MLB History: Rick Monday and the Flag Burning Incident

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MLB History
VERO BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 15, 1981: Rick Monday #16 talks with manager Tommy Lasorda #2 of the Los Angeles Dodgers during spring training at Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

Rick Monday goes down in MLB history as the first player to get drafted in the inaugural MLB Draft. He was selected by the Kansas City Athletics in 1965 for a $104,000 signing bonus as a 19-year-old. Although he made his Major League debut in September 1966, he went to boot camp with Dave Duncan with the U.S. Marine Corps in San Diego for six months before the beginning of that season’s Spring Training. This was a key fact in a historic player’s career to account for the title of the article.

MLB History: Majors Career

After making his Majors debut for the A’s in 1966, he played his first full season for them in their last season in Kansas City before the move to Oakland. His first full season saw him average .251 with 14 HRs and 51 RBIs.

The move to Oakland saw a shift in momentum for the A’s. They became a dominant force between 1972-1974, winning three World Series in a row. Although Monday had left for the Chicago Cubs by then, he had picked up his first All-Star honor in 1968 after he averaged .274 with 39 XBHs.

He was ultimately traded for pitcher Ken Holtzman in November 1971, ending a six-year Majors career with the A’s. This move to the Cubs saw him have five productive years in Chicago, finishing his Cubs career by coming 18th in the MVP Voting.

His most successful season with the Cubs came in 1976. He established career highs in home runs, RBIs, slugging percentage and OPS, whilst hitting .272 from the leadoff position.

In January 1977 he was traded to the LA Dodgers. This happened just months after the incident that saw him establish himself in MLB History. And it all happened at Dodger Stadium nonetheless.

MLB History: Monday and the Flag Incident

For all his contributions to the game, nothing screams Rick Monday’s name more than the incident at Dodger Stadium involving a crazed fan and the burning of an American flag.

In the incident, two protestors tried to set fire to an American flag after the start of the bottom of the 4th Inning. Monday took exception to this, ran over to the flag, and took it over to the Dodgers’ bench. This drew cheers from all the fans in the stadium that day and put him down in MLB History.

He was honored twice in 2008 for the incident that day. First, he received an American Flag, and secondly, he was presented with a Peace On Earth Medallion at Dodger Stadium.

MLB History: His Career Post Incident

After that incident in 1976, he was drafted to the LA Dodgers and spent eight years with them. He became an All-Star for the second time in 1978, as well as winning the World Series with them in 1981.

Post playing career, he has established himself as a broadcaster. He started working with the Dodgers, before becoming a color commentator.

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main image credit Embed from Getty Images

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