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Rick Monday
Center fielder
Born: November 20, 1945 (1945-11-20) (age 64)
Batesville, Arkansas
Batted: Left Threw: Left 
MLB debut
September 3, 1966 for the Kansas City Athletics
Last MLB appearance
June 20, 1984 for the Los Angeles Dodgers
Career statistics
Batting average     .264
Home runs     241
Runs batted in     775
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Robert James "Rick" Monday, Jr. (born November 20, 1945 in Batesville, Arkansas) is a former center fielder in Major League Baseball and is currently a broadcast announcer. From 1966 through 1984, Monday, a center fielder for most of his career, played for the Kansas City/Oakland Athletics (1966-71), Chicago Cubs (1972-76) and Los Angeles Dodgers (1977-84). He batted and threw left-handed.

In a 19-season career, Monday compiled a .264 batting average with 241 home runs and 775 RBI. He was selected an All-Star in 1968 and 1978.

Contents

Playing career

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High School

Monday began his baseball career starring at Santa Monica High School earning league honors.

College

Tommy Lasorda, then a scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers, offered Rick, and Rick's mother Nelda, $20,000 to sign with the Dodgers out of high school in 1963. But Arizona State University coach Bobby Winkles, who was also from the Monday's native Arkansas, convinced them that he would look after Monday.[1]

A star for the Sun Devils under head coach Winkles, on a team that included freshman Reggie Jackson, Monday led the Sun Devils to the 1965 College World Series championship (over Ohio State) and earned All-America and College Player of the Year honors. For the 1965 season he hit .359 with 34 extra-base hits.[1]

Monday was selected with the first overall selection in the inaugural Major League First-Year Player Draft in 1965 by the Kansas City Athletics.[1]

Professional

Monday started his major league career with the Athletics. He then spent several productive years with the Cubs, and was traded to the Dodgers just in time to join a team that won the National League pennant in 1977 and 1978.

Monday's finest season as a professional came in 1976 as a member of the Chicago Cubs. Batting in the leadoff position, Monday hit .272, establishing career highs in home runs (32), runs (107), RBI (77), total bases (271), slugging percentage (.507) and OPS (.853), finishing 18th in the MVP voting.

American flag incident

Photo by Jim Roark
Rick Monday grabbing the American flag away from two protesters.

The two most famous moments of Monday's career were both associated with the Dodgers. In the first, on April 25, 1976, during a game at Dodger Stadium, two protesters, William Thomas and his 11-year-old son, ran into the outfield and tried to set fire to an American flag they had brought with them. Monday, then playing with the Cubs, noticed they had placed the flag on the ground and were fumbling with matches and lighter fluid; he then dashed over and grabbed the flag from the ground to thunderous cheers. He handed the flag to Los Angeles pitcher Doug Rau, after which the ballpark police officers arrested the two intruders. When he came up to bat in the next half-inning, he got a standing ovation from the crowd and the big message board behind the left-field bleachers in the stadium flashed the message, "RICK MONDAY... YOU MADE A GREAT PLAY..." He later said, "If you're going to burn the flag, don't do it around me. I've been to too many veterans' hospitals and seen too many broken bodies of guys who tried to protect it."[2] On August 25, 2008, Monday was presented with an American flag flown over Valley Forge National Historical Park in honor of his 1976 rescue.[3]

At the end of the season, the Cubs traded Monday to the Dodgers in a five-player deal with two players (one of whom was Bill Buckner) going to the Cubs.

At the September 2nd, 2008 Los Angeles Dodgers game, Rick Monday was presented with a Peace One Earth medallion by Patricia Kennedy, founder of the non-profit organization Step Up 4 Vets, for his actions on April 25, 1976 and his military service with the Marine Corps.[4]

1981 NLCS

By 1981, Monday was mostly a utility player when the second moment occurred. In the deciding Game 5 of the NLCS at Olympic Stadium in Montreal, he smashed a ninth-inning home run off the Expos' Steve Rogers that proved to be the difference in a 2-1 Dodgers victory. Monday's home run dashed what turned out to be the Expos' only chance at a pennant in their 36-year history in the National League. Even today, heartbroken Expos fans refer to the fifth game of the NLCS as "Blue Monday."[5] Los Angeles went on to win the 1981 World Series, defeating the New York Yankees 4 games to 2. As would be expected he proudly wears that World Series ring and is honored to be one of the few to have bumped off the Yankees in the fall classic.

Connection with Jay Johnstone

Monday was born on the exact same day, month and year as Jay Johnstone, a fellow outfielder and teammate of his on the Dodgers' 1981 World Series champions. Both also served in the Marine Corps Reserve in the 1960s. Both also played for the Cubs, Athletics and Dodgers.

Broadcasting career

Soon after his retirement as a player, Monday became a broadcaster for the Dodgers. He began in 1985 by hosting the pregame show and calling play-by-play on cable TV. From 1989-92, Monday moved further south to call San Diego Padres games alongside Jerry Coleman, replacing outgoing announcer Dave Campbell. He was also a sports anchor at KTTV for a time in the 1980s. In addition, he served as a color commentator for CBS-TV at the College World Series championship game in 1988. Monday rejoined the Dodgers in 1993, replacing Don Drysdale who died suddenly from a heart attack in his hotel room on a Dodger road trip in Montreal. From 2005 to 2008, Monday mostly handled the analyst role, with Charley Steiner handling most of the play-by-play, except during road trips outside of the National League West division, during which Steiner broadcast the games on television (because Vin Scully limits his broadcasting to all home games and road games involving either the NL West or AL West,[6]) and Monday handled the radio play-by-play, usually with Jerry Reuss as his analyst. In 2009 Steiner (play-by-play) and Monday (analysis) began covering all games on radio, with Eric Collins doing TV play-by-play for games not covered by Scully.[7]

Although Monday is not known for signature home run calls or pet phrases, he does use Rocket's Red Glare on occasion after a player hits a home run, and when a ball goes over the head of an outfield and head towards the wall, he uses the term no man's land.

Trivia

  • Was the first person ever drafted in the amateur Major League Baseball draft.
  • Led Southern League batters with 143 strikeouts, and led league outfielders with 287 putouts while playing for the Mobile A's in 1966.
  • Hit his first major league home run against Don McMahon in the 15th inning of a game that the Kansas City A's lost to the Boston Red Sox, 11-10 (Fenway Park — April 29, 1967)
  • Monday is still in possession of the flag he saved from being burned. He was offered a million dollars for it recently but turned it down.
  • Monday's "Blue Monday" home run (which crushed the Montreal Expos' championship dream) was not forgotten in Montreal. He reported, in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, that when he was a broadcaster, years after the homer, he was unexpectedly held up at Dorval Airport by Canadian immigration officials, missing his connecting flight. When he inquired about the reason, he was asked if he was the former Dodger player, and got a smile.

References

  1. ^ a b c Metcalfe, Jeff (June 16, 2005). - "Winkles' Devils Reflect on Title Run". - The Arizona Republic.
  2. ^ Platt, Ben (April 25, 2006). "Monday's act heroic after 30 years". Cubs at MLB.com. http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20060424&content_id=1415977&vkey=news_chc&fext=.jsp&c_id=chc.  
  3. ^ Boccella, Kathy (2008-08-26). "Player who saved flag from desecration honored". Philadelphia Inquirer. http://www.philly.com/philly/news/27422784.html. Retrieved 2008-08-26.  
  4. ^ Bernstein, Daniel (2008-09-05). "Peace One Earth Founder Patricia Kennedy Throws Out First Pitch at Dodgers' Game". PR.com. http://www.pr.com/press-release/103640. Retrieved 2008-09-05.  
  5. ^ Au revoir, Expos: Top 10 Moments. - Canadian Broadcasting Corporation / CBC.ca.
  6. ^ Gernick, Ken (September 6, 2008). - "Scully will return for 60th season". - Dodgers at MLB.com. - Retrieved: 2008-10-12.
  7. ^ Hoffarth, Tom (March 21, 2009). - "Dodgers decide on Eric Collins as its new play-by-play fill-in". - InsideSoCal.com.

See also

External links

Preceded by
none
First overall pick in the MLB Entry Draft
1965
Succeeded by
Steve Chilcott
Preceded by
César Cedeño
National League Player of the Month
April, 1978
Succeeded by
Jack Clark

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