The 1996 National League MVP and the first major leaguer to admit he'd used steroids died of a drug overdose. Respected for playing through pain, he was so dehydrated before a '96 game that he took two liters of IV fluids, then went out and hit two homers.
An anomaly in baseball's old-boys' network, the Reds owner from '84 to '99 was a tireless philanthropist but given to acts of social and racial insensitivity that led to her being suspended. Ex-commissioner Fay Vincent: "I always thought of her as a tragic figure."
December 27, 2004
The two-time NBA Coach of the Year was a great communicator with a soft country drawl. He won 832 games (10th alltime), including 341 with the Suns, whose CEO Jerry Colangelo said, "He embodied all things that are great about life."
The Wisconsin star went by Crazy Legs after a writer said his running style made him look "like a demented duck." An ironworker's son, he played 11 pro seasons, winning an NFL title with the '51 Rams, and starred in three movies.
As the soul of the '73 Mets World Series team, the closer coined the phrase "You gotta believe." In a colorful 19-year career, the two-time All-Star bounced off the mound slapping his glove against his thigh. Once asked whether he preferred grass to AstroTurf, he said, "I don't know. I've never smoked AstroTurf."
Famously demanding, he led Cal's water polo team to eight national titles between '73 and '88. Four times he was NCAA Coach of the Year and the Peter J. Cutino award--water polo's Heisman--was established in '99.
He was on Tom Watson's bag for 30 years and worked the 2003 U.S. Open despite advanced ALS. Watson, inspired, shot an opening-round 65. "Even if I die within the year," the caddie said, "I've had a great life."
A crafty scorer (six 20-goal years), the Toronto captain won three Stanley Cups in the '40s and '50s and twice took the Lady Byng Trophy as the NHL's most gentlemanly player. He played in more than 400 straight games.
He wielded a powerful right hand, had a steel jaw and was known as Baby Face. Historian Burt Sugar named the two-time world champ (he retired in 1936) the second-greatest welterweight of all time.
Dubbed Il Pirata for his bandanna and gold earring, the scrawny (5'8", 126 pounds) Italian cyclist won the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia in 1998, before spiraling into the drug addiction that apparently cost his life
A slick fielder known as the Cat, the lefty won 133 games in a 12-year career and went 20-7 in '48, but it was the three games he won in the Cardinals '46 Series victory over the Red Sox that secured his place in baseball lore.
The miler held the world record of 4:01.4 for nine years until Roger Bannister broke four minutes. He trained on wooded trails in his native Sweden and set 16 world records in all, at distances ranging from 1,500 to 5,000 meters.
The Arizona Cardinal left a legacy of selflessness. As a player he spurned free-agent riches out of loyalty to the Cards. As a man, he was so moved by the events of 9/11 that he left the NFL to serve as a U.S. Army Ranger and was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan.
JOHN HENRY WILLIAMS
Ted Williams's son made a career of guarding--and marketing--his father's legacy and sparked an ugly battle over Ted's remains. On the field the Splinter's son, who died of leukemia, was less than splendid, hitting .153 in his last stint in the minors.
He had Hakeem's size, Dikembe's spirit and, at 7 feet, a mountain of upside. Yet after the Nets drafted him No. 14 in '94 , the Nigerian center averaged 2.1 points in four NBA years. He died in New Jersey of a heart attack.
Gold's Gym, which the World War II veteran founded in California in '65 after inventing numerous workout machines, was the birthplace of a bodybuilding movement--and where Ahnold began his ascent.
The infielder played 13 years in the bigs, and when he retired in 1960, his impact had just begun: He was the patriarch of baseball's three-generation All-Star family. "Anybody that's not proud of this," he said watching grandsons Bret and Aaron in the '03 All-Star Game, "there's something wrong with them."
He was once Canada's greatest marathoner and ranked No. 3 in the world, but his legacy was made in the kitchen of his California home. There, in 1986, he and his wife, Jennifer, created the PowerBar.
Believed to be the first to receive a golf scholarship--to LSU, where he won the NCAA individual title in '37--he took five PGA Tour events including the '45 Memphis Open to end Byron Nelson's win streak at 11.
At 58, when he became the oldest man to swim the English Channel, he'd won six NCAA swimming titles as Indiana's coach. He mentored 48 Olympians; Mark Spitz called him "the most instrumental person in my career."
As a kid in Mexico he dreamed of becoming a soccer star or a bullfighter. Instead he became a second baseman, helping the Indians take the Series in '54, when he was the first Latin big leaguer to win a batting title.
His death was a tragedy in the Czech Republic, which he led to hockey championships as a center in the '70s and to Olympic gold as a coach in '98. He played (Canucks) and coached (Penguins) in the NHL too.
The Dutchwoman had two children and was pregnant when she won four golds at the '48 Olympics, a feat still unmatched in women's track and one that earned her the sobriquet of the Flying Housewife.
Nobody knows why the ex--Steelers lineman led police on a high-speed chase that ended in his fatal collision. From '90 to '98 he was steady in several positions on the O-line, but family and friends say he'd become manic depressive since injuries ended his career.
The National Hot Rod Association's 2001 Rookie of the Year and well-liked as one of the circuit's most easygoing drivers, he was traveling at more than 300 mph when his car broke up at a race in Madison, Ill., two weeks after the sixth top-fuel win of his career.
A graceful, athletic lineman in an age of mauling bruisers, he may have been the best tackle ever. The Giants' 27th-round pick in 1953, the 6'3" 255-pounder led the sweep for backs such as Frank Gifford, who said, "I wouldn't be in the Hall of Fame if it weren't for him."
FROM SI'S FAMILY
"Baseball never looked sweeter than it did through the lens of V.J. Lovero," wrote senior writer Tom Verducci. The Californian's boyhood dream was to be an SI photographer, and few have done it better: His pictures graced 39 covers.
SI's first managing editor (1954-60) recruited Hemingway and Faulkner to contribute pieces to the magazine. Known for his enthusiasm, he led SI's first Olympic coverage and presided over the birth of the cover jinx in '57.
Outspoken and passionate, Wiley wrote 12 cover stories as an SI writer from 1982 to '91, and he memorably chronicled the life of Sugar Ray Robinson. Among his books were collaborations with Spike Lee and Martin Luther King Jr.'s son.
F. DARRIN PERRY
The North Carolina native and Parsons alum came to SI as a designer in '88 and rose to art director before leaving in '97. Talented and innovative, he became the first design director at ESPN the Magazine and later redesigned Wired.