Today is a significant day in sports history.
June 24 is the birthdate of boxer Jack Dempsey, basketballer and sneaker legend Chuck Taylor, golfers Billy Casper and Juli Inkster, soccer’s Lionel Messi and Mo’ne Davis, the lady Little Leaguer who mowed down the boys.
Rickey Henderson made his major league debut on this date. The Boston Red Sox began an AL record 23-game win streak. And the New Jersey Devils won the first Stanley Cup in franchise history.
More than 60 players have clouted two home runs in the same inning of a major league game. The fifth ever to achieve this feat was Joe DiMaggio, who did so on this date in 1936. One month after making his big-league debut, Joltin’ Joe went 4-for-6 against the Chicago White Sox. In the top of the fifth inning of a game at Comiskey Park, the New York Yankees sent 15 batters to the plate. In the inning, the Bombers scored ten runs on ten hits and stranded two runners. White Sox right-hander Ray Phelps took a 7-5 lead into the 5th. The second batter he faced was the 21-year-old DiMaggio, who hit a two-run homer. After the Yanks plated six runs to take a 11-7 lead, Phelps gave way to Red Evans. In an inning that saw 15 Yankees bat, the Bombers scored ten runs on ten hits and stranded two baserunners. Later in the 5th, with two out and runners on first and second, DiMaggio belted his second home run of the game New York went on to win, 18-11.
On this date in 1968, Joe Frazier beat Manuel Ramos, the heavyweight champion of Mexico, with a second-round TKO at Madison Square Garden. It was the first defense of the NYCAC heavyweight title that Smokin’ Joe had claimed three months earlier. The victory ran Frazier’s record to 21-0. He would go on to fight 16 more times, including three legendary bouts with Muhammad Ali.
On this date in 1987, the Canadian Football League’s Montreal Alouettes folded.
Jackie Robinson stole home 19 times during his decade-long career. He did it for the first time on this date in 1947. With two outs in the top of the fifth inning at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, Robinson got a big lead off Pirates right-hander Fritz Ostermueller. The 28-year-old rookie broke for home and slid under the tag of Dixie Howell to score the go-ahead run in a game Brooklyn would go on to win 4-2. It was the tenth swipe of the season for Robinson, whose number 42 was officially retired by Major League Baseball in 1997.
Babe Didrikson won 48 professional golf tournaments, including ten majors. One was the Women’s Western Open, which she won for the fourth time in her career [but first as a pro] on this date in 1950. Didrikson beat Peggy Kirk, 5 & 3, in a match play event at Cherry Hills Country Club in Denver. Babe won eight LPGA events that year. The Western Open was her fifth victory of the season. The win earned Didrikson, who landed in the World Golf Hall of Fame the following year, $500. She finished the year as the 1950 LPGA money leader, with $14,800.
On June 24, 1994, Houston Astros second baseman Jeff Bagwell became the 28th player in major league history to hit two home runs in the same inning.
The 2012-13 season was the 87th in Chicago Blackhawks franchise history. The Hawks went a league-best 36-7-5 during the strike-shortened campaign, then entered the Stanley Cup playoffs as the top seed. After dispatching the Minnesota Wild, Detroit Red Wings and Los Angeles Kings in the first three rounds of the playoffs, Chicago faced the surprising Boston Bruins, a four-seed, in the Finals. The Hawks held a 3-2 series lead after five games. Game 6 was played in Boston on this date in 2013. Trailing 2-1 with 76 seconds left in the contest, Chicago scored two goals in 17 seconds to win the game and the series. It was the Blackhawks’ sixth Stanley Cup title in franchise history and second in four years.
Steve Busby played eight major league seasons, all with the Kansas City Royals. The right-hander won 56 games in his first three full seasons and threw two no-hitters. His second no-no came July 19, 1974, when Busby beat the Milwaukee Brewers 2-0 [the only blemish on an otherwise perfect game was a second inning walk to George Scott]. Five nights later – on this date in 1974 – Busby mowed down the first nine Chicago White Sox batters he faced, giving him the AL mark for consecutive batters retired, with 33.
In 2017, a group of women’s soccer players from 24 different countries gathered in Tanzania to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. After reaching the summit, they descended to 18,747 feet on this date to play a full-field soccer match, the world record highest-elevation regulation game in history.
Affirmed was horse racing’s biggest star in the late 1970s. He won the 1978 Triple Crown then, like 1977 winner Seattle Slew, kept racing as a four-year-old. Stud duty could wait, he had an eager public to appease first. On this date in 1979, Affirmed ran for the biggest purse of his career, a then-unthinkable $500,000 in the Gold Cup at Hollywood Park. When he arrived in Los Angeles, the chestnut stallion had already won 25 races. Carrying top weight of 132 pounds, Affirmed broke from an inside post position as turf specialist Sirlad stayed right on his shoulder. When they turned for home, Affirmed slowly pulled away to win by three-quarters of a length while becoming the first thoroughbred to pass the $2 million mark in career winnings. He won two more times that season and was named American Horse of the Year for the second straight time.
Only 16 pitchers have ever struck out 3,000 batters in their career. The eighth to do so was Don Sutton, who accomplished the feat on this date in 1983. On a Friday night in Milwaukee, the veteran right hander took the hill for the Brewers, where he faced the visiting Cleveland Indians before more than 46,000 rowdy fans at County Stadium. With two out in the top of the 8th inning, Sutton snuck a fastball past Indians left fielder Alan Bannister to record his 3,000th career whiff. Don Sutton pitched for 23 seasons, retiring after the 1988 season with 3,574 career strikeouts.