History for the Rest of Us

Lou Gehrig’s Farewell to Baseball

Lou Gehrig’s Farewell to Baseball

Oct 26, 2012

Speech delivered by Lou Gehrig 4 July, 1939, in Yankee Stadium, New York City. Listen to an excerpt from his speech: Lou Gehrig’s Farewell to Baseball Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about the bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. I have been in ballparks for seventeen years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans. Look at these grand men. Which of you wouldn’t consider it the highlight of his career just to associate with them for even one day? Sure I’m lucky. Who wouldn’t consider it an honor to have known Jacob Ruppert? Also, the builder of baseball’s greatest empire, Ed Barrow? To have spent six years with that wonderful little fellow, Miller Huggins? Then to have spent the next nine years with that outstanding leader, that smart student of psychology, the best manager in baseball today, Joe McCarthy? Sure I’m lucky. When the New York Giants, a team you would give your right arm to beat, and vice versa, sends you a gift – that’s something. When everybody down to the groundskeepers and those boys in white coats remember you with trophies — that’s something. When you have a wonderful mother-in-law who takes sides with you in squabbles with her own daughter — that’s something. When you have a father and a mother who work all their lives so you can have an education and build your body — it’s a blessing. When you have a wife who has been a tower of strength and shown more courage than you dreamed existed — that’s the finest I know. So, I close in saying that I might have been given a bad break, but I’ve got an awful lot to live...

Babe Ruth’s Farewell Address

Babe Ruth’s Farewell Address

Oct 5, 2012

April 27, 1947 – Yankee Stadium, New York. Listen to the audio: Babe Ruth’s Farewell to Baseball Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. You know how bad my voice sounds – well it feels just as bad. You know this baseball game of ours comes up from the youth. That means the boys. And after you’re a boy and grow up to know how to play ball, then you come to the boys you see representing themselves today in your national pastime, the only real game – I think – in the world, baseball. As a rule, some people think if you give them a football, or a baseball, or something like that – naturally they’re athletes right away. But you can’t do that in baseball. You’ve gotta start from way down the bottom, when you’re six or seven years of age. You can’t wait until you’re fifteen or sixteen. You gotta let it grow up with you. And if you’re successful, and you try hard enough, you’re bound to come out on top – just like these boys have come to the top now. There’s been so many lovely things said about me, and I’m glad that I’ve had the opportunity to thank everybody. Thank you. Related Stories: First Baseball Game Bill Russell’s Final Game Babe Ruth’s Last at Bat Fenway...

First Recorded Baseball Game

First Recorded Baseball Game

Jun 19, 2012

On June 19, 1846, the first recorded organized game of baseball was played on the Elysian Fields in Hoboken. The game was played based on the Knickerbocker Rules developed by Alexander Joy Cartwright, Jr. Cartwright was a volunteer firefighter and established the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club (named after the Knickerbocker Fire Engine Company). In 1845 Cartwright and members of the Knickerbockers refined the rules of their stick-and-ball game into 14 rules that were similar to the English sport of rounders. Key changes introduced by Cartwright included a diamond-shaped field, three strikes per batter, and nine players in the field. The New York Nine Base Ball Club defeated Cartwright’s Knickerbockers 23-1 in the initial game. On June 3, 1953, Alexander Joy Cartwright, Jr. was officially declared by Congress to be the inventor of modern...

Bill Russell Plays Final Game

Bill Russell Plays Final Game

Jun 5, 2012

On May 5, 1969, Bill Russell, legendary NBA player, would play the final game of his career in typical Bill Russell fashion. The Final Game The aging Celtics entered the playoffs as the fourth-seed in the Eastern Conference and their regular-season record was their worst in over a decade. They upset the Philadelphia 76ers and the New York Knicks to reach the NBA Finals against arch-rival Wilt Chamberlain and his star Laker teammates Elgin Baylor and Jerry West. After losing games one and two to the heavily favored Lakers, the Celtics would win game three and narrowly win game four with a buzzer beater. Splitting games five and six, the series would come down to the final game. Using the ‘proceedings of the Lakers’ victory ceremony’ (printed on the game program) as motivation for his team, Russell employed a running game against the Lakers. He believed that style of game would be won by the more determined team and not necessarily the better team. At age 35, Russell would collect 21 rebounds, in a 108-106 Celtics victory, and the Bill Russell would win his 11th championship in 13 seasons. Russell would promptly retire, and the career of one of the greatest (arguably the greatest) NBA player in history would be over. Recognition In addition to winning 11 NBA titles, Bill Russell was a five-time NBA MVP. He was a twelve time NBA All-Star, All-Star MVP (1963), Olympic Gold Medalist, and voted one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. In 1975 Bill Russell was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of...

Babe Ruth’s Final at Bat

Babe Ruth’s Final at Bat

May 31, 2012

On May 31, 1935, Babe Ruth would make his final appearance at the plate after 714 career home runs, a slugging percentage of .690, a career batting average of .342, and 2,217 RBIs. Ruth would quietly ground out, and the career of one of the greatest athletes in history would be over. In an ESPN poll conducted in 1999, Babe Ruth was ranked the third-greatest U.S. athlete of the 20th century, behind Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali. Interesting facts about Babe Ruth: The neighborhood where Babe Ruth was born is now the location of Camden Yards, home to the Baltimore Orioles. Babe Ruth began his career as a member of the Baltimore Orioles. After 5 months he was sold to the Boston Red Sox. George Herman Ruth got the nickname ‘Babe’ when the Baltimore Orioles owner adopted him at age 19 in order to sign him to his first professional contract. Ruth was in the custody of St. Mary’s school and was supposed to remain there until he was 21. He would become known as ‘Dunn’s Baby’, later shortened to ‘Babe’. When the Boston Red Sox signed Babe Ruth to his original contract it was for $3,500 a year, three times what he had been paid as a member of the minor league Baltimore Orioles. During the early years of his career, Babe Ruth was primarily known as a great pitcher. During his first World Series, he pitched 29 2/3 scoreless innings. A record that would stand for 43 years. As a member of the Boston Red Sox, Babe Ruth helped the team win four World Series. After the Red Sox traded Babe Ruth to the Yankees for $125,000 and a $300,000 loan in 1919, the Red Sox didn’t win another World Series until 2004 when the ‘Curse of the Bambino’ was finally lifted. As a Yankee, Babe Ruth helped the team win four World Series titles. Babe Ruth was a tremendous draw at the box office, and the Yankees became the first team in baseball to draw a million paying fans to its stadium (the Polo Grounds). When the new Yankee Stadium was opened in 1923, it would be known as “The House...

FIFA World Cup History

FIFA World Cup History

May 21, 2012

The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) was founded May 21, 1904 in Paris. FIFA began with the uniting of the Football Associations of Belgium, Denmark, France, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. By the time the orginal statutes of FIFA went into effect on September 1, Germany had also joined. By April 14, 1905 England had joined as well. The Federation organized the football tournaments at the 1908, 1912 and 1924 Olympics with the later commanding 60,000 fans for the final between Uruguay and Switzerland. The success of their efforts with the Olympics prompted FIFA to organize its own World Championship. The decision was made to hold the championship in Uruguay in 1930. Several nations pulled out due to economic crisis in Europe and only four European teams attended. The second World Cup, held in Italy, was the first to be broadcast live by radio. The Italians won and would defend their title four years later. The events of World War II would lead to a 12-year lapse before the next World Cup would be held in 1950. FIFA would continue to expand, and by 1954 would have 84 members. Under the presidency of Joao Havelange, elected in 1974, the World Cup would become much more commercial. He increased the number of teams to 24 for the 1982 World Cup and then to 32 for the 1998 World Cup. Today FIFA consists of over 200 countries and the World Cup continues to grow in popularity around the world. FIFA World Cup Winners YEAR Winner Runner-Up Golden Boot Golden Ball 2010 Spain Netherlands Thomas Mueller (GER) Deigo Forlan (URU) 2006 Italy France Miroslav Klose (GER) Zinedine Zidane (FRA) 2002 Brazil Germany Ronaldo (BRA) Oliver Kahn (GER) 1998 France Brazil Davor Suker (CRO) Ronaldo (BRA) 1994 Brazil Italy Oleg Salenko (RUS), Hristo Stoichkov (BUL) Romario (BRA) 1990 Germany FR Argentina Salvatore Schillaci (ITA) Salvatore Schillaci (ITA) 1986 Argentina Germany FR Gary Lineker (ENG) Diego Maradona (ARG) 1982 Italy Germany FR Paolo Rossi (ITA) Paolo Rossi (ITA) 1978 Argentina Netherlands Mario Kempes (ARG) 1974 Germany FR Netherlands Grzegorz Lato (POL) 1970 Brazil Italy Gerd Mueller (GER) 1966 England Germany FR Eusebio (POR) 1962 Brazil Czechoslovakia shared by...