This Day In Sports: Rick Monday – outfield flag-bearer

April 25, 1976: Chicago Cubs centerfielder Rick Monday becomes a national hero when he rescues an American flag from two protesters who are attempting to burn it in the outfield of Dodger Stadium. Monday would be traded to L.A. that winter in a deal that sent Bill Buckner to Chicago and would become a popular player for the Dodgers, whose fans had not forgotten. Monday, now 76 and a TV broadcaster for the Dodgers, still has the flag. (That day, by the way, was the 100th anniversary of the Cubs’ first game.)

Monday was the first player selected in the inaugural Major League Baseball Draft in 1965 by the Kansas City Athletics. He played for the A’s through 1971, after their move from K.C. to Oakland. Monday was traded to the Cubs following the season for pitcher Ken Holtzman, missing out on Oakland three consecutive world championships from 1972-74. He had the most productive seasons of his career in Chicago. But, needless to say, there was no payoff in the postseason.

Monday played for the Dodgers for eight years before retiring following the 1984 season. His biggest moment for L.A. came in the 1981 National League Championship Series. In the deciding Game 5 at Olympic Stadium in Montreal, Monday, by then a utility player, hit a two-out home run in the top of the ninth inning that provided the deciding run in a 2-1 victory that sent the Dodgers to the World Series. It was Monday’s third Fall Classic, but it the only one that earned him a ring. That was also the closest the Expos ever came to a World Series appearance in their 36 years in Montreal (they’re now the Washington Nationals).

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra. He also anchors four sports segments each weekday on 95.3 FM KTIK and one on News/Talk KBOI. His Scott Slant column runs every Wednesday.)

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