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George Steinbrenner's group buys Yankees from CBS

September 17, 2021 in History

By History.com Editors

On January 3, 1973, a 12-member group headed by George Steinbrenner purchases the New York Yankees for $10 million from Columbia Broadcasting System, which owned the team since 1964. The group includes CBS’s Yankees president Michael Burke, who briefly serves in that role under Steinbrenner. Known by many as “The Boss,” Steinbrenner goes on to become one of the more controversial owners in sports history.

Steinbrenner’s initial investment was actually fairly small: $168,000, which was a little less than a 2 percent ownership stake. However, over the years he wrestled majority ownership of the team from others. Four months after Steinbrenner’s purchase, Burke resigned his position. When he died in 2010, Steinbrenner owned 57 percent of the team, Business Insider reported.

READ MORE: Yankees announce purchase of Babe Ruth

Steinbrenner, who made his fortune in the shipping industry, had a football background—he served as a graduate assistant at Ohio State under legendary coach Woody Hayes.

Like Hayes, Steinbrenner had a bristling personality. As former Yankees general manager Bob Watson once put it, “If things go right, they’re his team. If things go wrong, they’re your team. His favorite line is, ‘I will never have a heart attack. I give them.’”

“The Boss” could be abrasive in the media toward his own players and managers. He hired and fired Billy Martin five times as manager and wouldn’t let players have facial hair below their upper lip. (He was mocked on the TV show The Simpsons for that.) Steinbrenner was even banned from Major League Baseball for a period of time after pleading guilty to making illegal contributions to the presidential re-election campaign of Richard Nixon.

Over the course of Steinbrenner’s ownership, the Yankees won seven World Series and 11 American League pennants. The team is one of the most valuable in sports.

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'Games of the Century': 7 of College Football's Most Epic Clashes

September 17, 2021 in History

By Chris Mueller

The 1966 Notre Dame-Michigan State, 1971 Nebraska-Oklahoma and 1987 Miami-Penn State showdowns were among the most anticipated games of all time.

For at least the first half of the 20th century, college football was more popular than the professional version. So, when powerhouses met then, the games often had a larger-than-life quality. On rare occasions, the combination of blueblood programs, high stakes and intense media coverage created a matchup that transcended all others. Those games were billed by the media as a “Game of the Century.” Here is a look at seven such games from the 20th century and what made them so special.

1. November 2, 1935: Ohio State vs. Notre Dame

What made it special: This was the first game the media called “The Game of the Century,” and despite the fact that it was contested in the midst of the Great Depression, demand for tickets was off the charts. Some tickets sold for $50 each, and rumors of counterfeit tickets abounded.

The 81,018 in attendance at Ohio Stadium in Columbus saw Notre Dame rally to win a battle of unbeaten teams, 18-13—all the Irish’s points came in the fourth quarter. Grantland Rice, then the most famous sportswriter in the country, wrote: “Notre Dame came out of the maw of hell to beat Ohio State 18 to 13 today before 81,000 and with the greatest football victory in the long and brilliant history of the Blue and Gold.”

2. December 1, 1945: Army vs. Navy

What made it special: In an era when both service academies were also football powerhouses, Army came into the game ranked No. 1 and Navy No. 2. World War II had ended three months earlier, and President Harry S. Truman attended.

Despite plenty of patriotic fervor and the presence of the commander-in-chief at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, the game didn’t live up to the hype. Army jumped to a 20-0 lead after one quarter, and Navy, while it played much better for the final three quarters, could never draw close. Army won, 32-13.

Grantland Rice, though he acknowledged Army’s greatness, almost seemed more impressed by Navy in defeat, writing, “While Army proved its greatness in vital spots, Navy was the day’s big surprise and deserves enduring credit for the showing it made against a bigger, better and more experienced squad.”

3. November 19, 1966: Notre Dame vs. Michigan State

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5 Miraculous NFL Touchdown Passes

September 17, 2021 in History

By Phil Sheridan

From the ‘Immaculate Reception’ to the ‘Minneapolis Miracle,’ here are some of the more memorable football plays of all time.

Thousands of touchdown passes have been thrown in NFL history. But only a few—each tossed in the waning seconds of a pressure-cooker playoff game—have earned nicknames that have withstood the test of time. Here are five of the most miraculous NFL touchdown passes of all time:

1. The Immaculate Reception | December 23, 1972

With 22 seconds left in the Oakland-Pittsburgh playoff game, Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw connected on a desperation touchdown pass that ricocheted to rookie Franco Harris.

Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

THE STAGE: Oakland Raiders-Pittsburgh Steelers AFC divisional playoff game, Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh. Entering the game, the Steelers—founded in 1933—had never won a playoff game.

With 22 seconds left, Oakland had a 7-3 lead, and the Steelers had the ball at their 40-yard-line. On fourth down, Pittsburgh quarterback Terry Bradshaw, a future Hall of Famer, threw a desperation pass down the middle for running back John “Frenchy” Fuqua. The ball was on target but so was Oakland safety Jack Tatum, who smashed into Fuqua as the pass arrived.

The ball richocheted seven or eight backward toward Steelers rookie running Franco Harris, a future Hall of Famer, who was running downfield after blocking. Harris caught the ball inches off the ground and, without breaking stride, sprinted into the end zone for the winning 60-yard touchdown. The crowd went crazy.

After a brief review, officials kept the original touchdown call. The play remains controversial—if the ball had hit Fuqua last, the touchdown would have been declared an incomplete pass according to NFL rules at the time. The NFL did not adopt an instant replay review system until 1986.

WHAT THEY SAID AFTERWARD: “I can’t believe it. I saw it and I can’t believe it. When (Harris) scored, my damn brain was gone.”—Steelers guard Bruce Van Dyke, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

“If the officials really knew what happened, they’d have called it right away. But first they went into a huddle. That has to mean they didn’t know.”—Raiders coach John Madden.

WHAT WAS WRITTEN: “After 40 endless years of spilling salt and breaking mirrors and walking under ladders, the …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Sidney Crosby wins first NHL game played outdoors in US

September 16, 2021 in History

By History.com Editors

On January 1, 2008, with snowflakes falling around him in Buffalo, Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby slips a shot past Ryan Miller to win the NHL’s inaugural Winter Classic—the first regular-season game in league history played outdoors in the United States. The game is played before 71,127 fans at Ralph Wilson Stadium, home of the Buffalo Bills.

Afterward, an elated Crosby, who is from Nova Scotia, told reporters: “Growing up, I played a lot outside … When you see 70,000 people jammed into a stadium to watch hockey, it’s a good sign. The atmosphere and environment, I don’t think you can beat that.”

Despite the loss, members of the Sabres also enjoyed the outdoor atmosphere. Lindy Ruff, Buffalo’s coach, told reporters he would “love to do it again. I thought it was awesome. It was good for the game. It may not be the best hockey game because of the situation, because of the weather, because of the snow, but the atmosphere was incredible …The hell with the cynics.”

The 2008 Winter Classic was the NHL’s second regular-season outdoor game. The first, known as the 2003 NHL Heritage Classic, was played November 22. 2003, between the Montreal Canadians and Edmonton Oilers in Edmonton, Alberta. With wind chill, the temperature dropped to well below zero.

Since 2008, the NHL has played the Winter Classic each year, with games at Chicago’s Wrigley Field, Boston’s Fenway Park and other storied venues. In 2011, Crosby’s Penguins hosted a game at Heinz Field, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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Source: HISTORY

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New England Patriots' Doug Flutie makes NFL’s first drop kick since 1941

September 16, 2021 in History

By History.com Editors

On January 1, 2006, following a New England Patriots touchdown against the Miami Dolphins, Doug Flutie enters the game for what initially appears to be a two-point conversion play. After getting his teammates set in a “very strange formation,” Flutie backs up well beyond the normal shotgun position, to the 13-yard line, catches the snap, takes a couple steps forward, drops the ball off the ground and quickly kicks it through the uprights. His teammates immediately mob him after the kick—the first successful drop kick since 1941.

“It was fun,” Flutie said of the throwback kick.

The drop kick was commonly used in the game when a football’s shape was much more rounded. After the shape of the ball was changed in 1934, it largely disappeared from the sport. However, the drop kick remained as an allowable kicking attempt after a touchdown in the NFL’s rulebook under Rule 3, Section 8 as defined as “a kick by a kicker who drops the ball and kicks it as, or immediately after, it touches the ground.”

The Patriots would go on to lose the meaningless Week 17 game, 28-26, but the story afterward was all about the 43-year-old Flutie’s drop kick. The last successful drop kick before Flutie’s was converted two weeks after Pearl Harbor, on December 21, 1941, by Ray “Scooter” McLean.

After the game, Patriots coach and avid football historian Bill Belichick said, “I think Doug deserves it … He’s got a skill and we got a chance to let him use it, and I am happy for him. First time since ’41. It might be 60 years again, too.” Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri joked that “Flutie might have been there the last time it happened.”

Said Miami coach Nick Saban: “I was kind of pleased to know somebody can still drop kick. When I was a kid we all practiced that. Flutie showed his age on that one.”

Flutie’s drop kick, apparently spawned during a conversation between ESPN’s Chris Berman and Belichick, was the final play of his storied football career. He won the 1984 Heisman Trophy as a star quarterback at Boston College, played in the shortlived U.S. Football League (1985), joined the NFL (1986-89), rediscovered his game in the Canadian Football League (1990-97) and returned to the NFL to finish his career (1998-2005).

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Source: HISTORY

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Brigham Young

September 15, 2021 in History

By History.com Editors

An early convert to Mormonism, Brigham Young succeeded founder Joseph Smith as the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1847; he led the church until his death in 1877. After guiding an exodus of thousands of Mormons westward to the Great Salt Lake Valley, Young founded Salt Lake City and served as the first governor of the Utah Territory.

Early Years and Rise in the Church

Born into poverty in Vermont in 1801, Young later moved with his family to western New York, where he worked as a carpenter and craftsman. In 1832, he was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the religion founded by Joseph Smith in 1830 based on the Book of Mormon, a scripture that Smith claimed to have translated from gold plates given to him by an angel named Moroni.

In 1833, after the death of his first wife, Young and his two daughters joined Smith and other Mormons in Kirtland, Ohio. A devoted missionary and supporter of Smith, Young was ordained as one of the original members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, a church governing body, in 1835; he became its president four years later. Though he initially resisted adapting the church’s controversial custom of plural marriage, Young later embraced it as his duty, and would eventually have 55 wives and 56 (or 57) children.

Journey West to the Great Salt Lake

An armed mob assassinated Smith in 1844, and Young and the other apostles took charge of leading the Mormon church. Seeking a place where they could avoid the persecution that had driven them from Ohio and Missouri, Young and the other apostles planned a westward exodus of thousands of Mormons from the settlement in Nauvoo, Illinois to the Great Salt Lake Valley, then part of Mexico. In early 1846, Young and an advance group began an arduous journey some 1,300 miles across the plains and over the Rocky Mountains.

After spending the winter of 1846-47 in a camp along the Missouri River between Iowa and Nebraska, Young headed further west with 142 men, including six apostles, three women and two children, in April 1847. They arrived in the Great Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847. Young declared the site would be the group’s new home, and they began building an adobe and log settlement where Salt Lake City …read more

Source: HISTORY

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6 of the Wildest Moments from the 1986 New York Mets Championship Season

September 15, 2021 in History

By Christopher Klein

New York’s ‘traveling rock show’ made headlines on and off the field and beat the Boston Red Sox in the World Series.

Except for one fairytale season in 1969, when they won the World Series, the New York Mets were largely synonymous with futility for the first quarter-century of their existence. The Mets languished in the shadows of their pinstriped neighbors in the Bronx—the New York Yankees—but consecutive second-place finishes going into the 1986 season raised hopes of a second World Series title for the franchise.

With a constellation of stars on the roster (Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter and phenoms Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry), the Mets won more games than any other team in National League history besides the 1906 Chicago Cubs and 1909 Pittsburgh Pirates.

“Unlike 1969, when no one thought the Mets could win, in 1986 the Mets were seen as a powerhouse, a 108-win team that topped their rivals in the NL East by 21.5 games,” says official Major League Baseball historian John Thorn.

With their prodigious drinking and penchant for fisticuffs both on and off the diamond, the ’86 Mets dominated not just the back pages of New York’s tabloids but the front pages as well. Pitcher Ron Darling described the team as “a traveling rock show” in his autobiography. As brash and resilient as their home city, the ’86 Mets embodied New York and delivered one of the more memorable seasons in baseball history.

Here are six of the wildest moments from their championship season:

1. July 19, 1986: Four Mets Spend a Night in a Bar and Behind Bars

After suffering a loss in Houston, four Mets players celebrated the birth of infielder Tim Teufel’s first child at Cooter’s Executive Games and Burgers. After spending the night drinking, the Mets wanted to keep the party going after the bar closed at 2 a.m.

When Teufel tried to depart with an open beer, however, a uniformed Houston policeman hired by the bar to provide security tried to grab it. An altercation ensued, and Darling rushed to his teammate’s defense by delivering a what he called a “world-class sucker punch” to the officer before the pitcher was flung through a plate-glass window.

Teufel and Darling were arrested for aggravated assault of a police officer, and pitchers Rick Aguilera and Bob Ojeda were handcuffed and charged with hindering an arrest. The four Mets spent 11 hours in a …read more

Source: HISTORY

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10 Long-Gone MLB Ballparks With Quirky Features

September 15, 2021 in History

By Phil Sheridan

Houston’s Colt Stadium was plagued by mosquitoes and brutal heat. Other ballparks, such as Cleveland’s cavernous ‘Mistake by the Lake,’ had bizarre dimensions.

Boston’s Fenway Park and Chicago’s Wrigley Field—Major League Baseball’s oldest ballparks—are charming testaments from the sport’s early 20th century. Some of the peers of those ballparks had odd features, from weird dimensions to insanely high outfield walls. Here are 10 of the more unusual and quirky bygone ballparks in MLB history.

1. Baker Bowl in Philadelphia | 1904-1938

ODDITY: Towering right field wall.

The original wooden Baker Bowl, destroyed in an 1895 fire, was rebuilt with steel and brick. It was home of the Philadelphia Phillies and widely considered the first “modern” ballpark.

Because the right field corner was only 279 feet from home plate, a 40-foot-high wall was erected to prevent routine popups from turning into home runs. In 1937, the right field wall was increased to 60 feet, much higher than the famous, 37-foot “Green Monster” in left field at Boston’s Fenway Park—one of the odder features in a Major League Baseball stadium.

2. Forbes Field in Pittsburgh | 1909-1970

ODDITY: “Greenberg Gardens” and left-center field, which was 457 feet from home plate—one of the longer distances in MLB history.

Three large light towers were in play at Forbes, named after French and Indian War General John Forbes. Left field was strange indeed. After World War II, with the arrival of slugger Hank Greenberg, the Pirates moved the left field fence in 30 feet. The bullpens, previously located in foul territory, were moved into the area behind the leftfield fence. Sportswriters dubbed that area “Greenberg Gardens,” after the power hitter who had a penchant for homering to left field.

After hitting 25 home runs in 1947, his lone season in Pittsburgh, Greenberg retired. His “Gardens” were renamed “Kiner’s Korner,” in honor of young outfielder Ralph Kiner, who hit 40 home runs in 1948.

In Game 7 of the 1960 World Series, Pirates second baseman Bill Mazeroski homered over the 406-foot sign in left-center field, giving Pittsburgh the World Series title over the New York Yankees.

3. Polo Grounds in New York | 1911-1963

In the decisive Game 6 of the 1923 World Series, the Yankees beat the Giants …read more

Source: HISTORY

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When the Young Lords Put Garbage on Display to Demand Change

September 15, 2021 in History

By Johanna Fernández

In 1969, a group of Puerto Rican youth in East Harlem leveraged a garbage problem to demand reform.

In 1969, a group of New York City youth known as the Young Lords demanded change in the way the largest city in the United States handled sanitation. The initiative, known as the Garbage Offensive, wasn’t the group’s original plan of action, but it proved highly effective in calling out the needs and rights of the city’s Latinx community

The Young Lords were an activist group of poor and working-class Puerto Rican youth who modeled themselves after the Black Panthers, donned their signature purple berets, called for Puerto Rico’s independence, and hit the streets in search of a lofty organizing agenda in their home of East Harlem. But as the organization’s chairman, Felipe Luciano, humorously remembers, they found trash talk instead.

“So we’re on 110th Street and we actually asked the people, ‘What do you think you need? Is it housing? Is it police brutality?’” Luciano says. “And they said, ‘Muchacho, déjate de todo eso—LA BASURA!” [Listen kid, fuggedaboutit! It’s THE GARBAGE!] And I thought, my God, all this romance, all this ideology, to pick up the garbage?”

East Harlem Neighborhoods Faced Neglect

A New York Daily News special series on blight in East Harlem confirmed the grievances. The March 1969 report described the “horror” of tons of rotting garbage in the neighborhood’s 40-square-block zone, where uncollected trash lingered for weeks at a time. The 160 streets surveyed were rarely swept and had only six garbage receptacles in a district that yielded higher concentrations of household waste.

When sanitation workers finally showed up, they dumped half the garbage in the trucks and “left the other half strewn in the streets,” according to the News. Residents interpreted the negligence as an expression of racism held by members of the city’s ethnically exclusive, largely Italian American sanitation workers’ union.

But larger social forces were at work. East Harlem was 50 percent more densely populated than other neighborhoods in Manhattan. It had a disproportionate share of the city’s condemned housing units, including 107 abandoned buildings and 55 empty lots. These functioned as ad hoc dumping grounds and rat-infested repositories for all manner of refuse from rotting animal carcasses to washing machines, boilers, furniture, and other discarded bulk.

The problems went beyond East Harlem. The refuse and industrial waste popping up across the city during the 1960s was …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Occupy Wall Street begins

September 14, 2021 in History

By History.com Editors

On September 17, 2011, hundreds of activists gather around Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan for the first day of the Occupy Wall Street Movement—a weeks-long sit-in in New York City’s Financial District protesting income inequality and corporate corruption. While the movement failed to see any of its goals or policy proposals come to fruition, years later, Occupy Wall Street is still considered a blueprint for decentralized activism.

The protest was organized by members of Adbusters, a Canadian anti-consumerist publication, including founder Kalle Lasn and editor Micah White. Adbusters staff coordinated the time, place and marketing of the event. White sent out the first #OccupyWallStreet tweet which would be seen by thousands of people following the movement online. The occupy hashtag is largely responsible for the movement’s exposure and helped make it among the largest activist efforts to go viral on social media and spread around the world.

Organizers first planned to meet at Wall Street’s Charging Bull Statue and One Chase Plaza, but police erected barricades at both city-owned parks before the event on September 17. The nearby Zuccotti Park was left untouched; over the course of the next two months, thousands would come to occupy it. On November 15, 2011, members of the NYPD forcibly removed the protestors and arrested some 200 people. Later efforts to re-occupy the park were met with police resistance.

The terms 99 and 1 percenter were born from the Occupy movement; the first refers to the majority of people living in the United States, and the second represents Wall Street and the wealthiest portion of the population. These terms—and Occupy Wall Street’s social media strategy—would be modeled by movements including #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter.

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Source: HISTORY