Final Ninjaadcock Games By: Austin Adcock

Jere Adcock and Matt Glover won’t be at Lawson Field tonight watching the 6A semifinal game between Austin and Ramsay, but they have as much insight on the game as anybody. Adcock is, of course. Referee: James Adcock 6. Bolton 0 QPR 1, Saturday August 24, 2013, Championship. The introduction of Bobby Zamora for a hot-headed Austin, who needlessly got involved with Marc Tierney and picked up a booking, signalled QPR’s intent for the final 20 minutes.

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© (Rusty Kennedy / Associated Press) Bart Conner, left, and Peter Vidmar, center, celebrate following the U.S. men's gymnastic team's gold medal triumph on July 31, 1984. (Rusty Kennedy / Associated Press)

The U.S. men’s gymnastics team touched off a wildly emotional celebration at Pauley Pavilion on this date in 1984 when it stunned China in the Summer Olympics by winning the team title — the men’s first gold medal in the sport in 80 years.

Mitch Gaylord of Van Nuys, Bart Conner of Morton Grove, Ill., and Tim Daggett of West Springfield, Mass., all got perfect 10s in, respectively, the rings, parallel bars and the high bar. UCLA’s Peter Vidmar was the high scorer.

Final Ninjaadcock Games By: Austin Adcock Jr

The United States outpointed China 591.40 to 590.80, and Japan finished third at 586.70. Although China was heavily favored, the Americans built up confidence in the compulsory exercises, and it carried over to the optionals round.

“It has to be the biggest moment for all of us,” Conner said. “Now we’ve proved we’re at the level of China and Russia. Nobody is going to blow us away.”

Other memorable games and outstanding sports performances on July 31 through the years:

1934 — Led by Fred Perry and Bunny Austin, Great Britain beat the United States 4-1 on Centre Court at Wimbledon’s All-England Club in the finals of the Davis Cup. Perry defeated Sidney Wood 6-3 and Austin stopped Frank Shields 6-1 in the final matches.

1954 — First baseman Joe Adcock went five for five, hitting four home runs and a double that propelled the Milwaukee Braves to a 15-7 win over the Dodgers at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. Adcock set a major league record of 18 total bases that stood for 48 years until it was broken in 2002 by Shawn Green of the Dodgers in a game at Milwaukee. Adcock homered off Don Newcombe in the second inning, Erv Palica in the fifth, Pete Wojey in the seventh and Johnny Podres in the ninth inning.

1983 — Jan Stephenson nearly wilted in temperatures over 100 degrees but overcame the heat and beat JoAnne Carner and Patty Sheehan by a stroke to win the U.S. Women's Open at Cedar Ridge Country Club in Broken Arrow, Okla. Stephenson, 31, from Australia, fired a final round three-over-par 74 for a 72-hole total six-over 290, the highest winning score in an Open in six years. She is the first foreign golfer to win the women’s Open since France’s Catherine Lacoste, an amateur, did it in 1967.

1984 — Alex Spanos, a real estate and construction magnate from Stockton, took control of the San Diego Chargers when he announced that he had matched another real estate developer’s bid to purchase the majority ownership of the team that was controlled by Gene Klein. As one of the Chargers' minority owners, Spanos had a right of first refusal on any sale of Klein’s controlling shares. He matched an offer of $40 million to $41 million that Dallas apartment developer Carl Summers Jr. had officially submitted to Klein over a month earlier.

1993 — Mike Aulby became the second bowler in the Professional Bowlers Assn. history to roll a perfect 300 in the title game of a tournament when he beat David Ozio in the $140,000 Wichita Open at Wichita, Kan. Aulby topped Ozio of Vidor, Texas, 300-279 for his second championship of the year and 22nd of his career. It was the highest-scoring televised match at the time.

1994 — Sergey Bubka set a world record in the pole vault for the 35th time in his career — including outdoor and indoor — at a meet in Sestriere, Italy, when he soared 20 feet, 1 3/4 inches, adding a half-inch to his old mark that he set in Tokyo in 1992.

2007 — In a blockbuster move, Kevin Garnett was traded from the Minnesota Timberwolves to the Boston Celtics for five players and high draft choices. The Celtics obtained the former NBA most valuable player and 10-time All-Star for forwards Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes and Gerald Green, guard Sebastian Telfair and center Theo Ratliff and two first-round picks. Garnett had played for the Timberwolves for 12 seasons, and was set to join a Celtics team that included Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.

2011 — Yani Tseng won the Women's British Open for the second straight year when she beat Brittany Lang by four strokes at Carnoustie Golf Club in Scotland. The victory made Tseng the youngest woman to win five major tournaments. The 22-year-old from Taiwan shot a three-under-par 69 to finish at 16-under-par 272 after she had trailed Germany’s Caroline Masson by two shots when the final round started.

2012 — Michael Phelps became the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time when broke the record for most medals after the United States swam to gold in the 800-meter freestyle relay at the Summer Games in London. With 19 career medals spanning three Olympics, Phelps moved ahead of gymnast Larisa Latynina, who collected 18 while competing for the Soviet Union in the 1956, 1960 and 1964 Olympics.

Sources: The Times, Associated Press

© Associated Press A man places flowers in front Hank Aaron's home run wall, left from when Atlanta's Fulton County Stadium was demolished. Aaron, who hit his record-breaking 715th home run there on April 8, 1974, died Friday.

Back in the early 1990s, my life revolved around sports.

Baseball, in particular.

I couldn’t get enough.

I’d played as a youth and at Mukwonago High School. And when I wasn’t playing, odds were I was at County Stadium, watching the Milwaukee Brewers.

I’d just landed a job as an agate clerk at the Milwaukee Sentinel – taking high school results over the phone, updating standings and formatting box scores – with my eyes on one day, hopefully, becoming a sportswriter. Never in my wildest dreams could I have guessed that in 2021 I’d be entering my 11th year covering the Brewers, or that I'd just sent in my first Hall of Fame ballot.

But here we are.

Anyway, I attended most of those games with one of my best friends, Mark Grunske.

A fellow baseball nut who just so happened to be a budding entrepreneur, Mark rolled the dice late in his teenage years and began promoting sports card shows and autograph signings in the Milwaukee area.

He did well from the outset. And what a boon that turned out to be for me.

I quickly became one of the go-to guys for these events – especially when it came to the autograph guests.

Airport pickups and drop-offs were my specialty. Manning the autograph tables became another staple. Taking tickets and handling pens was a small price to pay for the opportunity to spend a few hours interacting with some of the game’s greats.

Willie Stargell. Harmon Killebrew. Enos Slaughter. Bobby Doerr. Billy Herman. Hal Newhouser.

Then there were the hometown heroes, the 1957 Milwaukee Braves.

Warren Spahn. Eddie Mathews. Red Schoendienst. Joe Adcock. Lew Burdette. Bob Buhl. Del Crandall. Johnny Logan. And so on.

All their playing careers had long since ended by the time I began truly following the game, but I knew how special they were. And here I was getting to help them out, listen to their stories, go out for meals with them, watch them interact with the fans who were old enough to have seen them play and still salty about how they had been stolen away from Milwaukee.

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Final Ninjaadcock Games By: Austin Adcock

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While the Brewers were embarking on what would be a long, painful period in those early ’90s, Mark had brought most of the ’57 Braves back to Milwaukee to a great response.

But there had been one notable player absent from the list: The Hammer.

No question, there was no name bigger than Hank Aaron, no former Milwaukee Brave more in demand. And when he was finally locked into making an appearance at State Fair Park, I had my fingers crossed that I would be the one chosen to sit next to the game’s greatest power hitter.

That’s exactly what happened.

But any hopes I had of chatting him up or listening to him tell stories were quickly dashed. Hundreds and hundreds of people lined up and wound their way through what is now the Cream Puff Pavilion on the State Fair grounds and they all had items to be signed.

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Aaron arrived, and after a quick introduction he made his way to the table. And for the next three-plus hours he signed. And shook hands. And signed. And shook hands. And signed some more.

He couldn’t have been more gracious.

All the while I took the tickets, handed him the bats, balls and pictures and handed him the correct pens (caps off, writing end down each time).

Then, without smudging the signature, I’d get the items back to their rightful owners.

It was tough to keep up, but my focus was solely on getting the job done. As a result, those three or so hours flew by, and before long his time was up.

Other than pointing to where things needed to be signed or passing along specific requests, I never really had the opportunity to talk to him.

Bummer, but still a terrific experience.

He made his way to a side office where he concluded his business. Then he shook the hands of the few lucky employees who were inside (me included) and took a couple pictures while his agent, Bob Allen, pulled a car alongside the building.

Final Ninjaadcock Games By: Austin Adcock 2020

As Aaron bid adieu, he asked me to follow him outside.

And I did, wondering, what could he want?

He made the short walk to the car, opened the passenger door and ducked in for a moment. I stood a few feet away, waiting nervously. Then he turned around, walked up to me and stuck out his right hand for another handshake.

I reached out, grabbed his hand and shook it again.

Final Ninjaadcock Games By: Austin Adcock Youtube

Except this time, I felt something in my palm.

As I pulled my hand back, I looked down.

I couldn’t believe what I saw.

A crisp, neatly folded $100 bill.

At first, I was confused. Then it hit me.

“I can’t accept this, Mr. Aaron,” I stammered. 'It was my pleasure.'

“You earned it, son,” he said with a smile. “Thanks for all your help today.”

Then he got into the car and it pulled away, leaving me dumbstruck.

Baseball’s home run king, the man who broke Babe Ruth’s record, had just tipped me $100.

For doing something I would have paid him several hundred dollars for the chance to do.

It still blows my mind to this day.

In hindsight, as a late 40-something, I can say with certainty that I should have kept that $100 bill and framed it.

But the brain of an early 20-something doesn’t work quite the same way.

So, I did the next-best thing with that $100.

I spent it later that night on a Sega Genesis game system.

I know, I know.

But also, know this: In the years that followed, every time I played it – and believe me, I played it a lot – I smiled and thought about how lucky I was.

I still have that Sega Genesis. And it still works.

And this weekend I’m going to walk past the PS4, fire up the Sega Genesis and play a few games on it to honor one of the greatest ever in my own, unique way.

Thanks again, Mr. Aaron.

And rest well.

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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: 'Thanks again, Mr. Aaron': Nearly three decades later, a once-in-a-lifetime meeting remains indelible