and now Montreal's first baseman.

"The thing I'm proudest about is that I've been the most consistent player of my generation," Rose says after the Reds' 4-3 loss. "There are a lot of players better than me, but I do the same thing day in and day out, year in and year out."

NBA
1969:
Finishing fourth in the Eastern Division, it appeared that the aging Boston Celtics didn't have much of a chance to continue their dynasty. But they overcame the homecourt advantage of the 76ers and Knicks to reach the Finals.

Their opposition is the Los Angeles Lakers, who not only have Elgin Baylor and Jerry West, but this season traded for Wilt Chamberlain. Wilt was supposed to make the team invincible. The Lakers are up 3-2 before Boston won at home to force today's seventh game in Los Angeles.

The Celtics take charge from the start and lead 100-85 with nine minutes left. But with Chamberlain on the bench with a minor injury, the Lakers cut their deficit to 103-102. Then Don Nelson breaks the Lakers' hearts when his jumper hits the back of the rim, bounces high in the air, and goes in.

The Celtics win, 108-106. It is their 11th championship in 13 years, all with Bill Russell at center. For the last three seasons, Russell also has been the team's coach (it wins two titles in that span). This turns out to be the last game for Russell, 35, with Boston, both as a player and coach. It also is the final game for Sam Jones, also 35.

West, despite being hampered by a leg injury, scores 42 points and is named the Finals' MVP after averaging 37.9 against Boston.

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May 6
Horse racing
1978:
Though Affirmed had beaten Alydar in four of their six meetings as 2-year-olds last year, he's only second choice at 9-5 at today's Kentucky Derby to the 6-5 Calumet Farm favorite. Aboard Affirmed is 18-year-old Steve Cauthen, who grew up 80 miles from Churchill Downs in Walton, Ky.

In his first Derby ride, the teenager follows trainer Laz Barrera's instructions, keeping Affirmed close to the lead for most of the race before getting into high gear. Affirmed passes Believe It with about a quarter mile to go and holds off the charging Alydar in the final eighth of a mile. Affirmed wins by a length over the favorite in 2:01 1/5 and pays $5.60 for a $2 bet.

"Steve rode the horse perfect," says Barrera. "I think he rode a long time ago and came with 80 years experience. What do you call it? Reincarnation?"

Cauthen will ride Affirmed to the Triple Crown, with Alydar finishing second in both the Preakness and Belmont.

Baseball
1915:
At 20, Babe Ruth is in his first full season with the Boston Red Sox. Against the New York Yankees today, not only does the big left-hander display plenty of pop with his fastball, he also shows pop at the plate.

In the third inning, he rips a drive off veteran right-hander Jack Warhop into the upper tier of the right-field grandstand at the Polo Grounds for his first major league home run. He also gets two singles.

Ruth has a one-run lead with two outs in the ninth, but he can't close the victory. The Yankees tie the score on Daniel Boone's run-scoring double and then Babe comes out a loser when the Yankees score in the 13th inning on Doc Cook's single.

Ruth will have an 18-8 record as a pitcher this season and go on to hit 713 more homers in his career.

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May 7
Horse racing
1988:
Wayne Lukas heard the critics who thought that the trainer should have raced his filly against others of her sex in yesterday's Oaks rather than running against the boys in today's Kentucky Derby. But Lukas, who had lost with his first 12 Derby horses, is glowing after the race, having the winning ticket with Winning Colors.

The colt-sized, roan-gray horse becomes the third filly to win the Derby. Under Gary Stevens, she moves to the lead quickly, cruising ahead of her 16 male challengers, takes a lead of 3+ lengths in the stretch and holds off a persistent charge by Forty Niner to win by a neck in a solid 2:02 1/5. Her wire-to-wire victory is worth $8.80 for those who bet $2 on her.

In winning the closest Derby in 19 years, Winning Colors joins Regret (1915) and Genuine Risk (1980) as the only fillies to smell the roses at the Derby.

"I'd like to salute all the women of America," owner Gene Klein says at the trophy presentation. "This one's for you gals."

Baseball
1959:
Never have so many come to honor one man in baseball. A paying crowd of 93,103, largest in the history of baseball, jam the L.A. Coliseum to watch an exhibition game honoring Roy Campanella, the former Brooklyn Dodger catcher who was paralyzed in an automobile accident last year. Police estimate at least 15,000 more people are turned away.

There is a heart-felt standing ovation for Campanella when, in a special pre-game ceremony, he is wheeled out to second base by his longtime teammate, shortstop Pee Wee Reese. "This is something I'll never forget," Campy says over the public-address system. "I thank God I'm here living to be able to see it. It's a wonderful thing."

It's estimated that Campanella receives between $50,000 and $75,000 to aid in his rehabilitation. The Yankees beat the Dodgers, 6-2, in the exhibition game.

The previous record for a game was the 86,288 fans who attended the fifth game of the 1948 World Series in Cleveland between the Indians and Boston Braves.

NBA
1989:
Just two nights ago, Michael Jordan was feeling about, say, two inches high. The Bulls failed to fulfill Jordan's prediction of a four-game playoff victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers when Jordan missed a late free throw and game-winning shot in Game 4 as the Bulls lost in overtime in Chicago.

"It was the lowest I've ever felt in basketball," Jordan said. "Like when I was cut from my high school team. I was disappointed in myself, and there were tears in my eyes."

With three seconds left in the deciding Game 5 in Cleveland, Craig Ehlo's basket gives the Cavaliers a one-point lead. During the ensuing timeout, Jordan tells teammate Craig Hodges he's going to hit the shot.

It's no empty boast. Jordan gets the inbounds pass, takes advantage of Ehlo trying to swipe the ball, and then hits a double pump, 15-foot jumper over Ehlo at the buzzer to give the Bulls an electrifying 101-100 victory.

Jordan, who scores 44 points, leaps and punches the air with his fist and scolds the Cleveland fans for their loud and persistent rancor. "That's uncharacteristic of me," he says, "but they had been on me all day. Yelling 'choke' and telling me to get a tee time."

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May 8
NBA
1970:
Willis Reed can hardly walk, much less run. But the Knicks center is determined to play. After all, it's the seventh game of the Finals. When he comes out a couple of minutes before game time, after receiving a pain-killing shot, the capacity crowd at Madison Square Garden awards him such a standing ovation that it sends chills up the spines of many.

"When (the fans) pulled down the roof for Willis, it lifted us sky high," says Knicks forward Bill Bradley. "Reed's courage is incredible. We all knew what he was going through. The pain must have been terrible. When he walked onto that court to be with us for this game we knew what we had to do. We knew we had to win it for Willis."

And they do. After Reed, who missed Game 6 with an injured muscle in his right leg that ran from the pelvis to below the knee, hits the Knicks' first two baskets -- his only points of the game -- his teammates take over against the Los Angeles Lakers. Walt Frazier plays the game of his life (36 points, 19 assists, seven rebounds) and Dave DeBusschere (18 points, 17 rebounds), Dick Barnett (21 points) and Bradley (17 points, five assists) all shine.

The game is decided by halftime, 69-42. The final is 113-99, and the Knicks win their first NBA title in their 24-year history. Reed plays 27 minutes, dragging his injured leg up and down the court. He uses his 235 pounds to keep Wilt Chamberlain (21 points) in check. For his inspiration and perspiration, he wins the Finals' MVP.

Baseball
1959:
Catfish has the Twins hooked. Catfish Hunter, the Oakland Athletics' 22-year-old right-hander, becomes the first American League pitcher to throw a perfect game in the regular season in 46 years when he dominates the Minnesota Twins, 4-0.

Hunter's gem is witnessed by an intimate gathering of 6,928 at the Oakland Coliseum. Relying mostly on fastballs and sliders, the 6-foot, 195-pounder strikes out 11, including Harmon Killebrew three times and Bruce Look and pinch-hitter Rich Reese (on a 3-2 count) for the final two outs.

In the second inning, Hunter goes 3-0 on Tony Oliva before striking out the two-time A.L. batting champion. Third baseman Sal Bando saves Hunter's no-hitter in the fifth inning with a backhand stab of Bob Allison's grounder.

Hunter also contributes with his bat, getting three hits and driving home three runs.

The last perfect game in the AL was pitched by Charlie Robertson of the White Sox in 1922. The Yankees' Don Larsen pitched a perfect game in the 1956 World Series.

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May 9
Horse racing
1914:
Old Rosebud gives a record-setting performance in becoming the first gelding in 26 years to win the Kentucky Derby.

In the field of seven 3-year-olds, Old Rosebud jumps to the lead. On the backstretch, Hodge, also a gelding, tries to move up. But Old Rosebud, under the urging of jockey John McCabe responds to the challenge and increases his lead to eight lengths at the finish over Hodge.

With his wire-to-wire triumph, Old Rosebud sets Derby and track records for the 1-mile race at Churchill Downs with his time of 2:03 2/5 over a track not considered fast. Old Rosebud, the 4-5 favorite, is trained by F.D. Weir and owned by H.C. Applegate & Co. of Louisville.

The Derby record will last 17 years, until Twenty Grand wins the race in 2:01 4/5 in 1931.

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May 10
Hockey
1970:
Though just 22, the legend of Bobby Orr continues to grow. He puts the finishing touch on Boston's first Stanley Cup in 29 years by scoring one of the most acrobatic goals in hockey history.

Early in overtime of today's Game 4 in Boston, the Bruins star sets things in motion when he outraces the Blues' Larry Keenan to a loose puck. Orr passes to teammate Derek Sanderson in the corner and then dashes towards the crease. Sanderson waits just long enough before sliding the puck back to the charging defenseman.

Orr slips the game-winner past goalie Glenn Hall just before he is sent flying, courtesy of a full-fledged leg trip by Noel Picard. The dramatic goal is caught on camera and the image of Orr in the air is sure to remain in the minds of hockey fans for decades to come.

"Honest, I really don't know how it went in," says Orr.

The goal gives the Bruins a 4-3 victory, marking the third consecutive year the Blues are swept in the finals.

Baseball
1970:
At 46 and pitching for the Atlanta Braves, Hoyt Wilhelm becomes the first in major league history to pitch in 1,000 games. While the appearance is a milestone, the reliever's performance is a failure.

Wilhelm enters with the bases loaded and nobody out in the ninth inning and tries to protect a 5-3 lead against the St. Louis Cardinals. But the knuckleballer allows one run to score on a groundout and after an intentional pass to Leron Lee refills the bases, he gives up a two-run single to Jose Cardenal. The Braves lose, 6-5, in Atlanta, ending their 11-game winning streak.

Wilhelm will finish his career in 1972, with the Los Angeles Dodgers, with 1,070 appearances, 1,018 in relief. Wilhelm, who will be elected into the Hall of Fame in 1985, will have a 143-122 mark, 2.52 earned run average and 227 saves. His appearances record will last until 1998 when Dennis Eckersley will pitch in his 1,071st game.

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May 11
Boxing
1900:
Three years ago, Jim Jeffries was a sparring partner for heavyweight champ Jim Corbett, the man who knocked out the mighty John L. Sullivan. Today, Jeffries is the champ and seeks to retain his title against his former employer in their scheduled 25-round bout in Coney Island in Brooklyn.

At 33, Corbett shows he's not washed up. Though 27 pounds lighter at 185, he controls the fight, using Jeffries' face for a punching bag as he peppers the champ with stinging jabs. In the 23rd round, a smashing left hook bloodies Jeffries' nose.

An angered Jeffries tries to retaliate, but misses with both his right and left hands. But later in the round, he finally connects. A right followed by a devastating left hook to the jaw flattens Corbett, who is out for five minutes.

"How I got the knockout blow I don't know," Corbett says. "I have no recollection of it landing. It must have been a corker, however, to have put me out."

While Corbett is unscarred, Jeffries has both eyes disfigured, his lips cut and his nose is jammed further into his face.

Baseball
1919:
Washington's Walter Johnson pitches a masterpiece in the first American League game played in New York on a Sunday, but umpire Bill Dineen mistakenly stops the scoreless game after 12 innings when he receives some wrong information from the Yankees. He is told that under the new law, all Sunday games must end at 6 p.m.

But the law states only that all games must start after 2 p.m. and makes no provision for what time games must end.

Before the game is called a couple of minutes before 6, a shivering crowd of 3,000 in the Polo Grounds saw Johnson allow only two hits and retire 28 consecutive Yankees between the first and 10th innings. He walks one and strikes out nine, including George Halas, the Yankees' right-fielder and leadoff hitter, twice in five at-bats.

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May 12
Pro basketball
1974:
For the first six games of the NBA Finals, the Celtics played Milwaukee center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar straight up. Today in Game 7, Boston coach Tom Heinsohn changes his strategy -- and it works to perfection.

"Dave Cowens got in front of him and Paul Silas and Don Nelson helped out behind," says John Havlicek, the Finals MVP. "It disrupted them and they couldn't quite make the adjustment."

With the Celtics ganging up on the 7-foot-2 Abdul-Jabbar, they rolled to a 102-87 victory for their first title since Bill Russell retired five years ago. After scoring 14 points in the first period, Abdul-Jabbar is held to only three shots -- and no points -- in the next 18 minutes as the Celtics race out to a 65-50 lead midway through the third quarter.

Abdul-Jabbar is held to a playoff low of 21 shots and 26 points. Besides his strong defensive game, the 6-foot-9 Cowens also leads the Celtics offense with 28 points as Boston wins for the third time in four games in Milwaukee.

1985: On the day of the NBA's first draft lottery, Dave DeBusschere attends mass near his Long Island home. The New York Knicks head of basketball operations says some prayers, like he always does.

"And then I thought, I'll be a little selfish and ask for Patrick Ewing in the lottery," DeBusschere says.

His prayers are answered. The two teams left in the lottery are Indiana and New York, and when Commissioner David Stern pulls out a logo for the No. 2 pick and announces Pacers, the Knicks have won the lottery. The grand prize is the right to draft Ewing, the three-time All-American center who averaged 15.3 points and 9.2 rebounds in his four seasons at Georgetown.

"I wasn't hoping for a particular team," Ewing says. "I just wanted to get it over with. I was so anxious and keyed up."

The Knicks thought they were getting a savior. Fourteen seasons later, they still will be waiting to win their first NBA title with Ewing.

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May 13
Baseball
1958:
After getting his 2,999th hit yesterday, the Cardinals are not starting Stan Musial in today's game in Chicago. They want him to reach the milestone back home in St. Louis tomorrow.

Not expecting to play, Stan the Man is sunning himself in a green folding chair in the Cardinals' bullpen when, with St. Louis trailing 3-1 in the sixth inning, he's summoned by manager Fred Hutchinson to pinch-hit. Facing 22-year-old Cubs right-hander Moe Drabowky, 15 years his junior, Musial lines a run-scoring double into the left-field corner and sparks St. Louis to a four-run inning.

In becoming the eighth player to reach 3,000 hits, Musial reaches the mark in a shorter period than any of the previous seven. He betters Ty Cobb's pace by more than three months' playing time.

"It isn't every day a man gets his 3,000th hit," Musial says after the Cardinals' 5-3 victory. "I knew it was in there and I'm glad it was a good, clean shot."

1952: Until last season, Ron Necciai was a first baseman before being converted into a pitcher. In his first two starts for the Bristol (Va.) Twins in the Class D Appalachian League this year, Necciai struck out 20 and 19. Tonight, he makes baseball history.

The 19-year-old, 6-foot-5, 185-pound right-hander is the first pro to strike out 27 in a 9-inning game. Mixing an explosive fastball with a dazzling curve, he also no-hits the Welch Miners in his 7-0 masterpiece.

Only four batters reach base against him -- on an error, a hit batsman, a walk and when a third strike gets past the catcher.

Necciai, who will strike out 24 batters eight days later, will be called up by the Pittsburgh Pirates. However, he will not have the same success he enjoyed in the minors, compiling a 1-6 record and 7.08 ERA while striking out 31 and walking 32 in 54 2/3 innings.

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May 14
Pro basketball
1981:
Houston Rockets center Moses Malone predicts the Boston Celtics will be drinking Gatorade, not champagne, after Game 6 of the Finals. Wrong.

The Celtics are gulping champagne after winning their first title in the Bird era. Larry Bird, in his second season with Boston, had scored only 8, 8 and 12 points in the previous three games, but breaks out tonight with 27 points, 13 rebounds and five assists in Boston's 102-91 victory in Houston.

After the Rockets close a 17-point deficit to 86-83, Bird scores seven points in 2 1/2 minutes. "They came close, but I knew we were going to win," says Bird, who shot 7-of-10 in the second half. "The coach (Bill Fitch) kept calling my play and I knew I could make it."

The Celtics' other forward, Cornbread Maxwell, is voted the Finals MVP. He scores 19 and has five assists. While this is Boston's 14th NBA title, it is the first for every member of the team.

Baseball
1996:
Out of baseball since June 1994 because of cocaine problems, Dwight Gooden returned to the majors this year with the Yankees. In only his seventh start with them, Gooden revives memories of his dominating performances with the Mets by pitching the first no-hitter of his 12-year career. He strikes out six and walks five in beating the Seattle Mariners, 2-0, at Yankee Stadium.

"This is the greatest feeling, especially because I did it in New York," he says. "With all I've been through and all the stuff that has gone on, this is the greatest feeling."

The closest the Mariners come to a hit is in the first inning on Alex Rodriguez's drive to deep center. But backup outfielder Gerald Williams makes an outstanding catch and then doubles a runner off first base.

Two walks and a wild pitch put runners on second and third with one out in the ninth, but Gooden ends his 134-pitch gem by striking out Jay Buhner and retiring Paul Sorrento on a pop to shortstop Derek Jeter. Gooden jumps for joy and then is carried off the field by his teammates.

"In my wildest dreams, I never could have imagined this," Gooden says. "This is sweet."

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May 15
Baseball
1912:
For the past several games, fans at the Yankees' Hilltop Park have been unmercifully riding Ty Cobb. Finally, the Detroit Tigers hot-tempered outfielder can't take it anymore. In the fourth inning he goes into the outfield stands, where he beats up one of his tormentors.

The fan, Claude Lucker, is missing one hand and part of the other. Among other things, he has allegedly called Cobb a "half n--ger."

"He struck me with his fists on the forehead and over the left eye and knocked me down," Lucker said. "Then he jumped on me and spiked me in the left leg, and kicked me in the side, after which he booted me behind the left ear. I was down and Cobb was kicking me when someone in the crowd shouted, 'Don't kick him. He has no hands.' Cobb answered, 'I don't care if he has no feet!'"

Cobb is ejected from the game. After he is suspended by American League president Ban Johnson, his Tiger teammates will strike for a game before Cobb urges them to end their walkout.

1981: Len Barker was thinking about a perfect game almost from the start. "But you can't take it all that seriously until the last inning," says the Cleveland Indian right-hander. "You've still got three guys to go and any one of them can get a hit -- a blooper or something."

Tonight, though, it's nothing. It's three up and three down in the ninth, just as it was for the first eight innings. Barker is the ninth to pitch a perfect game this century, the first since Catfish Hunter 13 years ago.

Barker throws a curve to the Toronto Blue Jays. Known as a fastball pitcher, Barker relies on his breaking ball, which is awesome tonight. Pitching coach Dave Duncan says 60 of Barker's 103 pitches were curves.

Barker strikes out 11 in a 3-0 victory and never throws more than two balls to any batter. "I pitched no-hitters in American Legion," Barker says, "but I always walked nine or 10 batters.

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May 16
NBA
1980:
With Lakers center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar watching Game 6 of the NBA Finals from his living room, 3,000 miles from tonight's game in Philadelphia, his sprained left ankle propped up on a coffee table, it would take magic for Los Angeles to win the championship. But the Lakers get plenty of Magic, and the result is a 123-107 triumph and a title.

Replacing Abdul-Jabbar at center, is 20-year-old Magic Johnson, normally the Lakers' point guard. All Magic does is score 42 points (14-of-23 from the field, 14-of-14 from the foul line), grab 15 rebounds and dish off for seven assists. "I don't even know if Kareem could have done things Magic did tonight," says the 76ers' Julius Erving. "The kid's a player."

A player of all positions. He plays low-post center, high-post center, power forward, small forward, point guard, shooting guard. "Magic is no rookie," says teammate Jamaal Wilkes, who scores 37. "He's a winner, a champion, something very, very special."

It's Magic's third championship in four seasons. As a high school senior, he led his team to the Michigan state title and last year, as a sophomore at Michigan State, he took the Spartans to the NCAA crown. After tonight's win, the Finals MVP doesn't forget the man he replaced at center. "I know your ankle hurts, Kareem," Magic says, "but why don't you get up and dance, anyway?"

NHL
1982:
With a 3-1 victory in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals, the New York Islanders sweep the Vancouver Canucks for their third consecutive Cup. It is the first time a U.S.-based team accomplishes such a feat.

With the score tied at 1-1 on goals by the Islanders' Butch Goring and the Canucks' Stan Smyl, Mike Bossy scores two power-play goals in three minutes in the second period. The right wing's first score comes on a rebound and his second when he fires a 30-footer past goalie Richard Brodeur off a pass from Bryan Trottier, whose 23 assists are a playoff record.

It is Bossy's seventh goal of the series, which ties him for most goals in the finals with Jean Beliveau, who set his mark in five games with the Montreal Canadiens in 1956. Bossy has 17 goals in the postseason and wins the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.

The Islanders will further stir up talk of dynasty with a fourth consecutive Cup in 1983.

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May 17
NHL
1983:
The New York Islanders had a slogan all season: "Bring Fourth the Cup." With a sweep of the up-and-coming Edmonton Oilers -- led by a guy named Gretzky -- the Islanders do just that. Their 4-2 win in Game 4 gives the Islanders their fourth consecutive Stanley Cup, a feat second only to the five straight Cups brought home by the Montreal Canadiens (1956-60).

"We're not the New York Yankees," Islanders center Butch Goring says. "We don't go around telling everyone how great we are."

But the Islanders are great. They take a 3-0 lead midway through the first period of the clincher as Bryan Trottier, John Tonelli and Mike Bossy score in a span of 97 seconds. Edmonton mounts a comeback of sorts. Second-period goals by Mark Messier and Jari Kurri spark the Oilers, who scored a record 424 goals in the regular season.

But in the end goalie Billy Smith stymies the explosive Oilers' offense. The feisty Islander allows six goals (none by Gretzky) in the four games, and receives the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.

Baseball
1970:
With an infield single, Hank Aaron becomes the ninth player to reach 3,000 hits, but the first to reach that milestone and hit 500 hitters. Only one other player has gotten 3,000 hits and 400 homers, and that's Stan Musial (475 homers, 3,630 hits), who along with Atlanta Braves president Bill Bartholomay presents the record ball to Aaron.

After going hitless in the first game of a doubleheader in Cincinnati, Aaron gets No. 3,000 off Wayne Simpson when his grounder over second base is knocked down by Reds second baseman Woody Woodward near the outfield grass. The crowd of 33,217, the largest in Crosley Field in 23 years, gives Aaron a huge ovation.

In his next at-bat, also against Simpson, the 36-year-old slugger blasts his 570th homer. The 17-year veteran singles again, raising his hit total to 3,002, but the Braves are swept in the doubleheader.

"I'm relieved to get No. 3,000 and I'm glad it's all over," says Aaron, who is somewhat subdued. "It's been a long day."

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May 18
Pro football
1963:
After a 13-month battle against acute monocytic leukemia, the most virulent form of blood cancer, Ernie Davis succumbs to the disease and dies early this morning in a Cleveland hospital.

In 1961, Davis became the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy. A two-time All-American halfback, he rushed for 2,386 yards in 360 attempts (6.6-yard average) and scored 35 touchdowns in his career to break the school records set by the player who helped recruit him and the first of the great Syracuse 44s, Jim Brown. The Washington Redskins made Davis the first pick in the draft on Dec. 4, 1961 and then traded him to Cleveland for halfback Bobby Mitchell and one of the Browns' No. 1 picks, halfback Leroy Jackson.

The Browns signed Davis to a three-year contract worth $80,000, the largest deal ever given to an NFL rookie. While practicing for the College All-Stars that summer, it was diagnosed he had leukemia and that he actually had been afflicted with it since April.

"This is a great personal loss," Jim Brown says. "He was a tremendous individual. He realized this was going to happen eventually, but he was courageous in the face of everything. He never showed his feelings to any of the guys. I never caught him with his head down. He just carried on normally as if nothing was wrong."

Ernie Davis was 23.

Pro basketball
1987:
Before the Lakers' practice, the players crowd around Magic Johnson and chant, "M-V-P, M-V-P." In his eighth season in the league, Magic finally gains the coveted trophy. "He's a winner, an MVP, and the award is long overdue," says Los Angeles coach Pat Riley.

Magic is the first guard in 23 years, since Oscar Robertson in 1964, to be voted MVP. He averaged a team-leading 23.9 points and led the league with 12.2 assists a game as the Lakers finished with an NBA-best 65-17 record.

Magic receives 65 of the 78 first-place votes from a panel of sportswriters and sportscasters. Chicago's Michael Jordan, the league's leading scorer with a 37.1 average, comes in second and Boston's Larry Bird third.

"Michael Jordan is a hell of a player, he scored a lot of points, but I believe in the total game," says Bird, winner of the previous three MVPs. "When you look at the total game, nobody's close to Magic."

Magic will win two more MVPs, in 1989 and 1990.

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May 19
NHL
1974:
In only their seventh season of existence, the Philadelphia Flyers become the first member of the 1967 NHL expansion class (six teams were added to double the size of the league) to win the Stanley Cup.

Known more for their fighting than skills under coach Fred Shero, the Flyers earn the nickname Broad Street Bullies. No matter the style, they are celebrating in the City of Brotherly Love after the Flyers' 1-0 victory over the Boston Bruins in Game 6 gives them the Cup.

On a power play, Rick MacLeish scores his playoff-high 13th goal on a deflection at 14:48 of the first period. Thanks to goalie Bernie Parent, the Flyers will need nothing more. Parent makes save after spectacular save on the favored Bruins, stopping all 30 shots for the shutout and earns the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.

While the Broad Street Bullies racked up a league-leading 1,750 penalty minutes during the regular season, today they refrain from their often boorish on ice tactics and prove there is more to their success than clenched fists.

Flyers captain Bobby Clarke sums up the feeling of validation: "All year long, we heard that we are just a hard-working team, but never a good or a great team. To do what we've done, you have to be both."

1984: With a 5-2 win in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals, the Edmonton Oilers dethrone the Islanders, ending New York's four-year reign as champions. The victory marks the "arrival" of the highly touted Oilers, who are in their fifth season in the NHL and are led by superstar center Wayne Gretzky.

In last year's Cup final, the Islanders squashed the promising Oilers in a four-game sweep. But the Islanders could no longer prevent the simmering offense of the young Oilers squad from erupting. Having tallied a record 446 goals in the regular season, the Oilers continue their high scoring ways with 19 goals in the final three games of the series to convincingly eliminate the Islanders.

Gretzky scores the game's first two goals in the clincher in Edmonton and quiets his critics, who doubted his style of play was conducive to team success.

"It's exciting to win individual awards," says The Great One, who has dramatically rewritten the NHL record book in his first five seasons, "but there's no feeling like this. Nothing compares."

In winning the Cup, Gretzky gets plenty of help from teammate Mark Messier, who is voted the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP after scoring 26 points.

Baseball
1962:
At 41 and in his 21st season with the St. Louis Cardinals, one might think that Stan Musial would be oblivious to pressure. But as he readied to become the National League's all-time hits leader, Musial went into a slump.

Needing one hit to tie Honus Wagner's record, Musial went 0-for-15 before stroking No. 3,430. Then he failed to get a hit in his next nine at-bats, including four tonight, before lining a single for No. 3,431 off the Dodgers' Ron Perranoski in the ninth inning of the Cardinals' 6-1 victory. His average had dropped from .394 to .316.

"I never worked so hard for two hits in my life," says The Man. "I didn't think that I was under pressure, but I realize now that I was. When I finally got to first base after breaking the record, I felt so relaxed I could have fallen over. That's when I realized the pressure had been on."

While Musial was feeling it, his biggest fan wasn't. Back home in St. Louis, his wife Lil doesn't hear the record-breaking hit on radio because she's so relaxed that she falls asleep before the night game in Los Angeles.

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May 20
Horse racing
1989:
Though Sunday Silence defeated Easy Goer by 2 1/2 lengths in the Kentucky Derby a fortnight ago, he still hasn't convinced the public he's the better horse. For today's Preakness, he's a tepid 2-1 second choice, behind Easy Goer, the 3-5 favorite.

The two stage a memorable race. For almost the final quarter of a mile, they go cheek-to-cheek and flank-to-flank. With two strides to go, Sunday Silence edges ahead and wins by a nose in the closest Preakness ever run. His time for the mile and 3/16th race is a rapid 1:53 4/5.

The winner survives the foul claim of Easy Goer's jockey, Pat Day. "His horse was overrated and mine was underrated," says Sunday Silence's jockey, Pat Valenzuela. "I knew Pat was going to claim foul. He was grasping at straws. I think this puts to rest the talk that Easy Goer is the better horse."

It doesn't. Easy Goer will spoil Sunday's Silence bid for the Triple Crown when he beats him in the Belmont.

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May 21
Horse racing
1977:
Seattle Slew slays more doubters with his victory in the Preakness. In winning his eighth race of his unbeaten career, the dark brown colt subdues Cormorant on the stretch turn and then holds off a late charge by 31-1 Iron Constitution.

Slew wins the mile and 3/16 race by 1 1/2 lengths in a rapid 1:54 2/5. His fireball speed is evident in the first mile, which he covers in 1:34 4/5, the fast ever at the Preakness. The 2-5 favorite, Slew pays $2.80 to win.

"It was easier than the (Kentucky) Derby," says Slew's jockey, Jean Cruget, who didn't press his horse early. "With him, I always have more speed if I want to use it."

In three weeks, Seattle Slew will win the Belmont and become the first horse to become the first undefeated Triple Crown champion.
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May 22
Auto racing
1977:
Last year, Janet Guthrie was the first woman to officially enter the Indy 500, the first woman to drive around the track in actual practice and the first woman driver to complete the mandatory rookie test. However, she did not make a qualifying attempt because her car wasn't fast enough.

This year, she has a faster car. She did more than 191 mph before hitting the wall 12 days ago. Today, the 39-year-old physicist-turned-racer becomes the first woman to qualify for the Indy 500 with a four-lap average of 188.403 mph in the No. 27 Lightning-Offenhauser.

"I want to thank my folks for not bringing me up thinking I couldn't do something because I was a woman," Guthrie says. "Over the course of the last year, I've given a lot of thought to the symbolism of being the first woman here. It's important to credit the women's movement with creating the climate that made this possible."

Pro basketball
1988:
It's the seventh game of the Eastern Conference semifinals and on the Boston bench, the players are saying the duel between Larry Bird and Atlanta's Dominique Wilkins "is like the shootout at the old corral."

The modern-day gunslingers are firing one bull's-eye after another. Wilkins is phenomenal, scoring 47 points, including 16 in the final period. But it's not enough. The Celtics win 118-116 in Boston Garden, thanks to the heroics of the sharpshooting Bird.

Larry adds to his legend by scoring 20 points in the fourth quarter, hitting nine of 10 shots from the field, and finishes with 34 points despite the tight defense of Wilkins. "I've seen so many of Larry's fourth quarters," says Boston assistant coach Jimmy Rodgers, "but I don't ever remember him having a fourth quarter like that. And you know ... it was absolutely necessary. Everything he did was significant."

When Wilkins walks to the foul line with a second to go and the Hawks trailing by three, he tells Celtics teammates Kevin McHale and Robert Parrish, "Great game."

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May 23
Baseball
1989:
In Bo Jackson's first six at-bats against Nolan Ryan, the result was always the same: a strikeout. Four times two weeks ago and twice tonight, in Bo's first game as Kansas City's cleanup hitter.

In their third confrontation tonight, with two runners on base in the fifth inning and Texas leading 10-2, Ryan brushes back Bo, sending him to the ground. The next pitch sails toward Bo's head. Getting up slowly, Bo stares at the Ranger fireballer and takes his time getting back into the batter's box.

"I don't know if he was wild or not," Jackson says after the Rangers' 10-8 victory. "But Nolan Ryan has been pitching longer than I've been alive. If he wanted to hit me, he could have."

With the crowd at Arlington Stadium cheering wildly, Bo digs in and slams a Ryan express halfway up the center-field bleachers. It is one of the longest homers ever in the stadium's 18-year history. Measured at 461 feet, Bo still thinks he's getting short-changed.

"The guy upstairs needs to get a new tape measure," he says.

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May 24
Baseball
1935:
Despite reservations, night baseball sees the light of day. The site is Cincinnati's Crosley Field, but the switch to turn on the battalion of 632 lights on eight gigantic towers is controlled in the White House. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt presses his finger on a gold telegraph key, a blackened Crosley Field is instantly illuminated.

The lighting is greeted by a tremendous cheer from the large crowd of 20,422 that came to see the first night game in major league history. The lighting doesn't interfere with the players' performances, and the fans see a well-played, errorless game, with the Reds defeating the Philadelphia Phillies, 2-1.

Night baseball will prove to be a success. The Reds will draw 130,337 for seven night games this season, an average of 18,620 fans. In their remaining other 69 day dates, they will draw 317,910, an average of 4,607.

Despite the success of night ball in Cincinnati, the major leagues will be slow to adopt the innovation. It won't be until three years later that a second club, the Brooklyn Dodgers, will install lights.

Auto racing
1981:
Bobby Unser crosses the finish line first, but is penalized a lap by track stewards and Mario Andretti is named the winner. However, Unser and car-owner Roger Penske will appeal the decision to the U.S. Auto Club, and four months later they win their case. It is Unser's third Indy 500 victory.

1987: Al Unser Sr., driving in a year-old car he had to beg to drive, wins his fourth Indy 500, tying A.J. Foyt's record. At 47, Unser is the oldest to win the race. Quite a feat, considering the only reason he was even competing is that Danny Ongais crashed during a practice run and wasn't healthy enough to race. Unser's victory margin is 4.496 seconds over runner-up Roberto Guerrero and his average speed is 162.175 mph.

"It means everything to Dad," says Al Unser Jr., who finishes fourth. "They called him retired and washed up and all that. He's far from that. I've got goose bumps. I'm ecstatic for Dad."

1992: Today, Al Sr. is ecstastic for his son. Al Jr. maintains the family tradition as he beats Canadian Scott Goodyear by .043 seconds in the closest finish in the 76 runnings of the Indy 500. After taking his victory lap, Little Al and his father hug at the end of the pit lane. "We both had tears in our eyes," Little Al says.

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May 25
Track & Field
1935:
Two weeks before the 1935 Big Ten Championships (then known as the Western Championships), Jesse Owens was involved in some playful hi-jinks with his roommates. But the prank backfired and the Ohio State sophomore slipped on water during his getaway, severely injuring his tailbone.

Today in Ann Arbor, Mich., Owens can't even bend over to touch his knees. But as he settles in for his first race, he says the pain "miraculously disappeared." Competing in four events in 45 minutes, Owens puts on the greatest track and field show of all-time, setting three world records and tying a fourth.

Baseball
1935:
On the same day that Jesse Owens is making history, Babe Ruth is having his last hurrah. At age 40 and now playing for the Boston Braves, the Bambino belts the final three homers of his career.

Babe is using a new bat as his regular one broke during batting practice in Pittsburgh. He instantly takes a liking to his new weapon, belting homers in his first two plate appearances. In his third at-bat, he punches a run-scoring single to left. Then in the seventh inning, against Guy Bush, he wallops a prodigious drive that clears the right-field grandstand, bounces into the street and rolls into Schenley Park. Some baseball people say it is the longest homer ever at Forbes Field.

It is the fourth time in his career that Ruth hit three homers in a game. After his last dinger (No. 714 all-time), he leaves the game to a tremendous ovation. The Braves lose 11-7 despite Ruth going 4-for-4 with six RBI.

A week later, the Babe will retire.

Auto racing
1980:
Despite 13 caution flags that stay up for 60 of the 200 laps and keep the field together, and despite the controversial limitations of power that helped equalize the field, Johnny Rutherford wins the Indy 500 for the third time in seven years.

Rutherford is the first driver in the 64 years of the race to win it twice from the pole position. He averages 142.862 mph, the slowest in 18 years and 16 mph slower than the winner averaged last year.

"We were running like turtles," four-time winner A.J. Foyt says testily.

Rutherford is the fastest turtle, finishing more than a mile ahead of runner-up Tom Sneva. While the green light is on, Rutherford is never passed on the track as he leads for 119 of the 200 laps. "I was not in any serious trouble all day," he says.

That's because no matter the speed -- fast, slow or in-between -- Rutherford's car is the swiftest. "The Chaparral is two or three years ahead of its time," Rutherford says.

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May 26
Pro basketball
1987:
Once, it was John Havlicek who stole the ball. Today, it's Larry Bird.

The Detroit Pistons are poised to take a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference finals in Boston Garden. With the Celtics trailing by a point, Bird's shot is blocked by rookie Dennis Rodman and the ball goes out of bounds off Boston's Jerry Sichting with five seconds left.

Pistons guard Isiah Thomas, whose jumper had given Detroit a 107-106 lead with 17 seconds left, takes the ball out from the side, and lofts a pass to center Bill Laimbeer, who is alone and has his arms up near Boston's basket.

Out of nowhere comes Bird, who anticipates the throw as he leaves his man. He intercepts the toss and almost instantly passes to a cutting Dennis Johnson, whose layup with a second left gives the Celtics a 108-107 victory. Bird finishes with 36 points, 12 rebounds, nine assists and, yes, one steal.

The Pistons will win Game 6 at home, but the Celtics will take the series with a seventh-game victory in Boston.

Baseball
1959:
Nobody has ever pitched a no-hitter longer, much less a perfect game for 12 innings. But when the game is over, Harvey Haddix is a loser.

The Pittsburgh Pirates' slender 33-year-old left-hander, nicknamed "the Kitten," pinpoints his fastball and curve in retiring the first 36 Braves, striking out eight, in Milwaukee. The closest the Braves get to a hit in the first 12 innings is Johnny Logan's drive in the third that shortstop Dick Schofield spears with a leap.

But Braves pitcher Lew Burdette also doesn't allow a run and the game goes into extra innings. In the 13th, Haddix loses his perfect game when Felix Mantilla is safe on third baseman Don Hoak's throwing error. After Eddie Mathews sacrifices, Hank Aaron is intentionally walked.

Then Joe Adcock snaps Haddix's no-hitter with a drive over the right-center-field fence for an apparent homer. But Adcock is declared out for passing Aaron, who had cut across the diamond without touching third base, between second and third. The hit is ruled a double.

The umpires say the final score is 2-0. However, the mistake will be corrected and the score will be changed to 1-0. Burdette gets the win with his 12-hitter and Haddix suffers a loss despite pitching one of the great games in history.

Auto racing
1991:
Rick Mears streaks into Indy 500 history when he wins the event for the fourth time, joining A.J. Foyt and Al Unser Sr. as the only drivers to accomplish the feat.

Mears, 39, gets into the Indy record book after outracing Michael Andretti in a brilliant duel. Andretti has a lead of almost 15 seconds before making a pit stop for a brief splash of fuel when the yellow flag comes out 15 laps from the end. When Andretti gets back on the track, Mears is the leader, but not for long as Andretti makes a bold move and passes him.

However, on the next lap, the usually conservative Mears returns the favor and passes Andretti on the high side and pulls away. "I don't know if I ever have done that before," Mears says. "I got the draft down the straightaway, he stayed down low, and my tires were cool and fresh."

Mears races on to win by 3.1 seconds with an average speed is 176.46 miles per hour in his Penske-Chevrolet. He is the first to win from the pole position three times.


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May 27
Baseball
1937:
Carl Hubbell, the New York Giants' masterful screwball pitcher, extends his record-winning streak to 24 with an infrequent relief performance.

Entering a 2-2 game in Cincinnati in the 8th inning in a double switch by manager Bill Terry, the left-hander retires all six Reds he faces. King Carl gains the victory when his roommate, Mel Ott, snaps out of the worst slump of his career and belts a solo homer in the ninth for a 3-2 Giants' win.

The victory is Hubbell's eighth this season after ending the 1936 season with 16 consecutive wins. It is only Hubbell's second victory in relief in his amazing streak.

Hubbell's streak, though, will end in his next start as he will be bombed in a 10-3 loss to the Brooklyn Dodgers on May 31 in the first game of a doubleheader.

Auto racing
1979:
The number 27 appears to be good luck for Rick Mears. It's his age when he becomes the youngest driver to win the Indy 500 in 27 years.

In only his second start in the Indy 500, Mears, who started from the pole position, takes control when leader Bobby Unser Sr. loses his fourth gear on the 181st lap.

Mears pilots his Gould Charge to almost a lap victory over A.J. Foyt, who nurses a sick engine to finish second. In becoming the youngest winner since 22-year-old Troy Ruttman in 1952, Mears averages 158.899 miles per hour.

"Rick drove a great race and stayed out of trouble," says four-time winner Foyt. By 1991, Mears will join Foyt and Al Unser Sr. as the winningest Indy drivers with four victories each.

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May 28
Baseball
1957:
The Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants, seeking greener pastures to get more green for their coffers, get the, er, green light from the National League to move to the West Coast. The permission for the Dodgers to relocate to Los Angeles and the Giants to San Francisco is unanimously approved by the other National League club owners at a meeting in Chicago.

The league specifies that the twin moves must be a "package deal."

Though both teams still have leases at their present ballparks, Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley and Giants owner Horace Stoneham have been upset with dwindling attendance, antiquated ballparks and lack of parking facilities. Both have sought to get new stadiums built for them in New York.

By next season, the Dodgers and Giants will be the first major league baseball teams to have franchises in California.

1956: Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Dale Long, who two days ago became the first player to homer in seven consecutive games, extends his record streak to eight. Leading off the fourth inning, Dale goes long again.

The 30-year-old left-handed hitter homers into the lower right-field stands beyond the 375-foot marker at Forbes Field before 32,221 roaring fans, the largest crowd for a night game in Pittsburgh in almost six years. Long's victim in the Pirates' 3-2 win is the Brooklyn Dodgers' Carl Erskine, who earlier this month pitched a no-hitter.

The homer is Long's National League-leading 14th of the season. He will finish the year with a career-high 27 and next season he'll be traded to the Chicago Cubs.

The New York Yankees' Don Mattingly (1987) and the Seattle Mariners' Ken Griffey Jr. (1993) will tie Long's record of homering in eight consecutive games.

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May 29
Baseball
1990:
Rickey Henderson breaks Ty Cobb's 62-year-old American League record for stolen bases when he swipes No. 893. After doubling with two outs in the sixth inning of Oakland's 2-1 loss to Toronto, Henderson steals third on a 2-0 pitch from David Wells to Carney Lansford. Blue Jays catcher Greg Myers juggles the ball and doesn't throw.

After diving in safely, Henderson pulls up the base and holds it up triumphantly as he's given a standing ovation. He blows a kiss to his mother, who is sitting by the A's dugout.

"I gave the first one (the base when he tied the record at 892) to my mother," Henderson says. "This one I think I'll give to Tom Trebelhorn (the Milwaukee Brewers manager who coached Henderson in the minors). He helped me out a lot when I was first starting out. He deserves it."

Henderson snaps the record in less than 12 seasons. It took Cobb 24 years (1905-28) to steal his 892. Next season Henderson will steal his 939th base, breaking Lou Brock's major-league record.

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May 30
Baseball
1904:
It's days like this one that probably have Frank Chance thinking that maybe he should have chosen another profession. In his first at-bat in a doubleheader in Cincinnati, the Chicago Cubs first baseman is beaned by a Jack Harper fastball and falls to the ground, completely stunned. After being revived with water, he remains in the game though blood streams from the gash. He has a black eye.

But Chance isn't through being a target. He is hit twice more by Harper pitches. And in the second game, Chance is hit another two times, setting a major league record of being plunked five times in a doubleheader.

NHL
1985:
Wayne Gretzky completes a remarkable playoff with a goal and three assists, leading the Edmonton Oilers to an 8-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 5 for their second consecutive Stanley Cup. "We've got the reputation of being an arrogant, flash-in-the-pan type of team," Gretzky says. "So we didn't want to win one Cup and not win another."

Playing without injured goalie Pelle Lindbergh, the Flyers are unable to stop the Oilers' talented array of scorers. Edmonton jumps ahead 4-1 in the first 18 minutes against backup goalie Bob Froese and its eight goals is the biggest final-game outburst in Cup history.

The Oilers set an astounding 24 records during the playoffs. Jari Kurri scores 19 goals to tie former Flyer Reggie Leach. The team wins its 16th consecutive playoff game at Northlands Coliseum. Paul Coffey sets marks for most goals (12), assists (25) and points (37) by a defenseman.

In a close race, Coffey finishes second to Gretzky in the Conn Smythe vote for playoff MVP. Scoring 17 goals and 30 assists for a record 47 points in just 18 games, the Great One gains the one honor that had eluded him.

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May 31
Auto racing
1967:
With just 10 miles to go, it looks like Parnelli Jones will win the Indy 500 as he has more than a 50-second lead. But then his turbine car's engine fails and he limps into the pits with a failure in the gear box. After leading 171 laps, a $6 bearing prevents Jones from receiving the first-place prize of $105,052.

Taking advantage of Jones' hard luck is A.J. Foyt, who wins the third of his four Indy 500s. The victory is all the sweeter because Foyt Enterprises had built the winning Coyote Ford to Foyt's own specifications and because he had a miserable season in 1966 involving three wrecks.

Foyt avoids a five-car pileup on his final lap and coasts to the finish line more than a lap ahead of runner-up Al Unser Sr. In spite of 64 minutes of yellow lap time, Foyt averages 151.207 mph, the fastest of the 51 Indy 500s.

The race has taken two days to complete. It was stopped yesterday because of rain, with Jones and his turbine special looking sensational in taking the lead through 18 laps.

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