[Featured image: Brooklyn legends (left to right) Roy Campanella, Don Newcombe, and fellow Army veteran Jackie Robinson]
1939: New York Yankee ironman Lou Gehrig tells manager Joe McCarthy that he is taking himself out of the starting lineup.
Gehrig will never play again.
His record of 2,130 straight games played will stand until Baltimore Oriole Cal Ripken tops the streak in 1995.
1949: Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Don Newcombe gets his first career start, shutting out the Cincinnati Reds 3-0. He goes on to lead the Dodgers’ pitching rotation with 17 wins on their way to a National League pennant. Newcombe will lose two seasons to the Army during the Korean War.
1954: The St. Louis Cardinals’ Stan “The Man” Musial, who served in the Navy during World War II, hits five home runs in a double header against the New York Giants.
Musial’s victims that day are pitchers Johnny Antonelli (who served in Korea), Jim Hearn (an Army artilleryman during World War II), Ray Jablonski (an Army military policeman in France during World War II), and Hall of Fame knuckleballer Hoyt “Old Sarge” Wilhelm (fought and was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge).
In the Sportsman’s Park stands watching is eight-year-old St. Louis native Nate Colbert, who will go on to hit five home runs for the San Diego Padres in a 1972 double header.