Rick Monday honored by ASU baseball

The 40th anniversary of Monday's actions to save a flag being burnt in protest at Dodger Stadium was on April 25.

Forty years ago — on April 25, 1976 — Rick Monday performed one of the greatest acts of patriotism the sport of baseball has seen. 

Monday, then a member of the Chicago Cubs, saved an American flag from being burned by two protestors, who had run onto the field at Dodger Stadium.

On Tuesday night at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, ASU baseball recognized the former Sun Devil by sporting special throwback uniforms from Monday's days at ASU. He also threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the game.

Despite the praise Monday has received from the play, he is humble in its recognition.

"I never did anything that was extraordinary that Sunday afternoon at Los Angeles," Monday said. "I happened to be chosen to be close enough to do something about it ... what those two people were attempting to do that particular day in my mind, in 1976 and as we sit here and talk today, is wrong."

Monday is still in possession of the original flag, which has been touched by thousands of people, he said.

"It's a fragile piece of cloth," Monday said. "But there is nothing fragile about what it represents."

Monday will be inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame this summer. He said that when told of the accomplishment, he thought not of himself first, but of the University that helped shape him.

"I was happy for Arizona State, I have never been about what I did," Monday said. "I look at it as a triumph and a compliment to Arizona State University, which helped me immensely, not only in baseball, but they helped me in life."

Before the game, Monday gave a quick message to the current Sun Devils about the value of being a member of a team at ASU.

"I told them they were in a special place," Monday said. "Not just Arizona State University, they're at a special place in their lives. I asked them to look to one side and the other and kind of look at their teammates and hold on to those relationships, because I knew that behind me were some teammates and some people that I knew had played here ... those are important relationships that last for a lifetime."

Reach the reporter at haley.stesiak@asu.edu or follow @haley_stesiak on Twitter.

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