This day in sports: Al Davis signs letter of intent to move Raiders out of L.A.

Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis speaks at a news conference in November 1996.
Raiders owner Al Davis speaks in 1996, a year after he moved the team out of L.A. and back to Oakland.
(Susan Ragan / Associated Press)

Al Davis ended the stormy 13-year relationship between the Raiders and Los Angeles on this date in 1995 when he signed a letter of intent to move his team back to Oakland, where it had played since its inception in 1960 as a member of the American Football League.

In 1982, Davis brought the Raiders south to play in the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, where the team drew more than 6 million fans while averaging 56,561 a game. It won the Super Bowl in 1983.

But the Raiders began to lose and in their last season, attendance dropped to just above 51,000 a game, and those who did show up had a reputation for being rowdy and inclined to fighting.

The move scuttled a proposal to build a new stadium adjacent to Hollywood Park in Inglewood and Davis’ action came less than three months after the Rams announced they would leave Anaheim for St. Louis.

This week, in local baseball games that were postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Dodgers were scheduled to play the Diamondbacks in the second of three games at Arizona. The Angels were set to play host to the Boston Red Sox in the second of three games at Angel Stadium.

Other memorable games and outstanding sports performances on this date:

1917 — In baseball’s greatest relief effort, Ernie Shore of the Boston Red Sox retires 26 batters for a combined no-hit 4-0 victory over the Washington Senators in the first game of a doubleheader at Fenway Park. Shore relieves Babe Ruth with nobody out and a man on first base, who is thrown out trying to steal. Ruth had been kicked out of the game for arguing with the home plate umpire.


1939 — Former football great Bronko Nagurski beats Lou Thesz to win the National Wrestling Assn. world heavyweight title at Houston. Thesz is considered the greatest wrestler of all time. Oscar Holcombe, the mayor of Houston, reportedly presents Nagurski with a $10,000 diamond-studded belt.

1963 Julius Boros wins a three-way playoff to take the U.S. Open at the Country Club in Brookline, Mass. Boros beats Jacky Cupit by three strokes and Arnold Palmer by six. The three players finish regulation play tied at 293 after Cupit has a 15-foot putt that would have won him the tournament lip out of the cup on the 72nd hole.

1974 — Sandra Haynie wins the LPGA championship by two strokes over JoAnne Carner at the Pleasant Valley Country Club in Sutton, Mass. Haynie fires an even-par 73 in the final round for a total of four-under-par 288. It is her second LPGA Championship (she won in 1965) and the second of her four major titles.

1996 — Michael Johnson qualifies for the Summer Olympics when he breaks the world record in the 200 meters, running 19.66 seconds at the U.S. track and field trials in Atlanta. The previous mark of 19.72 had stood for nearly 17 years, set by Italy’s Pietro Mennea in 1979 at Mexico City.

1999 — The Hockey Hall of Fame waives the usual three-year waiting period and announces that Wayne Gretzky will be part of the Class of 1999. Gretzky had retired from the N.Y. Rangers after the 1998-99 season. He joins referee Andy van Hellemond and longtime ref and NHL executive Ian “Scotty” Morrison, who is honored in the Builders category.

2001 — Ilya Kovalchuk is the first player born in Russia to be taken as the No. 1 choice in the NHL draft when he’s selected by the Atlanta Thrashers. Kovalchuk is rated as the top player in Europe and the Thrashers say “he is the first pick in three years that the team’s staff is 100% in agreement on.”

2005 — Tim Duncan comes up big in the second half and is chosen most valuable player, and Manu Ginobili has another clutch performance to lead the San Antonio Spurs past the Detroit Pistons 81-74 in Game 7 of the NBA Finals at SBC Center in San Antonio. Duncan scores 25 points and grabs 11 rebounds and Ginobili adds 23 points. The Pistons make just two of 14 three-point shots.

2013 — Courtney Force claims a Funny Car victory against her father, John Force, at the Auto-Plus NHRA New England Nationals. In their first final-round matchup, Courtney Force takes her second victory of the year and third in her career when she drives her Ford Mustang in 4.301 seconds and 261.67 mph to victory. She improves to 4-2 against her father, a 15-time Funny Car world champion.


Sources: The Times, Associated Press