Thursday, December 30
Most unfortunate events

 Rather than listing 10 unfortunate events, we have 10 unfortunate "categories" for the century.

Greatness cut short
  • Gale Sayers: A series of knee injuries limited Sayers to just 68 career games.
  • Sandy Koufax: He went 27-9 in 1966 and then retired at age 30 due to arthritis in his throwing elbow.
  • Tony Conigliaro: The Red Sox star had 104 home runs at age 22 -- more than Ken Griffey Jr. or Hank Aaron -- when he was hit in the eye by a pitch, leaving him with blurred vision.
  • Bill Walton: He led the Blazers to the 1977 NBA title but foot problems ravaged his career.
  • Hank Gathers: The Loyola Marymount star died at 23 from a heart condition.

    Fights and brawls
    We do not condone fighting, but here are 10 doozies:

    1. 1932: Umpire George Moriarty fought with White Sox players under the stands after Cleveland wins a doubleheader. Chicago claimed the umpire deliberately made wrong calls. Moriarty broke his fist knocking down Milt Gaston, but he is pummeled by manager Lew Fonseca and catchers Charlie Berry and Frank Grube.

    2. 1965: During a game against the Dodgers, Giants pitcher Juan Marichal is brushed back by a pitch while hitting. The return throw from Johnny Roseboro whizzes by his ear. Marichal turns and clubs Roseboro on the head with his bat.

    3. 1972: Ohio State leads Minnesota 50-44 with 36 seconds left when the Buckeyes' Luke Witte is fouled hard while driving for a layup. Minnesota's Corky Taylor punches Witte in the head and then knees him in the groin. Gophers reserve Ron Behagen then stomps Witte on the neck and head. As Witte is hauled off on a stretcher, he's booed by Gophers fans.

    4. 1977: The Hanson brothers. We could have picked any number of classic hockey brawls. Rangers-Bruins, which ended up in the stands. Rob Ray vs. Tie Domi. Bob Probert vs. anybody. But the fight in "Slapshot" takes the cake.

    5. 1977: In a fight between the Lakers and Rockets, Kermit Washington blindsides Rudy Tomjanovich with a big roundhouse. Rudy T. suffers a fracial fracture and misses the rest of the season.

    6. 1981: The Minnesota North Stars, 0-27-7 lifetime at the Boston Garden, hold a big grudge against the Bruins. The first fight happens seven seconds into the game. By the end of the first period, there are 341 penalty minutes and 12 ejections. By the time the game is over, there are 42 penalties, including seven game misconducts, and 406 total penalty minutes. Afterwards, coaches Glen Sonmor and Gerry Cheevers almost come to blows.

    7. 1984: In an ugly bean-brawl game, the Padres and Braves engage in two bench-clearing brawls. After Pascual Perez hits Alan Wiggins, Padres pitchers throw at Perez his four trips to bat. The second brawl involves several fans and there are 19 ejections. Managers Dick Williams and Joe Torre are both suspended.

    8. 1994: John Chaney vs. John Calipari. Chaney, the Temple coach, charges into UMass coach Calipari's press conference after a game and has to be restrained while screaming, "I WILL KILL YOU!!"

    9. 1997: Latrell Sprewell chokes P.J. Carlesimo.

    10. 1998: Chargers rookie QB Ryan Leaf takes a weekend break back at Washington State, a weekend that results in fights and near riots at several bars he tore up in Pullman.

    Police blotter
  • In 1962, a distraught Montreal Canadiens fan tried to steal the Stanley Cup from a display case in Chicago Stadium. When apprehended, the thief claimed he was "simply taking the Cup back to Montreal where it belongs."
  • In 1972, Providence forward Marvin Barnes beats teammate Larry Ketvirtis with a tire iron. Barnes' nickname? "Bad News."
  • The Oklahoma Sooners under Barry Switzer.
  • Tennesee RB Reggie Cobb finally getting kicked out of school after his fourth positive drug test in 1989. "Not even great running backs at UT get a fifth chance," quipped one writer.
  • The Dallas Cowboys under Barry Switzer.
  • Former big-league second baseman Chico Lind arrested while driving without any pants.
  • Kansas football player Dion Rayford gets stuck in a Taco Bell drive-thru window when he tries to attack employees who left the chalupa out of his order.

    Pitching injuries
  • Karl Spooner: In two late-season starts with Brooklyn in 1954, Spooner fanned 27 while pitching two shutouts. But arm problems developed the next spring and he pitched just one more year.
  • Herb Score: With the Indians, Score led the AL in K's his first two years in 1955-56, but hurt his shoulder in 1957.
  • Mark Fidrych: He went 19-9 with a 2.34 ERA with the Tigers as a rookie in '76, but won just 10 more games.
  • Kerry Wood: We can only hope he recovers from his elbow injury.

    Gambling incidents
  • The 1919 Chicago "Black" Sox. The mother of them all. Eight banned for life, including Joe Jackson, who did accept $5,000 to throw the World Series.
  • Kentucky hoops banned from playing the 1952-53 season. Point-shaving incidents racked college basketball in the early 1950s, including one of the nation's storied programs.
  • Paul Hornung and Alex Karras suspended one year from the NFL for betting on football.
  • Denny McLain: In 1970, just 25 years old and two years removed from winning 31 games, McLain is suspended due to his involvement in a Detroit bookmaking ring. Later that year, he's suspended again for carrying a gun, his career goes down the tubes and he eventually heads to jail on racketeering charges.
  • UNLV players pictured sitting in a hot tub with Richie "the Fixer" Perry in 1991.

  • The "mysterious" death of future Baseball Hall of Famer Ed Delahanty. In July 1903, Big Ed was thrown off a train on its way to New York from Detroit when, after heavy drinking, he threatened other passengers with a razor. The conductor put him off the train in Niagara Falls, Ontario. When the train left the station to cross the bridge into the U.S., Delahanty followed on foot across the bridge. He was never seen alive again. His body was found a week later 20 miles below the falls. His money and jewelry were missing.
  • New York Yankees pitchers Mike Kekich and Fritz Peterson exchange wives and children. Yes, the teammates got divorced and re-married each other's wives.
  • Redskins star John Riggins attends a black tie Washington political fundraising event. He tells Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor to "lighten up and have a few drinks." Soon after he is found passed out on a couch.
  • The demise of the Southwest Conference, primarily due to rampant cheating and rules violations from nearly every school.
  • Eugene Robinson solicits a prostitute and spends the night in jail on the evening prior to Atlanta's Super Bowl loss to Denver.

    Baseball's color barrier
  • The unwritten rule against black players prevented all-time greats like Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Oscar Charleston and others from playing against the best in the all-white major leagues.

    The evils of drugs
  • Former heavyweight champ Joe Louis' final years, when he ended up broke and addicted to cocaine.
  • David Thompson: The electrifying leaper saw his NBA career go downhill in the late '70s.
  • Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden: How great would they have been?
  • Len Bias.
  • Steve Howe.

    Labor "problems"
  • Major league baseball, 1981.
  • NFL, 1982.
  • NFL, 1987.
  • Major league baseball, 1994.
  • NHL, 1995.
  • NBA, 1999.

    People that have caused much suffering and misery, mostly because we are tired of hearing about them
  • Bill Buckner (and the ground ball).
  • Dennis Rodman.
  • Pete Rose.

    Neyer: Satch and Josh

    Message Board