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16′ Barrier Broken in Pole Vault – February 2, 1962

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The first recognized world pole vault record was 13′ 2’1/4″, set by Marc Wright in 1912 (Cambridge, Mass). It took 15 years before the 14-foot mark was pierced (by Sabin Carr, 1927 in Philadelphia, Pa.)

In in 1940 Cornelius Warmerdam broke the 15-foot barrier (Fresno, Ca.). It wasn’t until February 2, 1962 when the 16-foot mark was eclipsed. John Uelses did it at Madison Square Garden in New York, when he was competing in the Millrose Games. However, at that time, indoor records were not sanctioned. Officially, the first 16-foot vault came later in 1962. Uelses set that mark as well, on March 31 in Santa Barbara, Ca.

While it took almost 22 years for the record to climb from 15 feet to 16 feet, it only took 17 months (John Pennel in Coral Gables, Florida on August 24, 1963) before the mark had jumbed to 17 feet. The world had to wait another seven years before Christos Papanikolou topped the 18-foot barrier (Athens Greece, October 24, 1970.)

On June 20, 1981, in Macon, France, Thierry Vignon became the first person to vault 19 feet. A whole decade passed before Sergey Bubka broke the 20 foot barrier. He did it in Malmo, Sweden on May 6, 1991. That was the 10th time that Bubka had broken the world pole vault record. Bubka broke the record for the 17th and last time, on July 31, in Sistriere, Italy. On that day Bubka cleared 20′ 1 3/4.”
Bubka’s record stood until February 15, 2014, when Renaud Lavillenie vaulted 20′ 2 1/2″ in Donesk, Ukraine. For the first time in almost 30 years, Sergey Bubka did not hold the world pole vault record.


David Stern Named NBA Commissioner – February 1, 1984

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David Stern became the commissioner of the NBA on Februay 1, 1984, a position he held until he stepped down on the same date, 30 years later. Stern has by far, the longest tenure of any NBA commissioner (Maurice Podloff, the league’s first commissioner, previously held the record. He served from 1946-1963.)

According to “As commissioner, Mr. Stern built the model for professional sports in league operations, public service, global marketing and digital technology. He oversaw the NBA’s extraordinary growth with seven new franchises, a more than 30-fold increase in revenues, a dramatic expansion of national television exposure and the launch of two leagues, the Women’s National Basketball Association and the NBA Development League. He implemented the first anti-drug agreement in professional sports and introduced the salary cap system and revenue sharing to the NBA.”

Stern announced his intention to resign on October 25, 2012. At that time ESPN wrote:
Stern’s fingerprints can be found across the league’s operations, most notably on strong revenue growth, the expansion from 23 to 30 teams, the movement into small markets such as Sacramento, Memphis and Oklahoma City, the spreading global reach spurred on by the league’s backing of letting its players take part in the Olympics, and the establishment of the WNBA.

Stern also oversaw the implementation of drug testing that helped root out a major league issue in the 1980s. Repeating on Thursday something he’s said often in the past, Stern said some of the lowest moments of his time as commissioner were banning players from the league because of positive drug tests.

He developed a reputation for being a ruthless negotiator even before he took over as commissioner, working as one of the league’s top attorneys starting in 1966. That carried over during negotiations with players over the years, which featured a strengthening — if expanding — salary cap and ultimately led to two work stoppages.

Meanwhile, the value of franchises soared. When Stern took over, teams were being sold in the $20 million range. In 2010, the Golden State Warriors set a record when they were sold for $450 million.


Magic Johnson, Larry Bird Debut – October 12, 1979

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Magic Johnson and Larry Bird faced each other in the NCAA championship game on March 9, 1979. Johnson’s Michigan State team defeated Indiana State, led by Bird.

The following June, the Los Angeles Lakers with the first pick in the draft, selected Johnson. Bird had already been drafted in 1978 by the Boston Celtics. Even though he had only completed his junior year, Bird was eligible because he had originally enrolled at the University of Indiana, but he dropped out during his freshman year and sat out a season.

Johnson and Bird both played their first NBA games on October 12, 1979. Bird and the Celtics opened their season against the Rudy Tomjanovich led Houston Rockets. Bird had a respectable 14 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists, but he had to sit out the last 6.5 minutes, having committed five fouls. The Celtics won 114-106.

Even with Johnson’s 26 points in his debut game, the Lakers needed a Kareem Abdul Jabbar last second sky hook to edge the Los Angeles Clippers 103-102.


Cleveland Indians Win The World Series – October 11, 1948

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Cleveland Indians fans have earned the right to kvetch. Their team hasn’t won a World Series since 1948. Some might argue that the misery felt in Cleveland pales to what the Cub fnas have endured, not having won a World Series since 1908. Then again (Some folks in Chicago will consider this to be adding insult to injury.), the White Sox “just” won a World Series in 2005.

But let’s not dwell on the frustration of being an Indians fan. Instead let’s revisit the short lived glory they enjoyed in October of 1948.

The Indians didn’t exactly stroll into the World Series. They ended the regular season tied with the Red Sox. The Tribe beat the Sox in a one-game playoff to take the American League Pennant. Prior to 1948, Cleveland’s only other World Series appearance was in 1920. They won the series that year.

In 1948 the Indians faced an even more unlikely World Series opponent than themselves, the Boston Braves. The Braves hadn’t won a National League Pennant since 1914.

In the opening game of the World Series, Indians Ace Bob Feller lost a pitchers’ duel to the Braves Johnny Sain, 1-0. The Indians came back though, and won the next three games, and eventually won the series in six.


Babe Ruth Caught Stealing to End World Series – October 10, 1926

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Babe Ruth Caught Stealing to end the 1926 World Series

Babe Ruth Caught Stealing to end the 1926 World Series

Babe Ruth – You know about his 60 home runs in 1927, his 714 career homers, and the one in 1932 where he allegedly called the shot after he met the little kid in the hospital. But did you know that he was the goat of the 1926 World Series?

The Yankees were playing the Cardinals in game seven at Yankee Stadium. New York was batting in the bottom of the ninth inning, trailing 3-2. Facing Cardinals’ reliever Pete Alexander, the Yankees’ Earl Combs started the inning by grounding out to third. Mark Koenig followed him and also grounded out to third. Then Babe Ruth stepped to the plate. At that point he was probably the leading contender to be the series MVP. He had hit three home runs in game four, and another in the third inning of game seven.

Ruth was 6-20 for the series, as he stepped to the plate. He had also walked 10 times including three previous at-bats in game seven. His on base percentage was .516. After running a 3-2 count, Alexander walked Ruth one last time.

And then as H.I. Phillips wrote in the Boston the Globe the next day –
The end came a moment later when the Babe was caught stealing second. It was a case of the behemoth mistaking itself for a gazelle.


Cubs White Sox Subway Series
(sort of) – October 9, 1906

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(sort of) – October 9, 1906
Cubs vs White Sox in the 1906 World Series

Cubs vs White Sox in the 1906 World Series
source: WikiCommons

If you define a “subway series” as a World Series in which the American League and National teams both represent the same city, then the 1906 series which pitted the Cubs against the White Sox certainly meets that definition. However while parts of the “L” had already been constructed in 1906, the trains didn’t start running underground there until 1943.

1906 was the one and only time when Cubs and White Sox played each other in the World Series. Subway series? Your call.

In 1921 and 1922 the Yankees played the New York Giants in the World Series. By that time the subway system was an integral part of New York life. But to call either of those World Series a “subway series” is a bit of stretch, since all of the games were played at the Polo Grounds.

In 1923 the Yanks and the Giants squared off in the Fall Classic for the third straight time, but this time, but this time the series moved back and forth between the brand new Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, and the Polo Grounds in upper Manhattan. Therefore, if you define a subway series as one where you can take the subway from one team’s ballpark to the other’s, then you would be correct to say that the first subway series was played in 1923. After 1923 The Yankees and the Giants played in three more subway series (1936, 1937 and 1951.)

The Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers also played in six subway series (1941, 1947, 1952, 1953, 1955 and 1956.)

The most recent subway series was played in 2000, between the Yankees and the Mets.

In 1944 St. Louis hosted what was called “The Trolley Series” (St. Louis has never had a subway system.) when the Cardinals and the St. Louis Browns faced off in the World Series. As was the case in the first two Yankees-Giants series, all of the games of the 1944 World Series were played at Sportsman’s Park.


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