April Classic Moments

"Classic Moments," the biggest sports news event of the day in the 20th century, is archived in this area.

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April 1
College basketball
1985: Defending national champion Georgetown, top-ranked in the country, is favored by 9½ points to defeat No. 8-seeded Villanova in the NCAA final. The first two games, though, were tight, with Georgetown winning 52-50 in overtime and 57-50.

The day before the championship, Villanova coach Rollie Massimino said that his team would need a perfect game to win. The Wildcats aren't perfect, but they come close. They connect on 22-of-28 field-goal attempts to set a Final Four record for field-goal percentage, converting 78.6 percent against a team that had held opponents to just 39 percent field-goal accuracy.

On April Fool's Day, the Hoyas find the joke is on them. The Wildcats' sharp shooting and smart playing enable them to upset their Big East rivals, 66-64, in Lexington, Ky.

In the second half, Villanova connects on 9-of-10 field-goal attempts. Their last basket comes with 2:37 left, a jumper by sophomore guard Harold Jensen (5-for-5) that gives the Wildcats the lead for good at 55-54.

Villanova center Ed Pinckney (5-of-7, 16 points) outplays three-time All-American Patrick Ewing, who is held to 14 points, with only two coming in the final 13 minutes. Pinckney is named the Final Four Most Outstanding Player.

1996: John McSherry, the heaviest major league umpire at 328 pounds, had been having problems with his heart. But the crew chief, who began umpiring in the National League in 1971, doesn't want to miss opening day, and so he postponed an exam by a doctor until tomorrow, an off day.

Seven pitches into the Reds-Expos game at Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium, McSherry backs away from home plate, waves to the other umpires, takes a few labored steps away from the field and collapses. Efforts to revive him fail and 53 minutes later, he is pronounced dead at a Cincinnati hospital.

At the request of players on both teams, the game is postponed until tomorrow. "There are things way more important than baseball," Expos outfielder Rondell White says.

Reds owner Marge Schott disagrees with the decision to postpone.

"Why are they calling it?" she says. "Whose decision is it? Why can't they play with two umpires? I feel terrible. This is tragic for him and his family, but you don't do this to the fans. It's not fair to those who came from so far away. He's a baseball man. Wouldn't he want us to play?"

John McSherry dies at age 51 of a heart attack.

1973: John Havlicek's on fire. The 11-year veteran scores 54 points, a career high and a Celtics' playoff record, in a 134-109 rout of the Atlanta Hawks in the opening game of the first round in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

The amazing thing about Hondo's performance is that he gets his points strictly from the flow of the game.

"The only time we ran a specific play for him was the basket that broke 50," says Celtics coach Tom Heinsohn. A back-door pass from Dave Cowens on an inbounds play enables Havlicek to score an uncontested layup and gives him 52 points, one more than the Boston record of 51 set by Sam Jones.

Havlicek makes 24-of-36 field-goal attempts and is 6-of-6 from the foul line. He also has nine rebounds and six rebounds in playing all 48 minutes.

The Celtics captain scores the first eight points of the game. He has 30 at halftime and 43 after three periods. To the chagrin of the crowd, he goes scoreless in the first 5½ minutes of the fourth quarter. But then he breaks loose for 11 points in the last 6½ minutes.

1973: Scoring a league-leading 55 goals and assisting on 75 more goals, Boston Bruins center Phil Esposito wins his third consecutive scoring title with 130 points in the 78-game season. He easily beats out Philadelphia Flyers center Bobby Clarke, who has 37 goals and 67 assists for 104 points.

Clarke, though, prevents the Bruins' combination of Esposito and Bobby Orr from finishing one-two for the fourth straight season. Orr scores 101 points, three behind Clarke.

This is the fourth scoring title in five years for the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Esposito. He will win his fifth and final scoring championship by scoring 145 points next season. He'll also score the most goals in the league the next two seasons, extending his streak to six straight years.
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April 2
College basketball
1995: The Connecticut women's basketball team makes history, outscoring Tennessee 11-3 in the final 2½ minutes in the NCAA final in Minneapolis. UConn rallies to take the title, 70-64, capping a 35-0 season. It joins the 1985-86 Texas team as the only ones to go unbeaten and win the NCAA championship since the NCAA started this tournament in 1982.

Plagued by foul trouble to its two All-Americans, Rebecca Lobo and Jen Rizzotti, 4½-point favorite UConn trails 38-32 at halftime and 43-34 early in the second half. But Lobo, the 6-foot-4 senior forward with the French braid and the determined demeanor, scores 14 of her game-high 17 points in the second half to spark Connecticut's rally.

Rizzotti puts UConn up for good at 63-61 with 1:51 left on a layup after going coast-to-coast. Then coach Geno Auriemma's team seals its second victory over Tennessee (34-3) in 10 weeks with seven free throws (three by Lobo).

1931: It's the Babe vs. the babe. Jackie Mitchell, a 17-year-old left-hander for the Chattanooga Lookouts, becomes the first woman to pitch in a professional game when she faces the Yankees in an exhibition contest in Chattanooga.

Relieving in the first inning, her first batter is Babe Ruth, who swings from the heels and misses Mitchell's first two pitches. Then he takes the third pitch for strike three, flinging his bat in mock anger after he's called out. Lou Gehrig follows by also striking out, missing on three hefty swings. Tony Lazzeri walks, and then Mitchell is removed from the game.

The entire incident is more a publicity stunt than one for the record book. The Bambino and the Iron Horse pose for pictures with Mitchell.

Mitchell's contract with the Lookouts will soon be voided by Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis, who regards baseball as too rough for women.

1975: In his third season with the Buffalo Braves, Bob McAdoo is named MVP. In voting by the players, the 6-foot-9 center easily outpolls Boston's Dave Cowens, Washington's Elvin Hayes and Golden State's Rick Barry.

"What makes the MVP so difficult to believe," says the 23-year-old McAdoo, "is that I was a high school and college kid just a few years ago, and now all the players I heard about and read about think I'm the best, and that's an honor."

This is the 11th consecutive season a center wins the award. McAdoo will finish the season leading the NBA in scoring (34.5 points) for the second straight season. Appearing in all 82 games, he also will come in fourth in rebounding (14.1) and fifth in field-goal percentage (.512). The Braves will compile a 49-33 record, third best in the 18-team NBA.
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April 3
College basketball
1989: Seton Hall is up by a point and time is running out in overtime for Michigan in the NCAA final. Rumeal Robinson is driving when referee John Clougherty calls a controversial blocking foul in the lane against Seton Hall's Gerald Greene with three seconds left.

Earlier in the season against Wisconsin, Robinson was in a similar position. But he missed two free throws with seven seconds left and Michigan lost. Tonight, Robinson, a 64 percent foul shooter, already has made 7-of-8 foul shots. Now, with a more significant game on the line, he sinks both freebies to give Michigan an 80-79 victory in Seattle's Kingdome.

This is Michigan's only NCAA championship and its coach is Steve Fisher, who had been promoted from an assistant just a couple of days before the tournament. Bill Frieder had accepted Arizona State's offer to become head coach.

It looks as if 10th-ranked Michigan will roll to an easy title when it leads by 12 points in the second half, but Seton Hall rallies behind John Morton, who scores 25 of his game-high 35 points after intermission. His three-pointer with 25 seconds left in the second half sends the game into overtime.

Michigan's Glen Rice, the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player, scores 31 points to finish with 184, a tournament record.

Major League Baseball
1966: The season hasn't started yet, and the New York Mets already are big winners. In a special lottery, the Mets win out over the Cleveland Indians and Philadelphia Phillies -- the only three teams who had agreed to match the Atlanta Braves' original offer of $40,000 -- for the rights to sign USC right-hander, Tom Seaver.

The special drawing is held because Commissioner William Eckert had ruled Seaver's signing by the Braves' Richmond farm team, for a $40,000 bonus, was illegal. Atlanta had drafted Seaver. Eckert nullified the contract and fined Richmond $500 because USC already had started its season. Baseball rules say that a player can't be signed off a college campus once his team has started playing.
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April 4
College basketball
1983: With 10 defeats, it didn't appear as if North Carolina State was going to be invited to the "Big Dance." But the Wolfpack surprisingly wins the ACC tournament and is in the NCAA Tournament. But it isn't expected to do much. Given a sixth seed, it's a 25-1 long shot to win the tournament.

But N.C. State wins five games -- three by two points or less -- to reach tonight's final against Houston, winner of 26 straight with a running, flying, dunking attack. Using slowdown tactics, N.C. State takes a 33-25 halftime lead before Houston, with Akeem Olajuwon, goes on a 17-2 tear to grab a 44-37 edge. Clyde Drexler's two free throws give the Cougars a 52-46 lead with 3:19 left. It's their last points.

The final insult for Houston comes when Lorenzo Charles slams home Dereck Whittenburg's 32-foot air ball at the buzzer, giving N.C. State a stunning 54-52 victory in Albuquerque.

"Here they are all season, bragging about their dunks, calling themselves Phi Slama Jama," says NC State's Alvin Battle, "and they get one slama in the middle of the game, and we get one jama at the end. It's real ironic, isn't it?"

And when N.C. State becomes the first team to win the national title with double-digit losses, its emotional leader, coach Jim Valvano, rushes on to the court, looking for somebody to hug.

In the next-to-last game of the season, Wayne Gretzky breaks his own NHL record for points in a season. The Great One gets three assists to boost his total to 214 points, two more than he scored in 1981-82.

All three Gretzky assists come during Edmonton power plays; two on goals by Jari Kurri and one by Paul Coffey in the Oilers' 9-3 loss to the Flames in Calgary.

Gretzky will get an assist in Edmonton's 80th game to finish with still-standing NHL records of 215 points and 163 assists.
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April 5
College basketball
North Carolina wins the NCAA Tournament, but the final will forever be remembered more for Chris Webber's blunder.

N.C. leads 73-71 when Webber, Michigan's All-American sophomore forward, rebounds Pat Sullivan's missed free throw with 20 seconds left. Webber travels, but no referee calls it. Given a second chance, he hurriedly dribbles across midcourt, stopping in front of Michigan's bench. Then he signals for a timeout with 11 seconds remaining.

The only problem is that the Wolverines are out of timeouts.

Donald Williams hits two free throws after the technical and another two after a foul, wrapping up the Tar Heels' 77-71 victory in the Superdome in New Orleans.

After the game, Webber sits chagrined and thoroughly miserable in the locker room. "I just called the timeout and that probably cost us the game," he says.

Webber's mistake overshadows N.C.'s comeback from a 67-63 deficit to a 72-67 lead with a minute left. Williams scores a game-high 25 points, including hitting 5-of-7 shots from three-point range, and is named the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player. He dedicates his performance to the ailing Jim Valvano, the former North Carolina State coach who first recruited him.

Ebbets Field opens today to magnificent reviews. Charles Ebbets, the president and chief owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, has not spared either money or convenient care to make sure his new ballpark is comfortable for the fans and players.

The entrance to the stands is more like that of some vast theater than of a stadium. The lobby of the entrance is more than 80 feet in diameter and is resplendent with its marble and glazed brick walls. Inclined runways have been installed instead of stairs. The seats are comfortable. The cost of the new ballpark: $750,000.

A capacity crowd of 30,000 turns out for the exhibition game against the Yankees. More than 5,000 howl in disappointment as they can't get in.

The Dodgers take a 2-0 lead, with Casey Stengel's homer accounting for one run, before the Yankees tie the game in the ninth. But the Dodgers score in the bottom of the inning to win, 3-2. It is reported that late at night Ebbets is still separating the $10 and $5 bills.
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April 6
Not having fought in almost three years, Sugar Ray Leonard comes out of retirement to challenge Marvelous Marvin Hagler for his WBC middleweight title in Las Vegas. A 3-1 underdog, the 30-year-old Leonard defies the odds, showing he's more marvelous than Hagler.

For most of the 12-round fight, he circles and counters, confusing and confounding Hagler, the aggressor. While the champ rallies in the last few rounds, it's not enough to overcome Leonard's big early lead and Sugar Ray wins the fight on a split decision. It's Hagler's first loss in 11 years and he takes exception with the decision.

"I can't believe it, man," Hagler says. "They stole my title. I feel in my heart I'm still the champion. I really hate the fact they took it away and gave it to Sugar Ray Leonard, of all people."

After raising his record to 34-1, Leonard says, "It was a good fight, a tough fight, but the best man won."

Al Campanis, Los Angeles Dodgers vice president in charge of player personnel, slurs African-American athletes as a guest on Ted Koppel's "Nightline." Ironically, the show is a tribute to Jackie Robinson, who broke baseball's color barrier 40 years ago.

Asked by host Koppel about racial prejudice in baseball, the 70-year-old Campanis says, "No, I don't believe it's prejudice. I truly believe that (African-Americans) may not have some of the necessities to be, let's say, a field manager, or perhaps a general manager."

Earlier in the show, Campanis had said, "Why aren't blacks good swimmers? They don't have buoyancy."

The next day, Hank Aaron, baseball's all-time home-run leader and an Atlanta Braves vice president, says, "I was shocked, and I think Mr. Campanis needs to apologize to every single black person in America for making comments like that. All that shows is how ignorant the man is."

Dodgers owner Peter O'Malley and Campanis will offer a joint apology for Campanis' remarks. O'Malley will say that Campanis' job isn't in jeopardy. But two days after "Nightline," O'Malley changes his mind and asks Campanis to resign. Campanis, who had been a teammate and supporter of Robinson, heeds the request.

Pro basketball
Former Royals star Maurice Stokes, whose promising career was cut short by a brain injury which left him paralyzed for the last 12 years, dies at age 36 of a heart attack in Cincinnati.

Stokes was stricken with encephalitis following an injury in a game. While it left him bedridden most of the time, he managed to regain the ability to feed himself, write and type.

"You'll never know, meet or read about anybody as courageous as Maurice," says Jack Twyman, Stokes' guardian and former teammate. "I never heard the man complain in 12 years of lying on his back."

At 6-foot-7 and 240 pounds, Stokes was the NBA's Rookie of the Year with Rochester in 1955-56. In his three seasons with the Royals, Stokes averaged 16.4 points and 17.3 rebounds. He was second-team all-league each year and played in three All-Star Games.

Pro hockey
Gordie Howe, the most durable professional athlete in sports history, plays his last regular-season game at age 52. Skating for the Hartford Whalers, the living legend closes out his 32nd season by scoring a goal and an assist in a 5-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings, for whom he played his first 25 years with in the NHL.

Howe's 801st NHL goal (15th this season) comes when he picks up a loose puck behind the Detroit goal, circles unchecked and beats goalie Rogie Vachon. He finishes his NHL career with 1,850 points, a record that will last until Wayne Gretzky breaks it in 1989.

After starring for the Red Wings, Howe played six seasons in the WHA, four with Houston and two with New England before coming back for a farewell season in the NHL. Including his 174 goals in the WHA, Howe scored 975 goals.

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April 7
1963: At 23, Jack Nicklaus shows the poise of a master. With two bogies in the first 12 holes, Nicklaus falls out of the Masters lead on the final round, but he steadies himself with two birdies on the next four holes and then, knowing he needs to just par the final two holes to win the tournament, he gets them.

Nicklaus shoots an even-par 72 to finish at two-under 286, one stroke better than "Champagne Tony" Lema, who birdies the 18th. Two strokes behind at 288 are Julius Boros and Sam Snead. "Slammin' Sammy" had gone a stroke ahead of Nicklaus with a birdie on 15, but bogies on 16 and 18 cost the 50-year-old three-time Masters champ the lead.

On the final hole, Nicklaus knocks in a three-foot putt for the first of his six Masters titles. He tosses his hat wildly in celebration. Not only is he the youngest Masters champion (Tiger Woods will break this mark in 1997), but the hefty golfer also is the heaviest at 214 pounds.

1935: Down by three strokes at The Masters with just four holes left, Gene Sarazen delivers the most well-known shot in golf history -- a double eagle on the par-5 15th. After his drive leaves Sarazen 220 yards from the green, Sarazen uses his 4-wood to smack the ball over the small moat in front of the green. It lands on the apron, bounces a couple of times and then rolls into the cup, astounding the crowd as well as the golfer himself.

Sarazen picks up another stroke and ties Craig Wood at the end of 72 holes. Tomorrow, in a 36-hole playoff, Sarazen will win easily, shooting a 71-73-144 to beat Wood by five strokes. Sarazen will win $1,500 for winning the second Masters.

1928: In the second period of the second game of the best-of-five Stanley Cup finals, Montreal Maroons wing Nelson Stewart's blistering shot strikes New York Rangers goalie Lorne Chabot in the left eye. Chabot is severely injured, and he is taken to a Montreal hospital.

With no spare goalie on the roster, Rangers coach Lester Patrick puts himself between the pipes after the Maroons refuse to allow the Rangers to use an NHL goalie who happened to be in the stands at the Montreal Forum. Patrick is 44 and long since retired. And while he did play some goal as a youth, most of his career was as a defenseman.

But Patrick stands up the challenge, saving 18 of the 19 shots the Maroons fire at him. The only goal he allows is scored by Stewart, with 5:40 left in the third period, and sends the game into overtime. After Patrick staves off two attacks by Montreal in OT, Frank Boucher's goal gives the Rangers a 2-1 victory and ties the series at one game each.

With Chabot out, the Rangers will sign Joe Miller, goalie for the last-place New York Americans, for the rest of the series. The Rangers will win two of the next three games, with Miller allowing just three goals, to take the Stanley Cup.

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April 8
1974: Hank Aaron was 15 months old when Babe Ruth hit the last of his record 714 homers. Thirty-eight years later, in the summer of '73, Aaron's chase to beat the Babe heated up. So did the mail.

He received more than an estimated 3,000 letters a day, more than any American outside of politics. Unfortunately, much of it was hate mail, including death threats sent by racists. The year ended with Aaron at 713 homers.

Hammerin' Hank wasn't going to let the death threats or hate mail distract him from his quest. In his first at-bat of this season, he tied Babe's record in Cincinnati. The FBI investigated threats that if he hit No. 715, he wouldn't cross home plate alive. In Atlanta today, 53,775 fans -- the largest crowd in Braves history -- comes out to witness history. Aaron doesn't disappoint them.

In the fourth inning, on his first swing of the evening, he rips a fastball from Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Al Downing into the Braves bullpen, where it is caught by reliever Tom House. To everyone's relief, there are no shots fired from the crowd, nobody out to kill Aaron for besting Ruth: just cheers and adulation.

As Aaron rounds second base, two hippie college students appear and run alongside him. At home plate, he is mobbed by his teammates and his father, who has run onto the field. Baseball has a new home-run king.

1996: Reality stings, as Chicago finds out, when it's hum-bulled by the Charlotte Hornets, ending the Bulls' NBA record regular-season home winning streak at 44 games. The Hornets, who had lost to the Bulls by 34 points three nights earlier in Charlotte, take a 98-97 lead with 19 seconds left on Dell Curry's two foul shots.

They hold on by that score when four Bulls miss close-range shots in the final, frantic seconds.

"It's incredible," says guard Kenny Anderson, Charlotte's high scorer with 20 points. "We wanted to come up here and show a little pride and give them a game. Then we lucked up and won the thing."

The last time the Bulls had lost in the United Center was March 24, 1995, in Michael Jordan's first home game after coming out of his first retirement. They had won their last seven regular-season home games last year and all 37 this season.

Jordan scores 40 against the Hornets, but it's not enough. "Even Superman lost a fight," says Hornets center Matt Geiger.
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April 9
1962: The year before, Arnold Palmer blew the Masters when he took a double-bogey 6 on the final hole, allowing Gary Player to beat him by a stroke. In today's three-man 18-hole Masters playoff, it appears as if Player is going to beat Palmer again, having taken a three-shot lead after nine holes.

But Palmer roars back. He picks up two shots on the 10th hole when he birdies and Player bogeys. It's the start of a streak of five birdies in seven holes for Palmer, who shoots an amazing 31 on the back nine. His 4-under-par 68 enables him to win the playoff by three strokes over Player (71) and nine over Dow Finsterwald (78).

Asked about Palmer's fantastic finish, Player says, "There just isn't any way you can beat that guy."

The victory is Palmer's third in the Masters. He will win it again in 1964.

Pro baseball
1965: For the first time, baseball goes indoors. It's the debut of the Astrodome, which The New York Times calls "the world's largest air-conditioned room." Others call it the "eighth wonder of the world."

The 260-acre stadium, built at a cost of $31.6 million, rises to a peak of 208 feet over second base. There are 4,596 plastic panels. Banks of red, orange, yellow and blue theater seats surround a field of artificial grass. The Yankees, the Houston Astros' opponent in tonight's exhibition game, are impressed. "Fantastic," says pitcher Jim Bouton. "No, indescribable. No, science fiction."

Because of the glare from the dome, the teams experiment with orange baseballs before a crowd of 47,876, including President Lyndon Johnson.

Yankees manager Johnny Keane puts Mickey Mantle in the leadoff spot so he can have the honor of being the first to bat in the Astrodome. Mantle singles on the second pitch from Dick Farrell. In the sixth inning, Mantle becomes the first to homer in the stadium. It's the Yankees' only run as they lose to the Astros, 2-1, on pinch-hitter Nellie Fox's run-scoring single in the 12th inning.

Pro basketball
1978: In one of the great NBA shootouts, David Thompson takes aim first. On the final day of the season, in his attempt to overtake San Antonio's George Gervin for the scoring title, the Denver Nugget star pours in an NBA-record 32 points in the first quarter on his way to 73 points in a 139-137 loss in Detroit. Only Wilt Chamberlain has ever scored more in an NBA game.

Gervin, playing later in the day in the Superdome, knows he needs 58 points to win the scoring crown. "My, oh my," Gervin says. "I haven't ever hit 58, but I'm going for them."

Amazingly, Gervin almost gets 58 by halftime. After missing his first five shots, the Ice Man gets hot, hitting 10 of his next 13. He scores 20 points in the first quarter and breaks Thompson's extremely short-lived record with 33 points in the second period, giving him 53 at halftime. He wins the scoring title on a 10-foot turnaround jumper with five minutes to go in the Spurs' 153-132 loss to the Jazz.

Gervin finishes with 63 points and an average of 27.22; Thompson averaged 27.15. Gervin shoots 23 of 49 from the field (Thompson goes 28 of 38) and both players are 17 of 20 from the foul line.

Pro hockey
1946: The Montreal Canadiens break a 3-3 tie by scoring three goals in the final nine minutes to defeat the Boston Bruins in the fifth game of the finals and regain the Stanley Cup. The Canadiens, led by Maurice Richard, win eight of nine games in the playoffs in capturing the Cup for the second time in three seasons.

The game in Montreal is bitterly fought. Tempers flare in the third period as players on both teams dole out heavy body checks.

Montreal captain Toe Blake, playing despite an ailing back, scores the game-winner when he fires a high angle shot past Boston goalie Frank Brimsek at 11:06 of the third period. Murph Chamberlain and Dutch Hiller score insurance goals.
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April 10
1949: Sam Snead has the Masters lead with nine holes left, but falls back into a tie after bogeying 10 and 11. The latter bogey is especially disturbing since Snead misses an 18-inch putt when he hears the barking of dogs.

The volatile Snead, though, keeps his temper in check and responds with birdies on the next three holes. Another birdie on 18 gives him his second consecutive 67 and Snead wins his first of three Masters with a six-under-par 282. He's three strokes in front of runners-up Johnny Bulls and Lloyd Mangrum.

While Sammin' Sammy is perhaps the finest driver in the game, his putting would sometimes give him trouble. But not this weekend. With a new putter, the 36-year-old golfer tames the greens of Augusta.

Pro hockey
It's Chicago goalie Chuck Gardiner's last game, though neither he nor his teammates know it at the time. Though not feeling well, the Blackhawks' captain performs superbly in Game 4 in Chicago of the best-of-five Stanley Cup final against the Detroit Red Wings.

"The Wandering Scotsman" doesn't allow a goal through three periods, but neither does Detroit's Wilf Cude. The game goes into a second overtime and midway through it, tiny Mush March beats Cude, who had stopped 53 shots, with his blast. After 90 minutes and five seconds, the Blackhawks win, 1-0, to gain their first Stanley Cup.

Gardiner, the first team all-NHL goalie three of the past four seasons, finishes with 39 saves. Two months later, he will be dead of a brain hemorrhage at 29.

Pro basketball
The Minneapolis Lakers defeated the New York Knicks in seven games to win the NBA championship last season. This year, coach Johnny Kundla's team needs only five games.

They close out the best-of-five series with a 91-84 victory in the 69th Regiment Armory in New York. The Knicks, trailing by 20 points in the third quarter, rally to within 85-84 with 35 seconds left. But then Vern Mikkelsen hits a foul shot and George Mikan scores on a three-point play to clinch Minneapolis' triumph.

"This title is the sweetest of any of the five (in six years) we have won as Lakers," says Mikan.

In foul trouble much of the game, Mikan spends much of the game on the bench and scores just 14 points. His teammates pick up the slack, with four scoring in double figures, led by Jim Pollard's 17 points. Knicks guard Carl Braun is the game's high scorer with 19 points.
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April 11
1965: Conquering the course and his competitors, Jack Nicklaus has a ball at The Masters. His final-round 69 gives him a 17-under-par 271 and a nine-stroke victory, both records at the Augusta National Golf Club.

"I've never played golf like this before," says Nicklaus, who takes only 123 putts in the four rounds in winning his second Masters at the age of 25. "This was my best putting tournament."

Bobby Jones, the only Grand Slam winner and a founder of The Masters, says, "Jack plays the kind of game I was never permitted to play. He should be made to carry 135 pounds like a Goliath. I have seen many big fellows in my time, but they all had some weakness. Jack doesn't have any."

About the only person who doesn't seem impressed is the golfer whose record Nicklaus broke. Ben Hogan, who shot a 274 in 1953, says it is insignificant that his record is gone. "It's just another score," he says. "Somebody will break his (Nicklaus') record some day."

He's right. Thirty-two years later, Tiger Woods will shoot a 270 and win by 12 strokes.

Pro baseball
Recollecting the many foul tips off his shins, New York Giants catcher Roger Bresnahan decides to do something about it: He puts on shin guards ("cricket leg guards") over his uniform in the season opener against the Philadelphia Phillies at the Polo Grounds. While some say Michael Kahoe was the first to use shin guards, others give credit to Bresnahan as the first to openly use protective leg gear.

The white shields are rather picturesque, in spite of their clumsiness, and the fans seem to like the new innovation. Bresnahan enjoys the benefits of his invention when a foul tip in the fifth inning raps the protectors sharply, saving him from being hurt.

In the game, with the Phillies leading 3-0 in the ninth inning, more than 1,000 fans in the crowd of 17,000 swarm the field. The players and umpires ask the fans to leave, but to no avail. Soon, hundreds more come on to the field. Umpire Bill Klem finally forfeits the game to the visiting Phillies by a 9-0 score.

Pro hockey
The Detroit Red Wings become the sixth team in six years to drink from the Stanley Cup when they defeat the Maple Leafs, 3-2, in Game 4 in Toronto to clinch the best-of-five series.

Late in the first period, Joe Primeau scores from close range to give the Maple Leafs a 1-0 lead. But the well-balanced, speedy Red Wings take the lead in the second period on shots by Ebbie Goodfellow and Marty Barry that elude goalie George Hainsworth. Barry, who was acquired from Boston in a trade before the season, was Detroit's leading scorer during the 48-game regular season with 40 points, including 21 goals.

Pete Kelly boosts Detroit's edge to 3-1 midway in the third period before Bill Thoms scores on a breakaway a minute later to close the gap with nine minutes left. With the crowd of 14,000 urging them on, the Maple Leafs continue to apply the pressure in search of the tying goal. But Detroit goalie Norman Smith is up to the challenge and preserves the Red Wings' first Stanley Cup.
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April 12
1981: Former heavyweight champ Joe Louis, who has spent his last four years in a wheelchair, dies of a heart attack at age 66 in Las Vegas.

Louis had been a well-liked champion. When someone called Louis "a credit to his race," sportswriter Jimmy Cannon responded, "Yes, Louis is a credit to his race -- the human race."

He also was a credit to boxing. His championship reign, from 1937 until he retired in 1949, is the longest of any title-holder in any division. With his powerful left jab, his destructive two-fisted attack that he released with accuracy at short range, and his capacity for finishing a wounded opponent, Louis defeated all 25 of his challengers, another record.

Louis will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery at the request of President Ronald Reagan.

1989: Exactly eight years to the day later, another beloved former champion dies. Sugar Ray Robinson, suffering from Alzheimer's disease and diabetes, dies at age 67 in Culver City, Cal. Robinson's skills, resiliency and longevity in the ring were legendary. He was 85-0 as an amateur and then won his first 40 fights as a pro before losing to Jake LaMotta, whom he defeated in their five other bouts. Robinson, who was born Walker Smith Jr., was welterweight champ in the late forties and middleweight champ for a record five times in the fifties.

Many considered the sweet fighting Sugar Ray to be, pound-for-pound, the greatest fighter ever.

Pro baseball
It's an embarrassment of riches on opening day at Yankee Stadium. Fifteen future Hall of Famers are on the rosters of the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Athletics.

The 10 position players are the Athletics' Ty Cobb, Eddie Collins, Zack Wheat, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and Mickey Cochrane and the Yankees' Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Tony Lazzeri and Earle Combs. They will combine for 2,700 homers, 15,083 RBI and 26,913 hits in their careers.

The three pitchers -- the Athletics' Lefty Grove (300) and the Yankees' Waite Hoyt (237) and Herb Pennock (240) -- will combine for 777 victories. And then there will be another 94 by Ruth.

Athletics manager Connie Mack (3,731) and Yankees' skipper Miller Huggins (1,413) will total 5,144 victories.

Before a crowd of 72,000 -- another 25,000 can't get in -- Hoyt outpitches Grove and the Yankees win, 8-3. Ruth goes 0-for-3, with two strikeouts, before being removed because he feels dizzy.
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April 13
1986: Jack Nicklaus read the story about his chances for this year's Masters. He couldn't miss it. A friend had clipped the article from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and pasted it on the refrigerator of the Augusta home where the Nicklaus family stayed this week. "Nicklaus is done," the story said. "He's gone."

"I kept thinking all week, 'Through, washed up, huh?'" Nicklaus said. "I sizzled for a while."

But not like how he sizzles on the back nine in the final round today at Augusta National. Down by four strokes, he plays like the Golden Bear of another era. Driving awesomely long and putting deadly, he charges past the field with a brilliant 30 to shoot a 65 for the day and 279 for the tournament. He wins his sixth Masters green jacket by one stroke over Tom Kite (who misses a 12-foot birdie putt on the final hole) and Greg Norman (who bogeys 18).

At 46, Nicklaus is the oldest to win the Masters.

1997: Exactly 11 years later, to the day, 21-year-old Tiger Woods becomes the youngest Masters winner. He also shatters several records with his astonishing performance in becoming the first African-American to win one of the four major championships.

His 69 today gives him a Masters record 18-under-par 270, breaking the mark of 271 shared by Nicklaus (1965) and Raymond Floyd (1976). His 12-stroke victory over runner-up Kite, a bridesmaid again, is the largest major championship victory margin in the 20th century, three better than the Masters record of nine set by Nicklaus in 1965.

"I've never played a whole tournament with my 'A' game, but this was pretty close, except for the first nine holes Thursday," Woods says.

About being the first of his race to win at Augusta, Woods says, "I wasn't the pioneer. Charlie Sifford, Lee Elder and Ted Rhodes played that role. I said a little prayer and said thanks to those guys. You are the ones who did it for me."

Exactly 21 years after getting his first hit, a triple off Pittsburgh's Bob Friend, Pete Rose strokes No. 4,000. Playing for the Expos, Rose doubles into the right-field corner off Philadelphia Phillies left-hander Jerry Koosman in the fourth inning of the Expos' 5-1 victory.

Oddly, the occasion is not marked by any special ceremony except for flashing the number 4,000 on the scoreboard in Montreal. Only Expos batting coach Billy DeMars, who was Rose's batting coach for three years in Philadelphia, runs on to the field to congratulate him.

Ty Cobb (4,191 hits) is the only other player with 4,000 hits. Rose doesn't expect any others to join their exclusive fraternity.

"The way they pay salaries today, most team can't even afford to pay guys for 20 years," Rose says. "And the way they're paying, who would even want to come up and play 20 years?"

It's been an eventful week for Rose. Two days ago he got married for the second time. Today's milestone game also is his first in Montreal with the Expos, who signed him after his release by the Phillies. And tomorrow he will turn 43.

Pro basketball
It's not the veterans but two rookies and a second-year player who are instrumental in the Boston Celtics winning their first NBA championship. The youngsters thrive under the Game 7 pressure as the Celtics win a thriller, 125-123, over the St. Louis Hawks in double overtime in Boston Garden.

Forward Tommy Heinsohn, the Rookie of the Year, scores 37 points before fouling out in the second OT. Fellow rookie Bill Russell grabs 32 rebounds and scores 19 points. Second-year forward Frank Ramsey, on loan from the Army, puts the Celtics ahead for good at 122-121 with a foul shot with 1:35 left and then increases the lead to three with a long hander 20 seconds later. He finishes with 16 points.

Boston's veteran starting backcourt of Bob Cousy (12 points) and Bill Sharman (nine) account for just 21 points.

The Hawks' Bob Pettit, who scores a game-high 39 points, sends the game into overtime with two foul shots with six seconds left in the fourth quarter. Heinsohn's layup with 15 seconds remaining in the first overtime puts Boston up 113-111, but the Hawks' Jack Coleman ties the game on a one-hander.

Before the game, Celtics coach Red Auerbach and Hawks owner Ben Kerner shake hands. Earlier in the series, Auerbach had punched Kerner after they got into a heated argument. The title is the first of 11 the Celtics will win in 13 seasons.
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April 14
1910: A baseball tradition is born in Washington, D.C. Before a capacity crowd of some 14,000, William Howard Taft, the 27th president of the United States, inaugurates the season by throwing out the first ball -- to Walter Johnson --before the Senators' game against the Philadelphia Athletics.

The act begins a rite of spring as many of Taft's successors -- both righties and lefties -- follow his lead.

Washington wins the game 3-0, with Johnson showing his arm is much stronger than the president's. Not being able to control his curve, he relies on his blazing fastball and holds the Athletics to one hit, a tainted double by Frank Chance.

The overflow crowd works against Johnson. The only hit comes when Doc Gessler stumbles over a boy who is trying to get out of the way in right-field. That night, a crest-fallen Gessler tells Johnson, "Walter, I'm awfully sorry I couldn't get that fly, for I wanted you to put them down without a hit."

Pro basketball
Named after his father's gold pocket watch, Elgin Baylor makes time to set an NBA playoff record by scoring 61 points in leading the Los Angeles Lakers to a 126-121 victory over the Celtics in Game 5 of the Finals in Boston Garden.

The acrobatic 6-foot-5 forward hits on 22-of-46 field-goal attempts and 17-of-19 free throws in breaking the record of 56 points that Philadelphia Warriors center Wilt Chamberlain had set just three weeks ago.

Michael Jordan will score 63 points in a 1986 playoff game (though he will need two overtimes), but no player has ever surpassed Baylor's 61 points in the Finals.

Baylor's hottest period is the first when he scores 18 points. With 15 in the second quarter, he sets a playoff mark for most points in a half at 33. He scores 28 points in the second half. His last six take the Lakers from a 116-114 deficit into a 120-117 lead.

While the win gives the Lakers a 3-2 advantage in the series, the Celtics will come back to win Game 6 in L.A. and Game 7 in Boston to capture their fourth consecutive title.

The Detroit Red Wings haven't lost at home in almost four months, and they have the home-ice advantage for Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals against the Montreal Canadiens. Each team has gained its three victories on its own ice.

The Canadiens, as they have all series, are without their fiery leader, Maurice Richard, who was suspended late in the season for striking a linesman.

Alex Delvecchio, who lost his job as center for high-scoring wings Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay at midseason because of his inability to score goals, notches two tonight to spark the Red Wings to a 3-1 victory and the Cup. Between Delvecchio's goals, Howe scores his ninth of the playoffs as he sets a postseason record with 20 points (in 11 games).

While Terry Sawchuk loses his shutout late in the third period, he is instrumental in the Red Wings duplicating their feat of last season, when they also won the Stanley Cup by beating the Canadiens in Game 7 in Detroit.
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April 15
1947: The dream of black America comes to life when Jackie Robinson becomes the first African-American to play in the majors this century. The 28-year-old Robinson, signed by Branch Rickey two years ago, bats second and plays first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field in their season opener.

"It was the most eagerly anticipated debut in the annals of the national pastime," wrote Robert Lipsyte and Pete Levine in "Idols of the Game." "It represented both the dream and the fear of equal opportunity, and it would change forever the complexion of the game and the attitudes of Americans."

Robinson goes hitless in three at-bats against Boston Braves' right-hander Johnny Sain, but does score the winning run in the Dodgers' 5-3 victory. At first base, a new position for Robinson (he was a second baseman), he records 11 putouts without an error.

The crowd is 25,623, with a majority reportedly African-Americans who have come to see their new hero.

Pro basketball
Though the Boston Celtics finish 22 games ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Division, their playoff series goes down to the final seconds of Game 7. With five seconds left in Boston Garden, the Celtics let Wilt Chamberlain score an uncontested basket, cutting their lead to 110-109.

Bill Russell throws the ball in-bounds over the outstretched hands of Chamberlain. But the ball hits the guide wire supporting the backboard and the 76ers get the ball. With a chance at victory, Hal Greer tosses the ball in play.

John Havlicek leaps and slaps the ball to teammate Sam Jones, who dribbles out the clock. Havlicek's game-saving play is immortalized on radio by Boston announcer Johnny Most, who yells, "Havlicek stole the ball! Havlicek stole the ball!"

Jones scores 37 points and Havlicek comes off the bench to get 26 as the Celtics win their ninth straight East title. Chamberlain (32 rebounds, 30 points) wins his personal battle with Russell (29 rebounds, 15 points). But, as usual, it is Russell who wins the war.

With Terry Sawchuk tying a playoff record with his fourth shutout, the Red Wings complete their four-game sweep of the Montreal Canadiens in the Stanley Cup final. They become the first team to win eight straight games in a postseason without a defeat.

Sawchuk, the Vezina Trophy winner during the regular season, stops 26 shots in the Red Wings' 3-0 victory. In posting his second straight shutout at home, he allowed the Canadiens only two goals in the four games. He gave up just five goals in the eight games as he blanked the Toronto Maple Leafs twice at home in the semifinals.

Metro Prystai, who hadn't scored a goal in the first seven playoff games, gets two past Montreal goalie Gerry McNeil in Game 4. He also assists on the other Detroit goal.

"You've just seen the sweetest balanced team I've ever watched in my 35 years in hockey," says Detroit coach Jack Adams. The Red Wings dominated the playoffs the same way they did the regular season, when they accumulated 100 points in 70 games to finish 22 points ahead of runner-up Montreal.
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April 16
1940: Cleveland Indians flame-thrower Bob Feller begins the season with an overpowering performance, becoming the first pitcher in history to fire a no-hitter on Opening Day. Pitching before a crowd of 14,000 in Chicago, including his parents, the 21-year-old right-hander beats the White Sox, 1-0.

It takes an outstanding play in the ninth inning by Indians second baseman Ray Mack to preserve Feller's first no-hitter. With two outs, Taft Wright rips a grounder to Mack's left. A fine stab knocks down the ball, and Mack picks it up and throws to first, getting Wright by a step.

Feller, who already has pitched three one-hitters, strikes out eight and walks five (four in the first three innings).

The Indians score the game's only run on Jeff Heath's single and catcher Rollie Hemsley's two-out triple in the fourth inning off Edgar Smith.

Pro basketball
It's a remarka-Bull record as Michael Jordan and his supporting cast become the first NBA team to win 70 games in a season. Though Air Jordan is not shooting at his best (nine of 27 from the field in scoring 22 points), he still leads the Bulls' to the record-breaker, an 86-80 victory over the Bucks in Milwaukee.

Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman embrace at halfcourt as the game ends and the Bulls (70-9) better the 1971-72 Lakers' record of 69-13. Afterward, in the locker room, Jordan attempts to downplay the significance of the Bulls' achievement.

"I'm glad it's over with," he says. "We didn't start out the season to win 70 games. We started out the season to win the championship, and that's still our motivation. It's going to take some time for this to sink in. I feel in the future, when we look back, 70 wins will mean a lot. If we win a championship, you'll see a much more enthusiastic party." He's right. The Bulls, who started 39-3, will finish the regular season 72-10 and then celebrate wildly after winning the championship, the first in their second three-peat of the '90s.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are the dominant team of the '40s, and tonight they make history. They become the first NHL team to win three consecutive Stanley Cups with their 3-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings completing their four-game sweep in the finals.

The Maple Leafs finished fourth in the six-team league during the regular season with a 22-25-13 record. Their 57 points were 18 less than the first-place Red Wings (34-19-7) accumulated. But after beating the second-place Boston Bruins in five games in the semifinals, the Leafs dominate the finals, with goalie Turk Broda allowing Detroit just five goals in four games.

The Red Wings' final goal, by Ted Lindsay with Gordie Howe assisting, gives Detroit an early 1-0 lead. Toronto's Ray Timgren ties the game midway through the second period and Cal Gardner makes it 2-1 before the period ends. Ray Bentley's goal late in the third period is the clincher as the Leafs sweep Detroit in the final for the second straight year.

This is the fifth Stanley Cup for the Leafs and their coach, Hap Day, in the '40s.
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April 17
Pro Football
1963: Green Bay Packers halfback Paul Hornung and Detroit Lions defensive tackle Alex Karras probably would have taken even money that they would never be suspended for betting on NFL games. But they would have lost that wager as NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle suspends the two stars indefinitely for betting on league games and associating with gamblers or "known hoodlums."

Hornung set an NFL record with 176 points in 1960 and was the league's MVP in 1961. Karras has been an all-league defensive tackle the past three years.

While Hornung says his bets were made with friends, for $100 or $200, Rozelle says the player bet as much as $500 on NFL games from 1959-61. Hornung is contrite after learning of the suspension. "I made a terrible mistake," he says. "I am truly sorry."

Rozelle says Karras made at least six bets of $50 or $100. Karras is bitter about the suspension.

Rozelle also fines five other Detroit Lions - Joe Schmidt, Wayne Walker, John Gordy, Gary Lowe and Sam Williams - $2,000 each for betting $50 on the Packers in the 1962 championship game against the Giants. Since the Packers covered the six-point spread in beating the Giants 16-7, the players are $1,950 losers.

Hornung and Karras will be reinstated after a year. Hornung will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986.

Pro Baseball
1953: Dialing long distance is what home runs are called, and it's arguable that nobody ever dials longer than Mickey Mantle does today. Batting right-handed, the New Yankees' 21-year-old slugger blasts the ball out of Griffith Stadium in Washington off left-hander Chuck Stobbs. The homer is measured at 565 feet.

The towering drive soars way over the wall in left-center (which is 391 feet away), beyond the 55-foot high bleachers, then nicks a beer sign (which is 460 feet away) next to the football scoreboard. The ball caroms off to the right and flies out of sight.

A 10-year-old boy finds the ball in the street and Arthur Patterson of the Yankees' front-office staff gives him $5 for it. Patterson gives the ball to Mantle.

Later in the Yankees' 7-3 victory, Mantle also gets one of the longest bunt singles in history. From the left side, he drags a bunt that lands in front of second base and goes into center-field.

Some claim that Babe Ruth once hit a longer homer, but Clark Griffith, the Senators' 83-year-old president, says Mantle's drive went farther. "No doubt about it, that was the longest home run ever hit in the history of baseball," he says.

Pro Basketball
1987: It's the last time the doctor makes a house call at home, and to commemorate the occasion, the Philadelphia 76ers honor Julius Erving in a pregame ceremony that lasts more than 40 minutes.

Dr. J, who is retiring after this season, wants to do something special in his last regular-season home game. He needs 36 points to join Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (36,474 points) and Wilt Chamberlain (31,419) in the exclusive 30,000-point club. Though there is one more game left after tonight, Erving wants to reach the milestone at home.

By halftime, he has 22 points. Then with 4:58 left in the third period, he hits a fadeaway jumper for points 29,999 and 30,000. The game is stopped as Erving is mobbed by his teammates and given the ball. Erving finishes with a season-high 38 in a 115-111 loss to the Indiana Pacers.

He has 18,340 points in 11 seasons with the 76ers and 11,662 during his five years in the ABA.

"This was a very different night," 76ers coach Matt Goukas says. "A salute, a send-off, and then Doc reaching his milestone. You'll probably never see another night like this in NBA history."
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April 18
1983: Today's Boston Marathon becomes Joan Benoit's personal showcase. The 5-foot-3, 105-pound sprite literally runs away from the field at the start and never looks back, smashing the women's world marathon record.

Starting out with sub-5:10 miles, the 25-year-old Benoit finishes in two hours, 22 minutes and 42 seconds, two minutes and 47 seconds better than the record set by Allison Roe in 1981 in New York and tied by Grete Waitz yesterday in London. Her closest competitor isn't even in the same zip code when Benoit finishes, winning by six minutes and 45 seconds.

Since World War II, 10 men have won the race in slower times than Benoit runs. This is Benoit's second Boston Marathon victory, and her time is almost 13 minutes faster than when she won four years ago.

"She's just a little thing, but look inside her and it's scary what you see," says her coach, Bob Sevene. "I keep calling her an animal. Her mother hates me for it, but I can't think of any better way to describe her."

1923: Costing $2.5 million, the new ballpark in the Bronx opens to an overflow crowd of 74,200. The New York Times reports that another 25,000 are turned away and the gates are closed half an hour before the start of the game. New York Gov. Al Smith throws out the first ball.

Officially, it's Yankee Stadium. Unofficially, it's "The House That Ruth Built," nicknamed by sportswriter Fred Lieb. Appropriately enough, it's the Babe who baptizes the stadium with its first home run. His three-run homer in the third inning leads the Yankees to a 4-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox.

Before the game, Ruth is quoted as saying, "I'd give a year of my life if I can hit a home run in this first game in this new park."

Two men are arrested for scalping. One offers to sell his $1.10 grandstand ticket for $1.25 and another wants $1.50 for his ticket. Both men are unable to post $500 bail and spend the night in jail.

1942: The Toronto Maple Leafs make history. They become the only team this century in any major sport to win a championship after being down three games to none in the final.

In tonight's Game 7, the Detroit Red Wings are less than 13 minutes away from winning the Stanley Cup before the Leafs rally. The Red Wings have a 1-0 lead, courtesy of Syd Howe's goal early in the second period. But just as the Red Wings couldn't hold their three games to none advantage in the series, they can't hold their one-goal edge in Game 7 in Toronto.

Sweeney Schriner is the Toronto hero. He scores with 12:14 left in the third period to tie the game and then two minutes later Pete Langelle scores to give the Leafs a 2-1 lead. Schriner scores again to clinch the 3-1 victory. The three previous Toronto victories were by scores of 4-3, 9-3 and 3-0.
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April 19
1919: New York Gov. Al Smith signs into law a bill that allows professional baseball to be played on Sundays after 2 p.m. in the state.

Smith says attending a baseball game on Sunday is a most harmless diversion. "It is in no sense deteriorating to the moral fiber of the witness," he says. "Well-to-do people can and do on Sunday pursue their amusements with entire impunity and under the protection of the laws. Our golf courses are crowded, our highways are thronged with automobiles seeking on Sunday a change of scene and the beneficial effects resulting therefrom.

"The activities of a poor man along this line are necessarily restricted by the limit of his means. It comes, however, within the reasonable reach of many to enjoy a baseball game and to obtain the rest which comes from recreation by such an outdoor health giving amusement."

The bill also eliminates the prohibition against fishing on Sunday. Gov. Smith signs another bill permitting movies to be shown on Sunday.

1949: In a pregame ceremony in "The House That Ruth Built," the Yankees honor the Babe, who died last year. Ruth's widow Claire unveils a granite monument that is placed next to the ones honoring Lou Gehrig and Miller Huggins in deep center-field in Yankee Stadium.

The inscription says: "George Herman 'Babe' Ruth. 1895-1948. A great ball player. A great man. A great American. Erected by the Yankees and the New York Baseball Writers, April 19, 1949."

New York Gov. Tom Dewey and Mayor Bill O'Dwyer participate in the ceremony, attended by 40,075 fans on opening day.

Afterwards, in Casey Stengel's debut as Yankees manager, Tom Heinrich shows he's as reliable as ever, hitting a solo homer with two outs in the ninth to give the Yankees a 3-2 victory over the Washington Senators.
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April 20
1912: Two new ballparks open today in the American League -- Navin Field in Detroit and Fenway Park in Boston. Beside celebrating the parks, the fans also get to celebrate 11-inning victories behind the play of two future Hall of Famers.

An estimated crowd of 26,000 (24,384 paid) fills the new concrete ballpark in Detroit. Every seat is taken and thousands stand around the borders of the outfield, necessitating ground rules which limit the length of any hit to two bases. Ty Cobb stars for the Tigers, with two hits, two steals (including one of home) and two outstanding catches in center-field. The Tigers win 6-5 on pitcher George Mullin's run-scoring single in the 11th inning.

In Boston, the Red Sox finally get to play in Fenway after several rainouts. The estimated crowd of 27,000 sees the home team beat New York, 7-6, as Tris Speaker knocks in the winning run in the 11th.

1939: It's opening day at Yankee Stadium and this is the only game that Ted Williams and Lou Gehrig ever play against each other. It is the first major-league game for Williams, a 20-year-old playing right-field and batting sixth for Boston, and the 2,124th consecutive game for the Yankees' Gehrig.

Williams strikes out twice and goes 1-for-4 against Red Ruffing, who blanks Boston, 2-0. Williams' hit -- the first of 2,654 in his career -- is a double off the right-center bleacher wall.

Gehrig, batting fifth, is 0-for-4 against Lefty Grove, including a low liner that Williams catches with two runners on base. An ailing Gehrig will play only six more games before illness forces him to retire.

Pro basketball
Michael Jordan is well rested for the playoffs, having played only 18 games in his second season in the NBA because of an injury. While Chicago Bulls management would have preferred Jordan not come back until next season, Air is rarin' to go.

In the Bulls' first playoff game, he scores 49 points against the Boston Celtics. It's only a warm-up for today's heavenly performance. He scores a playoff-record 63 points in the Bulls' 135-131 double overtime loss in Boston Garden.

"He's God disguised as Michael Jordan," says Boston's Larry Bird.

In breaking the 24-year-old playoff record of 61 points set by Elgin Baylor, Jordan shoots 22-of-41 from the field and 19-of-21 from the foul line. He also has six assists and five rebounds in 53 minutes. His two free throws (points 53 and 54) with no time remaining in the fourth quarter send the game into overtime.

Jordan has a chance to win the game at the end of the first overtime, but misses a mid-range jump shot. "I'll remember that shot longer than my points," he says.

Jordan's final four points tie the game at 131 before Boston sub Jerry Sichting hits a game-winning jumper. Bird scores 36 with 12 rebounds and eight assists.
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April 21
1974: Lee Elder doesn't care to be reminded of his remarkable resemblance to comedian Flip Wilson. He finds the Masters never having invited an African-American even less amusing.

Today, in a remarkable display of pressure golf, Elder puts an end to the Masters' policy. With birdies on the final two holes of the Monsanto Open in Pensacola, Fla., Elder forces a playoff with Englishman Peter Oosterhuis at 10-under-par 274. And then on the fourth extra hole, he triumphs by sinking an 18-foot birdie putt.

Along with the first-place prize of $30,045 is an automatic berth in the previous elite, all-white, by-invitation-only Masters.

Immediately after winning, Elder struggles through a crowd of well-wishers and with tears streaming down his face, he telephones his wife Rose. "Baby, we did it. We finally did it, baby. We finally won."

Five times a tournament runner-up, the 38-year-old Elder leaves things up in the air about accepting the Masters invitation before clarifying the matter later in the day. "I will definitely play in the Masters," he says. "Tell Mr. Roberts (Clifford Roberts, the man who runs the tournament) I'll see him at the Masters."

The first four games of the Stanley Cup final between bitter Canadian rivals Toronto and Montreal have gone into overtime. Tonight's fifth game also goes into an extra session when the Maple Leafs pull their goalie for an extra attacker and rookie Tod Sloan scores his second goal of the game to make it 2-2.

Toronto defenseman Bill Barilko, known more for his body checks than goal scoring, ends the dramatic contest at 2:53 of overtime. His 20-foot slap shot eludes Canadiens goalie Gerry McNeil and gives the Maple Leafs a 3-2 victory and their fourth Stanley Cup in five years.

It is Barilko's last goal. A few months later the 24-year-old will be killed in a plane crash in northern Ontario.
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April 22
1970: Before the game at Shea Stadium, the Mets' Tom Seaver is applauded as he receives his Cy Young Award for being the outstanding pitcher in the National League in 1969. After the game, Seaver is applauded again by the paid crowd of 14,197, this time for his strikeout performance.

Going into the ninth inning, Seaver is on fire, having fanned the last seven San Diego Padres for a total of 16. Then he whiffs Van Kelly and Clarence Gaston. That brings up Al Ferrera, whose second-inning homer is the only run Seaver has allowed.

When the count reaches 1-2, Seaver thinks record book. "The right pitch to Ferrera would have been an outside slider," he says. "But I decided to challenge him with my best pitch -- a fastball. I went for the strikeout."

He gets it too, blowing a low fastball past Ferrera for his 10th consecutive strikeout, a major league record. His 19 strikeouts tie Steve Carlton's mark.

In the 2-1 victory, Seaver relies mostly on hard stuff, throwing 81 fastball, 34 sliders, 19 curves and just two change-ups.

The Detroit Red Wings are intent on "reversing" history. In 1942, they blew a 3-0 lead to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Stanley Cup finals and lost in seven games. This year, they lost the first three games to Toronto before winning the next three.

They're playing tonight's Game 7 at home, too. The crowd of 14,890 -- largest ever to attend a hockey game in the Olympia Arena -- is ecstatic when Murray Armstrong ties the game at 1-1, banging home a rebound at 8:16 of the third period.

But the joy in Detroit is short-lived. Just four minutes later, Toronto defenseman Babe Pratt scores on a power play from in front of the net, giving the Maple Leafs a 2-1 victory and the Stanley Cup.

There is no "reversing" history.

Pro basketball
The Philadelphia Warriors, behind Jumpin' Joe Fulks' 34 points, win the first Basketball Association of America championship with a 83-80 victory over the Chicago Stags in Game 5.

Fulks, the league's leading scorer, nets 10 of the Stags' 26 field goals and hits on 14-of-18 foul shots before a crowd of 8,221 in Philadelphia. Guard Howie Dallmar's field goal with less than a minute remaining and forward Ralph Kaplowitz's free throw provide the winning margin for coach Eddie Gottlieb's team.

The Warriors (35-25) had finished the regular season in second place in the six-team Eastern Division, 14 games behind Red Auerbach's Washington Capitols (49-11). But the Capitols were upset by the Stags, winners of the West, in six games in the playoff semifinals.

Players on the Warriors pocket about $2,000 per man in prize money -- almost half a season's pay for most.
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April 23
Pro basketball
1950: In the summer of '49, the six surviving National Basketball League teams are absorbed into the Basketball Association of America and the league is renamed the National Basketball Association. It makes no difference what the league is called; George Mikan still comes out a champion.

For the third consecutive year, Mikan's Minneapolis Lakers are the pro champions. With the 6-foot-10 center scoring 40 points, the Lakers beat the Syracuse Nationals, 110-95, in Game 6 to win the NBA title before 9,812 fans, the largest crowd to see a pro basketball game in Minneapolis.

In 1948, the Lakers were champions of the NBL and in 1949 they won the BAA title.

Three fights spice tonight's game, with police intervening in a first-quarter bout between the Lakers' Jim Pollard and the Nats' Paul Seymour.

Four Lakers, including Mikan, foul out in the bruising game. Dolph Schayes leads Syracuse with 23 points, 18 in the fourth quarter.

1989: The Los Angeles Lakers bid Kareem Abdul-Jabbar a stylish farewell. Kareem's 25th -- and final -- stop on his retirement tour comes at home at the Forum. Among the presents he receives during a 45-minute retirement ceremony are a 1989 Rolls Royce "Silver Light" (reported cost: $175,000) from his teammates and a lighted tennis court to be installed at his home in Hawaii from Lakers owner Jerry Buss.

"Sometimes we take this team thing for granted," Lakers coach Pat Riley says. "We get jaded and cynical. (Kareem) is not just another guy. He's larger than life, and we've had the opportunity to be with him."

Though unaccustomed to public displays of affection, Abdul-Jabbar seems genuinely moved by the ceremony. "It was kind of hard to cry," he says. "When I'm happy, I'll smile." And, for a change, Abdul-Jabbar is smiling a lot.

In his last regular-season game of his 20-year career, Abdul-Jabbar scores 10 points in the Lakers' 121-117 victory over the Seattle Sonics. He retires as the NBA's all-time leading scorer with 38,387 points among his plethora of records. He is the only player to win six MVP awards.

At spring training, it didn't look like 20-year-old Hank Aaron would make the Milwaukee Braves. But then Bobby Thomson (yes, that Bobby Thomson of Ralph Branca fame) suffered a broken ankle sliding into second base. The Braves needed a starting outfielder to replace Thomson and the 6-foot, 160-pound Aaron won the competition.

Today, playing in just his seventh major-league game, Aaron hits his first home run. It's a solo shot off the Cardinals' Vic Raschi, the veteran right-hander who is in his first year in the National League after eight seasons with the Yankees. Playing right-field and batting sixth, Aaron also gets two singles in the Braves' 7-5, 14-inning victory in Sportsman's Park in St. Louis.

Aaron will connect for 754 more home runs in his career.

In a series the Red Wings were supposed to dominate, even without injured star Gordie Howe, it takes a goal by journeyman Pete Babando for Detroit to win the Stanley Cup in the second overtime of Game 7. His goal lifts Detroit to a 4-3 victory over the New York Rangers.

The American-born Babando is an unlikely hero. He had scored only six goals in 56 games during the regular season and had been blanked in the playoffs until scoring in the second period. Then at 8:31 of the second overtime, the left wing slips a 15-foot backhander past Rangers goalie Chuck Rayner to cap Red Wing comebacks from deficits of 2-0 and 3-2.

Detroit owner Jack Adams had been criticized for trading for Babando the previous summer, but all the grumbling was forgotten after his goal returns the Cup to Detroit for the first time in seven years.

Howe had suffered a life-threatening injury in the first game of the playoffs against Toronto. Ted Kennedy caught Howe in the eye with his stick and Howe went headfirst into the boards. He suffered a fractured skull, concussion, broken nose, broken cheekbone and scratched eyeball.
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April 24
Pro basketball
1967: The Philadelphia 76ers showed they were one of the greatest teams in NBA history. They set a regular-season record by going 68-13 and then ended Boston's streak of eight straight NBA titles and 10 consecutive Eastern Division championships by demolishing the Celtics in five games in the playoffs.

But in the Finals, they are pressed by the Western Division champion San Francisco Warriors, who are led by high-scoring Rick Barry and have won two of the last three games to force Game 6 in San Francisco. The Warriors lead by 12 points with five minutes left in the third period before the 76ers rally.

Reserve forward Billy Cunningham scores 13 of his 17 points in the final 12 minutes as the 76ers gain the championship with a 125-122 victory. Wilt Chamberlain plays a superb all-around game (24 points, 23 rebounds and six blocked shots). Guard Wally Jones is the 76ers' high scorer with 27 points.

Barry, who had dethroned Chamberlain as regular-season scoring champion by averaging 35.6, gets 44 points, but misses a shot with 15 seconds left that would have regained the lead for San Francisco.

With the Ohio River swollen about 60 feet above its banks and home plate at Crosley Field disappearing from sight beneath the backwaters of the river, there is no baseball game in Cincinnati. For the second consecutive day, the Reds' game against the St. Louis Cardinals is postponed by flood.

Five inches of sand have been dumped on the diamond to protect the foundation, but it doesn't stop the flooding, which reaches the upper deck in the 28-year-old ballpark.

This is not the first time the field has been deluged, though fortunately for the Reds, when it happened in 1937, it occurred in January. With the playing field covered by 21 feet of water, pitcher Lee Grissom and Reds traveling secretary John McDonald rowed a boat over the center-field fence.

Pro basketball
It's a wonderful day in Mr. Robinson's neighborhood. Playing in the paint in Los Angeles, David Robinson overtakes Shaquille O'Neal for the league scoring title on the season's final day when he becomes just the fourth NBA player to score at least 70 points.

"I looked up at the scoreboard and saw 71 points and said, 'My goodness, 71 points,'" the San Antonio Spurs center says. "I just had to shake my head."

So does Shaq, who now needs 68 points to win the scoring title. But he gets "only" 32 in the Magic's 120-91 win over the New Jersey Nets and finishes as the runner-up with a 29.35 average compared to Robinson's 29.79.

Fed by his teammates, The Admiral is not shot-shy, hoisting up 41 field-goal attempts and making 26. He's 18 of 25 from the foul line in 44 minutes in the Spurs' 112-97 victory over the Clippers. Robinson scores the Spurs' first 18 points before slowing down in the second period with just six points. Then he breaks loose for 47 points in the second half  19 in the third period and a dazzling 28 in the fourth quarter.
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April 25
Pro basketball
1950: Duquesne's Chuck Cooper, a second-team All-American, becomes the first African-American drafted by an NBA team when he's selected in the second round by the Boston Celtics.

Other African-Americans selected in the draft are Virginia State's Earl Lloyd and North Carolina College's Harold Hunter (both by the Washington Caps) and Kentucky State's Ed Thompson (by the Fort Wayne Pistons).

The 6-foot-5 Cooper will average 6.7 points and 5.9 rebounds in his six-year NBA career, the first four with Red Auerbach's Celtics.

"There was none of the continual harassment that Jackie Robinson received," Cooper will say years later. "It was mostly just the humiliation of having to separate from the rest of the team in certain towns. Hotels and restaurants and taxis could be a problem."

Cooper will say that having Bob Cousy as a road roommate relieved some of his loneliness. "Cousy is about as free of the affliction of racism as any white person I've ever known."

1964: After five of the first six games were decided by one goal, the Toronto Maple Leafs notch a decisive 4-0 victory over the Detroit Red Wings in Game 7 to capture their third consecutive Stanley Cup.

Andy Bathgate, a late-season acquisition from the New York Rangers, scores early in the first period on a breakaway, ripping a shot past the left shoulder of goalie Terry Sawchuk.

Sawchuk's otherwise spectacular play keeps the game close until the third period when the Maple Leafs erupt for three goals, two in a span of 1:27 by Dave Keon and Red Kelly. Johnny Bower, Toronto's 39-year-old goalie, makes 33 saves. It's the second straight year the Leafs beat the Red Wings in the finals behind Bower.
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April 26
1923: Eight days ago, on the same afternoon that Yankee Stadium opened, Columbia left-hander Lou Gehrig struck out a school-record 17 batters in a 5-1 loss to Williams. Today, Gehrig shows his clout with the bat.

Playing right-field and batting third, Gehrig belts two long home runs in Columbia's 9-4 victory over Rutgers in New Brunswick, N.J. New York Yankees scout Paul Krichell is so impressed he says, "I think I've just seen another Babe Ruth."

Though Gehrig's mother wants him to stay in college, he will soon sign with the Yankees, receiving a $1,500 bonus.

1997: With a home run in his final at-bat yesterday, the Chicago Cubs' Ryne Sandberg tied Joe Morgan's major league record for homers by a second baseman. In his first at-bat today, against Pittsburgh Pirates left-hander Steve Cooke in the second inning, Sandberg homers into the left-field bleachers for the record-breaker.

The home run is Sandberg's 267th as a second baseman. The 37-year-old Sandberg has 272 overall, with the first five coming as a third baseman.

When Sandberg returns to his locker after the Cubs' 7-6 victory, he finds the record-setting ball, compliments of the fan who caught it.
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April 27
1956: The Brockton Blockbuster is through busting heads -- and ribs. Rocky Marciano, 32, announces his retirement from boxing. At 49-0 (with 43 knockouts), he is the only heavyweight champion to finish his career undefeated.

Marciano, who started boxing professionally in 1947 and gained the heavyweight crown in 1952 by knocking out Jersey Joe Walcott, doesn't expect to be making a comeback, like former champs Jim Jeffries and Joe Louis did.

"No man can say what he will do in the future," Marciano says. "But, barring poverty, the ring has seen the last of me. I am comfortably fixed, and I am not afraid of the future. Barring a complete and dire emergency, you will never see Rocky Marciano make a comeback."

Despite rumors in the late fifties that he would return to the ring, The Rock's word is as good as his right. He will never fight again.

The Ryan Express passes The Big Train to become the King of the K. Pitching for the Houston Astros, 36-year-old Nolan Ryan strikes out Montreal pinch-hitter Brad Mills on a 1-2 pitch in the eighth inning for his 3,509th strikeout, breaking the mark of 3,508 that Walter Johnson has owned since 1927.

"I vapor-locked (froze) when I saw that curve," Mills says. "I knew I was history right there."

Ryan, who previously pitched for the Mets and Angels, gets the record in his 16th full season and in 3,357 innings. Johnson pitched 21 seasons and 5,924 innings (2,567 more than Ryan did) with the Washington Senators.

"It's been so long since he pitched that I really know very little about him," Ryan says after the 4-2 win in Montreal. "I only know what I read in the newspapers, and I looked him up in The Baseball Encyclopedia. That gave his statistics, but not very much about the man."

Besides being primarily fastballers, the two men also were similar in personality. Ryan, a rancher, and Johnson, a farmer, were simple, homespun types who didn't get too big for their britches.
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April 28
1961: Just turned 40, Warren Spahn picks up where he left off at 39. The Milwaukee Braves left-hander, who threw the first no-hitter of his career against Philadelphia last September, throws his second today, beating the San Francisco Giants, 1-0.

"I wasn't as nervous this time as the last time," Spahn says.

He is the second 40-something to pitch a no-hitter, with only Cy Young being older (Young was 41 when he pitched his third, in 1908). In winning his 290th game, Spahn uses a mixture of sliders, fastballs and screwballs to boost his all-time National League record for shutouts among left-handers to 52.

Only two Giants reach base -- Chuck Hiller and Willie McCovey -- and both are retired on double plays started by Spahn. The future Hall of Famer strikes out five and faces only 27 batters. He nails down his gem by retiring pinch-hitter Joe Amalfitano on a grounder before a crowd of just 8,518 in Milwaukee.

The only run Spahn needs is provided by Hank Aaron's single that scores Frank Bolling in the first inning.

Pro basketball
Boston coach Red Auerbach lights one final victory cigar. The Celtics win their eighth consecutive championship, and ninth in 10 years, with a 95-93 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 7 in Boston.

The game is not as close as the final score indicates. The Celtics score the first 10 points of the game and increase their lead to 59-40 early in the third period. They have a 76-60 edge entering the fourth quarter. With less than 30 seconds left, Auerbach lights up after a Boston basket, believing the game clinched. The Lakers, who outscore the Celtics 33-19 in the fourth period, get two late baskets to make the final score close.

Bill Russell, who has been named to replace Auerbach as coach, scores a team-high 25 points and grabs a game-high 32 rebounds. Auerbach, 48, will remain as Boston's general manager.

Jerry West leads the Lakers with 36 points, but Elgin Baylor is held to 18, with only two in the first half, as Tom Sanders does an outstanding job on the acrobatic forward.
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April 29
1986: Roger Clemens accomplishes what no strikeout pitcher has ever done before. Not Walter Johnson, not Bob Feller, not Sandy Koufax, not Nolan Ryan. The flame-throwing Boston Red Sox right-hander becomes the first to strike out 20 batters in a nine-inning game.

Clemens has fanned 18 Seattle Mariners going into the ninth. Then he whiffs Spike Owen before striking out Phil Bradley for the fourth time to break the record of 19 set by Steve Carlton (1969) and matched by Tom Seaver (1970) and Ryan (1974). Boston's 3-1 victory ends with Clemens retiring Ken Phelps on a grounder.

"The Rocket" also ties the American League record of eight consecutive strikeouts (aided by first baseman Don Baylor's error on a foul pop during the streak). Amazingly, Clemens does not walk a batter. He allows only three hits, with Seattle's run coming on a Gorman Thomas homer. It is the 20th career victory for the 23-year-old Clemens, who is in his third season with Boston.

Clemens will duplicate his 20-strikeout, no-walk performance 10 years later, this time against the Detroit Tigers. It will be his 192nd, and last, victory for Boston.

Pro basketball
Jerry West makes one of the most incredible buzzer-beating shots in NBA history. It comes after Dave DeBusschere's jumper with three seconds left in the fourth quarter gives the New York Knicks a 102-100 lead over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 3 of the Finals.

West takes the in-bounds pass from Wilt Chamberlain and from about 60 feet, lets it fly. Knicks guard Walt Frazier remembers thinking: "The man's crazy. He looks determined. He thinks it's really going in!"

The breath-taking shot does go in, sending the game into overtime. On the court, DeBusschere falls to the court as if he had been shot. But DeBusschere and the Knicks get off the floor and post a 111-108 victory over the Lakers, who had led 56-42 at halftime. With the game tied 108-108 with 1:27 left, Willis Reed makes a foul shot for the last of his game-high 38 points and then Dick Barnett hits a clinching basket.

After his phenomenal shot, West shows he's human in overtime, going 0-for-5. He finishes with 34 points (11-of-28 from the field) and nine assists.

A dejected West has difficulty talking about his shot after the game, saying, "It doesn't really matter, does it, because we lost."
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April 30
1993: A deranged Steffi Graf fan stabs Monica Seles in the back with a boning knife during a changeover at a tournament in Hamburg. The 38-year-old lathe operator from eastern Germany is upset that Seles had replaced Graf as No. 1 in the world two years ago.

Taken to a nearby hospital, Seles, 19, is in stable condition with a muscle tear of a half-inch to an inch. She has no life-threatening injuries, although the knife barely missed her spinal cord.

"She was very lucky," says one doctor.

Security guards restrain the attacker and turn him over to the police. The man tells police he wanted Graf to regain the No. 1 ranking. "He didn't want to kill Seles, only injure her to hinder her from playing," says a police spokesman.

After losing his last two starts, there is talk that Bob Feller had lost his heater during his wartime service. But the Cleveland Indians fastballer shuts up the critics when he throws the second no-hitter of his career, 1-0 against the Yankees.

Feller, 27, missed three-plus seasons because of the war, not pitching in the majors again until late last season, when he appeared in only nine games.

"Feller was as great as he's ever been," says Yankees star Joe DiMaggio. "He deserved the no-hitter."

Rapid Robert strikes 11 and walks five. Only two balls are hit to the outfield. With the tying run on second base with one out in the ninth, Feller retires DiMaggio and Charley Keller on grounders to throw the first no-hitter against the Yankees in 27 years. It also is the first no-hitter ever against the home team in Yankee Stadium.

Pro basketball
The Bucks stop here -- with their first NBA championship. With youthful Lew Alcindor patrolling the middle in unstoppable fashion and Oscar Robertson running the show from his guard spot, Milwaukee is too powerful for the Baltimore Bullets and Milwaukee completes its four-game sweep in the Final with a 118-106 victory.

Alcindor, who will change his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the fall, scores 27 points, matching his average for the first three games. The 24-year-old center, the league's MVP during the regular season, gains another MVP trophy -- for the Finals.

Robertson, 32, who was obtained from Cincinnati after last season, scores 30 points (11-of-15 from the field) and has nine assists as the Bucks become only the second NBA to sweep a Finals (Boston in 1959 was the first).

"This is the first champagne I've ever had, and it tastes mighty sweet," Robertson says. "We won the title in high school, but it was soft drinks then. This is the big leagues, man."
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