Rick Monday briefly became a national celebrity back in April 1976 when, while playing for the Chicago Cubs, he stopped a pair of protesters from burning an American Flag in the outfield of Dodger Stadium. It was America’s bicentennial year and the country was still feeling bad about itself following Vietnam and Watergate, so Monday’s act of patriotism endeared himself to the American public rather quickly.
Tuesday night the Dodgers are remembered Monday’s act with “Rick Monday Flag-Saving Bobblehead Night,” during their victory over the Cubs. As far as bobblehead giveaways go, this is pretty awesome.
If you think it’s strange the Dodgers would give away a bobblehead for a player on the Cubs, remember Monday played for Los Angeles from 1977-1984, winning the 1981 World Series.
Monday, who spent six years in the Marine Corp Reserves, told this to MLB.com about the incident during in interview in 2006:
“That means something, because this wasn’t just a flag on the field. This was a flag that people looked at with respect. We have a lot of rights and freedoms — not to sound corny — but we all have the option if we don’t like something to make it better. Or you also have the option, if you don’t like it, [to] pack up and leave. But don’t come onto the field and burn an American flag.”
And his moment of patriotism will live on forever … in bobblehead form.