May 15, 1941 - Joe DiMaggio went 1 for 4 with a single against the left-hander Eddie Smith of the Chicago White Sox in a 13-1 loss for the Bombers at Yankee Stadium, beginning his record 56-game hitting streak.
March 4, 1990 - Hank Gathers of Loyola Marymount University, one of the leading scorers in college basketball history, died after collapsing on the court during Loyola Marymount’s game against Portland. He was 23 years old.
April 29, 1961 - ABC’s “Wide World of Sports,” an anthology show made its debut on national television. The program, which covered such fare as auto racing in Monte Carlo and cliff diving in Acapulco, whetted Americans’ tastes for nontraditional sports and also helped popularize the Olympics in the United States.
On April 18, 1966 Bill Russell was named player-coach of the Boston Celtics upon Red Auerbach’s retirement. He became the first African American head coach in NBA history. When asked about the position, Russell replied, "I wasn't offered the job because I am a Negro, I was offered it because Red figured I could do it."
May 2, 1954 - Stan Musial of the St. Louis Cardinals set a major league record of five home runs in a doubleheader against the New York Giants at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis. (Nate Colbert of the San Diego Padres would go on to duplicate the feat in a twin bill against the Atlanta Braves in 1972)