Tag Archives: champion

Dec. 9, 1984 – Eric Dickerson breaks the NFL rushing record

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Eric Dickerson was selected second overall in the 1983 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams. An immediate success, he established rookie records for most rushing attempts (390), most rushing yards gained (1,808) and most touchdowns rushing (18), including another two receiving touchdowns. His efforts earned him All-Pro, Pro Bowl, Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year honors.

In his second season, Dickerson continued his onslaught on the NFL record book becoming a member of the 2000 rushing yards club. Twelve times in 1984 he gained more than 100 yards rushing, breaking the record of 100-yard games in a season held by O. J. Simpson. His 2,105 total yards rushing beat Simpson’s 1973 NFL season record of 2,003 yards (Dickerson having reached 2,007 yards after 15 games), but since the NFL expanded the regular season from 14 to 16 games in 1978, Dickerson had the benefit of playing in two additional games. No one has since rushed for more yards in a single NFL season. Dickerson’s 5.6 yards per carry led the Rams to a playoff berth in 1984.

Dec. 7, 1939 – Lou Gehrig was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

Lou Gehrig was the first player to have the rule waived that required a player to be retired one year before he could be elected. At age 36, he was the second youngest player to be so honored (behind Sandy Koufax). He never had a formal induction ceremony. On July 28, 2013, he and eleven other deceased players including Rogers Hornsby received a special tribute during the Induction Ceremony, held during “Hall of Fame Induction Weekend”, July 26–29 in Cooperstown, New York.

Did You Know:
Gehrig was the first baseball player to have his uniform number retired?

Dec, 6, 1992 – Jerry Rice set a new NFL record by catching his 101st touchdown

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Jerry Rice’s 101st career touchdown catch, breaking the record for most career touchdowns previously held by Steve Largent, came on a rainy afternoon in San Francisco, during only his eighth season with the NFL. (By contrast, Largent made his 100th TD reception in his 14th season.) With 8:56 left in the game (a 27-3 rout of the Miami Dolphins) Rice made a quick move to get open in the middle of the end zone, where he caught a 12-yard pass from Steve Young. Mobbed by his teammates, he ran off the field in triumph. Two years later, Rice became the NFL’s all-time touchdown leader (127), passing the great Cleveland Browns running back Jim Brown.

Dec. 5, 1947 – Joe Louis defeated Jersey Joe Walcott to retain his heavyweight title

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After trouble finding another suitable opponent, on December 5, 1947, Joe Louis met Jersey Joe Walcott, a 33-year-old veteran with a 44–11–2 record. Walcott entered the fight as a 10-to-1 underdog. Nevertheless, Walcott knocked down Louis twice in the first four rounds. Most observers in Madison Square Garden felt Walcott dominated the 15-round fight. When Louis was declared the winner in a split decision, the crowd booed.

Louis was under no delusion about the state of his boxing skills, yet he was too embarrassed to quit after the Walcott fight. Determined to win and retire with his title intact, Louis signed on for a rematch. On June 25, 1948, about 42,000 people came to Yankee Stadium to see the aging champion, who weighed 213½, the heaviest of his career to date. Walcott knocked Louis down in the third round, but Louis survived to knock out Walcott in the eleventh.

Louis would not defend his title again before announcing his retirement from boxing on March 1, 1949. In his bouts with Conn and Walcott, it had become apparent that Louis was no longer the fighter he once had been. As he had done earlier in his career, however, Louis would continue to appear in numerous exhibition matches worldwide.

Dec. 2, 1991 – Mets signed Bonilla to the highest paid contract in team sports

The New York Mets, with a flair for the dramatic and an unprecedented expenditure of cash, signed free agent Bobby Bonilla to a lucrative contract that made him (then) the highest-paid player in team sports. The deal had a guaranteed package for five years and worth $29 million ($48.2 million today). The contract had $27.5 million in base salary, as well as $1.5 million in a promotional arrangement.

Bonilla helped lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to consecutive National League East titles in 1990 and 1991. But without his fellow Pirate stars around him, his offensive production dropped. His stay in New York was also marred by a number of incidents, such as threatening sportswriter Bob Klapisch that he would “show him the Bronx” in response to his book on the 1992 Mets, “The Worst Team Money Could Buy: The Collapse Of The New York Mets.” On another occasion, he called the press box during a game to complain about an error that he was charged with. In 1992 Bonilla hit .249 as the Mets went 72 and 90. Bonilla hit 34 home runs in 1993 and the Mets went 59 and 103.