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This Day in Sports History: August 17

Recapping events that took place in the sports world on this day

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, August 17 is a day in which MLB saw its only death from an on-field injury and a swimmer broke the gold medal record for a single Olympics.

 

1920: Cleveland Indians shortstop Ray Chapman died in New York the day after being hit in the head by a pitch from Yankees pitcher Carl Mays. The 29-year-old is the only player to die from injuries in an MLB game. Since Chapman had been unable to see the pitch that hit him, MLB required umpires to replace baseballs once they became dirty and banned the spitball.

 

1975: Buddy Baker won the Talladega 500 at the Alabama International Motor Speedway.

 

1987: The Oklahoma Sooners were named the preseason No. 1 in the United Press International Board of Coaches Poll (now Amway Coaches Poll) for the third straight year.

 

1996: San Francisco Giants left fielder Barry Bonds hit a three-run home run, reaching 100 RBIs for the sixth time in seven seasons in an 8-4 win over the Philadelphia Phillies at Veterans Stadium.

 

2007: Five months after being released by the Minnesota Timberwolves, Eddie Griffin died at 25 when his car was struck by a moving train in Houston.

 

2008: Michael Phelps won the gold medal in the 4x100-meter medley relay at the Summer Olympics in Beijing. It was Phelps’ eighth gold medal at the Beijing Games, breaking Mark Spitz’s record of seven gold medals won in a single Olympics in Munich in 1972.

 

— 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.

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