On April 25, 1976, Rick Monday was playing right field for the Chicago Cubs in a game between the Cubs and the LA Dodgers. William Thomas and his 11-year-old son, ran into the outfield and tried to set fire to an American flag. Monday, playing with the Cubs, dashed over and grabbed the flag to thunderous cheers. He handed the flag to Los Angeles pitcher Doug Rau, and the ballpark police officers arrested the two intruders. When Monday came to bat in the next half-inning, he got a standing ovation from the crowd and the big message board behind the left-field bleachers in the stadium flashed the message, “RICK MONDAY… YOU MADE A GREAT PLAY…”
The whole incident took maybe 20 seconds; yet, Major League Baseball counts it as one of the top 100 “plays” in Major League Baseball history.
He later said, “If you’re going to burn the flag, don’t do it around me. I’ve been to too many veterans’ hospitals and seen too many broken bodies of guys who tried to protect it.” Monday was a U.S. Military member himself, having served a commitment with the Marine Corps Reserve as part of his ROTC obligation after leaving Arizona State
On August 25, 2008, Monday was presented with an American flag flown over Valley Forge National Historical Park in honor of his 1976 rescue. Monday still has the flag he rescued from the protestors; he has been offered up to $1 million to sell it, but has declined all offers.
I believe God moved Rick Monday, whom he crafted as a Major League Baseball player, to show us his hand of blessing was still on our country. It showed that God can be present in something as joyful as a baseball game. I have not idea what Religion Rick Monday may be, or if he is religious at all. But I do know that the flag stands for our country. In God We Trust.
Later, when asked about the incident, Rick Monday simply said, “It was wrong in 1976, it would be wrong today.” What he was saying is that one of our values is that God has blessed America and it is wrong to desecrate what God has done: A good life-lesson for all.
1 Peter, 2:13-17 tells us: Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor. It does not matter if you are Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, whether you agree with our present government or adamantly opposed to it, we all need to pray for our country and those who serve us as leaders and soldiers.