1. Jackie Robinson Breaks The Color Barrier
When Jackie Robinson debuted in 1947 for the Brooklyn Dodgers he would help pioneer the desegregation within professional sports. He would overcome racism and hostility which had kept black players from the Major Leagues. He would go on to become the 1947 Rookie of the Year as well as the 1949 NL MVP. Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962. In 1997, Major League Baseball universally retired his uniform number, 42, across all major league teams; the first pro athlete in any sport to be so honored.
An Upcoming Biopic is Also In The Works To Be Released in April
2. Mark McGwire Breaks Roger Maris’ Single-Season Home Run Record
The Race between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa to beat Roger Maris’ 37-year-old home run record was intriguing in 1998. Both men smashed 70 and 66 dingers in that year respectively. The defining moment was when McGwire hit #62 at Busch Stadium against Sosa’s Chicago Cubs. After the emotional embrace of his son at home plate, McGwire was met by Sosa who walked over from right field and shared a congratulatory hug with his rival. The gesture symbolized sportsmanship at its best.
3. Cal Ripken Jr Breaks Lou Gehrig’s Consecutive Games Played Streak
On September 6 1995, Baltimore Orioles Shortstop Cal Ripken Jr broke Lou Gehrig’s 2130 consecutive games played streak. A feat that was considered impossible to achieve. After hitting a home run in the game, Ripken’s warm embrace of the fans helped ease some of the bitterness felt due to the cancelled the 1994 season due to the players’ strike.
4. Hank Aaron Breaks Babe Ruth’s 714 HR Record
On April 8 1974, Hank Aaron hit his 715th career home run, passing Babe Ruth as the all-time leader. Sadly, many observers did not give Aaron widespread acclaim and considered the feat to be a knock against their childhood idol.
5. Babe Ruth Changes The Game
Widely considered to be the greatest player of all time, Babe Ruth is credited with popularizing Baseball throughout the 1920s. his big swing led to escalating home run totals that not only excited fans, but helped baseball evolve from a low-scoring, speed-dominated game to a high-scoring power game. He has since become regarded as one of the greatest sports heroes in American culture.
6. Joe Dimaggio Consecutive 56-Game Hit Streak
On May 15 1941, Joe DiMaggio began his record-breaking 56-game consecutive hit streak. DiMaggio batted .408 during the streak, with 15 home runs and 55 RBI. Today, DiMaggio’s streak is considered a uniquely outstanding and an unbreakable record.
7. Ted WIlliams Hits .406
In the same year of Joe DiMaggio’s incredible streak, Ted Williams would also make an insurmountable accomplishment that may never be matched again. Williams would have 185 hits in only 456 at-bats, which left his end of season batting average at a staggering .406
9. Ichiro Suzuki Debut
In 2001, Ichiro Suzuki became the first Japanese born position player to play for a Major League team. With a .350 batting average and 56 stolen bases, Ichiro was the first player to lead his league in both categories since Jackie Robinson in 1949. That winter, he won the American League Most Valuable Player and the Rookie of the Year awards, becoming only the second player in MLB history to receive both honors in the same season. In 2004, Ichiro would become the MLB all time single season hit leader with 262 hits.
10. Lou Gehrig’s Farewell Speech
Before Cal Ripken Jr, there was Lou Gehrig, “The Iron Horse” whose career was tragically cut short by the medical condition Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) better known today as ‘Lou Gehrig’s Disease’. Seven weeks after taking himself out of the Yankee lineup, Gehrig delivered his famous speech to 61 808 fans at Yankee Stadium. “Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about the bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”