It was on this day many years — Aug. 17, 1933 — that Lou Gehrig played in his 1,308th consecutive game, which broke the previous record held by former Yankee Everett Scott. Gehrig would go on to play a record 2,130 games in a row, which stood until 1995 when Baltimore Oriole and Maryland native Cal Ripken, Jr., bested it.
Gehrig became known as “The Iron Horse;” Ripken as “The Iron Man.”
A different kind of iron legacy would continue to take root on Aug. 19, 1964, when the Beatles played the first show of their first North American tour in San Francisco.
Because he feared the band would not sell out larger arena, manager Brian Epstein booked the 17,000-seat Cow Palace arena, which was filled easily considering the hype surrounding the four young men from Liverpool. Their appearance on the Ed Sullivan show several months earlier in the year was still fresh in pop culture consciousness.
Several people at the show were injured in the midst of the raucous crowd, and although none of the Beatles were hurt, they left the arena in an ambulance after their limousine was swarmed by crazed fans.
Some 40-plus years earlier, a now world-renown sport was getting its first dose of professionalism.
On Aug. 20, 1920, legendary athlete Jim Thorpe and six others met to establish the first professional football league in Canton, Ohio. They wound up creating the American Professional Football Conference, which stands now as a grandfather of sorts to the National Football League of today.
Before these Olympic Games in Rio, or those in London, or those even in Beijing, Michael Phelps was vying to be the greatest swimmer that world competition had ever seen.
A 19-year-old Phelps went to the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens intent on breaking fellow American swimmer Mark Spitz’s record of seven gold medals. He didn’t accomplish that goal, but on Aug. 21, 2004, Phelps won his eighth overall medal, tying Soviet gymnast Aleksandr Dityatin for the most at a single Olympic Games.
Twelve years later, with the Maryland-born Phelps now officially retired from professional swimming after a strong showing at the Rio Games, we can more easily recognize him as the greatest male swimmer — and maybe the best Olympic athlete — that anyone has ever seen.
Michael Phelps celebrates with his teammates after winning his record-setting eighth gold medal in the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. He had tried to accomplish this feat in the Games in Athens four years earlier, but came up short — winning his eight overall medal on Aug. 21, 2004.