Today in Sports History: October 2nd


(Kobe Bryant and Scottie Pippen in Game 7 of the 2000 WCF. Photo by Tom Hauck, Getty Images)

10/02/1920 - Last tripleheader in baseball

Less than a handful of tripleheaders have ever taken place in Major League Baseball. The last recorded series to have three games played on the same day was in 1920, when the Cincinnati Reds played against the Pittsburgh Pirates on the second-to-last day of the year. The Pirates entered the day only two-and-a-half games behind the third place Reds -- the team wanted the extra money that came with finishing third, so they petitioned to play all the games that had been rained out against the Reds in one shot. Much to the dismay of everyone on the Reds roster, National League president John Heydler allowed the rare tripleheader to take place.

The first game began at noon, with the frigid temperature making life miserable for the visiting Reds. Nonetheless, Cincinnati won the first two games, 13-4 and 7-3, spoiling any chances the Pirates had at taking third. The Pirates won the final game 6-0, which was called after six innings due to impending darkness. Just five players on either team played in all three games; Reds pitcher Rod Eller played the only game of his career at second base; and Pirates third baseman Clyde Barnhart was the only player to get a hit in all three games.

In a later collective bargaining agreement, it was decided that three full games could never be scheduled on a single date again.


(Bucky Dent and Luis Tiant. Photos by Icon SMI, AP Photos)

10/02/1978 - Dent homer topples Red Sox

Over the course of his 12-year career, Bucky Dent was not known for his power. In 4,512 regular season at-bats, he hit a grand total of 40 home runs, and the most he ever hit in a year was eight. And yet, Dent's name is synonymous with one of the most remembered home runs of all time.

To read more about this story, click here for an in-depth Inhistoric article:

10/02/1995 - Chicago trades for Dennis Rodman

The Chicago Bulls trade Will Purdue, the backup center of their three championships from 1991 to 1993, to the San Antonio Spurs for Dennis Rodman. The addition of Rodman, who was maybe the greatest rebounder in NBA history, was an important one for the Bulls, who were in need of a brusing power forward since Horace Grant signed with the Orlando Magic. Rodman would spend only three seasons in Chicago, and it was thanks to his help that the Bulls won the title in all three years.

Getting "The Worm" came at a price. Rodman was so crazy, so eccentric that it was often impossible to rget him to focus on basketball. Dennis was crazy enough that from June 1998 to August 1999, Rodman was levied with sexual harrassment suits from six different women -- all of them from Las Vegas. Players such as Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen spoke openly about babysitting Dennis, whose antics made him a national figure in the 1990's.

The Bulls were so desperate to get on Rodman's good side that four days after acquiring him from San Antonio, they signed reserve center Jack Haley to a contract. Haley, who had befriended Dennis when they played together on the Spurs, played in only one game in the 1995-96 season, when Chicago won a record 72 games. Haley's role was merely to keep Rodman in line, as Dennis rarely interacted with the other players.

On the court, the Dennis Rodman experiment was a complete success. While he had almost no offensive game whatsoever, Rodman compensated by being the best rebounder in the league. Dennis, who had led the league in rebounding the previous four seasons (including a rediculous 18.7 per game average in 1992) led the NBA in rebounding in all three seasons in Chicago. His three rings in the windy city gave him five for his career: three in Chicago, two in Detroit.

When the Bulls were broken up in 1999, Rodman spent a year with the Los Angeles Lakers -- averaging 11.2 rebounds in 28.6 minutes per game. The following season, Rodman played just 12 games with the Dallas Mavericks and averaged an even more impressive 14.3 per game. While Dennis' rebounding remained impressive, he was such a chaotic person that no team would touch him out of fear that he would damage them. Rodman tried in vain to continue his professional career -- even claiming that he wanted to play in 2007, at the age of 46. But no other teams were willing to take him on; his career ended when the Mavericks waived him in 2000.

10/02/1999 - Pippen traded to Trail Blazers

After a failed season with the Houston Rockets, Scottie Pippen -- the famed sidekick of Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls -- is traded to the Portland Blazers for Stacey Augmon, Kelvin Cato, Ed Gray, Carlos Rogers, Brian Shaw, and Walt Williams. Pippen, who had played the first 11 years of his career in Chicago, had gotten along poorly in Houston and had taken several shots at teammate Charles Barkley, who had reduced his salary just so Scottie could sign with them. In a taped interview on ESPN not a week earlier, Pippen openly campaigned to be traded to the L.A. Lakers -- where Phil Jackson, his former Chicago skipper, was now coaching -- and blasted Barkley by calling him "selfish" and "lazy."

Portland was certainly a better fit for the 34 year-old future Hall of Famer. With the addition of Pippen, the Blazers easily had the most stacked roster in the NBA. Their starting lineup consisted of Damon Stoudamire, Steve Smith, Pippen, Rasheed Wallace and Arvydas Sabonis -- five players who were all capable of scoring 20 on any given night.

Portland went 59-23 in 1999-00 and was easily a contender to win it all. In the postseason, they ran into the Lakers in the conference finals. Los Angeles took a huge 3-1 series lead, but Portland fought back to win the next two. In Game 7, Portland held a 16-point lead with a few seconds remaining in the third quarter. Pippen, who was fighting for his place in history, was staring at a trip to the NBA Finals. He could finally win a ring as the leader of a team, without Michael Jordan, and could even surpass him by winning his seventh overall.

But what followed was one of the worst collapses in NBA history. Portland blew a huge fourth quarter lead thanks -- ironically -- to a few monster threes from Brian Shaw, who the Blazers were so willing to let go. The Lakers managed to steal the win and advanced to the finals, where they beat the Indiana Pacers in six games. Portland was never able to repeat their success and spent the following years getting progressively older, and worse.

Pippen spent four seasons with the Blazers. In all four years, Portland managed to go to the postseason; three times, they went out to the Lakers; once they fell to the Mavericks in seven games. Pippen later spent a final season with the Chicago Bulls, in which he played in only 23 games, before calling it quits.

Further reading:

The Last Tripleheader [SABR]

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