Mirror Sports Writer
The National Baseball Hall of Fame recently named Rick Monday’s heroic save of the American flag on April 25, 1976 as one of the 100 classic moments in the history of the game.
Monday was playing centerfield for the Chicago Cubs that day against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Although the Vietnam War had ended the year before two protestors attempted to burn an American flag on the outfield grass.
One took out a match and tried to light the flag but Monday raced toward them and grabbed the flag from underneath them.
It was a feat that has been recognized year after year.
Monday had previously achieved fame by starring at Santa Monica High and Arizona State University and becoming the first player chosen in the initial baseball draft.
His playing career included six seasons with the Athletics, five with the Cubs and eight with the Dodgers, including one world championship and three National League pennants. He hit a dramatic home run in Game 5 of the 1981 National League championship series in Montreal to give the Dodgers a 2-1 win over the Expos and a berth in the World Series.
He has been a Dodger broadcaster for the last 13 years.
On Sunday, Monday threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the Dodgers’ game against the Arizona Diamondbacks and a video tribute to him was shown on the stadium’s message board.
“To this day I couldn’t tell you what was running through my mind that day except I was mad because what they were trying to do was wrong,” said Monday. “When I reflect back upon it now I still get goose bumps.”
Then-Dodger general manager Al Campanis presented Monday with the flag. It currently hangs in his home in Vero Beach, Florida. In addition, former U.S. President Gerald Ford presented Monday with a Bicentennial Commendation for service to others.