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Phillies Lose 23rd Straight, Then Win – August 20, 1961

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On August 20, 1961 the Philadelphia Phillies played a double header in Milwaukee with the Braves. Milwaukee won the opener 5-2, extending the Phillies losing streak to 23 games. While the Phillies were tacking yet another game onto what was already the Major League (modern era) record for most consecutive losses, the Braves were chalking up their 10th win in a row.

1961 Phillies Click Image to see on eBay

1961 Phillies Click Image to see on eBay

Going into the nightcap, the Braves were 64-51. At 30-87, the Phillies were already well past the point of being mathematically eliminated from the pennant race.
John Buzhardt (The H is silent) started the second game for the Phils. He came into the game with a 3-13 record and an ERA of 4.33. The Braves starter was Carl Willey (5-6, .402)

The game was scoreless until the bottom of the third when Roy McMillan homered off of Buzzhardt, giving the Braves a 1-0 lead. The Phillies bounced back in the top of the fourth as Wes Covington homered to tie the game. Then Lee Walls doubled and Clay Darymple singled him home, giving the Phillies a 2-1 lead.

The Phillies small-balled their way to another run in the sixth with another pair of hits by Walls and Darymple, and a sacrifice fly RBI off the bat of Bobby Malkmus. The Braves answered in the 7th when Hank Aaron and Joe Adcock both singled and Aaron scored after Frank Thomas grounded out into a double play.

The Phillies scored four in the eighth on four singles and a walk, and with a 7-2 lead, they were well on their way to winning their first game in more than three weeks.

Dick Allen and Frank Thomas Fight July 3, 1965

The win was actually a turning point for the Phillies. They won their next three games. For the remainder of the season they were only four games under .500 (16-20, .444).

In 1962 the National League expanded to 10 teams with the addition of the New York Mets and the Houston Colt .45’s (renamed the Astros in 1965.) That year, the Phillies actually managed to finish a game over .500 at 81-80, a dramatic improvement compared to their dismal 1961 showing. In 1963 the Phillies continued to improve, finishing the season 12 games over .500 in fourth place. Then in 1964 they were the best team in the National League, for the first 150 games. But then they lost 10 straight, and finished a disappointing second to St. Louis.

1964, the most frustrating year ever

Vince Dimaggio hits 4 grand slams for the Phillies in 1945

Koufax strikes out 18 Phillies August 31, 1959

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Announce Giants Moving to San Francisco August 19, 1957

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On August 19, 1957, Horace Stoneham, president of the New York Giants, announced that his board of directors had voted in favor of the Giants moving the team to San Francisco. A few weeks later the Brooklyn Dodgers also announced that they would be following the Giants to the west coast and would set up shop in Los Angeles. The announcement marked the end of the Giants run in New York, which lasted for 74 years.

Stoneham cited “lack of attendance” as the primary reason for the move. The Giants lost money in all but two of their last eight years in New York.

1883 was the first year that New York City had a National League team. They were known as the New York Gothams. In 1885 they became the Giants. They won their first pennant in 1888. In 1954, after won their 16th and last pennant in New York. They also won their fifth World Series that year.

Click to see in Sportscollectibles.com

Willie-Mays-1957 in 1957 – – Last year playing for the Giants in New York. Click to see in Sportscollectibles.com

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Tony Conigliaro Beaned – August 18, 1967

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On August 18, 1967, forty-seven years and two days after Ray Chapman was killed by a Carl Mays fastball, Tony Conigliaro was hit in the face by a pitch thrown by California Angels’s Jack Hamilton. At the time of his injury, Conigliaro was one of baseball’s rising stars. He missed the remainder of the 1967 season and did not play at all in 1968. In 1969, to the surprise of many, he returned to the Red Sox and had the first of two very productive years with them. After being traded to the Angels in 1971, Conigliaro’s eyesight worsened and his average dropped to .222. In a failed comeback with the Red Sox in 1975, he played in 57 games and batted .123.

Conigliaro had earned himself the privilege to distinguish himself as the only teenager in MLB history to hit 25 home runs in a season, as well as the youngest player in American League history to reach 100 career home runs.

In fact, according to sabremetrics, when Tony C was 21 years old, the most similar player to him statistically speaking was Mickey Mantle. At the age of 22, it was Frank Robinson, a first-ballot hall of fame electee, as was Mantle.

Injuries were not new to Tony C, who ended his rookie season prematurely in 1964 with a broken arm. If not for that injury, he may have been able to capture Rookie of the Year honors from Tony Oliva.

But after August 18, 1967, Conigliaro would never again be the same.
Read more: Bleacher Report

Last Sunday, when the California Angels were in Oakland and the Boston Red Sox were in New York, Tony and Billy Conigliaro were at home in Nahant, Mass., fishing for flounder in the morning and gloomily catching television accounts of the controversies they had created in the afternoon.

At dawn of the day before, Tony had issued the startling announcement that, at age 26, he was quitting the Angels and ending forever his frequently brilliant but sometimes calamitous seven-year career in the major leagues. He had virtually no vision, he said, in the left eye that was struck by a pitched ball four years ago.
Read more: Sports Illustrated

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Ray Chapman Dies – Killed by a Pitch – August 17, 1920

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Ray Chapman of the Cleveland Indians was hit by a pitch that killed him. It was the only fatality caused by a pitched ball in Major League history. The Yankees Carl Mays threw the killer pitch, at the Polo Grounds in New York, on August 16, 1920. He died the following day.

Leading off the 5th inning in New York on 8/16/1920, Ray Chapman, a righthanded batter, took a ball and a strike from pitcher Carl Mays. The third pitch, a rising fastball, from the righthanded submariner struck Chapman in the head with a thunderous crack. The ball rolled toward third base, where Mays, believing the ball hit Chapman’s bat handle, fielded it and threw to first. Yankees manager Miller Huggins and the Indians Ray Caldwell both said that Chapman ducked into the pitch.

Chapman immediately dropped in the batter’s box, bleeding from his left ear. Umpire Tom Connolly called for medical assistance. Several doctors from the stands attended to the fallen player. Chapman responded after several minutes and was assisted by two teammates to the clubhouse in centerfield; however, Chapman collapsed again on the field and was quickly carried to the clubhouse and whisked away to St. Lawrence Hospital in Manhattan.
Read more: Baseballhistoryblog.com

Ray Chapman, star shortstop for nine seasons with the Cleveland Indians, might have ended up in the Hall of Fame had he not been fatally injured by a Carl Mays fastball at the Polo Grounds on August 16, 1920. An ideal number two hitter who crowded the plate, the 5′ 10″, 170-pound Chapman led the league in sacrifice hits three times. His total of 67 sacrifices in 1917 is a major league record, and he stands in sixth place on the all-time career list with 334. Chapman was also a legitimate offensive force in his own right: the right-handed batter led Cleveland in runs scored three times during his career, and paced the entire American League in runs and walks in 1918, with 84 of each. He also led the Indians in stolen bases five times, and his 52 thefts in 1917 remained the franchise record until 1980. In addition to his offensive skills, Chapman was also an excellent fielder who led the American League in putouts three times and assists once. Put it all together, and Chapman was, in the view of the Cleveland News, the “greatest shortstop, that is, considering all-around ability, batting, throwing, base-running, bunting, fielding and ground covering ability, to mention nothing of his fight, spirit and conscientiousness, ever to wear a Cleveland uniform.”
Read more SABR.org

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Sports Illustrated First Issue August 16, 1954

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The first issue of Sports Illustrated was dated August 16, 1954. However, as is the case with most magazines, the August 16 edition hit the newsstands a few days earlier, on August 12. On August 2, 1954, The Wall Street Journal reported that “More than 300,000 persons to date have subscribed for Sports Illustrated, Time Magazine’s new weekly magazine, President Roy E. Larsen announced. The sport magazine will be on sale on newsstands on August 12. Mr. Larsen said some $1,250,000 worth of advertising space, with rates based on an average net paid circulation of 450,000, has been sold.”

First Issue of Sports Illustrated Click here to see on eBay

First Issue of Sports Illustrated Click photo to see on eBay

On September 12, 1954 Orville Hopkins in the Washington Post wrote:

You’d have to say I guess, that the new Luce book, Sports Illustrated, is a pretty hot, item. They could have christened it, judging from this week’s issue, Sports Spectacular. You never saw so many high-class color photos, dynamic action shots (including one of a a party in short, pants grappling with a big fish under water), detailed diagrams and big name writers in your natural life. Red Smith writes—I guess it was inevitable—the piece about Walter Alston, the Brooklyn manager. (And, for Red, it isn’t much good.) Budd Schulberg writes about Marciano and Charles, who are having a fight this week. Philip Wylie pens a complaint about spear-fishermen. And Herman Hickman selects Maryland as one of his “eleven best elevens” for this season. Altogether, big.

More sports history in the 50s

In 1997 Michael MacCambridge wrote “The Franchise: A History of Sports Illustrated Magazine”.

This is an exhaustively researched and detailed tell-all chronicle of Sports Illustrated’s first 43 years. As such it is also the story of the rise of big-time sports in the latter third of this century from Balkanized rinky-dinkdom to today’s megabillion-dollar industry, second in Americans’ affection only to sex. So intertwined are the two tales that it is impossible to say precisely how much S.I. did to fuel the boom and how much the boom did to fuel S.I., but the evidence as presented here suggests that the one probably couldn’t have reached its staggering success without the other.
Read the Whole NY Times Review

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Tim Donaghy NBA Referee Pleads Guilty August 15, 2007

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Tim Donaghy left the basketball court as a disgraced former N.B.A. referee in July and left a federal court room yesterday as an admitted criminal, a conspirator and a gambling addict.

Donaghy’s downfall and the resulting scandal that has threatened the National Basketball Association’s integrity, came into focus when Donaghy, 40, surrendered to federal authorities and pleaded guilty to two felonies during a hearing at the United States District Court in Brooklyn.
For four years, Donaghy bet on N.B.A. games, including some that he officiated. For at least five months — starting in December 2006 — he advised professional gamblers about which teams to pick, through telephone calls and coded language. And he violated one of the primary tenets for referees by providing the gamblers with information about referee assignments, relationships between referees and players and the health of players.
Those details were disclosed when the charges were unsealed in the 10th-floor court room of Judge Carol B. Amon.
Read more: New York Times

NEW YORK, Aug. 15 — Tim Donaghy, the former NBA referee at the center of a betting scandal that has rocked professional basketball, pleaded guilty Wednesday to two federal conspiracy charges, acknowledging that he used inside information to predict the winners of NBA games and passed on his picks to a professional gambler in return for cash.
Read more: Washington Post

NEW YORK (CNN) — Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy was released on $250,000 bail after pleading guilty Wednesday to two felonies related to wagering on games he officiated and supplying inside information on games to others.

“Today’s guilty plea and charges serve as a warning that easy money often comes at a high price,” said U.S. Attorney Roslynn Mauskopf.

Two of Donaghy’s alleged co-conspirators — James Battista, also known as “Baba” and “Sheep,” and Thomas Martino — were also arraigned Wednesday for involvement in the gambling ring.

Neither of them entered a plea, and both also have been released on an unsecured $250,000 bond.
Read more: CNN

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