Today in Sports History: September 25th


(Carter posterizes Frederic Weis. Photo by Gary Cameron, Reuters)

9/25/1965 - Paige pitches at age 59

Satchel Paige becomes the oldest person to play in an MLB game. At age 59 (or 60 depending on where you read it) Paige was brought in by the last-place Kansas City Athletics, who figured he could attract some fans. Satchel played the part of the old man in style, sitting in the bullpen in a rocking chair as a nurse rubbed his arm. Then he went out and shutout the Red Sox for three innings, striking out one and allowing a sole hit to Carl Yastrzemski. He exited to a standing ovation from the 9,289 faithful, with "The Old Gray Mare" playing in the background.

Paige continued to play minor league ball for several years before he became a Braves assistant in 1969. The position allowed him to qualify for pension, and Paige did most of his coaching from his living room in Kansas City. Two years later, a special committee selected him as the first Negro League star to be inducted in the Hall of Fame. He was a Hall of Famer at age 65, even though he was only six years removed from pitching. But as Paige himself once said, "Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter."

9/25/1971 - The Young Herd gets first win

The "Young" Thundering Herd, with an almost entirely new team following the 1970 plane crash that claimed the lives of 37 players, win their home debut against Xavier. Marshall won on a last-second touchdown when quarterback Reggie Oliver rolled to the right and found freshman Terry Gardner open at the opposite end of the field. Gardner's score gave them the 15-13 win and one of the most touching victories ever in college football.

"It was a storybook finish," said new coach Jack Lengyel. "No one thought we had a chance to win except the team."

Marshall finished the year 2-8, with the other victory coming against Bowling Green. This moment and the entire tragedy surrounding the crash were remembered in the 2006 film "We Are Marshall" -- named so because it was the school's rallying cry after the crash.

10/01/2000 - The Dunk of Death

Vince Carter had many great in-game dunks, yet his greatest throw-down may have come in Sydney, Australia, thousands of miles from an NBA court. In an Olympic game against France, Carter -- playing for team USA -- slammed it down after jumping completely over 7-foot-2 Frederic Weis, leaving Weis and the rest of the players stunned. The French media dubbed it "le dunk de la mort" -- "The Dunk of Death."

"He joked with me at the end, 'Did you see that dunk I put in your face?'" Weis said in humor after the game. "I didn't see. Was too quick. I was not moving, trying to take a charge. But he jumped over me. It's unbelievable. ... I said, 'Why on me?' I'm going to be the poster dunk and I don't like this. He started laughing.

"Everybody will know my face now, or my number at least. It's going to be on a poster for sure."

"I think everybody was in awe, and nobody thought he was going to attempt that," said USA point guard Jason Kidd. "To me, that was probably the greatest play in basketball I've ever seen. Michael Jordan hasn't done that. Nobody has done that. He's the next coming of Vince Carter."

Weis never played in the NBA, although he was drafted by the New York Knicks in 1999.

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