I’ll be up front with you. I’m on vacation in one of my favorite cities in the world (San Francisco!), so this post may be brief, but the video that follows is excellent and hand-picked by yours truly for your utmost enjoyment. It features the clip from 1976 at Dodger Stadium, as well as interviews with Rick Monday and Tommy Lasorda reflecting on an unbelievable moment in baseball history that has forever tarnished (or polished, for that matter) the reputation and memory of one Major League Baseball player, Rick Monday:
On April 25 1976, not-so-coincidentally the Nation’s bicentennial anniversary, the Chicago Cubs played the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. One man and his 11-year-old son crashed the field and proceeded to kneel down in the outfield. The pair laid out an American flag onto the grass, poured lighter fluid atop it, and then began attempts to light the flag with matches.
But their plans for the flag’s ill were foiled when, suddenly, Cubs center fielder Rick Monday sprinted at the two figures and, swooping like a patriotic pelican over the San Francisco Bay, rescued the flag from a certain fiery doom.
Will anyone ever remember Rick Monday’s All Star Game appearances (1968, 1978)? Will anyone fondly recall his league-leading double plays as an outfielder (1967, 1974)? Monday’s career falls to the wayside of one somehow seemingly heroic act. And when Trivia Night rolls around at your local bar, Rick Monday will forever be remembered as the ballplayer who saved the flag.
Do you have a favorite baseball tradition? Is there a particular ghost of baseball past you would like to revisit? Ever wonder why they do what they do, and when they started doing it? If you have a suggestion, question, or submission for Throwback Thursday, contact Elise by tweeting @Elise_Myers.