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Babe Didrikson Robbed of Olympic Gold August 7, 1932

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Babe Didrikson won a silver medal in the Women’s High Jump at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. She actually cleared the same height as the gold medalist, her American teammate and rival, Jean Shiley (5′ 5.25″), however in a bizarre ruling, the judge said that Didrikson’s leap was illegal. Apparently the judge didn’t think that any of her prior jumps were improper, or she would have been disqualified earlier and would not have been able to win any medal at all.

Grandland Rice in the New York Times attempted to explain:

The bar was moved back to 5 feet 5 1/4, inches. Miss Shiley cleared easily at this new mark. So did Miss Didrikson. But suddenly the presiding judge ruled that the Texan had violated the rule against diving across.

The rule demands that the head follow the hands and feet across the bar, Miss Didrikson had been jumping with a whirl and a flip that sent her head downward after clearing the bar. Up to this point no warning had been issued and as far as anyone could see she had not changed her style in the slightest. It she was out of line on this last jump, she should hove been warned before. It was another of those queer rulings or decisions that have occurred for too often in these games. I had a long talk with the Babe after the event was over. “I have jumped that way all the time,” she said. “I have kept the same style through an A.A.U. Championship, I know I never changed today, but I have no kick to make, It is OK with me. Miss Shiley is a great high jumper. I’d like to say this—when you get up to 5 feet 5% inches you are getting up in the air. I felt like I was jumping aver a mountain. And I don’t mind telling you I’m a little tired.”

Didrikson was known to be a fierce competitor, so it’s unlikely that she would have been so blase about her second place finish if she had not already won two gold medals at the Los Angeles Games. On July 31 she won the Javelin. Then on August 4 she took the Gold in the 80 meters hurdles.

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A-Rod #500, Barry Bonds #755 August 4, 2007

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Alex Rodriguez and Barry Bonds both reached tainted milestones on August 4, 2007. Rodriguez hit his 500th home run and Barry Bonds got his 755th (tying Hank Aaron).

Bonds 755th – boos, cheers, and more boos

Jeff Blair, writing for the Globe and Mail called it “Barry Bonds’s desultory slog to slugger immortality.” He wrote:

Covering Bonds in San Francisco is one thing; it’s like covering a dictator’s political rally. Think Leni Riefenstahl meets This Week In Baseball.
This week, in the Giants’ three-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, it was less about the fans (who gave it good to Bonds) than about how the game’s power brokers seemed almost embarrassed to get too close to Bonds. Commissioner Bud Selig was in Los Angeles and left. He essentially says his interest will be “day-to-day” after this weekend’s series in San Diego. Frank Robinson represented the commissioner’s office on Thursday, but nobody saw him. Players union chief Donald Fehr showed up on Wednesday and flew under the radar. He was in Los Angeles, he said, on other business.

For A-Rod on the other hand, it was mostly high praise and accolades. At age 32, he was the youngest player to reach the 500 home run plateau. He was viewed as a serious, legitimate contender who could eventually out-bomb Babe Ruth, Hank Aaraon, and even the disgraced Barry Bonds.

The only nay-sayer was Jose Canseco. A week before at a radio interview in Boston, Canseco said, “he has other stuff” on the Yankees slugger, who he called a hypocrite who “was not all he appeared to be.” Canseco who by that time had already admitted to his own juicing, was slammed by most of the baseball world and was accused of slinging mud at “poor little A-Rod”.

Four months later, The Mitchell Report was released (December 13, 2007). It implicated 89 Major Leaguers as having some involvement with the use of performance enhancing drugs including Bonds, Canseco and Roger Clemens. Rodriguez was not named in the Mitchell Report, but now Canseco’s allegations about him began to seem more legitimate.

December 16, 2007 – In an interview with Katie Couric, A-Rod lies about using Steriods

More Baseball Giants

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Black Sox Banned from Baseball August 3, 1921

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Eight members of the 1919 Chicago White Sox, also known as The Black Sox, were banned from Major League Baseball, for life; on August 3, 1921. Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis. (He was known as Judge Landis. Prior to becoming Baseball Commissioner, he served 17 years as a Federal judge.) issued this statement:

“Regardless of the verdict of juries, no player who throws a ballgame, no player that undertakes or promises to throw a ballgame, no player that sits in conference with a bunch of crooked players and gamblers where the ways and means of throwing a game are discussed and does not promptly tell his club about it, will ever play professional baseball.”

Landis’s ban came the day after a Chicago jury acquitted the players of all the charges that they had faced.

Until the recent uproar over performance enhancing drugs, the Black Sox affair stood as the most spectacular scandal in baseball history, if not all of sports.

The Backstory of the Great Conspiracy From baseball-reference.com

While the origins of the conspiracy are unknown, it appears that there were two (or more) separate plans to fix the World Series. One involved Boston gambler Joseph “Sport” Sullivan, while another included retired pitcher “Sleepy” Bill Burns and his partner, Billy Maharg, a former professional boxer. These two gambling cliques were approached sometime between July-September 1919 by White Sox first baseman Arnold “Chick” Gandil and/or pitcher Eddie Cicotte. During the regular season, the Chicago White Sox had shown themselves to be the best team in the major leagues and, having clinched the American League pennant, were installed as the bookmakers’ favorites to defeat the Cincinnati Reds in the Series. At the time, gambling on baseball was rife and there were many stories about fixed games during the regular season, which were typically ignored by team owners and administrators.

Among the players, the ringleaders of the conspiracy are believed to have been first baseman Arnold “Chick” Gandil and pitcher Eddie Cicotte. Even in the pre reserve clause era of 1919, when nearly all baseball players were treated like chattel, White Sox owner Charles Comiskey was considered to be among the stingiest executive s in the sport. The players’ complaints against him were not without merit, although throwing the World Series, and getting paid by gamblers to do so, might not have been the wisest or most appropriate method of getting what they thought they were entitled to.

The scandal became a big, national, front page story as it unfolded, but the players’ grievances did not get a full airing until 1963 when “Eight Men Out” was published. It was a non fiction book written by Eliot Asinof.

Mr. Asinof, writing after painstaking research into the printed records, reconstructs the events with graphic skill. One clique of bettors pretended to represent Arnold Rothstein, the gambling tycoon. Another gambler did represent Rothstein, but appropriated for his own wagering most of the money that was meant for the players. Still another pair of shysters became go-betweens and prospered for a couple of the games that went according to plan only to be wiped out when the swindled players grew angry and really played. A jury eventually acquitted the players, but they were banned from baseball. Rothstein went on successfully from deal to deal, until he was shot.
The author feels that Charles A. Comiskey, owner of the Chicago team, should be blamed for paying the players too little and that he was slack about exposing the scandal. In many ways the scandal, as the book shows, was an indictment of American mores. It seemed like a tragedy then, but perhaps it was part of the human comedy that helped the American people on the long road toward maturity. NY Times Review

A film dramatization of “Eight Men Out” was released in 1988 starring David Strathairn and John Cusack.

In 1989 the movie “Field of Dreams” was released, starring Kevin Costner and Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe. It was based on the 1982 W.P. Kinsella novel, “Shoeless Joe”.

Shoeless Joe Jackson was not only the star of White Sox, he is one of the greatest hitters of all time. His career batting average of .3558 puts him in third place among all players in Major history. (behind Ty Cobb .3664 and Rogers Hornsby .3585. In 1920, his last full season before he was banned from baseball, Jackson hit .382. Moreover, in the in 1919 World Series, his “contribution” to the conspiracy was to hit .375. (The highest average among all the players on either team, with 10 or more at-bats.)

In 1998 Ted Williams filed a 58-page appeal with Commissioner Bud Selig, calling for an end to Jackson’s banishment, a move that would enable Jackson to take his rightful place in the Hall of Fame. So far Selig has not acted on that appeal.

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1936 Olympics Open, Nazis Rule August 1, 1936

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Nazi Germany hosted the 1936 Olympics. On August 1 of that year, Adolph Hitler welcomed the world to Berlin for two weeks of fun, and nothing but fun, with just a little bit of political propaganda thrown in.

In 2011 on the 75th anniversary of the Berlin Olympics, Frank Deford wrote in Sports Illustrated:

While, of course, nothing can approach the horror of the terrorist murders at the 1972 Olympics, it is now the 75th anniversary of what were surely the most fascinating and historically influential Games—- those in Berlin that began this very week in the summer of ’36. It was novelty and glory and evil all in athletic conjunction as never before or since.

1931 Germany is awarded the games. 1933 the Nazis take over, and calls for Olympicb boycott begin

The games were awarded to Berlin by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1931, two years before Hitler came to power. In the German federal election in 1933, the Nazis won a plurality of the seats in the Reichstag. A few weeks after the election the Reichstag passed the Enabling Act which effectively gave Hitler full dictatorial power.

Almost immediately the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was besieged with protests calling for the relocation of the 1936 games. Responding to the uproar, IOC President Comte Henri de Baillet-Latour wrote to Avery Brundage, President of the American Olympic Committee (AOC), “I am not personally fond of jews and of the jewish influence, but I will not have them molested in no way [sic] whatsoever.” He added, “I know that they [the Jews] shout before there is reason to do so.”

In 1934 Brundage went to Germany to see for himself how the Germans were treating the Jews. While he was there, he convinced himself that the AOC should ignore the calls for a a boycott. After returning to the U.S. Brundage wrote in an AOC’s pamphlet “Fair Play for American Athletes” that American athletes should not become involved in “the present Jew-Nazi altercation.”

Brundage has his way. There is no boycott

And so the U.S. and the rest of the world all accepted the Nazis’ invitation to compete at their Olympics, and that meant that the Germans had to do some “housekeeping”. In June of 1936 the Manchester Guardian reported that “the more conspicuous and easily removable anti-Semitic displays posters and signs have been removed so that visitors to the Olympic Games and the competitors shall not get an unfavorable impression of Germany.”

But the U.S. Team does not get a warm welcome

Even though the U.S. team dignified the Nazi Olympics by showing up, they did manage to stir up a mild controversy as they entered the stadium for the Parade of Nations. The night before, the Americans changed their plans so that they would not appear to be giving even a modified Nazi salute. They had originally intended to extend their arms with hats in hands, but instead they decided to just remove their hats, place them over their hearts and look eyes right, at their host, Adolph Hitler. The AP’s Alan Gould reported that the Americans “were welcomed with a noisy whistling reception which some European observers suggested was tantamount to the European “raspberries.”

Carter Announces Olympic Boycott Threat January 20, 1980
U.S. Olympic Boxing Team Wins 5 Gold Medals July 31,1976
Carl Lewis Wins 9th and Last Gold July 29, 1996
Mathias Repeats in Olympic Decathlon July 26, 1952
Edwin Moses Wins First Olympic Gold July 25, 1976
Perfect 10 for Nadia – July, 18 1976
Flo Jo Sets 100-Meter Record July 16, 1988

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Mike Tyson Rape (Alleged) July 19, 1991

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The Mike Tyson Rape story began, early in the morning of July 19, 1991, when Desiree Washington, a contestant in the Miss Black America Pageant, accused Tyson of having non-consensual sex with her.

After meeting Washington the day before in Indianapolis, during a rehearsal for the pageant, Tyson called Washington from his limousine at 1:30 AM, and invited her to meet him in the lobby of the hotel where she was staying.

1. The subject said:

“…we can go around Indianapolis and everything…”

The subject should be asked to clarify what she means by “…and everything…”

2. The subject said:

“I wasn’t really thinking anything bad.”

a. The word “really” reduces commitment.

b. The subject should be asked to clarify what she means by “bad”.
Read more

Tyson won the heavyweight championship in 1986, at the age of 20. He was considered by many to be the most feared boxer of all time, until he was knocked out by 42-1 underdog, Buster Douglas, in 1990.

Tyson attended the Miss Black America pageant in Indianapolis to lend his celebrity to the event. At a photo opportunity with the contestants, Tyson flirted with the women by grabbing and hugging them. Later, several women would testify that Tyson had made disgusting propositions to them. Still, the boxer impressed Desiree Washington, a college student from Rhode Island.
Read more History.com

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Jim Brown Announces Retirement, Not on Good Terms July 14, 1966

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Jim Brown announced his retirement from football at a news conference in London, where he was was acting in the hit movie The Dirty Dozen. Brown had been the NFL’s MVP the prior season and led the league in rushing, as he did in 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1963, and 1964. (Jim Taylor edged him out in 1962.) At the time of his retirement, Brown said “I am leaving the Browns with an attitude of friendliness and co-operation”.

We now know that Brown’s statement might have been stretching the truth a little. In June of 1966, Browns owner Art Modell released this press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CLEVELAND, OHIO – The following statement is issued by Arthur B. Modell, owner of the Cleveland Browns, regarding the status of fullback Jim Brown:

“No veteran Browns” player has been granted or will be given permission to report late to our training camp at Hiram College- and this includes Jim Brown. Should Jim fail to report to Hiram at check-in time deadline, which is Sunday, July 17, then I will have no alternative to suspend him without pay.

“I recognize the complex problems of the motion picture business, having spent several years in the industry. However, in all fairness to everyone connected with the Browns – the coaching staff, the players and most important of all, our many faithful fans – I feel compelled to say that I will have to take such action should Jim be absent on July 17.

“Lest anyone get the impression that suspension would be a token slap on the wrist, since the salaries of most professional athletes do not go into effect until the start of the regular season, I point out that we have several players, Jim included, who are paid on a 12-month basis.

“I am certain that Jim and all of our players are aware that under terms of their contracts with us they are expected to participate in all pre-season practice sessions and games.

“I have been asked what my attitude would be if Jim Brown fails to report to Hiram next month but returns to the United States in September and decides that he wants to play football.

“Our coaching staff cannot wait until such a late date to formulate our offensive plans for the 1966 season. If Jim were to show up in September, we would have to make an appraisal as to his physical condition, his ability to pick up quickly the new offense being prepared for the season plus the general personnel situation of our Club.”

6/16/66

To which Brown replied:

12 Portman Street,
#2,
LONDON, W. 1
July 5, 1966

Dear Art:

I am writing to inform you that in the next few days I will be announcing my retirement from Football. This decision is final and is made only because of the future that I desire for myself, my family, and if not to sound corney my race. I am very sorry that I did not have the information to give you at some earlier date, for one of my great concerns was to try in every way to work things out so that I could play an additional year.

I was very sorry to see you make the statements that you did, because it was not a victory for you or I but for the newspaper men. Fortunately, I seem to have a little more faith in you than you have in me. I honestly like you and will be willing to help you in anyway I can, but I feel you must realize that both of us are men and that my manhood is just as important to me as yours is to you.

It was indicated in the papers out of Cleveland that you tried to reach me by phone. Well, I hope you realize that when I am in my apartment I never refuse to answer my phone. The only reason that I did not contact you before I knew the completion date of the movie, is that the date was the one important factor. You must realize that your organization will make money and will remain successful whether I am there or not. The Cleveland Browns’ are an Institution that will stand for a long, long time.

I am taking on a few projects that are very interesting to me. I have many problems to solve at this time and I am sure you know a lot of them, so if we weigh the situation properly the ‘Browns’ have really nothing to lose, but Jim Brown has a lot to lose. I am taking it for granted that I have your understanding and best wishes, for in my public approach to this matter this will be the attitude that will prevail.

The business matters that we will have to work out we could do when I return to Cleveland. I will give you any assistance I can and hope your operation will be a success. You know the areas that I can be helpful and even if you do no ask this help my attitude will be one that I will do only the things that will contribute to the success of the ‘Cleveland Browns.’

Your friend,

Jim Brown


The Washington Post’s venerated Sports Columnist, Shirley Povitch, wrote this about Brown’s departure:

WORD THAT HIS peerless fullback was. announcing his retirement from the game, Cleveland Coach Blanton Collier said, bravely, “We’re not going to press any panic button. Jim was the greatest back *in the history of the game, but I want to make it clear that this was not a one-man football team.”
The Browns, indeed, may not have been a one-man football team, because ten other players could be counted whenever they took the field. But the others had to be searched out in the shadow cast by Jim Brown, who was the only man that counted whenever opposing coaches plotted to stop the Cleveland attack. Stop Jim Brown and that does it. Somehow, Collier’s protests. do not make it clear that the Browns were not a one-man team.
The wonders Jim Brown wrought for the Cleveland team had a pattern. Not only did he bring them from also-rans to pennant threats, he made a winning coach out of Blanton Collier, who was a sort of flop in college football with Kentucky. Frank Ryan was a second-string quarterback everywhere he played, at Rice behind King Hill and with the Rams behind Bill Wade and Zeke Bratkowski. Ryan joined Jim Brown at Cleveland and¬presto—became the NFL’s newest wonder quarterback.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4QQ9fnAgBU

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