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Rick Monday – 1973 Topps #44

Robert James “Rick” Monday, Jr. (born November 20, 1945 in Batesville, Arkansas) is a former center fielder in Major League Baseball and is currently a broadcast announcer. From 1966 through 1984, Monday, a center fielder for most of his career, played for the Kansas City/Oakland Athletics (1966–71), Chicago Cubs (1972–76) and Los Angeles Dodgers (1977–84). He batted and threw left-handed. In a 19-season career, Monday compiled a .264 batting average with 241 home runs and 775 RBI. He was selected an All-Star in 1968 and 1978.
The two most famous moments of Monday’s career were both associated with the Dodgers. In the first, on April 25, 1976, during a game at Dodger Stadium, two protesters, William Thomas and his 11-year-old son, ran into the outfield and tried to set fire to an American flag they had brought with them. Monday, then playing with the Cubs, noticed they had placed the flag on the ground and were fumbling with matches and lighter fluid; he then dashed over and grabbed the flag from the ground to thunderous cheers. He handed the flag to Los Angeles pitcher Doug Rau, after which the ballpark police officers arrested the two intruders. When he came up to bat in the next half-inning, he got a standing ovation from the crowd and the big message board behind the left-field bleachers in the stadium flashed the message, “RICK MONDAY… YOU MADE A GREAT PLAY…” He later said, “If you’re going to burn the flag, don’t do it around me. I’ve been to too many veterans’ hospitals and seen too many broken bodies of guys who tried to protect it.”Monday was a U.S. Military member himself, having served a commitment with the Marine Corps Reserve as part of his ROTC obligation after leaving Arizona State. On August 25, 2008, Monday was presented with an American flag flown over Valley Forge National Historical Park in honor of his 1976 rescue. Monday is still in possession of the flag he rescued from the protestors; he has had offers to sell it (for up to $1 million) but has declined all offers. At the September 2nd, 2008 Los Angeles Dodgers game, Rick Monday was presented with a Peace One Earth medallion by Patricia Kennedy, founder of the non-profit organization Step Up 4 Vets, for his actions on April 25, 1976.

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