Rick Monday was the first overall pick of the 1965 Major League Baseball draft, taken by the Kansas City Athletics.
In a 19-year major-league career, Monday was a two-time All-Star who hit 241 home runs, 248 doubles and had a career .264 average while playing for three franchises, including the A’s.
But he is best known for what he did during a game on April 25, 1976.
While playing in the outfielder for the Chicago Cubs, Monday took a U.S. flag from a pair of interlopers who had run onto the field at Dodger Stadium with the intent of setting the flag on fire.
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Monday still has strong feelings about the flag and talked with USA Today about San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to sit during the playing of the national anthem.
“I don’t like it, and I don’t respect it,” Monday told USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. “It is dishonoring the flag and the people who served our country.”
Kaepernick said he wants to instigate change and challenge authority when it comes to race relations and what he considers police brutality.
Monday, who spent six years in the Marine Reserves, said Kaepernick should take a different path to show his feelings. Monday told USA Today about something his wife, Babaralee, told him.
“It’s freedom of speech,” Monday said, “but the flag itself, I look at it from a positive standpoint. I look at it from the standpoint where I heard today from one of the moms who lost their son. It’s like Barbaralee says, ‘We drape the caskets of our fallen warriors with the flag, and it’s presented to the family with the words, from a grateful nation.’
“So how grateful are we if we do not respect the very people that have given? They gave the ultimate, protecting the rights and freedoms the flag represents.”
You can read more from Nightengale’s story here.
And this is a video of when Monday, who is now a Dodgers radio analyst, swooped in and grabbed the U.S. flag during that game in 1976.