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This Day in Sports History: June 22

This Day in Sports History: June 22

This Day in Sports History: June 22

The history of sports is both vast and rich, thanks to the existence of so many different ones and the longevity associated with them. With so much history to cull through, Athlon Sports wanted to offer the opportunity to look back and see what memorable things happened or milestones were reached on a specific date.

With that in mind, June 22 is the day in which Joe Louis fought two of his most famous bouts and Wayne Gretzky went to the NHL in a merger.

1937: Joe Louis won the heavyweight championship with an eighth-round knockout of James J. Braddock at Chicago's Comiskey Park. He held the title for a record 140 consecutive months.

1938: Joe Louis retained his heavyweight title with a first-round knockout of Max Schmeling before a packed crowd at Yankee Stadium and a worldwide audience. The German boxer had beaten Louis earlier, and Nazi officials declared that he would do it again. Louis responded by annihilating him in two minutes and four seconds.

1979: The NHL absorbed four World Hockey Association teams, the Edmonton Oilers, New England Whalers, Quebec Nordiques, and Winnipeg Jets. The Oilers already had Wayne Gretzky on their roster and went on to win five Stanley Cups in the next 11 seasons.

1986: Diego Maradona touched a ball with his left arm before knocking it in with his head to give Argentina a 1-0 lead over England in a World Cup quarterfinal match at Mexico City's Estadio Azteca. The goal was incorrectly ruled legal and Argentina won 2-1. After the game, Maradona said the goal was scored, "a little with his head, and a little with the Hand of God," and today it is known as "The Hand of God" goal. Argentina went on to win the World Cup.

1997: Barcelona Dragons quarterback Jon Kitna threw for 401 yards and two touchdowns in a 38-24 win over Rhein Fire in World Bowl '97, the World League of American Football championship, at Barcelona's Estadi Olimpic de Montjuic.

2002: St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Darryl Kile died of a heart attack in his Chicago hotel room at 33. He was the first active MLB player to die during the regular season since Thurman Munson was killed in a plane crash in 1979.

— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports' Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.