Looking back: This week in sports history February 25 – March 3


February 25, 1961: St. Bonaventure, a small university in Western New York, holds the record for second-longest home winning streak ever, second just to the Kentucky Wildcats. On February 25, 1961, St. Bonaventure hosted Niagara on their home court, for what was supposed to be their 100th consecutive home win. But Niagara spoiled the party, winning 87-77 and ending St. Bonaventure’s home streak.

February 25, 1964: Before he became Muhammad Ali, 22-year-old Cassius Clay faced champion Sonny Liston for the world heavyweight boxing crown on February 25, 1964.  Liston was considered a feared fighter, and was the favorite against Clay, who won the gold medal the Olympics four years earlier. Clay came out swinging, and Liston, who had cuts and bruises under his eye, claimed he couldn’t continue after the sixth round, handing Clay the victory in a TKO.

February 25, 1989: The day Jerry Jones took over the Dallas Cowboys. On February 25, 1989 it was officially announced that the 46-year-old oilman from Arkansas purchased the team and he almost immediately fired longtime head coach Tom Landry, who spent 29 years with Dallas. Jones then appointed his college friend Jimmy Johnson as head coach. Johnson won two Super Bowls during his five years as the Cowboys head coach.

February 26, 1935: On February 26, 1935, at the age of 40, baseball legend Babe Ruth was released by the New York Yankees and signed with the Boston Braves as a player, assistant manager and vice president. But the Sultan of Swat didn’t last the whole season, and in June already announced that he was done for good.

February 26, 1987: On February 26, 1987, during his third season in the league, Michael Jordan broke the Chicago Bulls points in a game record with a 58 point performance against the New Jersey Nets. The previous Bulls record, 56 points, was set by Chet Walker in February 1972. Jordan hit 16 of 25 field goals and 26 of 27 free throw attempts, while adding seven rebounds and three assists.

February 27, 1959: Boston Celtic Bob Cousy was an assists master. On February 27, 1959, Cousy set the league record for assists in a game with 28 assists against Minneapolis. The Celtics won the game 173-139. Cousy’s 28 assist record was later broken by Scott Skiles who dished out 30 assists in 1990.

February 27, 1992: Sixteen-year-old Tiger Woods became the youngest PGA golfer in over three decades when he stepped onto the course on February 27, 1992, his first PGA Tour event, the Nissan Los Angeles Open. He became a professional golfer four years later.

February 28, 1940: The first-ever televised basketball game was broadcast on February 28, 1940, a game between Fordham University and the University of Pittsburgh, the first game of a double header at Madison Square Garden. At the time it was estimated that only 400 TV sets existed in NYC, so not many people had the chance to watch Pitt win 57-37.

February 29, 1972: February 29th only comes around every four years, but there is still plenty that has happened on that day. On February 29, 1972, now Hall-of-Fame baseballer Hank Aaron became the league’s top-paid player when he signed a three-year deal with the Atlanta Braves worth $200,000 a year. Two years later, in an Atlanta uniform, Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s home run record.

February 29, 1980: On February 29, 1980, Gordie Howe became the first player NHL player to score 800 goals. Goal number 800 came during a 3-0 Hartford Whalers victory over the St. Louis Blues.

March 1, 1969: New York Yankees legend Mickey Mantle retired from the game of baseball on March 1, 1969 after 18 seasons in pinstripes. During his time in the Bronx, Mantle won 12 AL pennants, seven World Series championships, three MVP titles, a Gold Glove, batting title and Triple Crown.  

March 1, 1988: If you keep up with our weekly trips down memory lane, you’ve gotten used to Wayne Gretzky records throughout history. March 1st is no exception. On this day in 1988, Gretzky became the league’s assist leader, passing Gordie Howe for his 1,050th assist. It didn’t take long for Gretzky to record the record-breaking assist, in the first period he set up Jari Kurri to become number one on the all-time list.

March 1, 1996: On March 1, 1996, then Atlanta Hawks head coach Lenny Wilkens became the first coach in the NBA to record 1,000 wins. Win No. 1,000 came against his former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Hawks won 74-68. Wilkens retired with 1,332 wins, is still second on the all-time wins list, and has only three wins less than Don Nelson, who wrapped up his career with 1,335 wins.

March 2, 1962: March 2, 1962 was the day the Philadelphia Warriors Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in a game, the most ever by a single player. The Warriors beat the New York Knicks 169-147, and Wilt made 36 field goals while attempting 63. He also drained 28 of 32 free throws and pulled down 25 rebounds.

 

Notable birthdays

February 25, 1963 Five-time World Series champion (with the New York Yankees and Cincinnati Reds) right fielder Paul O’Neill was born in Columbus, OH

February 25, 1994 Tennis star and social media sensation Eugenie Bouchard was born in Westmount, Canada

February 26, 1973 Former NFL running back and Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk was born in New Orleans, LA

February 27, 1961 Former NBA small forward and current analyst, James Worthy, was born in Gastonia, NC

February 28, 1890 Hockey great, “Phantom Joe” Joe Malone, was born in Quebec City, Canada

February 29, 1936 Longtime Montreal Canadien Henri “The Pocket-Rocket” Richard was born in Montreal, Canada

March 1, 1973 Fab Five member and five-time NBA All-Star Chris Webber was born in Detroit, MI

March 2, 1965 Former MLB player and current TV analyst Ron Gant was born in Victoria, TX

March 2, 1982 NHL star goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was born in Are, Sweden

March 2, 1982 Longtime Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, “Big Ben” Ben Roethlisberger, was born in Lima, OH

March 2, 1985 Former NFL running back and Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush was born in Spring Valley, CA

March 3, 1962 Former track and field superstar and decorated Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee was born in East St. Louis, IL

 

We bid farewell to…

February 26, 2015 The first black professional NBA player, Earl Lloyd, passed away at the age of 86

February 27, 1986 Legendary NHL goaltender, and the first to wear a goalie mask, Jacques Plante, died of stomach cancer, he was just 57 years old