Oct. 1, 1975 - Ali TKOs Frazier after the 14th round in ‘Thrilla in Manila’

The bout is often ranked as one of the greatest fights of 20th century boxing, and is the climax to the bitter rivalry between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. When Ali was stripped of the title in 1967 over his refusal to join the armed forces when drafted during the Vietnam War, Frazier had petitioned President Nixon to restore Ali’s right to box and even lent Ali money. When Ali finally got his license back, they met in the so-called Fight of the Century, the first time that two undisputed heavyweight champions had met in the ring. The mutual enmity emerged in the build up to the fight, when Ali turned on Frazier, describing him as an “Uncle Tom”, a “white man’s champion” and later, a “gorilla”. Frazier in turn riled Ali by referring to him by his birth name, Clay.

Afterwards the pair continued to trade insults, but by the time they met in a rematch, neither was a champion; Frazier had lost his title to George Foreman and Ali had recently been beaten by Ken Norton. In the build-up to the fight, the two had an infamous brawl in a TV studio while being interviewed by Howard Cosell. The fight itself was largely uneventful and Ali won on points. By 1975, Ali was champion again having unexpectedly regained the title by beating Foreman, whereas Frazier was thought to be washed up. Ali’s camp decided to give Frazier a title shot as a final payday for Joe before he retired. However, the fight proved to be a brutal, give and take affair, with each man taking a lot of punishment. The fight finally ended when Frazier’s trainer Eddie Futch refused to let Frazier come out for the 15th round, meaning Ali won by TKO.

Sept 30, 1927 - Babe Ruth became the first player to hit 60 home runs in a season

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The 1927 season featured a fearsome New York Yankees lineup of power hitters known as “Murderer’s Row” that included Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Tony Lazzerri and Bob Meusel. Ruth led the American League in home runs throughout the year, but did not appear to be within reach of his record 59 home runs, set in 1921, until he hit 16 in the month of September, tying his record on September 29.

On September 30, in the last game of the season, Ruth came to the plate against lefty Tom Zachary of the Washington Senators in the eighth inning. With the count at 2-1, Ruth launched a Zachary pitch high into the right-field bleachers, and then took a slow stroll around the bases as the crowd celebrated by tearing paper into confetti and throwing hats into the air. Upon assuming his position in right-field for the ninth inning, those seated in the bleachers waved hankies at the famed slugger; Ruth responded with multiple military salutes.

(via athleticpoetics)

Sept. 29, 1954 - Willie Mays of the Giants made his famous over the shoulder catch

The Catch refers to a memorable defensive baseball play by Willie Mays during Game 1 of the 1954 World Series between the New York Giants and the Cleveland Indians at the Polo Grounds in New York on a ball hit by Vic Wertz.

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Sept. 28, 1941 - Ted Williams finished the season with a .406 batting average

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Ted Williams batting average stood at .39955 with a season-finale doubleheader to be played the next day at Shibe Park, home of Connie Mack’s Athletics. Since batting averages are rounded to the next decimal, Williams could have sat out the final two games and still officially crested baseball’s imposing .400 barrier.

At the time, Williams said, “If I’m going to be a .400 hitter, I want more than my toenails on the line.”

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Sept. 27, 1983 - Larry Bird signed a 7-year, $15 million contract with the Celtics

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Larry Bird became the highest paid Celtic at the time.

In 1983-84 the Celtics would go 62-20 and finally get back to the NBA Finals after a three year hiatus. In the final, the Celtics came back from a 2-1 deficit to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers, winning their 15th championship. Bird renewed his college rivalry with Lakers star Magic Johnson during this series.

Sept. 26, 1988 - Ben Johnson tested positive for steroids and stripped of his 100-meter gold medal

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On September 24, 1988, Johnson won the 100m final at the Summer Olympics in Seoul, lowering his own world record to 9.79 seconds. Johnson would later remark that he would have been even faster had he not raised his hand in the air just before he finished the race. However, Johnson’s urine samples were found to contain stanozolol, and he was disqualified two days later. He later admitted having used steroids when he ran his 1987 world record, which caused the IAAF to rescind that record as well. Johnson and coach Charlie Francis complained that they used doping in order to remain on an equal footing with the other top athletes on drugs they had to compete against.

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Sept. 25, 2000 - Vince Carter jumped over 7-foot-2 center with “the Dunk of Death”

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Vince Carter jumped over 7-foot-2 French center Frédéric Weis at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney.

Teammate Jason Kidd said it was “One of the best plays I’ve ever seen.” The French media later dubbed it “le dunk de la mort” (“the Dunk of Death”).

"the Dunk of Death" video:

Sept. 24, 1988 - Jackie Joyner-Kersee set a world record of 7,291 points in the heptathlon at the Olympics in Seoul

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At the 1988 Games in Seoul, Jackie Joyner-Kersee set the still-standing heptathlon world record of 7,291 points. The silver and bronze medalists were Sabine John and Anke Vater-Behmer, both of whom were representing East Germany. Five days later, Joyner-Kersee won her second gold medal, leaping to an Olympic record of 7.40 m (24 ft 3 1⁄4 in) in the long jump.

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Sept. 23, 1988 - Jose Conseco, at age 24, became the first player in MLB history to join the 40-40 club

The Major League benchmark for a truly great offensive season lasted nearly a century and was the attainment of 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases. In April of 1988, Jose Conseco guaranteed he would hit at least 40 home runs and steal at least 40 bases in the upcoming season. On September 23, 1988, an all-time plateau was reached as Conseco set the new benchmark for power & speed at 40 home runs (finished the season with 42) and 40 stolen bases during the same season.

In recognition of his record the street in front of his former high school was named after him but was later rescinded in 2008 after he admitted to previously using drugs throughout his career. That same year, he helped the Oakland Athletics to the World Series but they lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in five games. Canseco was unanimously named the American League’s Most Valuable Player in 1988, with a .307 batting average, 120 runs scored, 124 RBI, 42 home runs, and 40 stolen bases.

Sept. 22, 1993 - 46 year-old Nolan Ryan pitched his last game

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Nolan Ryan's very durable arm finally gave out in Seattle on September 22, 1993, when he tore a ligament, ending his career two starts earlier than planned. Briefly attempting to pitch past the injury, Ryan threw one further pitch after tearing his ligament; with his injured arm, his final pitch was measured at 98 miles per hour.

Ryan’s last start was his career worst; he allowed a single, four walks, and a grand slam in the top of the first without recording an out. It was his record setting 10th grand slam given up of his career. (Ryan left trailing 5–0, and the fourth walk was completed by a reliever after Ryan’s injury, but credited to Ryan.) Greg Myers of the California Angels was the last strikeout victim of Nolan Ryan’s career, on September 17, 1993.

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Sept. 21, 1986 - Jets beat Dolphins, 51-45, with Ken O’Brien and Dan Marino setting an NFL record of 884 passing yards

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The two quarterbacks put on a legendary offensive performance as they set NFL single game records of 884 net passing yards and ten touchdown passes, records that still stand to this day. Dan Marino completed 30 of 50 passes for 448 yards and six touchdown passes. Ken O’Brien threw for 479 yards and four touchdown passes all to wide receiver Wesley Walker, including one with no time left on the clock to force overtime. A game that saw record setting performances from two quarterbacks fittingly ended with a long pass. The New York Jets completed the comeback with a 51-45 victory in overtime. To this day, it is the highest scoring game between the teams (96 total points).

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Sept. 20, 2009 - Brett Favre set an NFL record with his 271st straight start

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Since first being named the starter of the Green Bay Packers before playing the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 27, 1992, Brett Favre had never missed a game spanning over 18 1⁄2 consecutive seasons. He holds the record for the most consecutive starts by any player in the NFL with 297 (321 including playoffs), and is one of only seven quarterbacks to have started over 100 consecutive games in NFL history. He failed to finish a game due to injury on only eight occasions since taking control of the Packers as quarterback.

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Sept. 19, 1947 - Jackie Robinson became the first player to win Rookie of the Year

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A 28-year old in only his third professional season, Jackie Robinson played first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, a position he had never played before. He finished the season having played in 151 games for the Dodgers, with a batting average of .297, an on-base percentage of .383, and a .427 slugging percentage. He had 175 hits (scoring 125 runs) including 31 doubles, 5 triples, 12 home runs, driving in 48 runs for the year. Robinson led the league in sacrifice hits, with 28, and in stolen bases, with 29. His cumulative performance earned him the inaugural Major League Baseball Rookie of the Year Award (separate National and American League Rookie of the Year honors were not awarded until 1949). The rookie of the year award was renamed the Jackie Robinson Award in July 1987.

Sept. 18, 1996 - Roger Clemens struck out 20 batters, tying his own record set 10 years earlier

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Roger Clemens started the game out strong striking out fifteen Detroit Tigers in the first six innings, Clemens played on the aggressiveness of the Detroit batters, throwing seemingly hittable fastballs by their bats and fooling them with hard sliders in the dirt. Going into the ninth inning, Clemens was unaware that he had already racked up19 strikeouts and was just one away from tying his own record. The first Detroit batter, Alan Trammell, hit an easy pop fly for the first out. The second, Ruben Sierra, singled before Tony Clark, who had already struck out three times, hit another fly ball for the second out. Travis Fryman then struck out swinging to become Clemens’ 20th victim. With the 4-0 win, Clemens also tied his team’s record for most shutouts by a pitcher (38) and most wins (192), both of which were set by legendary Sox pitcher Cy Young in 1911.

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Sept. 17, 1954 - Rocky Marciano knocked out Ezzard Charles to move his record to 47-0 and retain the heavyweight title

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Rocky Marciano fought consecutive bouts against former World Heavyweight Champion and light heavyweight legend Ezzard Charles, who became the only man to ever last fifteen rounds against Marciano. Marciano won the first fight on points and the second by an eighth-round knockout, moving his record to 47-0.

Marciano’s professional boxing career went from September 23, 1952, to April 27, 1956. He is the only person to hold the heavyweight title and go untied and undefeated throughout his career. Marciano defended his title six times, against Jersey Joe Walcott, Roland LaStarza, Ezzard Charles (twice), Don Cockell, and Archie Moore.

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