This day in sports history: Francis Ouimet becomes first amateur to win US Open; Steelers make NFL debut


Francis Ouimet, known by many as the “father of amateur golf,” forever changed the game when, on Sept. 20, 1913, he defeated two of the sport’s top players at the time for his first and only major victory, becoming the first amateur to win the U.S. Open.

Ouimet, who was just 20 at the time, is largely credited with popularizing the game of golf in America after his victory at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts. 

Francis Ouimet plays golf

Francis Ouimet (1893-1967), an American golfer who was the first to win the U.S. Open. (Getty Images )

The Massachusetts native grew up across the street from The Country Club and was encouraged by a friend to play in the tournament after the announcement it would be held in Brookline, according to Ekwanok Country Club, where Ouimet won the U.S. Amateur Championship in 1914.


He qualified for the tournament and shockingly defeated Britain’s Harry Vardon and Ted Ray in an 18-hole playoff win. 

Read below for more historic events on this day in history.


1933 Pittsburgh Steelers

1933 Pittsburgh Steelers team photo.  (Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)

The Pittsburgh Steelers, formerly the Pirates, made their debut in the NFL Sept. 20, 1933, when they took Forbes Field against the New York Giants before a crowd of around 20,000. 

They lost their first game 23-2 under head coach Forrest Douds but quickly turned things around in Week 2 to pick up the franchise’s first win against the ​​Chicago Cardinals. 

Despite early struggles, including just one playoff appearance in the organization’s first 37 years, the Steelers have become one of the NFL’s most storied franchises.


Billie Jean King before a match against Bobby Riggs

Tennis star Billie Jean King is carried to the court by four men for the battle of the sexes tennis match with 55-year-old tennis star Bobby Riggs. (Getty Images)

On Sept, 20, 1973, legendary women’s tennis pro Billie Jean King defeated three-time Grand Slam champion Bobby Riggs in the “Battle of the Sexes” for a winner-take-all match that carried significant implications for women’s sports at the time. 

King, in her prime, accepted Riggs’ challenge after he previously defeated Margaret Court in a similar match earlier that year. 

Riggs lost in straight sets, and King took home the $100,000 purse. 

“I thought it would set us back 50 years if I didn’t win that match,” she said at the time.  “It would ruin the women’s [tennis] tour and affect all women’s self-esteem. To beat a 55-year-old guy was no thrill for me. The thrill was exposing a lot of new people to tennis.”


Cal Ripken Jr. tips his hat

In this Sept. 20, 1998 file photo, Baltimore Orioles third baseman Cal Ripken Jr. tips his hat to New York Yankees players who joined fans at Camden Yards in Baltimore for a standing ovation to acknowledge Ripken’s consecutive game streak that ended that day. (Heather Hall/AFP via Getty Images)

Baltimore Orioles great Cal Ripken Jr. still holds MLB’s consecutive game record at 2,632. On Sept. 20, 1998, in Baltimore’s final home game of the season, Ripken decided it was time. 

According to the Society for American Baseball Research, Ripken approached manager Ray Miller 30 minutes before the first pitch, said “It’s time” and removed himself from the lineup. 

“It was important for us to do it here,” Ripken said at the time, via The New York Times. “Right here in Baltimore, right here in Camden Yards. And make it a celebration.”

Ripken surpassed Lou Gehrig’s previous mark of 2,131 consecutive games played in 1995, a record that stood for more than 56 years.


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