Bryan Altman, CBS Local Sports
While the Fourth of July is synonymous with many things – such as patriotism, barbecues and fireworks – one thing America’s independence day doesn’t bring to mind is sports.
Still, over the years there have been plenty of great sports moments that have taken place on the Fourth. Granted, most of them are baseball and tennis related as they’re the only sports really going on over the summer, but still, some great moments nonetheless. Here are a few of our favorites from Fourth of July’s past.
There have been a total of three no-hitters on July 4th, so there’s definitely a chance of witnessing some more history on an already historic day.
1908 – New York Giants’ pitcher George “Hooks” Wiltse had to work a little harder than most to earn his no-hitter. It took him 10 innings but he got the job done and his Giants downed the Philadelphia Phillies, 1-0. Unfortunately for Witse, he hit a batter in the ninth inning with two outs, giving the Phillies their only baserunner of the day. Other than that, Witse could have had a perfect game.
1912 – Detroit Tigers’ pitcher George Mullin didn’t have to sweat his out as much as his team gave him seven runs in support of his great pitching performance. The Tigers beat the Saint Louis Browns by a final of 7-0 on the Fourth, which also happened to be Mullin’s birthday.
1983 – New York Yankees’ Dave Righetti threw the first no-hitter in Yankees history against the Red Sox. It was the first time a Yankees pitcher had thrown a no-hitter since Don Larsen did so in the 1956 world series.
1911 – Ty Cobb’s then-record 40-game hitting streak comes to an end at the hands of White Sox pitcher Ed Walsh.
1939 – The New York Yankees retired Lou Gehrig’s No. 4 jersey during the first Old Timers Day in Yankees history.
1960 – Mickey Mantle hit his 300th career home run but the Yankees lost 9-8 to the Washington Senators.
1980 – Nolan Ryan struck out Cincinnati Reds’ Cesar Geronimo for his 3,000th career strikeout.
The oldest tennis tournament in the world has routinely taken place in June/July, which has given us plenty of great tennis drama on the Fourth of July in years past.
1975 – Billie Jean King defeats Goolagong Cawley in near straight sets (6-0), (6-1) to win what would prove to be her final Grand Slam title.
1981 – John McEnroe defeats Bjorn Borg after losing to Borg the year prior to claim his first Wimbledon championship and his third Grand Slam victory. In 1982 McEnroe would lose to Jimmy Connors in the finals in five sets.
1993 – Pete Sampras takes down Jim Courier to win his first Wimbledon championship.
2004 – Roger Federer wins his second straight Wimbledon championship, this time against Andy Roddick. Federer would go on to win three more in a row.
2010 – Serena Williams wins her fourth of five Wimbledon titles by defeating Vera Zvonareva (6-3, 6-2).
So yes, the history of the country on the day of July 4th is much richer than the history of sports on the day. Still, that doesn’t mean that great sports moments can’t happen on the date of America’s birth, so be on the lookout for some great tennis and baseball moments while celebrating our nation’s freedom.
Bryan Altman is, for some reason, an unabashed fan of the Rangers, Jets and Mets. If he absolutely had to pick a basketball team it would be the Knicks, but he’d gladly trade them for just one championship for either of his other three teams.