Happy Independence Day!
Honoring our nation’s independence, Fourth of July is usually remembered with fireworks and barbeques. However, there are some very notable events in the world of sports that have occurred on Independence Day.
In honor of today’s holiday, we thought it would be fun to compile a list of the top five sports moments that occurred on July 4th.
Enjoy our list and have a happy, safe 4th of July!
Top 5 Fourth of July Sports Moments of All-Time
5. Holy Hot Dog Batman!
Joey Chestnut ate a record 66 hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes, winning the 2007 Nathan’s famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest.
In doing so, Chestnut upset six-time champion Takeru Kobayashi, breaking Kobayashi’s previous contest record of 53 ¾ hot dogs. Chestnut is now tied with Kobayashi with six championships and looks for his seven win in 2013.
4. Ryan Fans #3,000
On July 4, 1980, Nolan Ryan became the fourth pitcher in Major League Baseball history to record 3,000 career strikeouts. Ryan struck out Cesar Geronimo of the Cincinnati Reds to achieve this mark.
As of 2013, only 16 players in Major League history have recorded 3,000 or more strikeouts for their career. Ryan is one of four pitchers to record 4,000 or more strikeouts and is the only pitcher to eclipse the 5,000 strikeout mark.
Ryan would go on to record 5,714 strikeouts over his career, a Major League record!
3. Sampras’ First at Wimbledon
On July 4, 1993, Pete Sampras defeated Jim Courier to win the Championship at Wimbledon. The win was the first of his seven titles at the All England Club, which continues to be the most by any American born player.
The 1993 Wimbledon final was an “All American” championship, as Sampras defeated Courier in four sets, 7-6, 7-6, 3-6, 6-3.
2. Petty Wins #200
NASCAR legend Richard Petty won the 1984 Firecracker 400 on July 4th. The victory was the 200th of his career making him the only driver in NASCAR history to win 200 races. It was also the last win of his storied career.
President Ronald Reagan was in attendance, the first sitting president to attend a NASCAR race. Reagan celebrated the milestone with Petty and his family in victory lane.
1. Gehrig’s Good Bye
On July 4, 1939, the New York Yankees held ‘Lou Gehrig Day’ at Yankee Stadium to honor the retiring, ailing player. Gehrig had been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) just two weeks earlier and was forced to early retirement because of the disease.
With more than 62,000 fans in attendance, the ‘Iron Horse’ took the microphone for what would become one of the most memorable speeches in the history of sports.
Here is a clip of his farewell speech:
After his speech, Babe Ruth walked up, put his arm around his former teammate, and spoke the first words to Gehrig since 1934. The Yankees retired Gehrig’s #4 that day, a day that will go down as one of the most memorable in sports history.