October Classic Moments
Each day, ESPN will highlight one or more "Classic Moments," the biggest sports news event of the day in the 20th century. Check back as each new day's highlights are posted on this page.
Thirty-four years after Babe Ruth belted 60 homers, Roger Maris passes Ruth's mark with No. 61 on the season's final day. In the fourth inning, in Game 162, Maris homers into the Yankee Stadium right-field seats off Boston rookie Tracy Stallard.
Maris doesn't like to take curtain calls, but his teammates won't let him down the dugout steps. Smiling broadly, the usually unemotional player waves his cap to the cheering crowd of 23,154. Not until he takes four bows do his teammates let him sit down.
The historic homer is caught by Sal Durante, a 19-year-old truck driver from Coney Island. Durante, whose reward is $5,000 from a Sacramento restaurant owner, is delighted just to meet the new home-run champion. Maris says Durante should collect the bounty.
"The boy is planning to get married and he can use the money, but he still wanted to give the ball back to me for nothing," says Maris. "It shows there's some good people left in the world after all."
When Ruth, who hit a three-run homer in the first inning, goes to the plate in the fifth inning, he is being ripped unmercifully by the bench jockeys in the Cubs dugout. The Chicago Tribune reports: "Babe listened to this and yelled back, apparently unannoyed. 'Thats only two strikes, boys. I still have one coming,' he cried, meanwhile holding up two fingers."
When the next pitch comes, a slow curve from Charlie Root, a 37-year-old Ruth crushes it. He sends the ball skyrocketing to deep center, into the space between the right-field end of the scoreboard and the permanent bleachers, one of the most prodigious homers ever struck at Wrigley.
His solo homer breaks a 4-4 tie and then Lou Gehrig follows with his second homer of the game on the way to a 7-5 Yankees victory.
While there still remains doubt whether Babe "pointed" to center-field, there's little question his pantomime performance told the Cubs he was planning to respond to their razzing.
But Ali, the only three-time heavyweight champ in history, is no match for the younger (30-year-old) man. "All I could think of after the first round was, 'Oh, God, I still have 14 rounds to go," Ali says.
In the temporary arena in the Caesars Palace parking lot, he looks like a gladiator after a bout with the lions. Ali is pounded thoroughly by his former sparring partner for 10 rounds; he has a cut under his right eye, reddening under his left eye and a bloody nose. Only his courage has prevented him from being knocked out.
Before the 11th round starts, Ali's corner throws in the towel.
"Ali could not fight," New York Times columnist Dave Anderson writes. "He could not dance. He could not even punch. For several months he had promised a miracle in what had been billed as 'The Last Hurrah.' It should have been titled 'Death of a Salesman.' "
Starting for the third time in five days, he pitches his 20th century record 16th shutout of the season. Allowing the Boston Braves just three hits, he wins 2-0 in the first game of a doubleheader in Philadelphia.
Only one Boston player gets past first base as Alexander raises his record to 33-12.
1949: They're suffering in New England. On the final day of the season, the Boston Red Sox lose the pennant to the New York Yankees and Ted Williams misses out on his third Triple Crown of the decade by less than a percentage point.
Tied for first place, Vic Raschi blanks the Red Sox for the first eight innings in pitching the Yankees to a 5-3 victory at Yankee Stadium. Leading 1-0, the Yankees break open the game with four runs in the eighth, the last three on Jerry Coleman's bases-clearing bloop double.
The Red Sox score three runs in the ninth, the first two coming when an ailing Joe DiMaggio fails to haul down Bobby Doerr's triple, a ball he catches if healthy. An anguished DiMaggio jogs to the bench and removes himself from the game in favor of a healthier outfielder.
Williams is 0-for-2 with a walk when he draws a pass again in the ninth. Had Williams hit safely, he would have won the batting title and the Triple Crown. With career-highs of 43 homers and 159 runs batted in, Williams wins these titles, but is overtaken by Detroit's George Kell for the batting championship. Kell goes 2-for-3 to improve his average to .3429, while Williams falls to .34275.
Twenty-nine are killed on impact. (Two others will die from injuries received in the accident.) Among the victims are 14 players, head coach Ben Wilson and his wife, and athletic director Bert Katzenmeyer and his wife.
Despite the disaster, the school will continue the football program. New head coach Bob Seaman puts the entire freshman team on the varsity and creates what is known as the "Second Season." The team will consist of 43 freshmen, 24 sophomores, six juniors and three seniors. In its first game, October 31 against Arkansas, the crowd of 40,000 in Little Rock will give the Shockers a standing ovation.
The Cleveland Indians sign the 39-year-old Robinson, a former MVP in both leagues, to a one-year contract to be their player-manager next season. His salary is estimated at $180,000.
"I'm not a superman," Robinson says. "I'm not a miracle worker." He hopes he will be measured against the success of the Indians, not the color of his skin. "The only reason that I'm the first black manager is because I was born black. My skin is black. Nobody put it on me.
"I don't think there is any similarity between my situation and Jackie's. The times have changed, the world has changed; things are completely different."
Says Larry Doby, the former Indian who broke the color barrier in the American League: "Wherever [the late] Jackie Robinson is, I know he's smiling today."
"It is an historic event," Shell says. "I'm proud of it, but I'm also a Raider. I don't believe the color of my skin entered into this decision. I was chosen because [Raiders managing general partner] Al Davis felt I was the right person at the right time."
The 42-year-old Shell is hired after Davis thought he made a mistake when he made Mike Shanahan his head coach. The Raiders were 7-9 in Shanahan's first season last year and 1-3 this season.
A third-round draft choice in 1968 from Maryland State (now Maryland-Eastern Shore), Shell was an outstanding offensive tackle for 15 years with the Raiders and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame two months ago. He has served as the team's offensive line coach since he retired as a player after the 1982 season.
Losers of five Series to the Yankees since 1941, the Dodgers win today's seventh game, 2-0, behind the eight-hit pitching of left-hander Johnny Podres and a spectacular catch by left-fielder Sandy Amoros.
The 23-year-old Podres, who was 9-10 during the season, is the first Brooklyn pitcher to ever win two games in the same Series. He pitched a complete-game in beating the Yankees, 7-3, in Game 3.
"Hey, Pee Wee," Podres shouts across the jubiliant locker room to shortstop Pee Wee Reese. "What did I tell you? I said they wouldn't get a thing off me, didn't I?"
With a hand from Amoros, the Yankees don't. The Dodgers have a 2-0 lead in the sixth inning (courtesy of Gil Hodges' run-scoring single and sac fly) when left-handed hitter Yogi Berra slices a drive deep down the left-field line with Yankees on first and second. Amoros, who had come into the game that inning in a double switch, races across the field and at the last second, sticks out his right (glove) hand and makes the catch. Then he fires to Reese, whose throw to first doubles off Gil McDougald.
Three innings later, it's catcher Roy Campanella picking up Podres after the final out. No longer is it wait 'til next year in Brooklyn.
Graham is just the sixth quarterback to throw for more than 400 yards.
His three touchdown passes prevent the 14-point Browns from being upset. Graham, who is not intercepted, connects with Marion Motley for a 68-yard score five minutes into the game. After Cleveland falls behind 20-7, Graham hits Bill Jones for a 47-yard touchdown and Sherman Howard for a 56-yard score in the third quarter to pull out the victory.
Having scored four runs in the sixth to take an 8-5 lead, Dodgers manager Burt Shotton inserts Gionfriddo for defense in the bottom of the inning at Yankee Stadium. With two Yankees on base and two outs, DiMaggio clocks a pitch from lefty Joe Hatten. Gionfriddo races back and a step or so short of the visitors' bullpen, leaps and makes a spectacular catch of the 415-foot drive in front of the low railing. "The ball hit my glove and a split second later I hit the gate," says Gionfriddo. "It certainly would have gone into the bullpen alley for a home run if I hadn't got it."
As DiMaggio approaches second base, he kicks the dirt in disgust, one of the rare times the Yankee Clipper shows emotion on the diamond.
The Dodgers go on to post an 8-6 victory, tying the Series at three games each. It is the last game Gionfriddo will ever play in the majors. The next day, the Yankees will win, 5-2, to take the Series.
1941: It could only happen in Brooklyn. With a one-run lead going into the ninth inning of Game 4 of the World Series, the Dodgers get three outs - and still lose the game.
The Yankees' Tommy Henrich swings and misses at Hugh Casey's 3-2 pitch with two outs in the ninth. But instead of the game being over, Henrich reaches first base when catcher Mickey Owen fails to corral the third strike.
"It was a great breaking curve that I should have had," Owen says. "But I guess the ball hit the side of my glove. It got away from me, and by the time I got hold of it, near the corner of the Brooklyn dugout, I couldn't have thrown anybody out at first."
The Yankees take advantage of that excruciating error. Joe DiMaggio follows with a single and Charley Keller rips a two-run double as the Yankees take the lead. After a walk to Bill Dickey, Joe Gordon also raps a two-run double to give the Yankees a 7-4 victory at Ebbets Field.
The win gives the Yankees a 3-1 lead (they will capture the Series the next day) and Mickey Owen an unwanted place in history.
Trailing by four points in Columbia, Mo., Colorado gets a first down on Missouri's three with 31 seconds left. On first down, quarterback Charles Johnson spikes the ball. On the next play, tailback Eric Bieniemy runs up the middle to the one, and the Buffaloes call their final timeout with 18 seconds remaining.
At this point, the down marker is not flipped to third down. On what should be third down, Bieniemy is stopped for no gain and then Johnson spikes the ball with two seconds left. But instead of Missouri taking over on downs, Colorado is given one more play. Johnson seems to be stopped short of the goal line, but then one official signals a touchdown after the quarterback stretches out.
Colorado accepts the victory, though there is precedent if it had not. In 1940, Cornell refused a win against Dartmouth after films showed it scored its "winning" touchdown on fifth down late in the fourth quarter. The game went into the book as a 3-0 Dartmouth victory.
The first two pitches to him by Cardinals right-hander Flint Rhem result in two solo homers. The first is a high fly down the right-field line that lands fair by about two feet. In the third inning, he lashes a long, high and hard drive over the bleacher roof in right-center.
Ruth walks in the Yankees' four-run fifth, but in the sixth, he puts the finishing touch on his spectacular show. On a full count, he says hello to right-hander Hi Bell by belting a two-run homer into the center-field bleachers over a 20-foot wall that is 430 feet away.
Ruth, who will walk in his final plate appearance, goes 3-for-3 and sets a Series record with four runs scored in the Yankees' 10-5 victory that ties the competition at two games apiece.
"It just wasn't in the cards that I miss all the time," the Babe says with a smile. "I just had to start hitting. I guess I had a pretty fair day, didn't I? I can't think of anything that has been more welcome to me than that hitting today."
The NFL's leading scorer the past five seasons, Hutson catches four touchdown passes and kicks five extra points as the Packers score a league-record 41 points in the second quarter against Detroit on the way to a 57-21 victory in Milwaukee.
After the Lions take a 7-0 lead, Hutson begins his record-setting performance. With the ball on Green Bay's 41, Hutson catches Roy McKay's pass on the Detroit 40 and breaks free down the sideline to complete the 59-yard touchdown. The other three TDs are a 45-yarder from Irv Comp and 17- and six-yarders from McKay.
Hutson is not perfect: His PAT attempt after the Packers' fourth touchdown is blocked.
After his explosive second period, Hutson retires to the bench except to kick two more extra points in the second half, giving him 31 points for the day.
With a 3-1 lead in the Series and a 3-2 edge in today's game, it looks like the Cardinals are ready to take another step to clinching the Series when Julian Javier singles to left with the speedy Brock on second. But when catcher Bill Freehan blocks the plate and Brock doesn't slide, he's nailed by Willie Horton's throw.
The Cardinals don't score again and the Tigers rally for a 5-3 victory. Afterwards, Brock defends his decision not to slide and insists he was safe. "He [umpire Doug Harvey] called me out for not touching the plate," says Brock, batting .524 for the Series with seven steals. "But I don't feel that I touched it; I know I did."
Freehan says, "I was surprised he didn't slide. If he had slid he would have made it. I'm sure he never touched the plate."
Instant replay seems to back up Freehan and not Brock.
The game is a mismatch from the start. By the end of the first quarter the score is 63-0. Leading 126-0 at halftime, Heisman encourages his players not to let up. They don't. In the third quarter they pass Michigan's record of 153 points.
The final is 222-0, the most points scored by one team and the most lopsided game in college football history, though the game has been shortened to 12½-minute periods. Tech, which neither passes nor punts during the game, scores 32 touchdowns, with left halfback G.E. Strupper scoring six TDs and fullback T.L. Spence five. Cumberland doesn't register a first down and its net yardage is minus 28 yards.
Heisman has his revenge.
Three days after blowing a 6-0 lead to the Brooklyn Dodgers in Game 2, the no-windup pitcher winds up his 2-0 triumph in Game 5 by slipping a called third strike to pinch-hitter Dale Mitchell. A crowd of 64,519 lets out its breath at Yankee Stadium.
Larsen, who came to the Yankees in an 18-player trade, is helped by three outstanding fielding plays. In the second inning, Jackie Robinson's hard grounder goes off third baseman Andy Carey's glove, but shortstop Gil McDougald recovers the ball in time to throw out Robinson.
In the fifth, center-fielder Mickey Mantle, whose homer had given the Yankees a 1-0 lead, streaks into deep left-center to make a backhanded catch and rob Gil Hodges of an extra-base hit. In the eighth, it's Carey's turn to rob Hodges, as he lunges to catch Hodges' liner inches off the ground.
On a more negative note for Larsen, his estranged wife files a court action seeking to withhold his Series money because he is delinquent in his support payments.
1961: It's been a bad year for the Babe. During the regular season, Roger Maris hit 61 home runs, one better than Ruth struck in 1927. And today Whitey Ford breaks Ruth's 43-year-old record for consecutive scoreless innings in the World Series.
Having pitched shutouts in his last three Series starts (two against the Pirates last year and one against the Reds in Game 1 four days ago), Ford hurls five scoreless innings in a 7-0 victory over Cincinnati to run his consecutive scoreless streak to 32. That beats the 29.2 Ruth pitched for the Red Sox in 1916 and 1918.
Ford fouls a ball off his right foot and bruises the knuckle on his big toe in the top of the sixth. He gives it a try in the bottom of the inning, but comes out after allowing a leadoff single to Elio Chacon because of the pain in his toe when he lands.
After the game, the Yankees' Chairman of the Board jokes he might work on his hitting next spring. "So I can go after some of the Babe's batting records, too," he says.
Chicago starter Lefty Williams was 23-11 during the season but had lost his first two Series starts. He doesn't last long today, removed with one out in the first after allowing two singles followed by two doubles. In 1921, Williams will be one of eight Black Sox banned from baseball by Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis for throwing the Series.
The Reds score four runs in the first on the way to a 10-1 lead in Chicago. Hod Eller gains his second complete-game victory as Cincinnati wins its first Series.
Chicago's Shoeless Joe Jackson, who also will be suspended, leads all hitters (with at least eight at-bats) with a .375 batting average and his six RBI top the White Sox.
1944: In the only World Series pitting both St. Louis teams, the Cardinals defeat the Browns, four games to two, with a 3-1 victory in Game 6. All games are played at Sportsman's Park.
Winner Max Lanier (5-1/3 innings) and reliever Ted Wilks hold the Browns to just three hits, none coming after the third inning. Trailing 1-0, the Cardinals score their three runs in the fourth off 19-game winner Nelson Potter with the help of an error by second baseman Vern Stephens.
With Cards on first and third, Stephens throws away a potential inning-ending double-play ball, and the game is tied, 1-1. Singles by Emil Verban and Lanier knock in the final two runs.
Despite committing 10 errors in the Series, compared to one by the Cardinals, the Browns are not gracious losers. "The Cards got the breaks and they won. That tells the whole story," says Browns manager Luke Sewell. "We've still got a better ballclub."
Browns outfielder Milt Byrnes says, "They never could have won a pennant in our league."
That's why there are no headlines today about the Bear becoming No. 1 when he wins No. 320, Alabama's 42-21 victory over No. 3 Penn State in Birmingham. Two blocked punts spur the tide in Alabama's favor.
Jackie Cline blocks Ralph Giacomarro's kick to set up a first-quarter score, and Giacomarro punts the ball into blocking back Mike Suter's back to set up the touchdown that boosts No. 4 Alabama's lead to 35-21 with five minutes left.
"They had a couple blocked, and I doubt we would have won without them," says Bryant, who will retire after the season with a record of 323-85-17.
If fact isn't stranger than movies . . . For this did happen, with 39-year-old Grover Cleveland Alexander, waived by the Chicago Cubs four months ago, relieving for the St. Louis Cardinals to face Yankees' rookie Tony Lazzeri with the bags full and two outs in the seventh. And, after Lazzeri hits a loud foul down the left-field line, the Great Alexander whiffs him on the next pitch to preserve a 3-2 lead at Yankee Stadium.
Alexander pitches two more scoreless and hitless innings. The final out comes when Babe Ruth, who walks with two outs, is nailed attempting to steal second base, and the one-run victory gives the Cardinals their first World Series.
Legend has it that Alexander is not quite sober when he enters the game. Fact or fiction?
1945: Ten years after winning their first World Series by defeating the Chicago Cubs, the Detroit Tigers repeat the feat. Scoring five runs in the first inning at Wrigley Field, they rout the Cubs, 9-3, in Game 7.
Pitching on two days rest, Detroit's Hal Newhouser gives up 10 hits, but he also fans 10. It is his second complete-game victory in the Series (he won Game 5) after he was rocked for seven runs in 2.2 innings in losing the opener. The tall and willowy left-hander finishes with 22 strikeouts and four walks in the Series.
The Cubs start workhorse Hank Borowy, who pitched a shutout in Game 1, hurled five-plus innings in losing Game 5 and threw four scoreless innings of relief in winning Game 6 two days ago. But Borowy doesn't have it today and is removed after allowing singles to the first three Tigers.
A bases-clearing double by veteran catcher Paul Richards off 38-year-old Paul Derringer, a four-time 20-game winner who is appearing in his final major league game, caps the Tigers' big first inning.
Two days later, Lambeau will be true to his word. In the most severe action he has ever taken, he will fine the entire personnel one-half of a game's salary and waive two players, 1941 Heisman-winning halfback Bruce Smith and tackle Jim Kekeris.
"The Packers have always had a spirited club, even when they lost," Lambeau will say heatedly. "Sunday's game was awful. We owe an apology to the people who paid good money to see it."
Three days ago, Plank pitched nine scoreless innings against the New York Giants in Game 2 of the World Series. It wasn't enough for a victory, though. The Athletics couldn't score against Christy Mathewson, and Plank allowed three runs in the 10th.
In today's rematch in Game 5 at the Polo Grounds, it's Plank who outduels Matty. The oldest pitcher in the majors at 38, Plank allows just two singles and an unearned run in beating the Giants, 3-1, as the Athletics win their third Series in four years (second over the Giants).
When Plank gets the final out, he is lifted on the shoulders of his teammates before some fans relieve the players of their burden. Plank is visibly affected by the adulation of his teammates, and in a short speech in the privacy of the clubhouse, he reiterates manager Connie Mack's statement that they are the greatest team to ever play the game.
While the two touchdowns tie an NFL record, Irvin gets a line for himself in the record book with his total of 207 yards, on six returns. This breaks the mark of 205 set by Oakland's George Atkinson 13 years ago.
Irvin's performance enables the Rams and Falcons to set an NFL record for most combined yards on punt returns with 282 (219 for the Rams and 63 for Atlanta).
Like most match races, it is hardly competitive. At Kenilworth Park, in Windsor, Ontario, Man o' War takes control early and easily. Big Red wins the $75,000 purse and $5,000 Gold Cup by defeating the older Canadian-owned horse by seven lengths in the mile and a quarter race. His time is 2:03.
Man o' War will go to stud holding American records for the fastest mile, 1.125 miles, 1.375 miles, 1.5 miles and 1.625 miles.
"A man cannot help but have confidence in so great a horse as Man o' War," says his owner, Samuel Riddle. "This race was a fitting climax to his racing career."
It starts with Al Simmons leading off with a homer off Charlie Root. The next four hitters single, good for two more runs, before Root retires a batter. After another run-scoring single, Art Nehf relieves Root.
Mule Haas hits a low liner to center and, for the second time this inning, Hack Wilson loses this ball in the sun. The drive sails over his head and results in Mule kicking in with a three-run, inside-the-park homer to make it 8-7. "We're back in the game," Jimmy Dykes shouts, pounding 67-year-old manager Connie Mack on the back.
The carnage continues though the Cubs use two more relievers. Jimmie Foxx's run-scoring single ties the game and Dykes' fly to deep left for a double drives in the final two runs.
The 10-run inning, a Series record, gives the Athletics a 10-8 victory in Philadelphia and the honor of having registered the greatest comeback in Series history.
Thorpe, a Native American, won the pentathlon and decathlon at the 1912 Games in Stockholm and was proclaimed the "world's greatest athlete" by King Gustav V of Sweden. But the following January the medals were taken away when it was learned that Thorpe had earned $25 a week playing minor league baseball in North Carolina in 1909 and 1910.
Thorpe died in 1953. For years, his family petitioned to have the medals returned. However, Avery Brundage, the IOC president from 1952-72, was steadfast in blocking the move. His refusal was seen by some as a racist act and by others as payback for being badly beaten by Thorpe in the 1912 decathlon and pentathlon.
Last weekend, Bill Simon, the president of the U.S. Olympic Committee and former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, went before the IOC and pled Thorpe's case again. This time, with Brundage deceased, the IOC heeded the request.
Before a standing room only crowd of 14,318 in Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens, the home team takes a 3-2 lead after two periods, with all three Toronto goals coming against Montreal netminder Bill Durnan. But 28 seconds into the final session, the Canadiens' Rocket, Maurice Richard, receives credit for the tying goal when a shot deflects off a defenseman into the goal. A minute later, Chicago left wing Doug Bentley scores on a power play for the All-Stars.
Boston goalie Frank Brimsek, who took over for Durnan midway through the second period, lives up to his nickname of "Mr. Zero" and frustrates the Leafs the rest of the way to secure the 4-3 victory for the All-Stars.
Only 6,210 attend the game in Detroit, another mark that will hold up through the century.
While clean-up hitter Ty Cobb goes 0-for-3 today, he still is the Tigers' leading batter for the Series at .368 (7-for-19).
"I firmly believe that no team in the world could have beaten us with the kind of ball we played during the world's championship series," says Frank Chance, the Cubs' player-manager.
Leading 3-0 at halftime at Sun Devil Stadium, quarterback Mark Malone sneaks in from inches out and throws a 16-yard touchdown pass to John Misler in the third quarter as Arizona State extends its edge to 17-0.
The 13-point favored Trojans, who have trouble with the snap to quarterback Paul McDonald all day, fumble seven times, and lose five of them. Defensive end Bob Kohrs recovers three of the bobbles.
Despite this loss - USC's only defeat this season - the Trojans will finish ranked No. 1 by UPI and No. 2 by AP.
In his second season with the Los Angeles Kings, Gretzky ties Howe's record of 1,850 with an assist early in the game against his former team, the Edmonton Oilers. Then, with just 53 seconds left in the third period, The Great Gretzky becomes hockey's greatest point producer with a short backhander over goalie Bill Ranford.
The crowd of 17,503 in Edmonton gives Gretzky a standing ovation as he's mobbed by his teammates and congratulated by his former teammates. The game is stopped and during a ceremony, among the gifts that Gretzky receives is a gold bracelet set with diamonds weighing 1.851 carats from the Oilers.
Howe, who is at the game and cheers when Gretzky scores point No. 1,851, set his record with 801 goals and 1,049 points in 26 years (1,767 games). Gretzky breaks the mark with 641 goals and 1,240 assists in the start of his 11th season (780 games).
After setting the record, Gretzky isn't through. He scores in overtime to give the Kings a 5-4 victory.
At first it doesn't appear that Slaughter will be able to score, but the Carolinian they call Country turns on the jets and never stops running. He crosses home before Boston shortstop Johnny Pesky, who gets the relay, can get the ball to the catcher. Slaughters dash gives the Cardinals a 4-3 lead and reliever Harry "The Cat" Brecheen makes it stand up.
Brecheen, who gave up a two-run double to Dom DiMaggio in the top of the eighth that tied the game, survives a first-and-third with one out scare in the ninth to record his third win in the World Series.
Slaughter modestly dismisses his heroic dash on Walker's double -- not a single as it often is referred to in baseball lore. In the other locker room, Pesky takes the blame for the defeat.
"I'm the goat," he says. "I never expected he'd try to score. I couldn't hear anybody hollering at me above the noise of the crowd. I gave Slaughter at least six strides with the delay. I know I could have nailed him if I had suspected he would try for the plate."
For 11 rounds, it is a relatively polite bout in San Francisco, with Johnson winning handily but not hurting his opponent. But in the 12th, the 170 1/4-pound Ketchel, who is outweighed by 35 1/4 pounds, sends Johnson to the canvas with a right. Johnson spins around on his knee and smiles before rising.
Once up, Johnson goes after "The Michigan Assassin," and catches the lighter man with two lefts and a powerful right uppercut. Ketchel is down -- and out.
The last punch is so hard that several of Ketchel's front teeth are found embedded in Johnson's glove. "I guess I showed the fans that I have a good punch," Johnson says.
This will be only one of seven goals Howe scores in his first year. But he will get better, much better, and will finish with 801 goals in 26 NHL seasons before retiring at age 52 in 1980. Counting the 174 goals Howe will score in six WHA seasons, he will conclude his legendary career with 975 regular-season goals plus another 96 in the playoffs.
The powerful Panthers, favored by as much as 12-5, actually reach the end zone once, but Marshall Goldberg's five-yard run on a reverse late in the second period is nullified by a holding penalty.
Taking advantage of loose handling of the football by Pitt, Fordham gains possession inside the Panthers' 30 three times. But each time Johnny Druze misses a field goal. These are Fordham's only scoring threats as it manages just four first downs and completes only 1-of-11 passes.
The tie will be the only blemish on Pitt's record and it will go on to win the national championship.
"When the rumbling became more intense," says Don Robinson, the Giants' scheduled starter who is in the clubhouse when the earthquake hit, "I ran into [manager] Roger Craig's office and lay down under the doorway."
A half-hour later, Commissioner Fay Vincent postpones the game. Respectful of the disaster in the Bay area (63 will die), he refuses to speculate when or where the Series would resume. Fans and players move on to the field and head for the exits in the gathering twilight.
The Series will be resumed October 27, a postponement of 10 days. Oakland will win Games 3 and 4 to sweep the Series.
Burk throws a 13-yard pass to halfback Jerry Williams to move the ball to the Redskins' three and with 10 seconds left he fires a low pass to end Pete Pihos in the end zone for lucky No. 7.
It's the third TD reception of the game for Pihos, whose earlier scores were from 19 and 18 yards. End Bobby Walston also catches three touchdown passes (26, five and four yards) and halfback Tony Ledbetter one of nine yards in the 49-21 victory in Washington.
Burk completes 19-of-27 passes for 229 yards. He also places three punts out of bounds inside the Redskins' 10-yard line.
In his final time up in Game 5, Reggie also homered. He walks on four pitches in his first plate appearance tonight before becoming the first player to hit three consecutive homers in a Series game. At game's end, he has four homers on his last four swings.
His three homers tonight - off Burt Hooton, Elias Sosa and Charlie Hough - tie Babe Ruth's record and his five homers in the Series set a mark.
"Now I believe him," says winning pitcher Mike Torrez. "Now I know why he calls himself Mr. October."
"Perhaps for one night," Jackson says, "I reached back and achieved that level of the overrated superstar."
The Colts intercept six of Namath's 62 passes (he completes 34) and return two for touchdowns. Adding injury to insult, Namath suffers a broken right wrist, though the original diagnosis is a "minor sprain," and he will be finished for the season.
The injury occurs when Namath, who had never missed a game in his six-year New York career despite fragile knees, has his wrist jammed into the Shea Stadium grass when the Colts' Billy Ray Smith falls on him on the last Jets' series.
It hasn't been a good week for Namath. "C.C. and Co.," a movie he starred in as a motorcyclist, opened in the New York area to less than rave reviews. Much like his quarterbacking today.
The Southeastern Conference game is scoreless in the second period when the Crimson Tide's Jimmy Nelson fakes a reverse and runs 14 yards for a touchdown. The other score comes in the third quarter when sophomore Dave Brown returns a punt 63 yards and brings the Tide to within 14-12.
However, the two touchdowns don't prevent the unbeaten Vols from continuing their winning ways. Coach Bob Neyland's troops score two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to gain a 27-12 victory before a sellout crowd of 24,531. It's Tennessee's 26th consecutive regular-season win.
After giving up two hits and a run in the first inning and two walks in the second, Series MVP Jose Rijo retires the last 20 hitters he faces in Game 4. Then ace closer Randy Myers, the nastiest of the Nasty Boys, gets the final two outs to nail down the 2-1 victory in Oakland.
The Reds complete their sweep despite losing two outfielders - Eric Davis and Billy Hatcher - to injury in the early innings. Blanked for seven innings by Dave Stewart, they score two runs in the eighth on a fielder's choice and Hal Morris' sacrifice fly.
With M.C. Hammer's "You Can't Touch This" blaring in the locker room, the Reds spray non-alcoholic cider all over themselves. "Man, don't make this night end," Rijo says. "This is the greatest."
With Tug McGraw stranding the bases loaded in the eighth and ninth innings to save Steve Carlton's second victory of the Series, the Phillies defeat the Kansas City Royals, 4-1, in the Game 6 clincher before 65,383 fans at Veterans Stadium.
Mike Schmidt, whose two-run single in the third inning off Rich Gale gave the Phillies a 2-0 lead, is named Series MVP after hitting .381 with two homers and seven RBI.
By the time McGraw strikes out Willie Wilson for the final out, mounted policemen and cops holding dogs surround the field. "It's funny," says the Royals' George Brett. "The public-address announcer says let's show the world how civilized the people in Philadelphia are, and then they put 3,000 policemen and dogs and horses out there so no one could get out on the field - unless they jumped out of the second or third tier."
In a 95-21 destruction in the Astrodome, Ware completes 25-of-41 passes for 517 yards and six touchdowns - in the first half. His five TDs in the second quarter alone are an NCAA record, as are his passing yards for a quarter (340) and a half. After leading the Cougars to a 59-14 halftime lead, Ware sits out the second half.
But that doesn't stop Pardee from having backup quarterback David Klingler throwing 20 passes in the second half, including 12 that safely could be considered bombs. The Cougars become the most offensive team in college football history with an astounding 1,021 yards (771 passing, 250 rushing), the first team to gain more than 1,000.
While Pardee says he's not interested in rubbing it in on anyone, SMU coach Forrest Gregg says, "I'd never run up the score like that on a group of freshmen and sophomores. I hope they're really proud of their accomplishment. It was a sad day for college football."
It turns out they are not Destiny's Darlings, but destined to continue to live the Curse of the Bambino. Despite taking a 3-0 lead, they blow it. They still haven't won a Series since trading Babe Ruth after the 1919 season.
Tony Perez's two-run homer off Bill Lee with two outs in the sixth brings the Reds to within 3-2 after Pete Rose's take-out slide at second base breaks up a likely inning-ending double play. Next inning, Series MVP Rose singles in the tying run off Roger Moret. Then in the ninth, with Ken Griffey on third and two outs, Rose is pitched around and walks before Joe Morgan bloops a single to center off left-hander Jim Burton for a 4-3 victory. It is the Reds' first Series victory in 35 years.
A quarter of a century later, fans in New England still will be asking this question: Why did Boston manager Darrell Johnson pinch-hit for Jim Willoughby, his most effective reliever in the Series, with two outs and nobody on base in the eighth and bring in Burton, a rookie who had pitched only one-third of an inning in the Series before Game 7?
The 6-foot, 195-pound butcher's apprentice from Philadelphia tore into his first three opponents and demolished them. The only American fighter to reach the finals, he has a tougher time tonight against 30-year-old German bus driver Hans Huber in the Korakuen Ice Palace in Tokyo.
Fighting with a broken right hand, Frazier depends on jabs and left hooks to score points against Huber, a former wrestler who spends much of the three-round bout retreating. Huber's "to-the-rear, march" plan gets him the vote of two judges. However, the other three judges give the decision - and the Olympic championship - to the fighter who will become known as Smokin' Joe.
Slippery halfback Greg Pruitt breaks Gale Sayers' Big Eight mark by running for 294 yards in leading Oklahoma's wishbone attack in a 75-28 rout in Manhattan, Kan. The second-ranked Sooners avenge defeats the last two seasons to Kansas State, including a 59-21 whipping two years ago on this same field.
Oklahoma scores touchdowns on its first 10 possessions, with Pruitt getting three, reserve halfback Roy Bell four and quarterback Jack Mildren two (plus throwing for one).
The Sooners run 61 times and throw only eight passes in winning their sixth straight game. Kansas State stays on the ground for 50 plays (with Bill Butler scoring all four of its touchdowns) and passes 49 times.
For sociological impact, Robinson was perhaps America's most significant athlete. He made history in 1947 by becoming the first African-American to play in the major leagues in the 20th century, becoming a pioneer for a generation of blacks in major pro sports after World War II.
Robinson's appearance with the Brooklyn Dodgers prompted racial insults, from teammates as well as opponents. He stood up with dignity to everything. The competitive infielder was the major league's Rookie of the Year and two years later was National League MVP. Pigeon-toed and muscular, his daring baserunning shook up opposing pitchers as he stole 197 bases and twice led the league in steals. He batted .311 in 10 seasons.
Robinson recovered from a heart attack in 1968, but then lost the sight of one eye and the partial sight of the other as a result of diabetes, which he had been battling since 1957.
Making his first start, Cowboys rookie quarterback Craig Morton completes 10-of-20 passes for 61 yards, but nine sacks cause 62 yards in losses. It gives the passing game minus one yard for the day.
Packers veteran Bart Starr connects on only 4-of-19 passes for 42 yards, but the Doomsday Defense sacks him five times for 52 yards in losses. The Packers finish with minus 10 yards passing.
In the only negative passing game in NFL history, Green Bay, as it will in the two championship games, comes out on top. Despite only 63 yards in total offense, the Packers win, 13-3, to run their record to 6-0.
What Army lacks is anybody to cover Bill Swiacki, the brilliant end who is instrumental in all three Columbia touchdowns in its 21-20 upset. In the second quarter, with the Lions trailing 14-0, the lanky receiver wrestles the ball from a defender on the Army six to set up Lou Kusserow's touchdown run.
The Cadets extend their lead to 20-7 by halftime, but the missed extra point will prove costly. Early in the fourth quarter, Swiacki's disputed diving catch in the end zone of quarterback Gene Rossides' 28-yard pass brings Columbia within six points.
Then, on its next possession, with the ball on Army's 29, another diving reception by Swiacki, a transfer from Holy Cross, puts the ball on the four. Two plays later, Kusserow scores on a two-yard run and Ventab Yablonski's third successful extra point, with 6:37 left, enables coach Lou Little's team to pull off the shocker before a standing-room only crowd of 35,000 at Baker Field.
But Marshall pulls a boner, and runs in the wrong direction. He doesn't stop until crossing the goal line 66 yards away. For his effort, he doesn't get a touchdown, but a safety in Minnesota's 27-22 victory.
About the roar from the San Francisco fans as he is running, Marshall says, "I thought they were cheering me on."
They were, Jim, they were.
St. Louis leads 1-0 in Kansas City when pinch-hitter Jorge Orta grounds to first baseman Jack Clark, who tosses to pitcher Todd Worrell covering the bag. When Denkinger calls Orta safe, St. Louis is singing the blues.
"The whole inning was screwed up when they missed the call," says Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog, who heatedly disagrees with Denkinger. "The American League umpires are prejudiced against us."
Worrell says, "Orta's foot hit my heel, and I had the ball by then. The umpire said something about how my foot came up off the base, but I'm told the TV replays showed that Orta was out by a half-step."
After Denkinger's mistake, Clark fails to catch a pop foul and the Royals go on to load the bases with one out. Pinch-hitter Dane Iorg fulfills his childhood dream of winning a World Series game in the bottom of the ninth with a two-run single.
The next day, the Royals will win the Series with an 11-0 victory.
Tonight in Minneapolis, for the first time in 67 years, Game 7 goes into extra innings. Native son and Series MVP Jack Morris pitches 10 scoreless innings, the last after convincing his manager, Tom Kelly, to change his mind and keep him out there.
In the bottom of the tenth, Dan Gladden hustles a broken-bat fly to left-center into a double. After a sacrifice, Alejandro Pena intentionally walks the next two Twins. Then pinch-hitter Gene Larkin, batting only for the fourth time in the Series, hits a fly to left-center over the drawn-in outfield for the game-winning single.
This is only the second 1-0, Game 7 in history (Yankees over the Giants, 1962, was the other). Combined with the other tight games, it's no wonder that Commissioner Fay Vincent calls this "probably the greatest World Series ever."
Before 51,875 screaming, dancing and chopping fans at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, Glavine tommy-hawked the Indians, holding baseball's most potent lineup to just one hit (Tony Pena's soft single to center in the sixth) in eight innings. Mark Wohlers' 1-2-3 ninth secures the victory for Glavine, who is named Series MVP after his second victory over Cleveland.'
A day earlier, Justice had ripped Braves fans for their lack of support. Behind the plate tonight, a fan holds a sign that reads: "Justice, hope your bat is as big as your mouth!" It is. It's prime-time Justice as the left-handed hitter homers off left-handed reliever Jim Poole in the sixth to account for the game's only run. When the Braves, who have been in Atlanta for 30 seasons, clinch the Series, owner Ted Turner grabs his wife Jane Fonda and gives her one huge kiss.
The Wake Forest quarterback, who also is a guard on the basketball team and pitcher on the baseball team, winds up throwing 78 passes for 478 yards and four touchdowns in the 42-26 defeat. His 55 completions are an NCAA record. With his pregnant wife cheering him on in the stands, he goes 41-for-56 in the second half, both NCAA marks for a half.
"That's great," says LaRue. "It's my senior year and you always like to leave your mark when you leave. I wish it would have been a game we won. But it's a thrill for me to be in the record books."
Tom Terrific was, well, terrific this season and more than earned his $37,500 salary. He led the majors with 25 victories and led the National League in winning percentage (.781) and fewest hits allowed per nine innings (6.65). He had a 2.21 ERA (fourth in the league), pitched five shutouts and completed 18 of 35 starts in his third season with the Mets.
Four of his seven defeats were suffered in late July and early August when he was troubled by a sore right shoulder. But then he finished the season with 10 consecutive victories while the Mets were winning 38 of their last 49 games to overtake the Chicago Cubs for the National League East title.
For most of eight rounds, Muhammad Ali lets George Foreman try to kill him. Ali disdains his usual butterfly tactics and relies on a new strategy, the rope-a-dope. Ali lays on the ropes and lets the unbeaten heavyweight champ flail away at him, secure in his knowledge that he can either avoid or block the punches.
By the eighth round, Foreman, 25, is running on empty and the 32-year-old Ali takes advantage to knock out his exhausted opponent with two seconds left in the round with a crisp left-right combination. In handing the 4-1 favorite his first defeat in 41 fights, Ali becomes the second man to regain the heavyweight title (Floyd Patterson was the first).
"I told you he (Foreman) was nothing," Ali says to the media, "but did you listen?"
Cornell tailback Ed Marinaro needs only eight yards to break Steve Owens' NCAA record of 3,867, set at Oklahoma from 1967-'69. The 6-foot-2 and one-half inch, 210-pound senior gets it on his second carry, a three-yard leap and dive over left tackle in Cornell's 24-21 victory over Columbia before 23,000 fans in Ithaca, N.Y.
Marinaro doesn't stop there. He finishes the day with 47 carries for 272 yards, with 200 yards coming after halftime. He has 4,132 yards with three games to go in his career. He will finish with 4,715 yards in 27 games, and his 174.6-per-game average is the NCAA record going into the 1999 season.
He is the first player to have nine 200-yard games in his career, and he also ties O.J. Simpson's record of four 200-yard games in a season.
Marinaro will go on to further fame as an actor on "Hill Street Blues."
A charter member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Halas coached the Bears for 40 years, and is the all-time winningest coach in NFL history with a 324-151-31 record. (Don Shula will break the record in 1993.) Papa Bear retired before the 1968 season at 73 because of a painful arthritic hip condition.
"He was an immortal man who made the National Football League," said former Bears quarterback Sid Luckman, who was with Halas until just before his death. "I just didn't have the heart to be there when he died."
Halas had been ill with heart disease, pancreatic disease and various other ailments.
1948: Sammy Baugh slings like he never has before - and never will again. The Washington quarterback throws for an NFL record 446 yards in the Redskins' 59-21 victory over the Boston Yanks, breaking Sid Luckman's mark by 13 yards.
Baugh electrifies the crowd of 29,758 in Washington with his aerial artistry. His yardage total comes on just 17 completions (in 24 attempts).
He throws four long touchdown passes, beginning with a 78-yarder to Dick Todd in the first quarter. He hits Joe Tereshinski with a 76-yard pass and Hal Crisler with a 48-yard completion for second-quarter scores. He opens the third period with another touchdown pass to Todd, this one for 38 yards.
This will be the only time Baugh will pass for 400 yards in his 16-year NFL career.