On July 4, 1910, in Reno, Nevada, two men stood opposite of each other in a boxing ring – Jack Johnson and Jim Jeffries. This was no ordinary bout, however. It was the for the heavyweight championship and it was the first time a Black boxer (Johnson) had stepped into the ring for such an important fight. Jim Jeffries entered the fight undefeated under the nickname “The Great White Hope” – showing just how racially charged the fight was. Johnson defeated Jeffries in 15 rounds – a result that triggered race riots. Johnson broke through a color barrier that later athletes would often get credit for, largely because, after the fight, Johnson was prosecuted and convicted under the Mann Act – based on charges that he had crossed state lines for immoral purposes, i.e., to be with a white woman. The defeater of the Great White Hope’s reputation was vanquished by the stroke of a judge’s pen.
On June 28, 1997, one of the most anticipated boxing matches of recent memory was being hyped as the “Sound and the Fury” – Mike Tyson vs. Evander Holyfield, the Rematch. The fight was to be for the Heavyweight Championship. In one of the most bizarre twists in boxing history, Holyfield accidentally headbutted Tyson during the Second Round and had no points deducted, infuriating Tyson and his corner. Early in the Third Round, Tyson had his revenge – he bit Holyfield’s right ear lobe – taking off a chunk. This resulted in massive confusion, but the fight continued. Shortly later, Tyson bit Holyfield again, this time the left ear – taking off an even bigger piece! Tyson was immediately disqualified by the referee and resulted in a suspension of about 1 year for the boxer. Take a look at the video below!
Weinberg, Rick. “30: Tyson bites Holyfield’s ear in rematch.” ESPN. 9 August 2004.
Featured Image: “Holyfield vs. Tyson II.“
Ninety-nine years ago today, in 1917, Ernie Shore came into a Boston Red Sox baseball game against the Washington Senators as a relief pitcher after just 1/3 of an inning. The starting pitcher, the famous Babe Ruth, had only thrown to one hitter and got him out, but the fiery Ruth felt that the umpire had missed a few strikes and made no secret of it. The ump, Brick Owens, threatened to eject the star pitcher at which point Ruth charged at Owens and punched him behind the ear. Needless to say, Ruth was ejected – and eventually fined and suspended for the fracas. But the story does not end there, another Sox pitcher, Ernie Shore came in and retired the next 26 Senator batters in order completing what, at the time was called a perfect game. However, a perfect game is defined as having only one pitcher, so Ruth and Shore are credited with throwing a joint no-hitter.
Featured Image. “Ernie Shore (left).” By Bain News Service – This image is available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID ggbain.20072. Public Domain.
Clair, Michael. “Ernie Shore once threw a quasi-perfect game.” CutFour. MLB.com. 23 June 2015.
On June 22, during the Quarterfinals of the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, Argentina’s Diego Maradona scored a controversial goal in which he quite clearly hits the ball with his hand into the goal – an illegal move in soccer (yes, I’m from the US). Despite vigorous protest from the English team, the goal was allowed and Argentina went on to win the match – and the entire World Cup. Check out the goal below!
On June 4, 1974, the hapless Cleveland Indians baseball team hosted the Texas Rangers. Now, normally, this isn’t anything to comment on, but on this date a strange confluence of events occurred producing very odd results. First of all, the week before, Cleveland had played Texas in Texas. During that series, there had been a bench-clearing brawl between the teams that had included punches thrown and beer hurled from the stands at Indians players. When asked about the incident, Texas manager, Billy Martin quipped that he wasn’t worried about retaliation saying, “They don’t have enough fans to worry about.” This might have been true, but Cleveland had planned a ten-cent beer night, a not-unheard-of promotion to get fans into the ballpark on June 4. Many struggling teams throughout Major League Baseball used this gimmick to draw a crowd. People may not have been fans of the Indians, but they were fans of cheap beer.
Much of the game went smoothly on June 4, until the bottom of the ninth. The Indians were losing, but were rallying and the fans got excited. Drunk people, plus excitement, plus Martin’s quote led to a perfect storm of events. Drunken fans started hurling beer and food at the Rangers team on the field. This was followed by hundreds of fans rushing the field to steal bases (literally) and attempting to attack Texas players. Both teams were forced to join forces to get themselves off the field. Several players, umpires, and fans sustained minor injuries in the melee. The Indians were forced to forfeit the game. Loss to Cleveland fans!
Featured Image: “Cleveland Municipal Stadium.” By Wasted Time R (talk) – Own work, CC BY 3.0.
Castrovince, Anthony. “Forty years ago, 10-cent beer makes memories.” MLB.com.
On April 29, 2015, something truly strange occurred – for the only time in the history of Major League Baseball was played in front of a crowd of zero. In response to city-wide tensions following the funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25 year-old man who died in policy custody, the Baltimore Orioles – Chicago White Sox game was played in front of record-setting tiny crowd. While Gray’s death was certainly unnecessary and tragic, the baseball game came to demonstrate just how widespread the results of the resulting violence were – impacting every aspect of life in Baltimore, Maryland. The Orioles won the game 8 – 2. For you Orioles fans out there (like me!), yes, they played “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” during the seventh-inning stretch.