Memorable sports moments on July 4

Friday, as you all know, was July 4, a day connected with being lazy. Naturally, then, it was also a lazy column day. Without putting my mind through too much, I tried to come up with several of the more memorable moments in sports history that took place on July 4. They are listed in chronological order, not in order of importance.

July 4, 1900: In honor of Independence Day, about 1,000 fans fire their pistols in the air during a game between Chicago and Philadelphia. The game was played on the west side of Chicago and attracted 10,000 fans. This might explain where Los Angelenos' behavior derived from.

July 4, 1911: Armando Marsans and Rafael Almeida become the first Cuban natives to play in a major league game. They make their debut for the Cincinnati Reds, roughly 36 years before Jackie Robinson breaks the so-called "color barrier" by becoming the first black to play in the major leagues. I didn't know Americans were so discriminatory about being discriminatory.

July 4, 1934: Joe Louis wins his first professional boxing fight. Louis would go on to hold the longest reign as heavyweight champion in boxing history, a span of 11 years and nine months. Between 1937-49, "The Brown Bomber" successfully defended his heavyweight title 25 times, 21 of which by knockout. He finished with a career record of 63-3 with 49 knockouts.

July 4, 1939: Lou Gehrig, one of baseball's all-time greats, announces his retirement at Yankee Stadium after 16 years. He finished with a career batting average of .340 and won seven World Series titles with the New York Yankees. He currently ranks second behind Cal Ripken for most consecutive games played (2,130). Gehrig played his last game on May 2, 1939 after pulling himself from the game because he said he felt weak. A month later he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a rare and uncurable disease that is now known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. On June 2, 1941, exactly 16 years after becoming the Yankees' regular first baseman, Gehrig died. He was 37.

July 4, 1972: Two-year old Secretariat, rode by Paul Feliciano, finishes fourth at the Aqueduct. It was the poorest placing in Secretariat's career, which was highlighted by winning the Triple Crown in 1973, one of only 11 horses to do so in horse racing history.

July 4, 1980: Nolan Ryan strikes out Ceasar Geronimo for his 3,000th career strikeout. Geronimo was equally as giving six years earlier when Bob Gibson fanned Geronimo to get his 3,000th career strikeout. Ryan ranks first in MLB history with 5,714 strikeouts.

July 4, 1980: Martina Navratilova wins her sixth Wimbledon singles title. Following her retirement from singles in 1994, Navratilova had already won 18 Grand Slam singles titles, including a record nine Wimbledon titles. She also won a record 74 consecutive matches in 1984.

July 4, 2001: 1983 Carson High graduate and Arizona Diamondbacks third baseman Matt Williams has a rehab stint in Sacramento. Williams goes 0-for-4 in a 12-3 loss to the Sacramento Rivercats. Several months later he wins his first World Series after losing in 1989 with San Francisco and 1997 with Cleveland. His three-run homer in Game 2 helped Arizona to a 4-0 win over the New York Yankees. With that homer, Williams became the first player in MLB history to hit home runs for three different teams in a World Series. Williams retired last month after 17 years in the big leagues.

July 4, 2001: After 23 consecutive years, the Carson Capitols play their final game in their own Capitol Classic. Galena's Joey Hooft, who now plays for the University of Miami, goes 3-for-3 in a 14-3 win over Parma (Ohio). Coach Ron McNutt broke up the Caps prior to the 2002 season.

Jeremy Evans is a Nevada Appeal sports writer.


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