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This Day in Sports History: August 20

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 20 is a day in which America's most popular league was formed and baseball's original "Iron Man" also set a career record for grand slams.

 

1920: The American Professional Football Conference was formed in a meeting at the Jordan and Hupmobile auto showroom in Canton, Ohio. Two years later, the conference changed its name to the National Football League.

 

1938: New York Yankees first baseman Lou Gehrig hit a career record 23rd grand slam in an 11-3 win over the Philadelphia Athletics at Shibe Park.

 

1972: David Pearson won the Yankee 400 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan.

 

1981: After splitting the strike-shortened season into two halves with the division leader in each making the playoffs, MLB commissioner Bowie Kuhn announced a modified plan where if a team won both halves, it would play the runner-up in the division in the second half. The convoluted plan was adjusted after Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa and St. Louis Cardinals skipper Whitey Herzog openly declared they would lose games on purpose to improve their playoff chances. In the end, the Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds had the best records in their division but did not make the playoffs.

 

1995: Cleveland Indians closer Jose Mesa recorded his 37th save in his 37th attempt in an 8-5 win over the Milwaukee Brewers at Jacobs Field.

 

2005: Shortly after a game against the Denver Broncos at Invesco Field at Mile High, San Francisco 49ers offensive guard Thomas Herrion collapsed and died of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The 49ers created the Thomas Herrion Memorial Award less than two weeks later, which is given to the player that best exemplifies his spirit.

 

— 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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