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This Date in Sports: Legendary John McGraw calls it a career

John McGraw, former player and manager of the New York Giants.
(Library of Congress)

John McGraw, the fiery player-manager of the New York Giants, retired from baseball on this date in 1932, leaving an influential legacy on the game. McGraw, 59, said a serious sinus condition was his reason for stepping down.

“McGraw must have been pretty sick for he is not the kind to give up baseball without a reason,” said Joe McCarthy, manager of the New York Yankees.

Beginning in 1902, McGraw led the Giants to 10 National League pennants, three World Series championships and 21 first-or second-place finishes in nearly 30 seasons. He was known for being dictatorially hard on his players and was ejected 118 times for arguing with umpires.

His 2,784 managerial victories were only second to Connie Mack’s, who won 3,731 games. In 1927, Mack said, “There has been only one manager — and his name is McGraw.”

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On Wednesday, the Dodgers had a late-afternoon game scheduled against the Atlanta Braves at Dodger Stadium. The Angels were scheduled to play the Texas Rangers in a day game at Arlington, Texas. Both games were postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here is a look at memorable games and outstanding sports performances on this date:

1932 — On the same day as McGraw retires, the New York Yankees romp over the Philadelphia Athletics 20-13 at Shibe Park. Lou Gehrig hits four consecutive home runs, the first player to do so in a major league game, and third baseman Tony Lazzeri hits for the cycle in natural order—a single, double, triple and home run.

1961 — Sherluck, a longshot with Braulio Baeza in the saddle, wins the Belmont Stakes in 2:29.1 for the mile and a half. Globemaster is second and Guadalcanal is third. Carry Back, the winner of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, finishes seventh. He had beaten Sherluck by six lengths in the Derby and by nine in the Preakness.

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1991 — Thomas “Hit Man” Hearns is a world champion for the sixth time when he wins the World Boxing Assn.’s light-heavyweight title in a 12-round unanimous decision over Virgil Hill at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Hill is 30-0 going into the fight.

1995 — Pedro Martinez of the Montreal Expos pitches nine perfect innings against the San Diego Padres at Jack Murphy Stadium before he gives up a leadoff double to Bip Roberts in the 10th inning of the Expos’ 1-0 win.

2001 — Defending champion Karrie Webb of Australia wins the U.S. Women’s Open in a runaway, firing a one-under par 69 for an eight-stroke advantage over Se Ri Pak of South Korea at the Pine Needles Golf Club in Southern Pines, N.C. Webb’s margin of victory is the largest for a women’s Open in 21 years. She records a four-round total of 273, seven under par.

Basketball Hall of Famer Wes Unseld died at 74 after a series of health issues, most recently pneumonia.

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2006 — Jeff Burton drives his Chevrolet to the biggest come-from-behind win in a NASCAR Busch Series race, when he starts in 36th place and ends up taking the checkered flag in the StonebridgeRacing.com 200 at Dover International Speedway in Delaware. Burton averages 185 mph and leads the race for 19 laps. It is his second victory of the season.

2006 — Russia’s Nikolai Valuev retains his World Boxing Assn. heavyweight title in Hanover, Germany, by stopping Jamaican challenger Owen Beck with a right uppercut in the third round. Beck, who is outweighed by 80 pounds, is knocked down once in the second round and twice in the third before the fight is brought to a halt.

2011 — Roger Federer ends Novak Djokovic’s perfect season and 41-match winning streak, beating him 7-6 (5), 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (5) in the semifinals of the French Open at Paris. Federer reaches his fifth career final at Roland Garros Stadium and his first in Grand Slam play since the Australian Open a year earlier.

2015 — Florida wins its second straight national softball championship when Lauren Haeger pitches the Gators to a winner-take-all 4-1 Game 3 victory over Michigan at Oklahoma City. The Gators are the third team to repeat as Women’s College World Series champions, and the first since Arizona did it in 2007.

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SOURCES: The Times, Associated Press


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