Happy Birthday America! In a couple days, at least. As an homage to the birth of our great country, here are five things that happened in sports over the Fourth of July.
1. George Steinbrenner Is Born
The man who wrecked, then built, then wrecked the Yankees again was born July 4, 1930 in Rocky River, Ohio. The man dubiously known as “The Boss” was a ruthless businessman, but his deep pockets propelled the Yankees back atop baseball’s elite during the ’90s.
2. Richard Petty Wins 200th Career Race
On the same day that Ronald Reagan became the first active President to attend a NASCAR race, Richard Petty took the checkered flag at the Firecracker 400 at Daytona. It was Petty’s final victory (though he would race for eight more years) and the 200th of his storied career.
3. Tim McCarver Blows A Grand Slam On The Bicentennial
Long before McCarver was known for being a broadcaster that struggled with basic math, he was a middle-of-the-road catcher that spent some time in Pittsburgh. After McCarver hit what appeared to be the game-winning grand slam, he would go on to pass teammate Gary Maddox on the basepaths – leading the umpires to call McCarver out and award him a grand-slam single.
4. Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day
Lou Gehrig’s career was at the end in 1939 after an illustrious 17-year stretch with the Yankees. In one of the most memorable moments in baseball history, Gehrig stood before the Yankee faithful on Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day and delivered an iconic “thank you” to New York fans:
Gehrig’s number 4 was retired that day, making Gehrig the first player to ever be given that honor.
5. John McEnroe Ends Bjorn Borg’s Wimbledon Streak
Bjorn Borg came into the tournament in 1981 having won five straight Wimbledon titles. John McEnroe had other ideas, however – after falling to Borg in the final the year before, McEnroe came back the following year with his game tightened up, dispatching the Swede in five sets to capture the first of his three Wimbledon titles.
Nate Goodyear can be heard on “The Keith Brooks and Carmichael Dave Show” weekday mornings from 5:30-9 AM on KHTK Sports 1140.