Carl Lewis won the gold medal in the long jump at the Olympics in Atlanta, on July 29, 1996. Lewis had previously won the gold in the long jump at the 1984, 1988, and 1992 Olympics. Only three other athletes have won individual gold medals in four consecutive Olympics. Danish sailor Paul Elvstrom did it in 1948, 1952, 1956, and 1960. American discuss thrower Al Oerter won his gold medals in 1956, 1960, 1964, and 1968. Paul Ainslie, an Englishman, has won four straight Olympic sailing events, starting in 1996 through 2012.
1996 would have been Lewis’s fifth Olympic competition. At the age of 19, he won a place on the 1980 team, but the U.S. boycotted those games which were held in Moscow, protesting the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan.
More recently, Lewis became embroiled in controversy questioning the dominance of the Jamaican sprinters.
The reigning 100- and 200-meter Olympic gold medalist blasted Lewis in his press conference Thursday, ripping the former U.S. champion for remarks Lewis has made about the Jamaican team and doping in track.
“I’m going to say something controversial. Carl Lewis – I have no respect for him,” Bolt said. “The things he says about the track athletes are very downgrading. I think he’s just looking for attention, because nobody really talks about him. I’ve lost all respect for him. All respect.”
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Dennis Martinez pitched a perfect game on July 28, 1991. Three years later, to the day, Kenny Rogers also pitched a perfect game. Martinez’s and Roger’s gems were only the 12th and 13th perfect games ever pitched (in the modern era of the Major Leagues).
Since 1994, perfect games have become slightly less of a rare phenomenon. There have been nine perfect games thrown since Rogers did it. The last one was by Felix Hernandez on August 15, 2012.
Cy Young pitched the first and shortest perfect game on May 5, 1904; for the Boston Americans (They weren’t known as the Red Sox until 1908.) against The Philadelphia Athletics. The game only lasted an hour and twenty-five minutes. Four years later Addie Joss turned the trick for the Cleveland Naps (Not to be known as the Indians until 1915.
Fourteen years passed before before Charlie Robertson retired all twenty-seven Detroit Tigers, for the Chicago White Sox. Another forty-four years elapsed before Don Larsen threw what is arguably the most famous pitching performance of all time; his World Series perfect game in 1956, against the Dodgers.
There were three more perfect games pitched in the sixties, none in the the seventies, and three in the eighties. Two more perfect games followed Rogers’ in the nineties, and since then, there have been seven more perfect games, including three in 2012 alone.
You might see a 9-year-old do this in a Little League game, but you don’t expect to see a Major League ball player, especially a very good one like Tommy John, commit three errors in the same play. He managed to pull off this dubious accomplishment while pitching for the Yankees, against the Milwaukee Brewers. It happened on July 27, 1988.
At the time, John was a 45-year-old veteran, pitching his 25th season in the big leagues. Although he came into the game with a record of 284 wins against 214 losses, by this point in his career, and probably forevermore, he was, and will always be, better known for the surgery that was performed on his on his elbow in 1974. If medical professionals want to show off, they might refer to his procedure as an ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) reconstruction, but everybody else just calls it “Tommy John Surgery”.
On this night in Yankee Stadium, John was cruising along nicely. In the first three innings, the only Milwaukee batter to reach base was Rob Deer who singled in the second inning, but was doubled up the next play when Dale Sveum lined out. John pitched a clean inning in the third, and he started out the fourth by getting Paul Molitor to ground out. Then he walked Jim Gantner and maybe it affected his concentration. On the next play Jeffrey Leonard hit a dribbler to the mound. John booted it – for error number one. Then he threw the ball wildly passed first baseman Don Mattingly, into right field – for error number two. By the time Dave Winfield chased it down, Gantner was trying to score. John caught Winfield’s relay throw, and fired it over catcher Don Slaught’s head,allowing both Gantner and Leonard to score. – And that was error number three. Then Robin Yount came up and hit a single, but John stranded him at first as Deer lined out and Sveum was called out looking.
Meanwhile, after all that, the Yankees still led 4-2 and wound up cruising to a 16-3 win. John got the win after pitching eight very respectable innings in which he allowed only six hits and two earned runs.
Edwin Moses won the gold medal in the 400 meter hurdles at the Montreal Olympics on July 25, 1976. In winning the race, Moses, who at that time was a 20 year old engineering student at Morehouse College, also set a world record for the event, with a time of 47.64 seconds. His 1976 Olympic win would mark beginning of Moses’ domination in the 400 meter hurdles. He reigned virtually unchallenged for more than a decade, winning another Olympic gold medal at Los Angeles in 1984. (The U.S. boycotted the 1980 Moscow Games, or would have undoubtedly won there as well.) Moses also bested in own record, three more times. His fastest time ever was 47.03, in 1983. The record stood for years. Moses remained unbeaten in his event from 1977 to 1987, winning victories in more than 100 consecutive finals.
Born 31st August 1955, in Dayton, Ohio, the second of three sons, Moses began his athletic career in age group competitions and later in high school in the 180 yard low hurdles and 440 yard dash. Guided by his parents’ influence on him as educators, he accepted an academic scholarship in engineering from Morehouse College rather than an athletic scholarship elsewhere. Although there was no track at Morehouse College, Moses trained for the 1976 Olympic trials using the public high school facilities around Atlanta. He subsequently won the trials in the 400 meter hurdles with an American record of 48.30 seconds, making his first Olympic team. At the summer Olympic Games in Montreal, Canada, he became the Olympic Champion, bettering the Olympic and World Records with a time of 47.63 seconds. For the next decade he dominated the hurdles accumulating the most amazing string of consecutive victories ever amassed by an individual athlete. Over a period of nine years, nine months and nine days, from August 1977 until May 1987, Moses collected 122 straight victories, 107 of these were finals; this winning streak has remained unbeaten and stands in the Guinness Book of Records to this date.
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Not until more than 12 years after Jackie Robinson’s debut with the Dodgers, did the first black player take the field for the Red Sox.
On July 21, 1959 the Red Sox were in Chicago, trailing the White Sox 2-1, going into the 8th inning. Vic Wertz hit a lead off single for Boston. Then Red Sox manager Billy Jurges, very belatedly, made history by pulling Wertz in favor of pinch runner, Elijah “Pumpsie” Green. White Sox pitcher Dick Donovan retired the next three batters. Then Green took the field and played short stop for two innings. He didn’t have any fielding opportunities and didn’t get up to bat, as Chicago held on to win the game 2-1.
Green played in 49 more games for Boston in 1959, hitting .239 with one homer and 10 RBIs. He had three more unremarkable seasons with the Red Sox and then wound up his career playing 17 games with the Mets in 1963.
Ironically, Robinson had tried out for the Red Sox in 1945, before Branch Rickey signed him to play for Brooklyn. He went on to lead the Dodgers to six NL pennants and one World Series Win.
In a 1965 Sports Illustrated article Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey had this to say about his team’s lack of black players:
“I have no feeling against colored people,” he says. “I employ a lot of them in the South. But they are clannish, and when that story got around that we didn’t want Negroes they all decided to sign with some other club. Actually, we scouted them right along, but we didn’t want one because he was a Negro. We wanted a ballplayer.”
Howard Bryant, who wrote the book “Shut Out: A Story of Race and Baseball in Boston”, said
The Red Sox were one of the most racist teams in baseball. You’ve got a 50-year legacy of difficulties between the Red Sox and the African-American population.
Harold Friend for Bleacher Report probably hit the nail on the head. He wrote:
The Red Sox rejected Robinson, Jethroe, and Mays, but selected Pumpsie Green. Only two conclusions are possible. Either discrimination existed or the Red Sox were the most incompetent organization in sports history.