Today in Sports History: August 20th

8/20/1938 - Indians catch record baseballs

Frank Pytlak and Henry Helf, two catchers for the Cleveland Indians, both catch a baseball thrown to them from the top of Cleveland's Terminal Tower, 708 feet from the ground. The grabs shattered the previous record for the highest catch from a structue, which had previously been held by Gabby Street, who caught a ball from the top of the Washington Monument 30 years earlier. Mathematicians estimated that the balls Helf and Pytlak caught were coming in at almost 140 MPH.

"For a while I didn't know if the ball was going to hit me in the head or my glove," said Pytlak. "When I caught it, it stung more than Bob Feller's fastball."

"It was a sports item for two or three days," Helf said of the catch in 1985. "Then it was forgotten."

8/20/2005 - Herrion dies of heart illness

San Francisco 49ers lineman Thomas Herrion dies after being taken to the hospital. Herrion, 23, had only played a few minutes of a preseason game against the Broncos, it was only 65 degrees outside, and Herrion appeared to be acting and moving normal. Many were baffled at how a seemingly-healthy NFL player could suddenly drop dead. However, an autopsy revealed that Herrion Ischaemic heart disease -- an illness brought on by a reduction of blood traveling through the heart.

Herrion's death revisited the obesity issue started from Korey Stringer's death in 2001, mainly if the NFL was too tolerant to overweight players. At the time of his death, Herrion weighed in at 310 pounds -- 100 pounds over his Body Mass Index. A large contributor to his particular heart disease was clogged arteries, something that while not directly linked to his death was certainly perceived to be a source.

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