On September 13, 2019, Francis Ouimet, a 20-year-old amateur, achieved a remarkable victory by defeating Britain’s Harry Vardon and Ted Ray in an 18-hole playoff to win the US Open. Moving back in time to 1924, baseball pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander secured his 300th career win as the Chicago Cubs triumphed over the New York Giants with a score of 7-3 in 12 innings. Another legendary athlete, Joe Louis, retained his world heavyweight boxing title on September 13, 1939, by knocking out Bob Pastor in the 11th round at Briggs Stadium in Detroit.
In 1973, Billie Jean King made history by defeating Bobby Riggs in straight sets during the “Battle of the Sexes” held at the Astrodome in Houston. King emerged as the victor and claimed the winner-take-all prize of $100,000. Then, in 1980, Spectacular Bid, a 4-year-old horse, won the Woodward Stakes, which was considered the world’s richest walkover. It marked the end of Spectacular Bid’s undefeated nine-race career and earned him the title of U.S. Horse of the Year.
Moving on to 1982, the NFL Players Association announced a strike following the Monday night game between the Green Bay Packers and the New York Giants. Shifting gears to American football in 1987, Walter Payton of the Chicago Bears surpassed Jim Brown’s record by achieving his 107th rushing touchdown during a 20-3 victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The following year, Greg Louganis secured an Olympic gold medal in diving despite having hit his head on the diving board during the qualifying round. Louganis remained resilient and defeated China’s Tan Liangde with a score of 730.80 points.
In 1992, Raymond Floyd made golf history by becoming the first player to win both a Regular PGA Tour and Senior PGA Tour tournament within the same year. Floyd’s achievements included winning the Doral Rider Open in March and later clinching the GTE North Classic after a remarkable performance in the final holes. Heading into college football, LaShawn Woods from Oklahoma State set an NCAA Division IA record by catching seven touchdowns in the Cowboys’ 52-6 victory over SMU in 2003.
The sporting world faced controversy in 2007 when Floyd Landis lost his appeal after two of three arbitrators upheld test results showing his use of synthetic testosterone during his come-from-behind victory in the 2006 Tour de France. Landis was stripped of his tour title as a result. In the same year, Game 1 at Cowboys Stadium set an NFL regular season attendance record with a crowd of 105,121. Although the majority of fans went home disappointed after the New York Giants’ 33-31 win, the event was still a momentous occasion.
In 2009, Brett Favre, quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings, set an NFL record with 271 consecutive starts in a 27-13 victory over the Detroit Lions. This achievement surpassed defensive end Jim Marshall’s record of 270 consecutive games played for the Vikings from 1961 to 1979. Moving to baseball, Alex Rodriguez set a new MLB record in 2013 with 24 grand slam home runs for the New York Yankees.
Historical rivalries and upsets continued to captivate the sports world. In 2015, the USA defeated Europe in the biggest upset in Solheim Cup history in women’s golf. Paula Creamer’s victory over Germany’s Sandra Gall with a score of 4&3 contributed to the 14 1/2-13 1/2 win for the American team. In 2018, the World Anti-Doping Agency reinstated Russia, marking the end of their nearly three-year suspension.
As we fast forward to 2021, Salvador Perez of the Kansas City Royals made history by hitting his 46th home run, breaking Hall of Famer Johnny Bench’s record for most home runs in a season by a benched MLB catcher. And most recently, in 2022, Kenyan runner Eliud Kipchoge surpassed his own world record in the Berlin marathon by completing it in an astonishing 2 hours, 1 minute, and 9 seconds. This was a remarkable improvement from his previous record of 2:01:39.