Category Archives: Sport History

Celebrating the Greatest Moments in Sports History.

Nov. 22, 1986 – Tyson knocks out Berbick to become boxings youngest champion


In 1986, the three major boxing organizations, the World Boxing Council, the World Boxing Association and the International Boxing Federation teamed with HBO to create a heavyweight championship tournament in an effort to crown the first Undisputed Heavyweight Champion since Leon Spinks in 1978. All three of organization’s heavyweight champions, as well as several of the sport’s top contenders were entered into the tournament. In the first leg of the tournament, Trevor Berbick met then-WBC champion Pinklon Thomas for the WBC portion of the heavyweight title. In a closely contested fight, Berbick was able to narrowly earn the victory by unanimous decision to capture his first major heayvweight title. However, his first defense of that title would come against the 20-year old undefeated sensation Mike Tyson, who was 27–0 with 25 of his victories coming by way of knockout. Tyson had gone 12–0 in the year of 1986 alone and officially qualified for the unification series with a second round knockout victory over Alfonso Ratliff in September. Though the 32–year old Berbick entered the fight as the champion, he was installed as a 3–1 underdog to Tyson, who at 20 years old, was 12 years younger than Berbick and was trying to surpass Floyd Patterson as the youngest man to win a major Heavyweight title in the history of the sport.

Iron Mike Tyson Vs Trevor Berbick:

Tyson would dominate Berbick, easily picking up the victory by way of 2nd round technical knockout. From the opening bell Tyson would be the aggressor, hammering Berbick with several powerful punches. Towards the end of the round, Tyson hit Berbick with a 4-punch combination that sent Berbick across the ring. Berbick managed to stay on his feet, but Tyson would continue to attack, hitting Berbick several more times until the bell sounded. Tyson picked up right where he left off in round 2, almost immediately hitting Berbick with a combination that dropped the champion. Berbick was able to answer the referee’s count and the fight would continue. Berbick, however, was unable to get any offense going, continuously getting rocked by Tyson. Tyson would finally end the fight as the 2:35 mark, hitting Berbick with a right to the body followed by a left hook to the head that dropped Berbick for the second time. Berbick attempted to get up twice, only to collapse both times, causing referee Mills Lane to call the fight and award Tyson the victory via technical knockout.


Nov. 21, 1934 – The Yankees purchase Joe DiMaggio for $50,000

Joe DiMaggio was playing semi-pro ball when older brother Vince DiMaggio, playing for the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League (PCL), talked his manager into letting DiMaggio fill in at shortstop. Joe DiMaggio made his professional debut on October 1, 1932.

From May 27 to July 25, 1933, he got at least one hit in a PCL-record 61 consecutive games: “Baseball didn’t really get into my blood until I knocked off that hitting streak. Getting a daily hit became more important to me than eating, drinking or sleeping.”

In 1934, his career almost ended. Going to his sister’s house for dinner, he tore ligaments in his left knee while stepping out of a jitney (shared taxi).

The Seals had hoped to sell DiMaggio’s contract for $100,000. Scout Bill Essick of the New York Yankees was convinced that DiMaggio could overcome his knee injury and pestered the club to give DiMaggio another look. After DiMaggio passed a test on his knee, he was bought on November 21 in exchange for $50,000 and five players, with the Seals keeping him for the 1935 season. He batted .398 with 154 runs batted in (RBIs) and 34 home runs, led the Seals to the 1935 PCL title, and was named the League’s Most Valuable Player.

Nov. 20, 1977 – Walter Payton ran for a then NFL-record 275 yards


In the first half alone, Walter Payton carried the ball 26 times for 144 yards and scored one touchdown. The Chicago Bears built a 10-0 halftime lead and hung on for a 10-7 victory over their NFC Central Division rivals. But, that wasn’t the story on this day. A Soldier Field crowd of 57,359 could feel that history was being made. With just a bit more than three minutes to play in the game, Payton broke loose for a 58-yard run to the Minnesota Vikings‘ 9-yard line. Not only did he put the Bears in scoring position but also put him within five yards of O. J. Simpson‘s single-game rushing record of 273 yards. Payton carried the ball two more times and gained seven yards to claim the record.

In that record-setting game, Payton was suffering with a 101-degree fever and intense flu. His longest run was for 58 yards, and he caught one pass for 6 yards. His record stood for 23 years until Corey Dillon of the Cincinnati Bengals ran for 278 yards in 2000.

Payton was once asked what defenses could do to stop him. His response: “The night before the game, I guess they’d have to kidnap me.”


  • Most Yards Gained, Career – 16,726
  • Most Seasons, 1000 or More Yards Rushing (tied) – 10
  • Most Games, 100 or More Yards Rushing, Career – 77
  • Most Rushing Attempts, Career – 3,838
  • Most Combined Yards Gained, Career – 21,803
  • Most Combined Yards Attempts, Career – 4,368


Nov. 19, 1966 – Pelé scored the 1,000th goal of his 13-year professional career


This was a highly anticipated moment in Brazil. It was a major milestone in an illustrious career that included three World Cup championships. The goal, called popularly O Milésimo (The Thousandth), occurred in a match against Vasco da Gama, when Pelé scored from a penalty kick, at the Maracanã Stadium. Eighty thousand adoring fans cheered him wildly, even though Santos was the opposing team.

Must watch 3 min. video of Pele’ 1000th goal:

Pele announced his retirement in 1974 but in 1975 accepted a $7 million contract to play with The New York Cosmos. He led the Cosmos to a league championship in 1977 and did much to promote soccer in the United States. On October 1, 1977, in Giants Stadium, he played his last professional game in a Cosmos match against his old team Santos.

During his long career, Pele scored 1,282 goals in 1,363 games. In 1978, Pele was given the International Peace Award and in 1993 he was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame. Since retiring, he has acted as an international ambassador for his sport and has worked with the United Nations and UNICEF to promote peace and international reconciliation through friendly athletic competition.

Nov. 18, 1966 – Sandy Koufax retired from baseball at age 30

He was just 30 years old, and he was retiring after a great season—he’d led the Dodgers to a National League pennant and won his third Cy Young Award. But he had chronic arthritis in his pitching arm, and he was afraid that if he kept playing baseball, eventually he wouldn’t be able to use his left hand at all. Koufax’s line in his final season, all while battling the pain: 27-9, 1.73 ERA, 317 strikeouts and 77 walks in 323 innings.

“In those days there was no surgery,” Koufax said much later. “The wisdom was if you went in there, it would only make things worse and your career would be over, anyway. Now you go in, fix it, and you’re OK for next spring.”

In 1961, Koufax really hit his stride: He went 18-13 and led the majors in strikeouts, something he would do four times between 1961 and 1966. Meanwhile, during those six seasons he led the league three times in wins and shutouts, and twice he threw more complete games than any other pitcher. He set a new major-league season strikeout record—382—in 1965. (Only Nolan Ryan has since struck out more batters in a single season.) Koufax threw one no-hitter every year from 1962 to 1965, and in 1965 he threw a perfect game. His pitches were notoriously difficult to hit; getting the bat on a Koufax fastball, Pittsburgh’s Willie Stargell once said, was like “trying to drink coffee with a fork.”

Koufax is also remembered as one of the outstanding Jewish athletes in American sports. His decision not to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur garnered national attention as an example of conflict between professional pressures and personal beliefs. In 1971, the 36-year-old Koufax became the youngest person ever to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Nov. 17, 1956 – Jim Brown of Syracuse scored 43 points with six TDs and kicked seven extra-points

As a sophomore at Syracuse University, Jim Brown was the second leading rusher on the team. As a junior, he rushed for 666 yards (5.2 per carry). In his senior year, Brown was a unanimous first-team All-American. He finished 5th in the Heisman Trophy voting, and set school records for highest rush average (6.2) and most rushing touchdowns (6). He ran for 986 yards—third most in the country despite Syracuse playing only eight games—and scored 14 touchdowns. In the regular-season finale, a 61–7 rout of Colgate, he rushed for 197 yards, scored six touchdowns and kicked seven extra points for 43 points (another school record). Then in the Cotton Bowl, he rushed for 132 yards, scored three touchdowns and kicked three extra points. But a blocked extra point after Syracuse’s third touchdown was the difference as TCU won 28–27.

Perhaps more impressive was his success as a multi-sport athlete. In addition to his football accomplishments, he excelled in basketball, track, and especially lacrosse. As a sophomore, he was the second leading scorer for the basketball team (15 ppg), and earned a letter on the track team. His junior year, he averaged 11.3 points in basketball, and was named a second-team All-American in lacrosse. His senior year, he was named a first-team All-American in lacrosse (43 goals in 10 games to rank second in scoring nationally).

Nov. 16, 1999 – Pedro Martínez won the American League Cy Young Award in a unanimous vote

Having won the N.L. award in 1997 with Montreal, Pedro Martínez of the Boston Red Sox became only the third major leaguer to win the award in both leagues, joining Gaylord Perry and Randy Johnson, whose N.L. award was announced a day earlier. Pedro also became only the fourth American Leaguer to win the award unanimously.

His 1999 season was one of the best in history, especially considering the offensive era baseball’s in right now. Pedro went 23-4, with a 2.07 ERA and a club record 313 strikeouts. He struck out 15 or more batters 6 times, including 17 in a one-hitter against the New York Yankees on September 10. He allowed only 37 walks (the lowest total in history for a member of the 300-strikeout club!) and gave up only 9 home runs, none of them with runners on base.

To put it in perspective:
His ERA of 2.07 was 1.37 points lower than the 3.44 of league runner-up David Cone of the Yankees, and 2.80 lower than the league average. There have been just two other occasions – Dazzy Vance in 1930 and Greg Maddux in 1994 – when the pitcher with the league’s best ERA was more than a run better than the runner-up. Pedro struck out 313 batters, 113 more than runner-up Chuck Finley of the Angels. Opponents batted a league-low .205 against him, 70 points below the league average. He averaged 13.2 strikeouts per nine innings, more than five more a game than runner-up Finley, and his 1.6 walks per nine innings were just behind Gil Heredia of Oakland (1.5). In this age of offense, Pedro was able to completely dominate the league.

Manager Jimy Williams says, “It’s pretty special just to have the opportunity to watch this man pitch every game. I’ve seen guys win games but not with the strikeouts. All kinds of different pitches. I’ve never seen anything like this. You see him one time, and you say, ‘Wow, look at that!’ But how many times have you seen him do this? I really don’t know how you can put in perspective what we’re seeing out here.”