By Lance Tominaga, ESPN Honolulu Web Editor.
Let’s hop into our ESPN Honolulu Time Machine and check out the sports headlines from exactly 50 years ago. June 29, 1971. Richard Nixon was U.S. President. A re-release of Lawrence of Arabia was the No. 1 at the box office. “It’s Too Late”/“I Feel the Earth Move” by Carole King was atop the Billboard charts. Gas was 40 cents a gallon. A postage stamp cost 8 cents. And the average monthly rent was $150.
♦ In front of 5,051 fans at venerable Honolulu Stadium, the Hawaii Islanders beat the Salt Lake City Angels, 10-6, in a Pacific Coast League game. Starting pitcher Bob Garibaldi notched his eighth win of the season for the Islanders, who maintained a 1.5-game lead atop the PCL’s Southern Division standings. The 29-year-old Garibaldi was at the tail-end of his career. He previously served three stints with the San Francisco Giants (1962-63, 1966 and 1969) as a relief pitcher. In 1962, while playing for Santa Clara, Garibaldi was named the College World Series “Most Outstanding Player.”
♦ Hawaii featherweight fighter Ben Villaflor was wrapping up training for his fight against Mexico’s Memin Hernandez at the Honolulu International Center (now Neal Blaisdell Center). Villaflor, who is originally from the Philippines, was 36-4-2 at the time. Hernandez came into the bout at 21-5-1. (Note: Villaflor would win the fight via KO and, less than a year later, dethrone Alfredo Marcano to capture the WBA super featherweight title.)
♦ The Hawaii State Legislature and Honolulu City Council issued a joint resolution honoring three Hawaii football standouts who were preparing to leave for their respective NFL training camps. Rockne Freitas (Kamehameha) was an All-Pro offensive tackle for the Detroit Lions, Mel Tom (Maryknoll) was a starting defensive end with the Philadelphia Eagles, and Bill Lamond (Farrington) was on his way to the New York Giants.
♦ Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino and Arnold Palmer were among the 12 golfers named to the U.S. Ryder Cup Team. The roster also included Billy Casper, Gene Littler, JC Snead, Charles Coody, Miller Barber, Dave Stockton, Frank Beard, Gardner Dickinson and Mason Rudolph (no relation to the current Pittsburgh Steelers QB). (Note: Led by Palmer, the U.S. team defeated the Great Britain team, 18.5-13.5.)
♦ The great Willie Mays broke out of a slump in a big way, blasting a ninth-inning home run to lead the San Francisco Giants to a 6-4 win over the San Diego Padres. It was the 14th homer of the season for Mays, who had gone hitless in his previous 20 at-bats. The victory extended the Giants’ lead in the NL West to 6.5 games.
♦ Local favorite Sammy “Steamboat” Mokuahi was gearing up for his North American title match against champion Gene Kiniski in the main event of Ed Francis’ “Big Time Wrestling” card at the H.I.C. Other featured bouts included The Sheik vs Bobcat Wright and Ripper Collins/Mad Dog Mayne vs Suni War Cloud/Steven Little Wolf. (Note: The home fans would leave the arena disappointed as Kiniski beat Steamboat to retain his championship.)
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