John McEnroe, First Player Ever Ejected from an Australian Open Match, January 21, 1990
John McEnroe was playing the Swedish born Mikael Pernfors in the fourth round of the Australian Open. Pernfors was winning the third set of the match, 4 games to 2, but McEnroe was still ahead in the match, having won the first two out three sets. Then McEnroe missed a few shots, got the short end of a some close calls, and worst of all, got set off by crying baby. McEnroe yelled into the stands “Give him a drink, the boy’s hungry.”
One baby is asked to leave, then another
Umpire Gerry Armstrong asked the parents to take the baby out of the stadium, and the mother complied. Down 3-2 in the fourth set, McEnroe bounced his racket. He managed to get back to deuce, but then he smashed his racket again after hitting a forehand wide. This time he broke the head of the racket. Armstrong then hit McEnroe with a code violation. McEnroe answered with several expletives and asked to speak with Kevin Farrar, the chief of supervisors. McEnroe began swearing at Farrar and then with Farrar’s approval, Armstrong called out “Code violation, continued abuse. Default Mr. McEnroe. Game, set, match. And with that, McEnroe was in the record books as the first player ever ejected from an Australian Open match.
Coca Cola Commercial Promotes the 1980 Olympics (The One We Boycotted)
Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan, Spawns Olympic Boycott Talk.
Russians start invasion Christmas Day, 1979
The Soviet Union began its invasion of Afghanistan on Christmas Day, 1979. On New Years Day, 1980, with already more than 10,000 Russian troops engaged in heavy fighting near Kabul (eventually the Soviets would have more than 100,000 personnel deployed in Afghanistan), the New York Times reported that “West Germany’s representative at an emergency meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization raised the question of whether the Western Allies might want to withdraw their participation in the Moscow Olympic Games this summer as a result of the Soviet Union’s intervention in Afghanistan, a NATO official said.”
Or did he say that?
The next day, The Washington Post disclosed that “a West German government spokesman denied newspaper reports that its NATO ambassador was the one who had suggested the boycott. In the same article the Post reported that Lord Killanin, head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), “vowed to resist any political interference with the Olympics”.
On January 3, the New York Times reported that France did not support the idea of an Olympic boycott.
President Jimmy Carter in a nationally televised speech on January 4, outlined his plans for forcing the Soviets out of Afghanistan, he hinted at the possibility of an Olympic boycott.
Saudi Arabia became the first nation to officially withdraw from the Moscow Olympics. On January 6 the LA Times reported that a spokesman for the Saudi Royal made the announcement, citing Soviet aggression against the “friendly and brotherly Moslem nation of Afghanistan.
Day by day, more and more editorials were written, interviews were given, and opinions taken on the not yet officially proposed Olympic boycott. For the most part, politicians favored the boycott while athletes and Olympic officials opposed it.
Carter Goes on Meet The Press and Makes Olympic Boycott Threat Official
Finally, on Sunday Morning, January 20, Carter appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press. Bill Monroe led off the interview by asking Carter, “Mr. President, assuming the Soviets do not pull out of Afghanistan any time soon, do you favor the U.S. participating in the Moscow Olympics, and if not, what are the alternatives?”
To which Carter replied, “No, neither I nor the American people would favor the sending of an American team to Moscow with Soviet invasion troops in Afghanistan. I’ve sent a message today to the United States Olympic Committee spelling out my own position that unless the Soviets withdraw their troops, within a month, from Afghanistan, that the Olympic Games be moved from Moscow to an alternate site, or multiple sites, or postponed, or cancelled. If the Soviets do not withdraw their troops from Afghanistan, within a month, I would not support the sending of an American team to the Olympics.
Notre Dame Stops UCLA Baskeball Win Streak that Started January 30, 1971 and Ended January 19, 1974.
Bruins Last Loss Before the Streak Started was Also to the Irish
UCLA ended the the 1969-70 season with a 5 game winning streak. As the 1970-1971 season progressed, the Bruins tacked another 13 games onto that run. On January 23, 1971 they faced Notre Dame. Austin Carr torched them for 46 points enabling the Irish to end UCLA’s streak at 18 games. Two years eleven months and twenty-eight days later, Notre Dame stopped another UCLA streak, but this one was the longest in NCAA men’s basketball history.
GAME BY GAME: The UCLA winning streak from 1 to 88 DailyNews.com
Jan. 30, 1971: 74-61 vs. UC Santa Barbara:
After their loss to Notre Dame, the Bruins fell to No. 2 in the AP poll, behind 14-0 Marquette and ahead of 14-0 USC. Curtis Rowe had 28 points with 11 rebounds and Sidney Wicks scored 19 as the Bruins were ahead by only eight with 8:39 left. “Let me initiate this by saying I’m not at all pleased,” Wooden said. “We didn’t play well today and we didn’t play well last weekend.”
Jan. 17, 1974: 66-44 vs. Iowa:
“I think Bill will play; the streak is important to him,” said Wooden after his star missed his third game in a row. Drollinger stepped up with 13 points and 17 rebounds, and the Hawkeyes’ 44 points were the lowest a UCLA team held anyone to that point. “I thought we were lackadaisical and I have never had that trouble with my teams,” said Wooden, perhaps a precursor to having the streak come to an end two days later at Notre Dame: 71-70.
From 1970-1974 UCLA Had Talent, Talent, and More Talent
1970-1971 was the season between Lew Alcindor (who became known as Kareem Abdul Jabbar) and Bill Walton. This is not to say that the 1970-1971 wasn’t stacked. They featured four future NBA players; Sidney Wicks, Curtis Rowe, Steve Patterson, and Henry Bibby. But during that “between season”, Johnny Wooden had to “make do” without a single future NBA Hall of Famers.
Bibby was the only future NBA guy left when UCLA started the 1971-72, but he was joined by Walton and another future Hall of Famer, Jamaal Wilkes. Two other guys who merely made it into the NBA were also on the team, Swen Nater and Greg Lee. So it wasn’t surprising when that team went 30-0.
Then Bibby was gone for the 1972-1973 season, but Dave Myers, another future NBA player was added to the roster, and again UCLA won 30 and lost none.
The 1973-1974 team had seven (count ‘em) future NBA players. Lee, Walton, Wilkes and Myers were joined by Andred McCarter, Richard Washington and Marques Johnson. Johnson averaged more than 20 points a game over an eleven year NBA career, and played in five All-Star Games, but has not yet been elected to the Hall of Fame.
The 1973-1974 team had the most talent, but underachieved
In one disastrous weekend in Oregon. The UCLA Basketball team lost a Friday night game to Oregon State (February 15) and on Saturday night they lost again, this time to the University of Oregon. After that, the Bruins seemed to regain their footing. They won the remainder of the their regular season games, and despite the back-to-back losses in Oregon, they managed to win another PAC 10 title.
In the NCAA Tournament they beat San Franciso and then Dayton, to win the Western Regionals, but in the Final Four they lost the semi final game to a David Thompson led North Carolina State.
January 18, 1983 – Jim Thorpe Gets His Medals Back from the 1912 Olympics
Just about seventy years after they were taken away, and almost thirty years after he died, Jim Thorpe got his medals back. At the Stockholm Olympics of 1912 he won gold medals in both the decathlon and the pentathlon. He also took fourth place in the the high jump and seventh place in the long jump. His margins of victory in the decathlon and pentathlon were staggering, prompting King Gustav V of Sweden to declare at the medals ceremony “You, sir, are the greatest athlete in the world”, to which Thorpe replied, “Thanks, King”. In 1913 he was stripped of his medals after it was revealed that he had played two seasons of semipro baseball (for $60 a month) in North Carolina.
IOC now lists Jim Thorpe as “Co-Winner” of the Decathlon and Pentathlon
On January 18, 1983, at a ceremony in Los Angeles, Juan Antonio Samaranch, the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), presented Thorpe’s children with gold medals to replace the ones that he was forced to return. The ceremony followed an October 1982 announcement by the IOC announcing that they would return Thorpe’s medals and re-instate his amateur status. The committee was responding to a plea on Thorpe’s behalf by William E. Simon, president of the United States Olympic Committee. Thorpe was then designated as a “co-winner” of the two events. To this day, the two men who Thorpe who thoroughly trounced, Ferdinand Reinhardt BIE in the the pentathlon, and Hugo K. WIESLANDERin the decathlon, still appear on official website of the IOC as gold medal winners of those events.
Thorpe Calls Avery Brundage “A Stuffed Shirt”
When Thorpe’s professionalism was first revealed he wrote in a letter of “confession” to the American Athletic Association (AAU), “I hope I will be partly excused by the fact that I was simply an Indian schoolboy and I did not know all about such things.”, but his ignorance-as-an-excuse appeal was rejected.
There was no serious effort to reinstate Thorpe’s medals until 1943 when a resolution was introduced into the Oklahoma House of Representatives, by two Indian legislators. They asked for the formal backing of the State of Oklahoma to petition the AAU for the return of his medals and the restoration of his name to the record books.
In 1949, Warner Brothers was making a movie about Thorpe’s life. Their request to the IOC for the return of Thorpe’s medals, to be used in the movie, was denied. Thorpe called U.S. Olympic Chief Avery Brundage, “A stuffed shirt”.
In 1950 a resolution was introduced at the National Congress of American Indians, asking for the return of Thorpe’s medals. That was followed by Thorpe’s own appeal in 1951. The New York Times reported,
Impoverished Jim Thorpe, with nothing left with memories at 63, finally swallowed his pride today and asked the Amateur Athletic Union to return the Olympic Trophies it took from him 39 years ago. “I would like to have them back before I die” muttered the erect, massive full-blooded (incorrect, both parents were half caucasion) Indian, referring to the laurels he was forced to relinquish because the A.A.U, charged he was a professional at the time he won them.
Brundage’s response to Thorpe and to an advertisement that appeared in a New York paper was, “It’s up to the second place men who were given the medals when it was ruled that Thorpe was not correctly classified as an amateur.” It should be noted that Brundage competed against Thorpe at the 1912 Olympics, placing 14th in the pentathlon and 5th in the decathlon.
In 1952 Brundage authored an article entitled “My Biggest Olympic Battles”, in it he wrote, “No man, no matter how gifted, is a special case in the Olympic Games. To re-instate Thorpe now would be to break faith with the more than 30,000 athletes who have kept the code since the modern revival of the Games in 1896.
Washington Goes to Bat for Thorpe
President Gerald spoke up for Thorpe in 1975, just a few months after Avery Brundage died. He wrote a letter to Lord Killanin, the president of the IOC. Ford asked if the panel “would consider this request and act with a sense of equity in light of the history and the contribution that Jim Thorpe has made to the world of sport. The IOC did not respond.
On October 8, 1982, the U.S.House of Representatives concurred with a prior Senate resolution that declared it is “the sense of Congress that the International Olympic Committee should officially recognize Thorpe’s Olympic feats and present medals to his family in the 1984 Olympics.”
Finally, on October 13, 1982, the IOC announced that it had reinstated Thorpe’s amateur status and that his gold medals would be posthumously awarded the following January in Los Angeles. His daughter Charlotte said at the time that she was “on cloud 12. The reason I say cloud 12 is that’s the year it happened,” she said.
Colts Beat Cowboys 16-13 in Super Bowl V – January 17, 1971
Super Bowl V was played at the Orange Bowl in Miami on January 17, 1971. This was arguably the sloppiest Super Bowl ever played. The headline in the Chicago Tribune read, “Colts Win Zany Super Bowl, 16-13. The Boston Globe called it “Strong Theater, Weak Football”. The LA Times said it was the “Not So Super Super Bowl”. Not to be outdone by the competition, the Washing Post dubbed it “The Embarrassment Bowl”.
The Tribune’s Cooper Rollow wrote, “Super Bowl V would have challenged the Imaginations of Barnum and Baily. It would have disturbed the daydreams of Walter Mitty. It would have taxed the patience of Job. It was the wildest, weirdest, wackiest exhibtion in the short history of pro footballs’s premier event, and in the end, the capacity crowd of 80,035 didn’t know whether to applaud, giggle or collapse.
If you were a Cowboys fan this game had to be a painful experience. For Colts fans it was nerve racking, but at least it had a happy ending. For the rest of America; they enjoyed some good laughs while chomping on chips and dips.
Interceptions, Fumbles, and Penalties Galore
The game featured twenty-eight incomplete passes, five interceptions, four fumbles, and fourteen penalties. And Johnny Unitas was injured before the end of the second half putting the game in the hands of Baltimore’s backup quarterback, “old” Earl Morrall.
This was the first Super Bowl where the two combatants faced each other as representatives of the NFC and the AFC. At the start of the 1970 season three NFL teams, the Cleveland Browns, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Baltimore Colts; joined the ten teams from the AFL, to form the AFC. The Colts got to exorcise the demons that had been attached to them since their humiliating 1969 loss to Joe Namath and the New York Jets. The Cowboys on the other hand, were a long way from becoming America’s team. This was the third time they would blow a title a game, and they would have to one wait more year before winning their first championship.
Baltimore Wins on a Field Goal with Five Seconds On the Clock
Super Bowl V was decided on a 32-yard field with five seconds left on the clock. Just before the the two minute warning, with game tied 13-13, Baltimore was forced to punt. Dallas took possession at the Colts 48 yard line. On first down, Duane Thomas ran right and got thrown for a 1-yard loss. On second down Craig Morton got sacked for a 9-yard loss. On top of that, Dallas got called for holding. That put the Cowboys back at their own 27-yard line, second down and 35 yards to go for a first down. Then Morton attempted a pass to Dan Reeves. Mike Curtis intercepted it and ran with the ball to the Dallas 27. Two plays later Jim O’Brien made a perfect kick (about the only thing anybody did right in this game.) to finish off the Cowboys.
President Richard Nixon watched the game at Camp David while working on the State of the Union Address.
Rookie Shaquille O’Neal Leads Orlando with 29 points and 24 rebounds
On the second highest scoring night of Michael Jordan’s career (He scored 69 agains The Cleveland Cavaliers on March 28, 1990) his Chicago Bulls came up short against the Orlando Magic. Led by rookie Shaquille O’Neal who scored 29 points and pulled down 24 rebounds, Orlando won the game in overtime 128-124. Jordon was 27 for 49 from the field and 9 for 11 from the free throw line. While he was busy scoring all those points he also managed to snag five steals.
Jordan’s exercise in futility wasn’t the worst of its kind. Wilt Chamberlain holds that honor. He broke the NBA record scoring, 78 points against the Lakers on December 8, 1961; but the Philadelphia Warriors lost (in triple overtime) 151-147.
Baseball Commissioner Writes to Roosevelt, asks if they should keep on playing
On January 14, 1945, five weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Baseball Commission Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis wrote a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He told Roosevelt that under normal circumstances, the teams would soon be going South to start Spring Training. Of course these were not normal circumstances, and Landis asked the president how he felt about the continuation of baseballm in wartime.
Roosevelt’s Green Light to Baseball
Roosevelt wrote back the next day, emphatically telling Landis that “I honestly believe that it would be in the best interest of the country to keep baseball going.” He also told Landis “I hope that night games can be extended because it gives an opportunity to the day shift to see a game occassionally.” At that time, teams were only permitted to play seven home night games during the entire season.
A week after Roosevelt’s Green Light to baseball, Cincinnatti Reds general manager Warren Giles wrote in a letter to all of his players “I urge every player on the Cincinnati club to take stock of his personal situation, analyze it carefully and ask himself this question: Can I stand at the bar of public opinion in wartime and conscientiously justify good and sufficient reasons for not being in government service?” Giles was an artillery captain and combat veteran in WWI.
Reds GM says he won’t tolerate war slackers
Giles wrote “We are anxious to provide the public with the wholesome recreation the president referred in his letter to Commissioner Landis. We want to put the best club in the National League competition we can place there. We want to win the pennant and finally the World Series (as they did in 1941). We want to do those things however, with players whose absence from government service is thoroughly justifiable. We would rather finish last or not operate at all and have all our players who should be in the service enter it, than win the pennant, world series, and make great profit with even one player who could not justify his reasons for not being in the service.”