April 28, 2006

Monday's Greatest Play: It's been 30 years since Rick Monday of the Los Angeles Dodgers swiped an American flag from a pair of protesters intent on burning it in the Chavez Ravine outfield. Listen to Vin Scully's call of the moment and the memories of those involved.

posted by wfrazerjr to baseball at 01:04 PM - 21 comments

What a great American baseball story. Fun to read and a refreshing story compared some of the negative aspects in sports. Pretty daring to grab the lighter fluid soaked flag with the lit match so close by. Great post.

posted by T$PORT4lawschool at 01:48 PM on April 28, 2006

yarr.. beat me to it wfrazerjr. great link. vin mentioned the event earlier this week and tipped his proverbial cap again to rick monday, who also does dodgers play-by-play. i like the part where tommy lasorda calls these guys "everything in the longshoreman's encyclopedia" as monday passes him with the flag. as a sidenote, i still get weird chills when i hear vin calling games from before i was born. it's a weird timewarp. dodgers fans are lucky to have him for another 2 years.

posted by ninjavshippo at 01:59 PM on April 28, 2006

Monday was actually playing for the Cubs that day. He later came to Los Angeles. Either way I remember seeing him take action and feeling good about it. God Bless America!

posted by Termite at 02:09 PM on April 28, 2006

Excellent link wfrazerjr. Vin Scully is teh Radio Jesus. I hate to say it. But as a broadcaster, Rick Monday Blows Baleen Whales. What is the Score Monday? What is the God Damn Score?!

posted by lilnemo at 02:13 PM on April 28, 2006

That was by far the greatest play of Monday's career including broadcasting

posted by im050483 at 02:23 PM on April 28, 2006

im05, i would still put the 1981 walk off hr against the expos in the NLCS a notch above this... a major highlight on the road to the 1981 WS against the yanks. maybe that's because i'm a pinko commie.

posted by ninjavshippo at 02:39 PM on April 28, 2006

I remember thinking at the time, those scumy bastards. Still do. I don't know if this incident is noted anywhere in the HOF; if not, it should be.

posted by jazzdog at 02:39 PM on April 28, 2006

I wish he would have retired after grabbing the flag -- Blue Monday From a very good article about Monday, the flag, and the times a couple of notes about the "protestors" -- William Thomas and his 11 yo son:

"We have forgotten that William Thomas was an unemployed, probably drunk and certainly deranged man protesting his wife's hospitalization; he is now assumed to have been some sort of anti-war hippie."
"The man who tried to burn the American Flag at Dodger Stadium was attempting to draw attention to what he claims is his wife’s 'imprisonment' in a Missouri mental institution, authorities say.' (LAT, 4/30/1976)"
I predict this won't be popular, but politics do not belong at sporting events. For example, playing of any national anthem or song popularized by Kate Smith. If you disagree and insist on politicizing the sport, how can you not expect political protests?

posted by ?! at 03:06 PM on April 28, 2006

I don't know if this incident is noted anywhere in the HOF; if not, it should be. Yeah - the Hall of Fame of over-indulged non-stories. The thirty year "anniversary" of Rick Monday taking a flag away from a couple of morons? Yeesh. You've got to be kidding me. Great moments in baseball history this isn't. im05, i would still put the 1981 walk off hr against the expos in the NLCS a notch above this Well I sure hope so. (though 'round these parts Rick Monday is still a bad word - vive les Expos!)

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 03:07 PM on April 28, 2006

If only Rick Monday had been in Atlanta in 1992 to save the Canadian flag from an equally dastardly fate.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 04:18 PM on April 28, 2006

So cynical Weedy. It was a great moment period. It wasn't just for baseball.

posted by irunfromclones at 06:12 PM on April 28, 2006

I'm with Weedy and Youppi. I guess I'm not one of those guys who thinks the flag has to be folded a certain way, has to be taken down by dusk, and can never touch the floor. It's may be a symbol of history that represents ideals (that we may fall short of), but in the end it's just a color scheme for Toby Keith to put on his wrangler jeans. For me, anyway. I respect anyone else who feels differently. Now if you want to talk a symbol that means more than tradition, if anyone were to ever desecrate my cheesehead, I'd take it to them from the top rope.

posted by ninjavshippo at 06:55 PM on April 28, 2006

Very cool story, I had never heard it before, thanks for the link fraze!

posted by vito90 at 07:31 PM on April 28, 2006

Did the guy get his flag back, or was Monday charged with theft?

posted by mr_crash_davis at 07:33 PM on April 28, 2006

Monday still has the flag. Thomas was arrested and served three days in jail.

posted by ?! at 09:12 PM on April 28, 2006

isn't one of the GREAT things about living in the usa the right do things SUCH as burning the flag? just as rick monday had the right to protect the flag...the two gentlemen that were going to set it on fire ALSO had THAT right. btw....rick monday's worst play was the home run off steve rogers. i still feel sick when i see that replayed.

posted by tommybiden at 09:30 PM on April 28, 2006

Weedy isn't being cyncical. "Great moments in baseball history this isn't." That's being a realist. It's a flag Monday saved. That's it. A flag. If that is worthy of a placement in the Hall of Fame, then Cooperstown should erect a statue of J.T. Snow rescuing 3yo batboy Darren Baker from home plate in the 2002 World Series. That, at least, was a real human child rescued, not a piece of cloth.

posted by the red terror at 07:08 AM on April 29, 2006

Doing things like this: sy burns the flag Or this: jamie reid sex pistols ...is what makes for free and open societies and makes nations like the USA and UK different from the Soviet Union. What Monday did was a nice honorable respectful thing, and no, those fans shouldn't have been allowed on the field of play. But an act of heroism that deserves to be enshrined in a Hall of Fame seems to me an unnecessary gilding of the lily.

posted by the red terror at 07:34 AM on April 29, 2006

I saw the clip the other night and was struck by the "huh, what?" reaction of the two guys after Monday took the flag away -- as if they DIDN'T expect that someone would stop them... Made me think about my favorite fan-runs-on-the-filed clip moment -- when Colts linebacker Mike "The Animal" Curtis decked a guy who ran out and grabbed the football during a preseason game in the early '70s.

posted by ajaffe at 07:04 PM on April 29, 2006

Great moments in baseball history this isn't. I suspect that the people who are shrugging at this story didn't live in the U.S. in the mid-70s. I am not inclined to blind nationalism, but I think this moment deserves recognition in the Hall of Fame. Yeah, it was just some guy grabbing a flag, but in the context of the times it held some important symbolism. I would equate it to "Black Monday" -- if Monday hits that homer in May, no big deal. But he hit it in October, in the playoffs, and the context of that homer is what made it significant. The Hall of Fame isn't a collection of just the most sensational moments in baseball -- it reflects the entire history of the game, including the game's relevance in a cultural context. This was a culturally significant moment, and is worthy of recognition. isn't one of the GREAT things about living in the usa the right do things SUCH as burning the flag? I'm glad you feel this way, because I've been meaning to come over to your house with an armful of objects that represent those things that mean the most to you so I can burn them on your front lawn while you're standing next to me.

posted by BullpenPro at 10:53 AM on May 01, 2006

Burning a flag I bought and paid for is a hell of a lot less destructive than dumping someone else's bought-and-paid-for tea in the harbor. And almost as patriotic.

posted by Hugh Janus at 01:03 PM on May 01, 2006

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.