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Wrigley Field – “Turn On The Lights!”

wrigley

On this day in 1988 Wrigley Field finally joined the 20th Century.  The great American ballpark that is Wrigley finally hosted a night game under the lights.  Wrigley Field was opened on April 23, 1914 under the name of Weeghman Park.  The ballpark underwent many changes through the years but the most important was installing lights.  A total of 5,687 consecutive day games where played there before they held a night game.

The Philadelphia Phillies were the Cubs opponents on this night.  The game had a scheduled start time of 7:05pm.  A pregame ceremony took place prior to the game in which a long time Cubs fan was able to hit a button to turn on the lights.  The interesting not about this game it was never an official game.  The game was halted in the fourth inning because of rain at 8:14pm.  The game was officially called off at 10:25pm.

The first full game under the light would take place the following night on August 9, 1988.  The Cubs defeated the New York Mets in that contest by a score of 6-4.  Wrigley had a deal with the city of Chicago for many years following to only play around 20 night games a season.  The reason for this was with the ballpark being located in a residential area of the city the lights would affect the local residents from sleeping at night.

Historic Rookies: “Shoeless” Joe Jackson In 1911

Many baseball fans consider the Legendary outfielder “Shoeless” Joe Jackson to be one of the greatest players ever. He had a very good career but unfortunately is most remembered as a member of the 1919 Black Sox scandal. One of the most impressive parts of his career is one that is often overlooked, the beginning.

The Legendary "Shoeless" Joe Jackson. (Getty Images)

The Legendary “Shoeless” Joe Jackson. (Getty Images)

Joe Jackson began his major league career in 1908 with the Philadelphia Athletics. He would end his time with the Athletics after the 1909 season. During his two seasons with the club he only played in ten games. With 40 total at bats he only reach base 7 times. He would start the 1910 season with the minor league New Orleans Pelicans but signed on to the Major League Cleveland Naps at the end of the season. He finished playing 20 games and had 75 at bats, 29 hits and a batting average of .387. It was clear following the 1910 season that Jackson had great potential.

Joe Jackson returned to the Naps in 1911 for his first full season in the Major Leagues. Jackson played a total of 147 games and led the Naps to 80-73 record (3rd best in the American League). Jackson had one of the greatest rookie seasons baseball has ever seen with a rookie batting average record of .408. His batting average in 1911 stands as the second best single season batting record to this day. Jackson notched 233 hits, 7 home runs and batted in 83 runs. “Shoeless” Joe showed everyone a preview of how great his career would become. He was traded from the Naps to the Chicago White Sox during the 1915 season.

Joe Jackson was banned from baseball following the 1919 Black Sox scandal that tarnished the name of baseball. When his career was finished he had a career bating average of .356, 1,772 hits, 54 home runs and 785 RBI’s. He would be in the Hall Of Fame today if not for the controversy he found himself in following the 1919 World Series. Over one hundred years after “Shoeless” Joe amazed the baseball world he legend still lives on and will be remembered forever.

“Going Out On Top”: The Story Of Jim Brown’s Nine Season NFL Career

When football fans think of the greatest running backs of all time a few names usually come up.  Names like Walter Payton, Emmitt Smith, Gale Sayers.  There is a player some would consider greater than those previously named, Jim Brown.

The legendary Jim Brown. (Getty Images)

The legendary Jim Brown. (Getty Images)

Jim Brown was taken by the Cleveland Browns with the 6th overall pick in the 1957 NFL Draft.   Brown was a first-team All American at Syracuse University.  His senior season at the school was the most impressive.  During the 1956 College Football season Brown ran for 986 yards and scored 14 touchdowns in only eight games that season.

Jim Brown’s pro career would mirror the success of his college days.  When he came to Cleveland the Browns had yet to find an incredible running back since Hall Of Fame running back Marion Motley quit the team in 1954.  During his rookie season Brown ran for 942 yards and had 9 touchdowns.  Brown really turned it up a notch in his second season in 1958, rushing for 1527 yards with 17 touchdowns.

This amazing running back went on to seven seasons with 1,000-yards or more during his nine year career.  His highest rushing yardage season came in 1963 when he ran for 1,863- yards.  Brown’s 1963 season became the running back record for most rushing yards in a single season.  The record stood until 1973 when O.J. Simpson ran for 2,003-yards.

Jim Brown’s final season came in 1965.  His final game was on January 2, 1965 in the NFL Championship game against the Green Bay Packers in Green Bay, WI.  Brown ran for 50-yards, caught 3 passes for 44-yards but scored no touchdowns.  The Packers defeated the Cleveland Browns by a score of 23-12.

During his final campaign Brown ran for 1,544 yards and once again recorded 17 touchdowns on the ground.  Brown would decide to leave football following 1965 season to pursue an acting career.  Many around football could not believe he would leave the NFL while still proving to be one of the best players in the game. At the age of 29 Jim Brown was retired from football and would never play again in the NFL.  

His nine season career still stands out as one of the best in NFL History.  Jim Brown amassed 12,312 yards (An NFL record not broken until 1984 by Walter Payton) while rushing for 80 touchdowns and caught 20 touchdown passes.  Brown led the league in rushing for eight of his nine seasons and was selected as a Pro Bowler in every season he played in the NFL.  In 1971 Jim Brown was inducted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.

When going back through the records and accomplishments during his playing days it is hard to deny that Jim Brown is one of the greatest players of all time.  He may no lomger hold any of the amazing records he set during his career but they are still impressive 49 years after he retired. He was a bruising power back the likes we have never seen since and may never see again.  Jim Brown truly left the game of football while still on top.

History Now: Samaje Perine Breaks NCAA Single Game Rushing Record

On November 22,2014 in Norman, OK NCAA history was Made. Oklahoma Sooner running back Samaje Perine set a new NCAA record for rushing yards in a single game with 427-yards. Perine did so in a blowout game where his Sooners defeated Kansas by a score of 44-7. Perine also scored 5 touchdowns during this incredible performance.

New NCAA record holder Samaje Perine. (Getty Images)

New NCAA record holder Samaje Perine. (Getty Images)

An interesting note to this accomplishment is how new the previous record was that Perine broke. Just one week earlier on November 15, 2014 Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon broke the previous record with a 408-yard rushing performance. With that performance Gordon broke a record Ladainian Tomlinson had held with a 406-yard performance in 1999.

It is pretty amazing that a record that stood for 15 years was broken twice in one week. Samaje Perine set the bar far higher than Melvin Gordon did just one week earlier. This record will be very hard to beat and will not likely be done any time soon.

Historic Rookies: Gale Sayers In 1965

With the 4th overall pick in the 1965 NFL Draft the Chicago Bears selected running back Gale Sayers from the University of Kansas. Sayers had been a two time All American and was highly touted coming out of college. The Bears were in need of a solid running back following the 1964 season in which the teams leading rusher was Jon Arnett who finished the season with 400 yards on the ground. Ronnie Bull was the second rusher in terms of yards with 320. Sayers would come in and rush for more yard than both backs combined.

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Gale Sayers was a very influential running back that changed how the game was played from the back field. Sayers was an explosive rusher with the ability to stop, move and go at practically any given moment. Sayers would also become one of the best kick returners the game had seen up to that point.

Gale Sayers had a phenomenal debut season in 1965. On the ground Sayers was practically unstoppable with 867 yards, 14 touchdowns. Sayers also gained 507 yards receiving and scored 6 touchdowns. Lastly Sayers returned 16 kicks for a total of 898 yards and 2 touchdowns on kickoffs and punt returns combined. Despite the incredible season Sayers had he could only help the Bears so much. The Bears finished that season with a record of 9-5 and placed 3rd in the NFL Western Conference.

Gale Sayers was named the NFL Rookie of the at the end of the 1965 season. That season he set the record for the most touchdowns scored by a rookie with 22, a record that still stands today, almost five decades later. Sayers would only play seven total seasons before retiring after the 1971 season. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame in 1977.

The 1990 MLB Season: The Year Of The No-Hitter

When the 1990 Major League Baseball Season started there had been 217 total No-Hitters in the long history of baseball.  Many seasons have had their share of No-Hitters but the oncoming season would be the best for this difficult feat.  In the 1990 season a record seven No-Hitters would occur.  No other season since has been able to break this incredible record.  Let’s visit the 1990 season and it’s record breaking games.

April 11, 1990-

Mark Langston (7 Innings) – California Angels

Mike Witt (2 Innings) – California Angels

California Angels pitchers Mark Langston and Mike Witt combined for the No-Hitter in nine total innings.  Langston pitched seven innings while Witt pitched the final two innings of the game and recorded the save.  This was the second No Hitter of Witt’s career and Langston’s first and only in his career.

June 2, 1990-

Randy Johnson – Seattle Mariners

For the second time in the 1990 season the Mariners were involved in a No-Hitter on June 2nd.  This time they were on the better end of the of the box score.  Randy Johnson achieved his first career No-Hitter and grabbed his second win of the season in the 2-0 victory over the visiting Detroit Tigers.

June 11, 1990-

Nolan Ryan – Texas Rangers

One of the all time greatest pitchers and the career leader in No-Hitters, Nolan Ryan notched his sixth career “No-No” in the 1990 season.  In that game Ryan was given a good amount of help by his offense in the 5-0 victory in which his Texas Rangers visited the Oakland A’s.  Ryan would go on to throw one more No-Hitter in 1991 in his final Major League season in 1991 cementing his legacy as of the best pitchers in the history of baseball.

June 29, 1990-

Dave Stewart – Oakland A’s

Nineteen days after falling victim to Nolan Ryans sixth career no hitter the Oakland A’s were able to feel the joy of this great pitching feat themselves.  Dave Stewart pitched the A’s to a 5-0 No-Hit win against the Blue Jays in Toronto, Canada.  This was the first of two No-Hit games on the 29th of June in 1990.

June 29, 1990-

Fernando Valenzuela – Los Angeles Dodgers

Less than a decade removed from “Fernando Mania” the city of Los Angeles got to revel in the greatness that this pudgy pitcher from Mexico was able to provide on June 29, 1990.  Fernando Valenzuela was the second pitcher to record a No-Hitter on that day, it was the only one of his career.  Fernando was able to pitch his Dodgers to the 6-0 No-Hit victory against the St. Louis Cardinals in L.A.  It would be the last great moment of Fernando Valenzuela’s career.

August 15, 1990-

Terry Mulholland – Philadelphia Philles

Terry Mulholland became the victor in the sixth No-Hitter of the 1990 season on Agust 15th,  His Phillies defeated the visiting San Francisco Giants by a score of 6-0.

Most baseball fans could not believe that they had witnessed so many No-Hit performances in one season.  The seson was not yet finish and niether was this history making season.

September 2, 1990-

Dave Stieb –  Toronto Blue Jays

Dave Stieb finished off this history making season with its seventh and final No-Hitter.  Stieb’s Blue Jays defeated the Indians in Cleveland, OH by a score of 3-0.  The Blue Jays became the third team that season to fall to a No-Hitter only to return later that season with a No-Hit performance of their own.

 

History Now: Peyton Manning Ties Single Game TD Record

Future Hall Of Famer Peyton Manning added his name to another record in NFL history on  September 5th, 2013.  The Denver Broncos and Manning defeated the defending Champions the Baltimore Ravens by a score of 47-29 in Denver tonight.  The most remarkable stat of all in the game was the number of touchdown passes Manning threw.

Quarterback Peyton Manning (Getty Images)

Quarterback Peyton Manning (Getty Images)

Peyton Manning threw 7 touchdown passes.  The receivers on the other end of these TD’s were Demaryius Thomas (2), Wes Welker (2), Julius Thomas (2) and Andre Caldwell (1) .  Five of the touchdowns came in the second half of this opening game.

With this feat Peyton Manning joins only five other QB’s who have thrown this many touchdowns in a single game. Some of those he now shares the record with are all time greats like Sid Luckman, Adrian Burk, George Blanda, Y.A. Tittle and Joe Kapp.  Joe Kapp was the last to throw 7 TD’s in a single game in 1969.  This is a truly amazing record and one that Manning will add to all of his other records to land him in Canton.