Compiled by Ray Yurkowski
Dec. 1: 1930 NHL drops the 20-minute slashing-about-the-head penalty.
Dec. 2: 1991 The New York Mets sign former Pittsburgh Pirates’ outfielder Bobby Bonilla to a five-year, $29 million contract making him the highest-paid athlete in team sports.
Dec. 3: 1929 Boston Bruins begin their then-NHL record 14-game winning streak. It’s still a team record; however, the Pittsburgh Penguins hold the league winning mark with 17 in a row from March 9 to April 10, 1993.
Dec. 4: 1909 First CFL Grey Cup: University of Toronto defeats Toronto Parkdale, 26-6.
Dec. 5: 1924 Hamilton Tiger Red Green scores five goals to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 10-5.
Dec. 6: 1960 The American League grants businessman Gene Autry a Major League Baseball franchise – the Los Angeles Angels.
Dec. 7: 1907 Eugene Cori becomes the first referee in a boxing ring.
Dec. 8: 1940 The first NFL championship broadcast on national radio. The Chicago Bears beat Washington Redskins 73-0.
Dec. 9: 1926 United States Golf Association legalizes steel-shaft golf clubs. 1936 The American League OK’s night baseball for St. Louis.
Dec. 10: 1919 The National League votes to ban the spitball by all new pitchers.
Dec. 11: 1934 Charlie Conacher is unsuccessful against New York Rangers goaltender Andy Aitkenhead on the first Toronto Maple Leaf penalty shot.
Dec. 12: 1930 The Major League Baseball rules committee revises the rule book. A ball bouncing into the stands is no longer a home run, it’s now a double.
Dec. 13: 1936 The final Boston Redskins NFL game is played before moving to Washington. They lose to the Packers, 21-6.
Dec. 14: 1901 The first table tennis tournament is held at the London Royal Aquarium.
Dec. 15: 1925 The first hockey game is played at Madison Square Garden. The Montreal Canadiens defeat the New York Americans 3-1.
Dec. 16: 1967 Philadelphia 76er Wilt Chamberlain scores 68 points in a game against the Chicago Bulls. Chamberlain added another 34 rebounds, in a 143-123 victory.
Dec. 17: 1920 The American League votes to let spitball pitchers continue using it.
Dec. 18: 1932 The first NFL playoff game is an extra game to break a tie in the season final standings. The Chicago Bears beat the Portsmouth Spartans 9-0, indoors, on a reduced-sized field, at Chicago Stadium, due to a blizzard.
Dec. 19: 1891 The Canadian Rugby Union forms. 1917 The first NHL game played on artificial ice is played at Toronto.
Dec. 20: 1921 The American League votes to return to a best-of-seven World Series, while the National League votes for a best-of-nine. Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis casts the deciding vote for best-of-seven.
Dec. 21: 1944 Horse racing is banned in the United States until after the end of the Second World War. 1951 Joe DiMaggio announces his retirement from Major League Baseball.
Dec. 22: 1962 The one-millionth NBA point scored.
Dec. 23: 1951 A NFL championship game is televised nationally for the first time. The Los Angeles Rams beat the Cleveland Browns 24-17. The DuMont Network paid $75,000 for the rights to the game.
Dec. 24: 1969 St. Louis Cardinals centerfielder Curt Flood challenges the Major League Baseball reserve clause, which prevented players from moving to another team unless they were traded. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, where the ruling was 5-3 against Flood. Two years later, an arbitrator effectively reversed the court’s verdict and opened the door to the modern free agency that exists today.
Dec. 25: 1862 Forty-thousand fans watch the Union army play baseball at Hilton Head, South Carolina. 1888 The first indoor baseball game is played at the fairgrounds in Philadelphia.
Dec. 26: 1919 The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox reach an agreement on the trade of Babe Ruth in exchange for $125,000. The deal wasn’t announced until the following month.
Dec. 27: 1981 Wayne Gretzky becomes the fastest NHL player to score 100 points, doing it in just 38 games with the Edmonton Oilers. Gretzky tallied 212 points that season (92 goals and 120 assists).
Dec. 28: 1958 Billed as “The Greatest Game Ever Played,” the Baltimore Colts defeat the New York Giants 23-17 in the first-ever, sudden-death overtime game in NFL history. Notably, 17 future members of the Hall of Fame were involved in the contest. 2008 The worst season in the Detroit Lions history comes to an end. The Lions wrap up the season with a 31-21 loss to the Green Bay Packers and became the first NFL team ever to finish a season with a 0-16 record.
Dec. 29: 1906 The Montreal Wanderers win the Stanley Cup in a two-game, total-goal series against the New Glasgow (Nova Scotia) Cubs. Montreal outscored the Cubs 17-5.
Dec. 30: 1907 The Mills Commission announces the game of baseball was invented by Abner Doubleday, a respected Civil War general. The committee was launched to investigate baseball’s origins and to prove the game had been devised in America and not through the evolution of British activities such as townball, rounders or cricket.
Dec. 31: 1914 Colonel Jacob Ruppert and Captain Tillinghast L’Hommedieu Huston purchase the New York Yankees for $460,000. 1988: Pittsburgh Penguins center Mario Lemieux scores five goals in five different ways: at even-strength, shorthanded, on the power play, on a penalty shot and into an empty net.