This day in sports history: Yankees great Lou Gehrig hits first homer; Lions rookie ends 19-game losing streak
New York Yankees legend Lou Gehrig made his MLB debut at age 19 over a century ago, and on Sept. 27, 1923 – exactly 100 years ago – he hit his first home run against the Boston Red Sox.
Gehrig made his first appearance for the Yankees June 15, 1923, in the ninth inning against the St. Louis Browns.
He played in just 13 games that season, but an injury to first baseman Wally Pipp in late September gave Gehrig the chance to hit the first of hundreds of home runs in his 17-year career.
Batting fourth behind Babe Ruth, Gehrig hit his first of 493 career home runs in the Yankees’ 8-3 win over the Red Sox. He finished the four-game series against Boston hitting a .474 with six RBIs, three doubles and a triple, according to MLB.com.
Gehrig’s legacy included what many considered to be his unbreakable record of 2,130 consecutive games played. The streak stood for 56 years before it was broken by Cal Ripken Jr. in 1995.
The New York Rangers and New York Islanders share one of the most storied rivalries in sports history, but their story seemingly began Sept. 27, 1972, following a meaningless preseason exhibition game.
The “Isles,” as they were soon nicknamed, were a part of the NHL’s 1972 expansion that saw the league grow from 14 to 16 teams. The expansion was done in an effort to combat the emergence of the rival World Hockey Association, which was looking to place a team in New York.
The Islanders opened their inaugural season with a 6-4 loss to the Rangers in their first preseason game at Nassau Coliseum. They lost all six regular season games to the Original Six franchise that season, ultimately setting the stage for what is now known as the “Battle of New York.”
It was an ugly day for Baltimore Orioles second baseman Roberto Alomar.
On Sept. 27, 1996, Alomar was ejected from a game against the Toronto Blue Jays in the first inning after he spit in the face of home plate umpire John Hirschbeck.
The incident happened after Alomar was unhappy with Hirschbeck’s third strike call. A week after the spitting incident, Hirschbeck broke his silence in a prepared statement and publicly forgave him.
“It is time to bring closure to this matter. While the events of the past week have been difficult for me and my family and all who love baseball, I wish to publicly forgive Roberto Alomar for his actions. I am sure that he wishes as much as I do that this incident never occurred,” his statement said, according to a 1996 report from the Los Angeles Times.
Alomar was suspended for the first five games of the 1997 season, and the two later shook hands publicly during a game later that season.
Matthew Stafford, a rookie quarterback out of the University of Georgia and the first overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, was the first rookie to start for the Detroit Lions since 1968.
The team was coming off a brutal 2008 season in which they went 0-16. They had suffered two more losses to start the season and were on a 19-game losing streak when, on Sept. 27, 2009, Stafford went 21 of 36 for 241 yards and one touchdown to defeat Washington in a 19-14 victory.
It was the Lions first win since Dec. 30, 2007.
“It’s awesome — great for not only the guys in the locker room, but the fans, the town, everybody,” Stafford said at the time. “It’s just a tribute to everybody sticking together and pulling through. It’s special. I am going to remember this one.”