Major League Baseball’s greatest moment occurred April 25, 1976, in Dodger Stadium, when Chicago Cubs outfielder Rick Monday snatched the American flag from two protesters who had bolted from the stands and were attempting to ignite it in centerfield.
William Thomas had put the flag on the ground, knelt down, sprayed it with lighter fluid, and was in the process of striking the match to set it ablaze when Monday dashed over, grabbed it off the turf, and ran with it in his hand to the third base line.
Authorities said Thomas and his 11-year-old son had attempted to desecrate the flag to draw attention to Mrs. Thomas’ internment in a Missouri mental institution.
Monday’s quick reaction prevented the desecration of America’s symbol of freedom. His action not only honored the American flag and every American citizen, but it also stands as a testament to what once was the great American pastime.