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Sports Then and Now

Great Sports Moments From the 4th of July

Posted on July 04, 2021 by Dean Hybl

It probably comes as no surprise that the 4th of July has seen a few more “special” sports moments than most other days on the calendar. As a national holiday occurring during the height of the season for baseball, there have been a significant number of special baseball moments on this date.

Lou Gehrig became the first MLB player to have his number retired during Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day on July 4, 1939.

Even though July 4th is a day that our friends in England are maybe not as enthusiastic in celebrating, July 4th does have quite a history in that country as many Wimbledon titles have been claimed on that special date.

Over the years the date has also seen special moments in boxing history and women’s golf.

Below is a chronological look at a few of those special July 4th sports moments:

1910 – In what was dubbed the “Fight of the Century”, World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Jack Johnson retains his title with a 15th round TKO against James J. Jeffries.

1911 – Ty Cobb’s pursuit of Willie Keeler’s record hitting streak of 45 consecutive games ends at 40 games when Cobb is held hitless in four attempts by Ed Walsh of the Chicago White Sox. Cobb’s streak remains the sixth longest streak in MLB history.

1914 – Dorothea Chambers claims her seventh, and final, Wimbledon Women’s Singles title, beating Ethel Larcombe 7-5, 6-4.

1919 – Jack Dempsey wins the World Heavyweight Boxing Crown when champion Jess Willard retires in the third round of their title match in Toledo, Ohio.

Though it went only three rounds, the 1919 fight between Jess Willard and Jack Dempsey has been called one of the most brutal fights in boxing history.

1925 – Herb Pennock of the New York Yankees out-duels rookie southpaw Lefty Grove of the Philadelphia A’s 1-0 in 15-innings of a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium. Pennock allowed only four hits in the complete game shutout while Grove scattered 14 hits with the game-winning RBI single coming off the bat of Steve O’Neill.

1930 – Helen Moody wins her 4th straight Wimbledon women’s singles title defeating fellow American Elizabeth Ryan 6-2, 6-2.

1939 – In a slugging display that would be out-shadowed by events happening at Yankee Stadium on the same day (see below), Jim Tabor of the Boston Red Sox tied the MLB record by blasting two grand slam home runs and also hit a solo home run in the second game of a doubleheader against the Philadelphia Athletics. The Red Sox won the game 18-12 after winning the first game 17-7. Tabor finished the day with four total home runs and 11 RBI.

1939 – Lou Gehrig of the New York Yankees became the first player in MLB history to have his number retired during Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day at Yankee Stadium. Gehrig gave his famous “luckiest man on the face of the earth” speech just a few weeks after being diagnosed with ALS, which would later become known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”.

1947 – Tennis star Jack Kramer claimed his only Wimbledon singles title by defeating fellow American Tom Brown 6-1, 6-3, 6-2.

1953 – American tennis sensation Maureen Connelly “Little Mo” edges fellow American Doris Hart 8-6, 7-5 to win her second of three straight Wimbledon titles. It also marks the “third leg” on her way to becoming the first woman to win all four Grand Slam events in the same calendar year.

1960 – Women’s Golf legend Mickey Wright claimed the second of her four LPGA Championships with a three-stroke victory over Louise Suggs.

1975 – Billie Jean King claims her sixth Wimbledon Women’s Singles title with a dominating 6-0, 6-1 victory over Evonne Goolagong.

1980 – Evonne Goolagong Cawley claims her third Wimbledon Women’s Singles title with a 6-1, 7-6 victory over Chris Evert.

The 1980 and 1981 Wimbledon Men’s finals matches between Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe were two of the greatest matches in Wimbledon history.

1981 – John McEnroe ends the five-year Wimbledon Men’s Singles reign of Bjorn Borg with a tough four-set victory 4-6, 7-6, 7-6, 6-4.

1983 – New York Yankees left-handed pitcher Dave Righetti tosses a no-hitter as the Yankees defeat the Boston Red Sox 4-0 at Yankee Stadium.

1984 – Knuckleball pitcher Phil Niekro of the New York Yankees strikes out Larry Parrish of the Texas Rangers to become the ninth pitcher in MLB history to reach the 3,000-strikeout mark.

1987 – Martina Navratilova ties Helen Wills Moody’s record of eight Wimbledon Women’s Singles titles with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Steffi Graf.

1993 – Pete Sampras wins the first of his seven Wimbledon Men’s Singles titles with a 7-6, 7-6, 3-6, 6-3 victory over fellow American Jim Courier.

1998 – Jana Novotná beats Nathalie Tauziat 6-4, 7-6 in the Wimbledon Women’s Singles final for her first and only Grand Slam singles title.

2004 – Roger Federer wins the second of 5 straight Wimbledon Men’s Singles titles beating American Andy Roddick 4-6, 7-5, 7-6, 6-4.

2009 – In a battle of sisters, Serena Williams defeats her older sister Venus 7-6, 6-2 for her third Wimbledon Women’s Singles title.

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