Filed Under:  U.S. & World

Sports Landmarks Celebrated Over Weekend

Contributed by on August 25, 2011 at 9:48 pm

Lou Gehrig in Columbia uniform, 1921

Image via Wikipedia

Do you know your sports history?  American sports have evolved along with the country in the last 150 years.  America’s favorite past time started in the mid-1800s.  The game was the first of its kind to form a professional sports league and play on American soil.  Football showed up in the 1920s, and basketball dunked on to the scene after that.

Saturday (August 20) is a busy day in sports history.  The American Professional Football Conference, the governing body that came before today’s National Football League, was created on that day in 1920.  The famed Jim Thorpe was named its president at a meeting held in Canton, Ohio (aptly, the Pro Football Hall of Fame is in Canton).

The pre-NFL organization was created when it was apparent many pro teams weren’t always following the same rules regarding player transactions, or using college players on the team.  The organization was also put in place to reign in an issue that is still one today: dramatically rising player salaries.

The man with one of the longest Major League Baseball careers, Lou Gehrig also made history on August 20.  Gehrig hit his 23rd and final grand slam home run in 1938.  The feat was achieved in the first inning and accompanied five big homers as well.  That’s the most of any inning back then.  Gehrig’s 23-grand slam career record has never been beaten in the 73 years since.  Out of the current players, New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez (A-Rod) has come closest with 21.  He’s not ready to retire yet, so Gehrig’s record could be broken.

Also in baseball history, only August 20, 1961, the Philadelphia Phillies finally broke a 23-game losing streak with a 7-4 win in the second game of a doubleheader against the then-Milwaukee Braves.  The win against the Braves catapulted the team into a four-game winning streak.  The infamous streak started on July 29, 1961 when the Phillies took a 4-3 loss to the San Francisco Giants.  The 23-game losing record is a high mark since the World Series era in baseball started.

If the Phillies hadn’t won 4-3 against the Giants before the streak started, it would have been an embarrassing 29-game losing streak.  In fact, the Phillies were already 29 games back before the ill-fated streak started.  By the time they beat the Braves, they were 42 games behind the division leaders, resulting in being 46 games back by the end of the season.

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