Presented at a press conference as the greatest player of all time, Wayne Gretzky announced on that date in 1999 that he would retire from hockey. His last game, the 1,487th in his unprecedented career, was played two days later for the New York Rangers against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The former king, who also played for the Edmonton Oilers and St. Louis Blues, held or shared more than 60 NHL records and scored 1,017 regular season and playoff goals. He led the Kings to the 1993 Stanley Cup final against the Montreal Canadiens.
If it weren’t for the COVID-19 pandemic, the Dodgers would have concluded a three-game series Thursday night against the St. Louis Cardinals at Dodger Stadium.
Here is an overview of the memorable matches and exceptional sports performances on this date:
1940 – On a windy day at 40 degrees in Chicago, Bob Feller, 21, launches the only opening day without a hit in the history of baseball. The 1-0 gem at Comiskey Park was the first of three career free hitting streak for the Cleveland Indians’ ace. He also threw 12 hits.
1954 – Detroit Red Wings beat Canadians 2-1 in overtime to win the Stanley Cup in seven games. Diminutive Tony Leswick, at 5 feet 6 and 160 pounds, scores the winning goal at 4:20 on the left. Stunned Canadians leave the ice without shaking hands with the Red Wings.
1987 – Michael Jordan scores 61 points in a 117-114 loss to the Chicago Bulls against the Atlanta Hawks and becomes the second player to exceed 3000 points in a season. He joins Wilt Chamberlain, who has accomplished the feat three times. Dominique Wilkins leads Atlanta with 34 points.
1990 – Gelindo Bordin of Italy is the first Olympic male marathon champion to win the Boston Marathon. Bordin, who won the gold medal in Seoul in 1988, maintains a conservative pace and exceeds the leaders at 21 miles.
1992 – Mike Gartner of the Rangers gets his 500th career pass in a 7-1 Penguins rout. Gartner, one of the last survivors of the World Hockey Association, is the first NHL player to record his 500th assist, 500th goal, 1000th point and to play his 1000th game in the same season.
1997 – The Chicago Cubs set the scoreline for the worst start in National League history, extending their losing streak to 12 with a 4-0 loss to Colorado. The streak ends at 14 when the Cubs defeat the N.Y. Mets in the second game of a double game.
2003 – The Ducks defeated Detroit 3-2 in overtime, making the Red Wings the first defending Stanley Cup champion in 51 years to be swept the following season in a first series. Steve Rucchin scored at 6:53 of the extra period to give victory to Anaheim, then known as the Mighty Ducks.
2008 – Golden State ends the season with a 48-34 record after losing to the 126-121 Seattle SuperSonics. The Warriors have more wins than any team that has failed the playoffs since the NBA expanded to 16 teams in 1984. Houston held the previous mark of 45 wins in 2000-01.
SOURCES: The Times, Associated Press