Rick Monday

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Rick Monday
Center fielder
Born: (1945-11-20) November 20, 1945 (age 68)
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.

Playing career[edit]

High School[edit]

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

College[edit]

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 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[edit]

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.

Perhaps the most outstanding accomplishment in his career was his domination over Tom Seaver, arguably the best pitcher of his generation. Monday hit 11 home runs against Seaver, more than any other player, and batted .349 (30 hits in 86 ABs).

American flag incident[edit]

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. Monday, playing with the Cubs, dashed over and grabbed the flag to thunderous cheers. He handed the flag to Los Angeles pitcher Doug Rau, and the ballpark police officers arrested the two intruders. When he came 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] Monday was a U.S. military member himself, having served a commitment with the Marine Corps Reserve as part of his ROTC obligation after leaving Arizona State. 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] Monday still has the flag he rescued from the protesters; he has been offered up to $1 million to sell it, but has declined all offers.

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.[4]

1981 NLCS[edit]

When the second moment occurred in 1981, Monday was mostly a utility player. In the deciding Game 5 of the NLCS at Olympic Stadium in Montreal (played on a Monday afternoon due to an earlier rain-out), he smashed a two-out 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 representing Montreal. 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.

Connection with Jay Johnstone[edit]

Monday was born on the same date as Jay Johnstone, teammate on the Dodgers' 1981 World Series champions. Both also served in the Marine Corps Reserve in the 1960s. Both are lefty hitters who started their MLB careers in 1966 and played for the Cubs, Athletics and Dodgers during the course of their baseball tenure.

Broadcasting career[edit]

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] When Steiner replaced Collins on the TV broadcasts in 2014, Monday switched over to the play-by-play duties alongside Nomar Garciaparra.

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.

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 in a documentary feature about the Montreal Expos, that when he was a broadcaster years after the homer, he was unexpectedly held up at Dorval Airport by Canadian immigration officer and missed his connecting flight. When he inquired about the reason, the officer asked if he was the former Dodger player, and smiled.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  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. 
  3. ^ Boccella, Kathy (2008-08-26). "Player who saved flag from desecration honored". Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on 2008-10-09. 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. 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.

External links[edit]

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