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This day in sports: Giants slugger Willie McCovey hits 500th home run

The San Francisco Giants' Willie McCovey is shown in April 1964.
The San Francisco Giants’ Willie McCovey is shown in April 1964.
(Associated Press)

Willie McCovey of the San Francisco Giants joined one of baseball’s elite groups on this date in 1978 when he hit his 500th home run in the first game of a doubleheader against the Braves at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.

McCovey, who was in his 20th big league season, connected against left-hander Jamie Easterly in the second inning, a solo blast to left field for his seventh homer of the season, making him the 12th player to hit 500.

The big first baseman known as “Stretch” added his name to the club with two other Giants — Willie Mays at 660 and Mel Ott at 511. McCovey would finish his career with 521 home runs.

In baseball games postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Dodgers were scheduled to play the Cincinnati Reds at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday night. The Angels and the Tampa Bay Rays were set to meet in St. Petersburg, Fla.

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Here are other memorable sports performances and moments on this date:

Former Cavaliers guard JR Smith, who played with LeBron James in Cleveland, will replace Avery Bradley on the Lakers roster.

1929 Bobby Jones beats Al Espinosa by 23 strokes in a 36-hole playoff to win the U.S. Open on the West Course of Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y. It is the amateur’s third U.S. Open title and his fifth major championship. Espinsoa shoots a dismal 84 in the morning round and doesn’t do much better in the afternoon, finishing with an 80.

1965 — Commissioner Pete Rozelle announces that Atlanta is awarded an NFL franchise. Rankin Smith Sr., 40, an executive vice president with Life Insurance Co. of Georgia, pays $8.5 million to become the league’s 15th team owner. It’s the highest price paid in NFL history for a franchise at the time.

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1991 Meg Mallon, a former Ohio State player from Ramona, Calif., sinks a 10-foot birdie putt on the final hole to break a tie with Pat Bradley and Ayako Okamoto and win the LPGA Championship. Mallon fires a 72-hole total of 10-under-par 274 at Bethesda (Md.) Country Club for the first of her four major championships.

1994 Diego Maradona, the captain of the Argentina soccer team, is banned from the World Cup by FIFA for failing a drug test following his country’s June 25 victory over Nigeria in Foxborough, Mass. Maradona, whose career had been checkered by drug problems, tests positive for ephedrine, a stimulant used to treat asthma.

1994 — Tonya Harding is stripped of her national title and banned for life from the U.S. Figure Skating Assn. because of her role in an attack on rival Nancy Kerrigan almost six months earlier. Harding denies she had knowledge of the assault, but the association’s disciplinary panel does not believe her, saying there was “evidence of a clear disregard for fairness, good sportsmanship and ethical behavior.”

Young fighters such as Vergil Ortiz Jr. have missed out on chances to raise their profiles, while top star Canelo Alvarez might be further sidelined.

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1995 — Eddie Murray, 39, of the Cleveland Indians is the second switch-hitter and the 20th player in baseball history to reach 3,000 hits when he singles in the sixth inning off Mike Trombley of the Minnesota Twins in Minneapolis. Murray joins Pete Rose, the career hits leader with 4,256.

2013 — Inbee Park of South Korea wins the U.S. Women’s Open at Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y., for her third consecutive major championship. Park had won the Kraft Nabisco Championship and the LPGA Championship earlier that year. Babe Zaharias is the last player to win three majors in a row on the calendar, but that was in 1950, when that’s all there were.

2015 The United States defeats Germany 2-0 in the semifinals of the Women’s World Cup at Olympic Stadium in Montreal. Carli Lloyd converts a penalty kick that gives the U.S. a 1-0 lead. Later, Kelley O’Hara, who entered the game as a substitute, scores in the 84th minute off a perfect pass from Lloyd to seal the victory.

2016 — Coastal Carolina capitalizes on two errors on the same play for four unearned runs in the sixth inning, and the Chanticleers go on to win their first national championship in any sport with a 4-3 victory over Arizona in the deciding game of the College World Series in Omaha. The Chanticleers are the first team since Minnesota in 1956 to win the title in their first CWS appearance. Arizona was trying for its second national title in five seasons.

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Sources: The Times, Associated Press


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