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John Daly Wins PGA August 11, 1991

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John Daly’s career has featured a litany of surprises, but none more audacious than the first: his win at the 1991 PGA Championship. Forget that Daly, a rookie, had missed 11 cuts in 23 starts preceding that week at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind. The real shocker was his getting into the tournament at all, the result of a domino chain of withdrawals that ranged from excusable to extraordinary and that introduced Ken Anderson, the PGA’s czar of the alternates list, to a new kid on the Tour block: 9th alternate John Daly.
Read more:John Daly.com

You don’t have to believe what happened at Crooked Stick last week. You can accept as fiction the news that an unknown Arkansas pro named John Daly bludgeoned a golf course into submission on his way to a three-shot victory in the 1991 PGA Championship. You can roll your eyes when you hear eyewitnesses swear that the 25-year-old Tour rookie is golf’s next superstar, and never mind that he never won a tournament in three years at the University of Arkansas or that his 300-plus-yard drives rarely found the fairways until last week.
Read more: Golf.com

That Price would withdraw was in itself fortunate, but to see the list of the eight other players who opted out of their places suggests that fate was also playing a hand. Two players withdrew through injury, while Mark James stayed at home to try and qualify for Europe’s Ryder Cup team and Lee Trevino stayed away due to exhaustion. Brad Faxon, meanwhile, was already qualified for the event – meaning his spot for winning the preceding Buick Open could also go elsewhere.

Price’s family issues, however, were the last to arise. But, unbelievably, his spot was the hardest to fill. Sixth alternate Bill Sander turned down the place due to tiredness, while Mark Lye refused to play without having had a practice round at the 7,289-yard layout first. Brad Bryant then also declined the invitation at the last minute, as he had some personal family issues to attend to in Texas.
That left Daly – who was happy to play despite having to drive halfway across the country the night before, to play on a course he’d never seen before. The only saving grace was that he had a bit of time to recuperate.
Read more: ESPN

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Mary Decker Trips and Loses Chance for Gold – August 10,1984

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The Women’s 3,000 Meter run made its debut at the 1984 Olympics, in Los Angeles. Much attention was focused on the race because one of the favorites, Zola Budd, was born and raised in South Africa. In January of 1984, the 17-year-old Budd, running barefoot in Stellenbosch, South Africa, broke Mary Decker’s world record in the 5,000 meters. Budd’s time was not recognized by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) because she was a South African. South Africa at the time was excluded by the IAAF and the International Olympic Committee, because the ruling National Party was still enforcing its official policy of Apartheid.

After “breaking” Decker’s record, Budd dreamed of testing against herself against her idol, Mary Decker. With the political situation in South Africa however, any side by side competition with Decker was not even a remote possibility. However, Frank Budd, Zola’s father, had other ideas. Frank Budd’s father was born in London. That meant that he was eligible to receive an Brittish passport. So thinking that perhaps Zola could compete in the 1988 Olympics, he applied

Then the media/political circus began. David English, editor of The Daily Mail got wind of the story. He made a few phone calls, some strings were pulled, and ten days later Zola Budd had an Brittish passport and was eligible to run for Great Britain at the LA Olympics.

While Budd had the more interesting, controversial story, Decker was still the prohibitive favorite to the gold medal in the 3,000. In 1983 she won both the 1,500 and the 3,000 at the World Championships in Helsinki. In 1982 Decker set six world records at distances ranging from the mile to 10,000 meters.

At the start of the Olympic final Decker broke into the lead. For the first four laps Decker led the race, but Budd was never more than a half stride behind her. Then just before the five minute mark, Budd passed Decker. Seconds later, Decker tripped on Budd’s heel, fell off to the side, and was out of the race.

Then it was a three woman race among Budd, Romanian Marica Puica and the UK’s Wendy Sly.They ran together in a pack until the last lap when they lost Budd, who fell back and wound up in seventh place. Puica won the Gold Medal. She had a comfortable lead at the finish, ahead of Silver Medalist Sly.

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Jesse Owens Wins 4th Gold at Berlin August 9, 1936

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Jesse Owens won his fourth gold medal at the 1936 Olympics on August 9, 1936. He ran the first leg for the U.S. team in the 4×100 meter relay. Prior to his participation on the relay team, Owens was already “the big story” of the 1936 Olympics (at least among the athletes), having won the the long jump, as well as the 100 and 200 meter individual sprints.

esse Owens wins fourth gold at 1936 Olympics in Berlin Click here

Jesse Owens wins fourth gold at 1936 Olympics in Berlin
Click here

As if there wasn’t enough controversy surrounding the 1936 Olympics, Owens and his relay teammate Frank Metcalfe (They were among the 18 African American athletes that Hitler referred to as America’s Black Auxiliaries.) were named at the last minute as replacements for two Jewish sprinters, Marty Glickman and Sam Stoller. Until a day before the race, it was assumed that the relay team would be comprised of Glickman, Stoller, Frank Wykoff and Foy Draper. Owens and Metcalfe hadn’t even been involved in any baton passing practices. U.S. track coach Lawson Robertson claimed that he feared that the Germans were hiding their best sprinters in order to upset the U.S. in the relay, and that he had to use Owens and Metcalfe in the race. Owens and Metcalfe had in fact, run faster times in the 100 meters than Glickman and Stoller. On the other hand, Lawson’s concern about “stealth German sprinters” seems dubious. Even in 1936, world class sprinters did not appear out of thin air. As it turned out, the U.S. team ran away from the field, winning the race by 15 meters. Unless they tripped, with Stoller and Glickman running, the U.S. would have probably still won, although perhaps with a smaller lead at the finish.

Marty Glickman speaking about his experience.

I was always aware of the fact that I am a Jew, never unaware of it, under virtually all circumstances. Even in the high school competitions, and certainly at college and for the Olympic team, I wanted to show that a Jew could do just as well as any other individual no matter what his race, creed, or color, and perhaps even better.

The Olympic stadium itself is a very impressive place. It was particularly impressive then, filled with 120,000 people. When Hitler walked into the Stadium, stands would rise, and you’d hear it in unison, “Sieg Heil, Sieg Heil,” all together, this huge sound reverberating through the stadium.

Everyone seemed to be in uniform. As for banners and flags, they were all over the place, dominated by the swastika. The swastika was all over. On virtually every other banner we saw, there was a swastika. But this was 1936, this was before we really got to know what the swastika truly meant.

There was antisemitism in Germany. I knew that. And there was antisemitism in America. In New York City, I was also aware of the fact that there were certain places I was not welcome. You went into a hotel, for example, and you’d see a small sign where you registered which read “Restricted clientele,” which meant, in effect, no Jews or Blacks allowed.

The event I was supposed to run, the 400-meter relay, was one of the last events in the track and field program. The morning of the day we were supposed to run in the trial heats, we were called into a meeting, the 7 sprinters were, along with Dean Cromwell, the assistant track coach, and Lawson Robertson, the head track coach. Robertson announced to the 7 of us that he had heard very strong rumors that the Germans were saving their best sprinters, hiding them, to upset the American team in the 400-meter relay. Consequently, Sam Stoller and I were to be replaced by Jesse Owens and Ralph Metcalfe.

We were shocked. Sam was completely stunned. He didn’t say a word in the meeting. I was a brash 18-year-old kid and I said “Coach, you can’t hide world-class sprinters.” At which point, Jesse spoke up and said “Coach, I’ve won my 3 gold medals [the 100, the 200, and the long jump]. I’m tired. I’ve had it. Let Marty and Sam run, they deserve it,” said Jesse. And Cromwell pointed his finger at him and said “You’ll do as you’re told.” And in those days, Black athletes did as they were told, and Jesse was quiet after that.

Watching the final the following day, I see Metcalfe passing runners down the back stretch, he ran the second leg, and [I thought] “that should be me out there. That should be me. That’s me out there.” I as an 18-year-old, just out of my freshman year, I vowed that come 1940 I’d win it all. I’d win the 100, the 200, I’d run on the relay. I was going to be 22 in 1940. I was a good athlete, I knew that, and 4 years hence I was going to be out there again. Of course, 1940 never came. There was a war on. 1944 never came.

esse Owens Deluxe Horizontal Framed Collectible With 2.5" X 3.5" Autographed Cut

Jesse Owens Deluxe Horizontal Framed Collectible With 2.5″ X 3.5″ Autographed Cut
Click here to see this and more Jesse Owens Collectibles

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Randy Johnson Strikes Out 19 – 2nd Time – August 8, 1997

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Randy Johnson of the Seattle Mariners struck out 19 Chicago White Sox in the Kingdome, on August 8, 1997. He tied his own record for the most strikeouts in a game by an American League lefty. Seven weeks earlier, also in the Kingdome, Johnson faced the Oakland A’s and struck out 19 of them as well. Johnson was undoubtedly more satisfied with his effort against Chicago, because he and the and Mariners won that game, 5-0. Despite Johnson’s impressive strikeout tally against Oakland, Seattle lost the game 4-1. It was one of the four losses that Johnson suffered in 1997.

The record for the most strikeouts in a 9-inning game is 20. It’s held by Kerry Wood and Roger Clemens. Clemens did it twice. In 1962 Tom Cheney of the Washington Senators struck out 21 batters in a single game against the Baltimore Orioles, but Cheney pitched 16 innings in that game, which seems even more incredible than the 21 strikeouts.

On May 8, 2001, Randy Johnson pitched a game for the Arizona Diamondbacks against the Cincinnati Reds in which he struck out 20 batters in 9 innings. The Diamondbacks won the game in 11 innings, and therefore Johnson’s 20-strikeout game is listed in the MLB records among “Most Strikeouts in an Extra Inning Game”, even though he only actually pitched 9 innings.

In his losing effort against Oakland, Johnson gave up 11 hits including a monster 538-foot home run by Mark McGwire. He was much sharper against Chicago. In that game he allowed only five hits, all singles, two of which were infield hits. Chicago only hit five of Johnson’s pitches to the outfield.

At 20-4, 1997 Johnson became a 20-game winner for the first time. That year his ERA was 2.28 (the lowest in his 22 season career).He recorded 291 strikeouts against only 77 walks. In addition to his two 19 strikeout games, he also had a 16 strike out games, and he struck out 15 batters in two games.

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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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Satchel Paige Age 46? Complete Game Shutout August 6, 1952

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There’s his line for the game – – 12 innings pitched (When’s the last time you saw a pitcher go 12?), no earned runs, 7 hits, 9 strikeouts and only 2 walks. Not a bad outing for any pitcher, but this one, Satchel Paige, was at least 46 years old.

The thing is, nobody knew how old Satchel Paige really was. Many people were convinced that Paige himself did not know his actual birth date. Try googling Satchel Paige Age, and you’ll get about 23,000 hits.

One of those hits is the official Satchel Paige website, Satchelpaige.com (Well, it’s official to the extent that they claim be the exclusive licensing agent for Satchel Paige.) Satchelpaige.com says, “It is estimated that Leroy “Satchel” Paige was born on July 7, 1906. The mere idea that his birthday is an estimate provides perfect evidence to the mystery that was Satchel Paige”.

Read more about great Black athletess
Satchel Paige 1953 Card, Click to See on eBay

Satchel Paige 1953 Card, Click to See on eBay

One thing that is certainly known, is that Paige made his Major League pitching debut on July 9, 1948, and that he was and still is, the oldest rookie in Major League history. Of course the reason why Paige did not start pitching in The Majors until he reached the age when most players are well into their retirement, is because he was denied that right; for being black.

On the other hand, not being allowed to pitch in The Majors did not keep Paige from being widely recognized as not only a great Negro League pitcher, but as one of the greatest pitchers ever, period.

In addition to being the oldest rookie in Major League history, Paige was also probably the most famous.

From 1927 to 1948 Satchel Paige was the baseball equivalent of a hired gun: He pitched for any team in the United States or abroad that could afford him. He was the highest paid pitcher of his time, and he wowed crowds with the speed of his fastball, his trick pitches and his considerable bravado. History.com

Technicaly speaking, in 1947, the year before Satchel Paige’s “rookie season”, Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball, but

The truth is that Satchel Paige had been hacking away at baseball’s color bar decades before the world got to know Jackie Robinson. Satchel laid the groundwork for Jackie the way A. Philip Randolph, W.E.B. DuBois, and other early Civil Rights leaders did for Martin Luther King Jr. Paige was as much a poster boy for black baseball as Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong was for black music and Paul Robeson was for the black stage – and much as those two became symbols of their art in addition to their race, so Satchel was known not as a great black pitcher but a great pitcher. In the process Satchel Paige, more than anyone, opened to blacks the national pastime and forever changed his sport and this nation. Read more, sabr.org

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1984 Olympics First Women’s Marathon August 5, 1984

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Joan Benoit was the winner of the the gold medal in the marathon at the 1984 Olympics. It was the first time in Olympic history when women competed in that event. The Men’s Marathon has been a part of the modern Olympics since its inception in 1896.

That’s not to say that women hadn’t tried to compete in the Olympic Marathon.

Women had been forbidden from participating in the ancient Olympics. A woman who was caught even as a spectator at the Games could face execution. But women in ancient Greece held their own festival to honor the goddess Hera every five years. Only one athletic event was held-a short footrace.

When the Olympics were revived in 1896, women were again excluded. But, in March of 1896, Stamatis Rovithi became the first woman to run a marathon when she covered the proposed Olympic course from Marathon to Athens. The following month, a woman named Melpomene presented herself as an entrant in the Olympic Marathon. Race organizers denied her the opportunity to compete. Undiscouraged, Melpomene warmed up for the race out of sight. When the starter’s gun sounded, she began to run along the side of the course. Eventually she fell behind the men, but as she continued on, stopping at Pikermi for a glass of water, she passed runners who dropped out of the race in exhaustion. She arrived at the stadium about an hour and a half after Spiridon Louis won the race. Barred from entry into the now empty stadium, she ran her final lap around the outside of the building, finishing in approximately four and a half hours. One Greek newspaper wrote that the Olympic organizers were discourteous to disallow Melpomene’s entry into the race, but nonetheless it would be nearly a century before another woman would run the Olympic Marathon. Read more Marathonguide.com

Benoit won her gold medal posting a time of 2:24:52, which was then the third fastest Women’s Marathon ever run. Her time would have beaten 13 of the 20 previous Men’s Olympic Marathon gold medalists. Paula Radcliff set the current Marathon record on April 13, 2003. She ran the race in 2:15:25.

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