Looking back: This week in sports history April 1-7


April 1, 1972: On April 1, 1972, MLB players staged the first ever MLB strike, due to player pensions and arbitration. The strike lasted for nearly two weeks and 86 games were missed because of it.

April 1, 1992: Twenty years to the day after MLB players started their first strike, NHL players staged a strike of their own in the first league-wide strike. The players, who voted 560 for and four against the strike, demanded a new collective bargaining agreement. After about ten days an agreement was reached and the strike was over.

April 2, 1931: As the story goes, on April 2, 1931, a teenage girl named Jackie Mitchell struck out Babe Ruth. Footage shows a swing and a miss on Mitchell’s first pitch. On the second, it happens again. On the third, Ruth pulls the bat towards him to avoid contact, but it’s ruled a strike. Mitchell had struck out the Sultan of Swat. Next she did the same thing to Lou Gehrig.  

April 2, 2010; On April 2, 2010, the LA Lakers made sure Kobe Bryant is a very-well paid player. The Lakers and Bryant signed a three-year contract extension worth nearly $90 million. The contract would cover this 15th, 16th and 17th seasons in the league.

April 3, 1988: The day a Gretzky streak was broken. On April 3, 1988, Mario Lemieux won the NHL scoring title, ending Gretzky’s 7 year streak of winning the Art Ross Trophy. Lemieux tallied 168 points that season, while Gretzky  only 149 (in 64 games played).

April 3, 2006: After 22 seasons in the NHL, on April 3, 2006, the Detroit Red Wings Steve Yzerman scored the final goal of his career. The Red Wings were facing the Calgary Flames, and Yzerman’s goal added to his points streak, extending it to nine games. Throughout his career, Yzerman scored 692 goals overall.

April 4, 1974: It’s Opening Day 1974 and Hank Aaron has been waiting all of offseason to tie Babe Ruth. On April 4, 1974,  Hank Aaron stepped up to the plate for his first at bat of the season, and knocked the ball out of the park. A 400-foot, three-run home run over the left-center field fence. It took Aaron 11,289th at bats to reach home run number 714.

April 5, 1984: The day Kareem passed Wilt. On this day, April 5, 1984, the LA Lakers’ Kareem Abdul-Jabbar became the league’s all-time leading scorer after passing Wilt Chamberlain, scoring his 31,420th point. The Lakers faced the Utah Jazz in Las Vegas when Magic Johnson passed Kareem the ball with less than nine minutes to go in the game. Abdul-Jabbar scored point number 22 of the game on that assist, and his 31,420th. At that point, the game paused so teammates can have a chance to congratulate him and he received a standing ovation.

April 6, 1896: The birth of the modern day Olympics. On this day in 1896, the first modern-day Olympics were held in the birthplace of the competition, Athens, Greece. At the time only men competed, and over 240 male athletes from 14 different countries participated in the games. James Connolly of the USA became the first Olympic champion when he finished first in the triple jump on day one of the Games.

April 6, 1973: On April 6, 1973, Opening Day at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, the Pirates retired Roberto Clemente’s no. 21 jersey. Nearly 52,000 fans were in attendance at the game, to pay tribute to Clemente who died in a plane crash while en route to help victims of an earthquake.

April 6, 1980: On April 6, 1980, the Hartford Whalers Gordie Howe completed his record 26th season in the NHL, he was 51 years old at the time. In that game, the Whalers faced the Detroit Red Wings, the team Howe played with for 25 of those 26 seasons. Howe won four Stanley Cups, was a 21-time All Star, six-time Hart Trophy winner and and six-time Art Ross Trophy winner.

April 7, 1969: the Milwaukee Bucks selected Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – then still called by his birth name of Lew Alcindor – as the first overall draft pick in the NBA draft. Abdul-Jabbar played in Milwaukee for six seasons before he was part of a trade to the LA Lakers.

April 7, 1969: The debut of the closer. On April 7, 1969, the LA Dodgers’ Bill Singer was credited with the first official save in baseball history.

April 7 1989: On April 7, 1989, Utah Jazz point guard John Stockton won his second consecutive assist title, after tallying 1,118 assists throughout the season. He was the first player to win back-to-back assist titles, and would reach at least 1,000 assists in five straight seasons, 1988-1992.

Notable birthdays

April 1, 1988 LA Lakers center Brook Lopez was born in North Hollywood, CA

April 1, 1988 Chicago Bulls center Robin Lopez was born in North Hollywood, CA

April 3, 1928 The first African American player in the NBA, Earl Lloyd was born in Alexandria, VA

April 3, 1978 Recently retired tennis player Tommy Haas was born in Hamburg, Germany

April 4, 1924 Former baseball player and manager Gil Hodges was born in Princeton, IN

April 7, 1859 Football player and coach Walter Camp, known for being the “father of American football” was born in New Britain, CT

April 7, 1975 Former Tampa Bay cornerback Ronde Barber was born in Roanoke, VA

April 7, 1975 Former New York Giants running, Tiki Barber was born in Roanoke, VA

 

We bid farewell to…

April 6, 1970 Maurice Stokes, whose basketball playing career was cut short due to debilitating injury, died of a heart attack, he was just 36 years old