On April 25, 1976, a patriotic moment occurred at Dodger Stadium during the fourth inning of a matchup between the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers. Two fans ran onto the field from the left-field pavilion to set fire to a United States flag as a symbol of protest.
Their attempt was thwarted by Cubs outfielder Rick Monday, who ran over and snatched the flag before it could be set ablaze. The protestors were a father and son, and one threw lighter fluid in Monday’s direction as he escaped with the flag.
Monday later said he was motivated by his experiences with veterans and visits to veterans’ hospitals. His hope was to preserve respect for military figures all over the United States and abroad.
The 1965 first-round pick was awarded with the flag after the incident. Former Dodgers vice president of player personnel Al Campanis presented Monday the flag, which he still possess this day.
Monday was sent to the Dodgers the following season as part a five-player trade with the Cubs. Monday spent eight seasons with Los Angeles, with whom he finished his career.
Many recognize Monday as the current radio voice of the Dodgers, providing great insight alongside Charley Steiner. Monday batted .254/.355/.443 with 73 home runs and 226 RBIs in his eight seasons with the Dodgers.
In 2016, Monday threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Dodger Stadium on the 40th anniversary of his heroic act.