On April 25, 1976, in a year that was the country’s bicentennial, no less, Rick Monday went into the history books by saving an American flag from being desecrated on the field at Chavez Ravine.
Monday, then playing center field for the Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium against Los Angeles, made what some have deemed the “greatest play” in baseball history when he snatched Old Glory from two fans who ran on the field with the intent to burn it.
The moment is indelibly iconic, and Monday, who later played for the Dodgers and is now one of their announcers on radio broadcasts, gave an oral history of the event in 2006, on the 30th anniversary of the heroic moment, to MLB.com. In his words:
“When these two guys ran on the field, something wasn’t right. And it wasn’t right from the standpoint that one of them had something cradled under his arm. It turned out to be an American flag. They came from the left-field corner, went past Cardenal to shallow left-center field.
“That means something, because this wasn’t just a flag on the field. This was a flag that people looked at with respect.
Al Campanis gave the Monday the flag later in the year and the Dodgers announcer cherishes it in his home.