Monday marked the 40-year anniversary of the day two men attempted to light an American flag on fire in the outfield at Dodger Stadium, but were stopped in a heroic effort by Chicago Cubs outfielder Rick Monday.
The Los Angeles Dodgers gave Monday that flag in 1976, and since then he and his wife Barbara Lee have taken it across the country as a means to raise funds for organizations that help soldiers and their families.
The flag returned to Dodger Stadium on Monday evening when the Dodgers hosted the Miami Marlins in the first of a four-game series. Monday, who is now a Dodgers radio broadcaster, was also in attendance to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
It was caught by Dodgers catching instructor Steve Yeager and Monday’s former teammate from the 1981 team that won the World Series:
According to Bill Shaikin of the LA Times, Monday is happy to use the incident as a way to raise money for military charities and hopes his family will continue to do so for a long time:
“The very symbol that represents the rights and freedoms for all of us in this country is the flag,” Monday said. “The very flag that two guys were trying to desecrate on this field 40 years ago has helped raise money for military charities. It continues to live.
“Long after I’m gone, this is something my family will continue to do. We’ve had great response all around this country.”
Monday played 19 Major League seasons, making two All-star appearances and winning the one World Series with the Dodgers. He became a broadcaster in 1985.