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Wrigley Field – “Turn On The Lights!”

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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.

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“Man Of Steal”- Rickey Henderson And His Career Stolen Bases Record

On this day in 1991, Oakland Athletics outfielder Rickey Henderson broke Lou Brock’s career stolen bases record.  This historic event happened in a day game against the St Louis Cardinals in Henderson’s home stadium in Oakland, CA.  Henderson stole his 939th career base breaking Brock’s previous record of 938.  Immediately the game was stopped and a ceremony was performed to commemorate the record breaking moment.  Henderson was given the base he stole just moments before and an address to the fans in attendance were he proclaimed “I am the greatest of all time”.

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Rickey Henderson was drafted by the A’s in the 4th round of the 1976 MLB Draft.  He would make his Major League debut for the A’s after about 3 years in the Minor Leagues.  During his debut against the Texas Rangers on June 24th 1979 Henderson stole his very first base in the Majors.  It was just a preview of what would become and incredible career.

Rickey Henderson played from 1979-2003.   During his 4th season he stole a record 130 bases, it became the new record for a single season that still stands today.  Henderson stole the most bases in Major League baseball 12 different seasons. He was on two World Series Championship teams the first in 1989 (Oakland A’s) and the second in 1993 (Toronto Blue Jays).  One of his most outstanding achievements other than breaking career stolen bases record would have to be being named the American League MVP in 1990 while playing for the A’s.

Rickey Henderson’s amazing career came to an end on September 19th, 2003.  When he hung up those blazing cleats he had stolen 1,406 bases during his career.  Henderson will go down in history as the most amazing base stealer ever.  His career stolen bases record is one that will be very hard to break.

History Now: Lebron James Is Returning To Cleveland

In July of 2010 Lebron James was live on ESPN and sports fans all over the world were watching to see where he would go as a free agent. Many consider that moment one of James’ worst since bursting onto the national sports scene in 2002 while he was still in High School. With the words “I have decided to take my talents to South Beach” James ripped the hearts out of the already heart broken Cleveland sports fans bodies. The fans of Cleveland loudly voiced their disapproval and ran to the streets to burn James jerseys and shout their hate for their once beloved star.

Lebron James wearing the jersey we will see him in again when the 2014-15 NBA season begins. (Getty Images)

Lebron James wearing the jersey we will see him in again when the 2014-15 NBA season begins. (Getty Images)

Fast forward four years to today and a lot has changed for Lebron James. James never won an NBA Title in Cleveland during the seven seasons he played there. However James was in the NBA Finals over the past four seasons and won two titles with the Miami Heat. James had accomplished his dream of winning an NBA Championship and seems to rest easier with his accomplishment than he did as a player still seeking a title four years ago.

There was much speculation as to where Lebron James would go after he declined the final two years of his Miami Heat contract to pursue free agency. He spent the last ten days of his free agency period to make everyone wait and see where he would end up. On July 11th, 2014 around 1pm EST its was announced through a press release from James that he would be returning to back home to Cleveland. The fans of Cleveland have largely forgiven James for what happened that summer in 2010 and just wanted him back. Cleveland got their wish and their Ohio son back today.

While the city of Miami was reaping the benefits of having Lebron James for the past four seasons the Cleveland Cavilers have struggled to say the least. With multiple number one picks in the NBA Draft the team never recovered after James departed but do have the pieces in place for James to excel with. Much talk will swirl over the next four months before the season begins about whether James made the right choice but one thine is certain, Lebron James makes the Cavs an instant contender.

Michael Jordan: The Flu Game

In 1997 Michael Jordan had already amassed a career of incredible highlights and amazing records.  He had won 4 NBA titles, awarded as the NBA’s MVP 4 times and named the NBA Finals MVP 4 times.  His legacy was already set to be considered one of the greatest basketball players of all times.  Up to that point he had many memorable moments.  The most notable was the game against the Cavaliers in the NBA Playoffs were he made “The Shot” in 1989.  One of the last memorable moments and possibly the biggest of his career came in the 1997 NBA Finals.

On June 11, 1997 the Chicago Bulls took on the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City, Utah.  It was Game 5 of the NBA Finals and the series was tied at 2-2.  The day before the game Michael Jordan became severely ill.  Jordan had a fever and was not able to keep any food down.  He was found in the fetal position by his trainer and was very fatigued.  Many who were close to the situation believed there was no way he would play the next day.

Michael Jordan during "The Flu Game"  (Gety Images"

Michael Jordan during “The Flu Game” (Gety Images”

When the game started Michael Jordan was visibly weak and pale in color.  The Bulls fell to an early 16-point deficit in the second quarter and with Jordan not feeling well were in a hole.  At halftime the score was 53-49 in favor of the Jazz. The third quarter found Jordan on the bench trying to rest and looking in even worse shape than he had at the beginning of the game.  When the fourth quarter began Jordan was back in the game and scored 15 of the Bulls 23 points in the final quarter of the game. The most dramatic plays of the game came in the final minute.  Jordan was able to make a 3-pointer to give the Bulls a 88-85 lead with just 25 seconds remaining in the game.  The next play was a dunk by Greg Ostertag of the Jazz which took the Bulls lead to only one point.  The Bulls were able to raise the score again with a dunk by Luc Longley.  With just a few seconds remaining and the Jazz down by 3 points John Stockton was fouled and was now at the free throw line.  He needed to make both free throws for the Jazz to be able to stay in the game.  When he missed the first free throw the game was sealed.  The Bulls had over come this daunting game and won by a score of 90-88.  Michael Jordan then collapsed into Scottie Pippen’s arms, this image would forever be considered the trademark picture for this game.  Jordan finished the game with 39 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists.

Scottie Pippen holding a weak Michael Jordan in the final seconds of "The Flu Game"  (Getty Images)

Scottie Pippen holding a weak Michael Jordan in the final seconds of “The Flu Game” (Getty Images)

The Bulls would go on to win Game 6 and their 5th NBA Title. It has been reported in later years that he did not have the flu but instead had food poisoning.  Regardless of that fact this game was an incredible show of strength and determination for Michael Jordan.  Jordan will be remembered long after his days on this earth and this game will be considered one of his best for all future generations who will read about him.

The 25th Anniversary Of “The Shot”- Michael Jordan’s First Legendary Moment

The career of Michael Jordan is rich with exciting and memorable moments.  His first amazing moment occurred in game 5 of the 1989 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference first round against the Cleveland Cavaliers.  The series had been hotly contested going into final and deciding game.  Both teams had won a game on the road and Jordan had scored no less than 30 points in each of the first four games.  The Cavs had firepower on their side as well with Mark Price, Ron Harper and Craig Ehlo.

On May 7th, 1989 in Cleveland, Ohio the stage was set for this historic game.  The fans of Cleveland had been criticized by the media for not being as excited and as loud as the Chicago fans, they were alive and loud for game 5 however.

As the game started the Cleveland faithful cheered their team to an early lead.  The Cavs were on top from the great play making of Ron Harper and Mark Price.  The Bulls only lead once in the first half and it was in the middle of the first quarter.  The Cavs would take the lead back and stay in the lead until the middle of the fourth quarter.

In the first half Jordan was somewhat cold going only 5-13 from the field with 14 points.  Bill Cartwright and Horace Grant forced themselves to the bench by getting into early foul trouble.  The Cavs looked ready to finish off the Bulls in the second half when halftime started.

The Second half is when Jordan became a major factor in the game.  He basically had no choice but to step up due to Cartwright and Grant sitting on the bench most of the third quarter.  The Bulls took the lead half way through the fourth quarter and then the game got even more insane. With both teams trading the lead leading up to the final 2 minutes.

With 1:07 left in the game Scottie Pippen who had struggled throughout the game finally showed up and hit a clutch 3 pointer to put the Bulls up 97-95.  Craig Ehlo would match him with a 3 pointer of his own and the Cavs were suddenly in the lead by a score of 98-97 with :50 on the clock.  Just 44 seconds later Jordan hit a jumper from the free throw line on an assist from Pippen putting the Bulls ahead 99-98.  The game looked all but over until Ehlo made a layup for the 100-99 lead with only 3 seconds remaining in the game.  The Bulls coach Doug Collins called a time out and positioned Jordan for history.

Michael Jordan seconds after making "The Shot" (Getty Images)

Michael Jordan seconds after making “The Shot” (Getty Images)

Center Brad Sellers in bounded the ball to Jordan who was in 3 point territory.  Jordan took the ball up about twelve feet and hit “The Shot”.  Craig Ehlo tried desperately to block Jordan’s shot but was unsuccessful.  The clock ran to :00 as the ball made it through the hoop.

Ehlo has been made part of history in video clips of Jordan celebrating this moment while Ehlo collapses on the sideline in defeat.  The Bulls were headed to the next round and the city of Cleveland had another heartbreaking sports moment to add to their long list of disappointments.

Jordan was the leading scorer in the game with 44 points, 30 of which came in the last half of the game.  The next highest scoring player from either team was Craig Ehlo who had 24 points off the bench.  Mark Price also had a really good game with 23 points many of which were crucial 3 point shots.

Michael Jordan and the Bulls went on to beat Patrick Ewing and the New York Knicks in the second round of the Playoffs.  They would later fall to the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals.  But this moment would become the history that Jordan and the Bulls were built on.  The Bulls won their first NBA title two years later and the rest is history.