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Sports Then and Now



25 Years Ago: Cal Ripken Jr. Passes the Iron Horse 0

Posted on September 05, 2020 by Dean Hybl

It is hard to believe that a quarter century has passed since Cal Ripken Jr. put Major League Baseball on his back and helped it get past one of the darkest periods in its illustrious history.

On September 5, 1995 Ripken matched the seemingly unbreakable record of Lou Gehrig by playing in his 2,130th consecutive game. After the game became official and the streak numbers on the B&O Warehouse turned to 2,130, he punctuated the night with a sixth inning home run.

The drama was even better the following night as Ripken hit a home run in the fourth inning. Then, with Baltimore leading 3-1 midway through the fifth inning the game was halted for the dramatic unveiling of the number 2,131.

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Great Baseball All-Star Game Moments: Part 1 (1933-1959) 2

Posted on July 11, 2020 by Dean Hybl
Babe Ruth hit the first home run in All-Star Game history during the first All-Star Game in 1933.

Since its inception in 1933, the Major League Baseball All-Star Game has provided fans an annual opportunity to see most of the great stars of the game on the same field. While the game is an exhibition and has withstood periods of indifference by some players, management and fans, it remains a special mid-season moment.

Because of COVID-19, there will not be an All-Star Game played in 2020, marking only the second season without a game (the first was in 1945 during World War II) since the start of the annual contest in 1933.

Though there will not be any new memories this year, there have been many memorable games and moments in the 90 meetings between the top players of the American and National Leagues.

This is the first of a three-part series where we will relive some of the great moments and games in the history of this special series.

July 6, 1933 – Comiskey Park, Chicago
The idea of bringing the top players from both the American and National Leagues together in the middle of the season for one “All-Star” game was initiated by Arch Ward, a sports editor for the Chicago Tribune. The first game was played at Comiskey Park to coincide with Chicago’s Century of Progress Exposition.

In a fitting testimonial to his legendary career, Babe Ruth hit the first home run in All-Star history when he lifted a pitch from Bill Hallahan into the right-field stands in the third inning.

The American League went on to win the game 4-2 with Lefty Gomez earning the victory.

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80 Years Ago: The Iron Horse Says Goodbye 0

Posted on July 04, 2019 by Dean Hybl

Imagine if one of the most iconic athletes of the current era suddenly retired, announced he had an incurable disease and within two years was dead. That is exactly what happened in 1939 when iconic New York Yankees star Lou Gehrig pulled himself out of the lineup after 2,130 consecutive games and then 80 years ago, on July 4, 1939, said goodbye to New York fans with his famous “luckiest man on the face of the earth” speech.

For 13 years, Gehrig was baseball’s most durable player as he famously was in the lineup every day. But durability wasn’t his only strength, he was also the best first baseman of his generation and was a run-producing machine.

Only Gehrig could push the Sultan of Swat, Babe Ruth, into the number three spot in the batting order. He drove in 140 or more runs nine times during his career, including 185 RBI during the 1931 season. In 1934 he claimed the triple crown as he hit .363 with 49 home runs and 166 RBI.

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75 Years Ago: The Iron Horse Says Goodbye 2

Posted on July 03, 2014 by Dean Hybl

Lou Gehrig said goodbye to his fans on July 4, 1939.

Lou Gehrig said goodbye to his fans on July 4, 1939.

Imagine if one of the most iconic athletes of the current era suddenly retired, announced he had an incurable disease and within two years was dead. That is exactly what happened in 1939 when iconic New York Yankees star Lou Gehrig pulled himself out of the lineup after 2,130 consecutive games and then 75 years ago, on July 4, 1939, said goodbye to New York fans with his famous “luckiest man on the face of the earth” speech.

For 13 years, Gehrig was baseball’s most durable player as he famously was in the lineup every day. But durability wasn’t his only strength, he was also the best first baseman of his generation and was a run-producing machine.

Only Gehrig could push the Sultan of Swat, Babe Ruth, into the number three spot in the batting order. He drove in 140 or more runs nine times during his career, including 185 RBI during the 1931 season. In 1934 he claimed the triple crown as he hit .363 with 49 home runs and 166 RBI.

Interestingly, likely because the Yankees did not reach the World Series that season, he finished only fifth in the MVP voting as Mickey Cochrane earned the award. Read the rest of this entry →

10 Players Who Thrived in Baseball’s Clutch Moments 3

Posted on September 22, 2011 by Jena Ellis

Reggie Jackson's play in the post season earned him the nickname "Mr. October."

You can debate whether or not there’s such a thing as “clutch” hitting. Scoring runs in the first inning is just as important as scoring runs in the ninth inning, right? Does the process of securing a hit change dramatically as the situation changes dramatically? Should we completely ignore the human elements of emotion, concentration and focus, each of which may fluctuate depending on the person in the batter’s box?

The following players (five hitters, five pitchers), for whatever reason, hit and pitched extremely well during the postseason, a period of time when the margin for error — and patience for under performing — is at a minimum.

1. Babe Ruth
He’s the greatest for a reason. As a pitcher in the postseason, Ruth boasts a microscopic 0.87 ERA in 31 innings pitched, a shutout and a 3-0 record. His best performance came in a 14-inning, complete game win in Game 2 of the 1916 World Series. In both World Series in which he pitched, the Red Sox won (1916 over the Brooklyn Robins and 1918 over the Chicago Cubs). As a hitter, he amassed 15 home runs in 167 plate appearances, accumulating an impressive 1.211 OPS. In 1928, he hit .625 in a four-game sweep of the Cardinals, notably mashing three home runs in the series-clinching game.

2. Reggie Jackson
Mr. October kindly disagrees with the idea that clutch hitting doesn’t exist. He was the first player to win World Series MVP with two different teams (Athletics and Yankees), and was just the second player to hit three homeruns in a World Series game — that, as you probably know, came in the series-clinching Game 6 of the 1977 World Series versus the Dodgers. During the six games, he hit five home runs with a .450 average and 1.792 OPS. A year later, he led the Yankees to a repeat in a rematch, hitting a meager two home runs with a .391 average and 1.196 OPS. He hit 18 home runs during his postseason career. Read the rest of this entry →

The Sports World Provides Special Fourth of July Fireworks 3

Posted on July 04, 2010 by Dean Hybl

Lou Gehrig's speech was one of the most memorable 4th of July moments in sports history.

The Fourth of July is known for fireworks, patriotism, and family outings, but it’s also a day that has been filled with some great moments in the sports world.

No July 4th moment has been bigger than the day, 71 years ago, when Lou Gehrig stood on the field at Yankee Stadium and proclaimed himself, “The luckiest man on the face of the earth.”

The sudden transformation of Gehrig from the “Iron Horse” to a man for whom a disease would soon be named after was punctuated that day, when the baseball world said goodbye to one of the all-time greats.

Gehrig died less than two years later, but his legacy is still alive today and will be honored in special ceremonies all across the baseball world on Saturday.

Yankee Stadium was the site for another memorable July 4th moment, 44 years later. On July 4, 1983 New York Yankees left-hander Dave Righetti hurled a no-hitter against the Boston Red Sox.

The “no-no” by Righetti, who would go on to earn his greatest distinction as a relief pitcher, was the first by a Yankee since Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series.

More than any other sport though, tennis and the Fourth of July have had a very special history.

The premier tennis tournament in the world, Wimbledon, is contested each year in late June and early July and often crowns a champion on a day that isn’t recognized as fondly in England as it is in the former colonies. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Randy White: The Manster
      September 4, 2020 | 5:14 pm

      In recognition of the start of football season, we have selected a two-time All-American from the University of Maryland who went on to earn a spot in both the College and Pro Football Hall of Fames as our Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month.

      Randy White actually came to the University of Maryland as a fullback, but as a sophomore new head coach Jerry Claiborne recognized that he had the skills to be a great defensive lineman and quickly moved him to defense.

      Read more »

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