Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Greatest “Play” in Baseball History

The world of Major League Baseball has produced some of sports greatest plays. Willie Mays' over the shoulder basket catch off of a Vic Wertz long drive in the 1954 World Series is considered by many to be the creme-de-la-creme of great plays. Bill Mazeroski's game winning home run versus the New York Yankees in game 7 of the 1960 World Series is another prime example of MLB's masterpiece memories and Don Larsen's perfect game against the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1956 Fall Classic is one for baseball history.

But there was one play that those of us old enough to remember have probably forgotten. I was reminded of this “play” in an email I received from my brother Ron this morning. Here is a short version of this as recorded in Wikipedia.

It was April 25th, 1976 when the Chicago Cubs were on the road in Los Angeles to play the Dodgers. With the Dodgers at the plate, two protesters, William Thomas and his 11-year-old son, ran out on the field with a United States of America flag with them with the intent of burning it. Rick Monday, the Cubs center fielder, sees the two protesters place the flag on the ground dousing the Red, White, and Blue with lighter fluid and getting matches ready. Without hesitation, Monday makes a mad dash to retrieve the flag and hands it over to Los Angeles pitcher Doug Rau while ballpark police apprehend the protesters.

Monday came to bat the following half-inning to a thunderous ovation with the message board flashing “RICK MONDAY... YOU MADE A GREAT PLAY..." Years later, Monday said in an interview "If you're going to burn the flag, don't do it around me. I've been to too many veterans' hospitals and seen too many broken bodies of guys who tried to protect it."

In honor of the flag rescue, which Monday still possesses, he was presented with an American flag flown over Valley Forge National Historical Park on August 25, 2008.

If this isn't the greatest play in the history of Major League Baseball or in sports for that matter, then you are not an American citizen or flat out don't care.

Thank you Rick Monday for making the greatest “play” in MLB history.


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  1. Austin Jackson's catch would have been up there had Galarraga actually gotten the perfect game. I really loved that one. 9th inning, too.

  2. It is interesting to note that this event is taking place during the year of our Bicentennial...the 200th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Dylan, Jackson's catch was amazing for sure!!!

    Anonymous, I think it's sick to do stuff like that especially on the USA's 200th Birthday.