By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 25, 2006 – Rick Monday credits six years in the Marine Corps Reserve with his saving an American flag on April 25, 1976, during a game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Chicago Cubs.
Monday, who was playing center field for the Cubs, stopped two protestors from trying to burn an American flag on the outfield grass at Dodger Stadium.
In honor of the 30th anniversary of this event, Monday will be honored during the Dodgers’ game against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park, in Houston, tonight.
In an interview with MLB.com, Monday said his thoughts were also “reinforced by a lot of friends who lost their lives protecting the rights and freedoms that flag represented.”
“To this day, I couldn’t tell you what was running through my mind except I was mad because what they were trying to do was wrong,” he said. “When I reflect back upon it now, I still get goose bumps.”
Recently, the National Baseball Hall of Fame named Monday’s heroic effort as one of the 100 Classic Moments in the history of the game.
Vin Scully, the long-time Dodgers’ announcer who called the game in 1976, said Monday’s “alertness and quick thinking” thwarted the burning. “Rick Monday, you’ve made a great play,” Scully said that day.
Dodger executive Al Campanis later presented Monday with the flag at Wrigley Field. Monday said he still hangs it proudly in his home in Vero Beach, Fla.
(Based on releases from the Los Angeles Dodgers and MLB.com.)