Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now



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 →

The Sports World Provides Special Fireworks on the 4th of July 1

Posted on July 04, 2009 by Dean Hybl

Lou Gehrig's famous farewell address on July 4, 1939

Lou Gehrig's famous farewell address on July 4, 1939

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, 70 years ago, when Lou Gehrig stood on the field at Yankee Stadium and proclaimed himself, “The luckiest man on the face of the earth.”

Read the rest of this entry →

  • Follow Us Online

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Iron Man Randy Smith
      February 2, 2019 | 5:58 pm

      Randy Smith-BravesThe Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month may have had a pretty common name, but his iron man streak as an NBA player was anything but ordinary.

      In a streak that lasted more than a decade, Randy Smith played in 906 consecutive NBA games to establish an NBA iron man record that lasted more than a decade.

      That Smith made it to the NBA at all was somewhat of an underdog story.

      A three-sport standout at Bellsport High School in Long Island (basketball, soccer and track), Smith also was a three-sport All-American at Division II Buffalo State College. He helped lead the Bengals to three straight basketball conference championships and a spot in the 1970 Division II Final Four.

      Read more »

    • RSSArchive for Vintage Athlete of the Month »
  • Sign up for Email Updates

    Sign-up to get daily updates of all the great articles and information on Sports Then and Now.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

  • Check out the best free bets at freebets4all. Learn how to convert online bookmakers free bets into guaranteed cash using the matched betting technique.

  • Affordable Satellite TV Great prices on Dish network packages.

  • Gear up for your next trip with new North Face Backpacks from SportsUnlimited.com. Shop great Field Hockey Sticks from Grays & Gryphon.

    Football Jerseys

    8mm film to digital
  • Current Poll

    Would You Trade Five Players and Two Draft Picks for Anthony Davis?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...
  • Post Categories



↑ Top