The lead headline in The Times sports section read “HEAVEN CAN WAIT! ANGELS IN FIRST ON 4TH,” after they swept a doubleheader at Washington that put them on top of the American League standings, a half game ahead of the New York Yankees.
The Dodgers, led by Tommy Davis and Frank Howard, swept the Philadelphia Phillies in a doubleheader at Dodger Stadium that gave L.A. a half-game lead in the National League over the San Francisco Giants.
In those days tradition said the league leader on July 4 usually won the pennant. But it wasn’t to be because the Angels finished the season in third place, and the Dodgers lost the pennant to the Giants in a three-game playoff.
The 2020 Dodgers were scheduled to play the second of a three-game series Saturday against the Miami Marlins at Dodger Stadium. The Angels had a night game with the Braves at Atlanta. Both contests, along with their fireworks shows, were postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here is a look at memorable games and outstanding sports performances on this date:
1914 — Harvard’s second eight is the first American crew to win the Grand Challenge Cup when it rows to a 1 1/4-length victory over the Union Club of Boston at the Henley Royal Regatta in a time of 7:20. The eight-oar race is the top men’s event at the competition at Henley-on-Thames, England.
1923 — A rusty Jack Dempsey, who hasn’t been in the ring in two years, beats Tommy Gibbon in 15 rounds for the heavyweight championship. The fight almost bankrupts the rural town of Shelby, Mont., which borrows heavily to stage it. The promoters, who guarantee Dempsey $300,000, bank that high-rollers from the East and West coasts will come by train, but only 7,202 tickets are sold and those who see the fight arrive by horse and wagon.
1925 — Two of the best left-handed pitchers of their time, Herb Pennock of the New York Yankees and Lefty Grove of the Philadelphia Athletics, hook up in the first game of a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium that New York wins 1-0 in 15 innings. Each pitcher goes the distance. Pennock gives up four hits and walks none. Grove allows 14 hits and strikes out 10. The winning run comes with two out on a single by catcher Steve O’Neill.
1982 — Jimmy Connors beats John McEnroe 3-6, 6-3, 6-7 (2), 7-6 (5), 6-4 for the men's singles championship at Wimbledon. It is Connors’ first Grand Slam victory since he won the U.S. Open in 1978, and his first at the All-England Club since 1974 when he won his first Wimbledon title. The match against the defending champion McEnroe lasts 4 hours, 16 minutes.
1983 — Dave Righetti pitches the first no-hitter for the New York Yankees in 27 years when he blanks the Boston Red Sox 4-0 at Yankee Stadium. The 24-year-old left-hander walks four and strikes out nine. Bert Campaneris and Roy Smalley back Righetti’s effort with sparkling infield plays. He strikes out Wade Boggs, who leads the major leagues in hits, for the final out.
1987 — After seven months of not winning a tournament, Martina Navratilova fires a stinging service winner down the middle that seals her sixth straight Wimbledon singles title, besting Steffi Graf, 18, of West Germany 7-5, 6-3. The victory is Navratilova’s eighth at the All-England Club and puts her in an overall tie with Helen Wills Moody.
2004 — Meg Mallon wins the U.S. Women’s Open with a six-under-par 65, the lowest final round by a champion in the 59-year history of the tournament. Mallon finishes at 10-under 274 for a two-shot advantage over runner-up Annika Sorenstam at the Orchards Golf Club in Hadley, Mass.
2008 — Dara Torres pushes time and age aside when she makes the U.S. Olympic swim team for a record fifth time by winning the 100 freestyle at the U.S. trials in Omaha. Torres, 41, who had been retired for seven years, wins the final in 54.78 seconds. A nine-time medalist, she already was the first U.S. swimmer to make four U.S. Olympic teams.
2011 — Tyler Farrar is the first American to win a July 4 Tour de France stage when he dominates a sprint finish in the third leg of cycling’s biggest race. Garmin-Cervelo teammate Thor Hushovd of Norway keeps the leader’s yellow jersey after the ride from Olonne-sur-Mer to Redon.
SOURCES: The Times, Associated Press