Ed Morrissey at HotAir.com highlighted today an event so touching and so important that it’s a shame so many have forgotten it – or never heard about it in the first place.
As HA puts it, “Thirty-two years later, it’s still a great play”:
In 1976, a sense of ennui had gripped the nation. In a year-long bicentennial celebration, many wondered if the economic stagnation that had lasted all decade meant that America’s best years were in the rear-view mirror. The commercialized bicentennial festivities felt forced and false. It seemed that pride in our country had dissipated into cynicism and retreat.
During a game at Dodger Stadium, two protesters ran on the field, knelt down and poured lighter fluid on the American flag with the intention of burning it. As Monday testified, the wind blew the first match out – and as they were about to touch the second match to the flag, Monday came from behind, snatched it and ran it to safety.
Here’s a video of Monday’s rescue and interviews with Monday, Dodger Steve Garvey and Dodger Tommy Lasorda, who was LA’s Third Base Coach at the time. Lasorda was also on a mission to get the flag, but Monday got there first. [RSS readers, click here to watch the video].
The scoreboard flashed “You made a great play Rick Monday,” and the crowd of 40,000 began an unprompted rendition of God Bless America.
Rick Monday was a solid player who played almost 2,000 games over a 19-year career in Major League Baseball. He’s remembered for his iconic defense of the flag, but he should be proud of the way he played in that 1976 season, too.
I took a baseball history class with the late William Gienapp. The scope of the course was from the game’s beginnings to Flood v. Kuhn  and its consequences, but Professor Gienapp took time out to touch on Rick Monday’s flag-saving.
It was the first time many in the room had heard of it.
20 Responses to “Rick Monday Reclaims the American Flag, April 25, 1976”
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