Top Moments In Sports On July 4th - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

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Top Moments In Sports On July 4th

Updated:

On July 4th, we celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the birth of the United States of America. Sports have become an integral part of our life, so we decided to compile a list of the top sports moments on July 4.

Agree or disagree with the order? Think we left something out? Let us know.

Also, make sure to vote in the poll above and tune into SWX Tonight at 10:30 p.m. on SWX (Comcast channel 115) for the answer.

1. "Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth."

On July 4, 1939, in perhaps one of the greatest -- and emotionally filled -- moments to have occurred in sports, Lou Gehrig said goodbye to baseball. Two weeks earlier, Gehrig had been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) – now commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease. More than 62,000 showed up for Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day at Yankee Stadium.

The Iron Horse's teammates presented him with a trophy and Babe Ruth, who Gehrig had not talked to since 1934, embraced him on the field. Gehrig also delivered his now famous speech. You can read the full text here and watch part of the speech here.

Gehrig passed away in 1947 at the age of 37.

 

2. 3,000 K Club

On July 4, 1980, Nolan Ryan became just the fourth pitcher to strike out 3,000 batters. The hard-throwing Hall of Famer accomplished the feat while with the Houston Astros by striking out Cesar Geronimo of the Cincinnati Reds.

(A fun fact: Geronimo was also the 3,000 strikeout victim of Bob Gibson.)

Four years later, the New York Yankees' Phil Niekro became the ninth pitcher to join the club by striking out the Texas Rangers' Larry Parrish.

You can watch Ryan's last strikeout here. You can watch Niekro's 300th win here.

 

3. NASCAR Royalty

With President Ronald Reagan looking on, Richard Petty won his 200th and final race. One of the all-time bests, Petty accomplished the feat at the Daytona International Speedway.

You can watch highlights of the race here.

 

4. A Career Is Born

Joe Louis began his professional boxing career on July 4, 1934. One of the greatest heavyweights of all time, Louis knocked out Jack Kracken in Chicago's South Side.

The Brown Bomber went 69-3 in his career and successfully defended his heavyweight title 25 consecutive times.

You can watch Joe Louis fighting former heavyweight champion Max Baer in 1935 here.

 

5. Can't Touch This

Thirty years ago, Dave Righetti worked his way through the Boston Red Sox lineup without allowing a hit. The 24-year-old Yankees left-hander fanned Wade Boggs to cap a nine strikeout performance.

The no-no came shortly after Righetti was passed over for a spot on the American League All-Star team and he admitted he was fueled by a bit of anger. 

You can watch Rigetti strike out Boggs to end the game here.

 

Honorable Mention

There are a few more moments we wanted to include, but couldn't fit into the top five spots.

- Jack Johnson, the son of a former slave, defeated former world champion James J. Jeffries on July 4, 1910. Nicknamed, "Fight of the Century," Jeffries had come out of retirement to face Johnson, who was the heavyweight champion at the time.

Johnson's win triggered both riots and celebrations across the United States.

- Joey Chestnut ended Takeru Kobayashi's six-year reign as the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest champion on July 4, 2007 by downing a world record 66 hot dogs and buns.

This year, Chestnut broke Kobayashi's record with his seventh win in the contest, eating a new record 69 hot dogs.

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