December 7 A Day Loaded With Sports
December 7, 1941 is a day that continues to live
"in infamy" in American history. There are people who can still
remember just where they were when the news came over the radio that
America was at war.
In the world of sports it is also a day that
strangely enough has lots of interesting things associated with it - some
memorable, others forgettable.
On Dec. 7, 1941 when the Japanese attacked Pearl
Harbor, 43,425 fans were in attendance at Wrigley Field in Chicago to
watch the Bears play the Green Bay Packers in a National Football League
divisional playoff game. At half-time news of the Japanese attack reached
the press box but the game was not interrupted. The Bears won the game,
On that date in 1935 one of the most unusual scoring
days in football history took place. All the points for both teams were
scored by one player. University of Washington halfback Byron Haines
scored a touchdown, and he was also pushed over the goal line for a safety
giving Southern California its only points of the game.
In 1937, December 7th was a very busy day for
baseball. Five of the sport's great pioneers were admitted to the Hall of
Fame: Connie Mack, John J. McGraw, Morgan Bulkeley, Ban Johnson and George
Wright. On that day the National League approved playing games at night,
but the American League refused to get into the act - just yet.
And also on December 7, 1937 the Boston Red Sox
acquired the contract of a 19-year-old player from San Diego of the
Pacific Coast League. His name -Ted Williams.
On December 7, 1947 Johnny Bench was born in Oklahoma
City, Oklahoma. Nineteen years later he would begin his major league
career as a catcher for the Cincinnati Reds. He was as good as good could
be, prompting his manager Sparky Anderson to say, "Please, do not
embarrass Johnny Bench or any other catcher by trying to compare him to
Bench. There ain't anyone even close to him."
That December 7 date in 1962 was a sad one for the
Newsome and Spink families. On that date Bobo Newsome died in Orlando,
Florida. Winner of 211 games, he was also the loser of 222 games. Newsome
began his major league career pitching with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1929.
He ended up with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1953. In between he played
for many different teams. J.G. Taylor Spink died in St. Louis on that date
- he was the long-time publisher of the "Sporting News."
On December 7, 1963 Army played Navy in their annual
football game. CBS television director Tony Verna used instant replay for
the first time. Transmission of football on TV would never be the same -
brutal collisions became ballets, and end runs and forward passes became
miracles of human coordination.
Every day of the year something unusual and
interesting happens in the always-newsworthy world of sports. And December
7th, throughout the 20th century, had its share of those.