Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Day Rick Monday Saved the American Flag

It was a normal Sunday afternoon of baseball on the West Coast.  The Cubs were playing the Dodgers in a day game at Dodger Stadium on a sunny April 25, 1976.  Rick Monday was playing centerfield for the Cubs, when he noticed two protesters kneeling down, with an American Flag on the ground.
Associated Press Photo
Associated Press Photo
He wasn't sure what to make of it, but knew he had to do something about it.  This is an excerpt from an interview I did with Monday, know in his 24th season behind the microphone for the Dodgers about the incident in Los Angeles...

Yes that is a young Vin Scully on the play-by-play, describing the two protesters and the heroics of Monday. Ironically until this year, Monday and Scully shared the microphone on Dodgers broadcasts.

Monday was presented with the flag in a ceremony at Wrigley Field by Dodgers executive Al Campanis later in 1976. The flag hung in his home for a while, but after some hurricane damage to his property, Monday put it in a safety deposit box. Monday was traded by the Cubs the following offseason after hitting a career best 32 home runs. He was dealt for Bill Buckner and Ivan DeJesus.
Baseball Hall of Fame photo

He was always one of my favorite Cubs and have had the pleasure of getting to know him when I was with the Padres. Monday wore #7 and had that unique way of taking practice swings, with the barrel of the bat pointed right at the pitcher.

One thing you may not know about him, he was the very first player ever selected in Baseball's Amateur Draft. Monday was selected #1 out of Arizona State by the Kansas City Athletics. Rick Monday saved the flag and became an American Hero.