Today is March 12, and you know what that means. It’s time to celebrate the birthday of someone I hold near and dear to my heart …
No, but seriously.
Today is my brother, Hermes’, thirty-*mumble-mumble*th birthday! He is probably one of the first people who had been supportive of my sports writing endeavors, and has encouraged me to follow that path for as long as I can remember.
For that – and in lieu of a physical birthday present (which I promise will be coming eventually) – I present him with this.
So, in honor of Hermes turning the big 3-*mumble-mumble* … and seeing this being a proper sports blog, allow me to present —
5 Things That Happened in Sports History on My Brother’s Birthday! (Courtesy of On-This-Day.com)
- March 12, 1913: The American League approved the name change of the New York Highlanders to the Yankees. Ten years to the day in which the New York Highlanders – an expansion team founded from an old version of the Baltimore Orioles – were given the go-ahead to join Major League Baseball’s American League, the franchise decided to make another change. Apparently, since their move to the AL, the Highlanders were given the nickname “Yankees” or “Yanks” by publications like the New York Evening Journal, so the team moniker could fit in headlines. While stories differ from the team’s fans to New York Press Editor Jim Price as being credited for the movement to switch names, the “Evil Empire” we know and love (or hate) today was given its title exactly 102 years ago.
- March 12, 1971: Gordie Howe announces his retirement after 26 seasons in the NHL. One of the greatest players in NHL history, “Mr. Hockey” decided to hang up his skates after more than a quarter-century with the Detroit Red Wings – the only NHL team he had ever played for. A chronic wrist problem did him in, but it didn’t diminish his playing career in Detroit – he led the Red Wings to an unprecedented seven consecutive first-place regular season finishes, and four Stanley Cup Titles (1950, 1952, 1954, 1955). Ironically, Howe made his NHL debut with the Red Wings on October 16, 1946 – 58 years to the day of another date my brother holds near and dear.
- March 12, 1972: Bill Russell has his No. 6 Jersey retired at Boston Garden. On what was deemed “Bill Russell Day” for the nation of Boston Celtics fans, the NBA legend was honored by the only team he had ever played for in his stellar 14-year career. Marking a Golden Age for the Celtics in the 1950s and 1960s, Russell helped guide the green-and-white to 11 NBA championships, including a whopping eight straight (1959-1966). And that’s not even taking into account the two titles he won as a player-coach – a coaching gig that marked the first African American head coach in NBA history.
- March 12, 1985: Larry Bird scores a team-record 60 points in a regular season game vs. the Atlanta Hawks. Playing 43 minutes, The Hick from French Lick continued building his resume as one of the greatest of his generation. In setting a scoring record previously set by teammate Kevin McHale just nine days before, Larry Legend also set a franchise record for most field goals made by a Celtics player in a single game (22).
- March 12, 1992: Moses Malone becomes the fourth all-time leading scorer in NBA History. 18 years into his professional basketball career, the great ABA-NBA crossover superstar scored 17 points in a 106-100 defeat against the Phoenix Suns. This gave him a total of 26,715 points over a professional career that started in 1974 with the Utah Stars of the ABA – at the time, the fourth most career points in history.
So, here’s to you, older brother. May you have many more birthdays after this one.