The man who ended Joe DiMaggio's record 56-game hitting streak, former Cleveland Indians third baseman Ken Keltner, 75; on Dec. 12; at his home near Milwaukee. A seven-time All-Star, Keltner was immortalized on the evening of July 17, 1941, when the Yankees and Indians played before 67,000 fans at Cleveland's Municipal Stadium. In the first inning, DiMaggio grounded sharply down the third-base line. Keltner, hugging the line to prevent an extra-base hit, made a backhand grab, ranging into foul territory before whirling to throw to first. "Got him by an eyelash!" Keltner exulted. In the seventh, Keltner nailed DiMaggio again in a nearly identical situation. "If I don't make those plays, they are base hits," he said recently. "I'm glad he hit them at me."
By Seattle SuperSonics guard Ricky Pierce, his first free throw in a Friday the 13th game against the Celtics, ending his streak at 75 in a row. Pierce was three shy of Calvin Murphy's decade-old NBA record of 78. Two days earlier Pierce went seven for seven at the line against the Knicks, passing Larry Bird (71 in 1989-90) for the second-longest streak in league history.
The NFL's substance-abuse policy, for the fourth time, by Tampa Bay Buccaneer defensive end Dexter Manley. "I knew what was at stake," a disconsolate Manley said, reading from a statement to announce his retirement from pro football. Manley, 32, had been banned by the NFL in 1989 for cocaine use but was reinstated a year later. Ironically, in his farewell address Manley proved he had overcome another of his much-publicized difficulties: illiteracy.
The football program at Long Beach State. A year ago the 49ers seemingly were resuscitated by legendary coach George Allen, who led them to an improbable 6-5 record in his first season on the job. But Allen died on New Year's Eve, and under Hall of Famer Willie Brown the 49ers fell to 2-9 in 1991, drawing fewer than 4,000 fans a game at home. The program may be revived at the Division I-AA level in 1993.
December 23, 1991
To a world record for over-the-hill swimmers, a coed relay team headed by energetic Democratic presidential candidate Paul Tsongas. Competing in Providence, Tsongas, 50, and three teammates swam the 200-meter freestyle relay in 2:27.47, two seconds better than the old master's division mark. Tsongas, a former U.S. senator from Massachusetts, now has his sights set on a regular swim in the White House pool. "All that pool needs," said Tsongas, "is a pace clock and some lanes."
In a sea of red ink, England's Oxford United soccer club. Last week Oxford was forced to put all 28 of its players up for sale to cover $3.6 million in debt incurred during the 10-year stewardship of deceased owner Robert Maxwell. The last-place Second Division club, 5-14-3 at week's end, is expected to raise enough money to stay afloat. Maxwell was not beloved by soccer fans; when he controlled the Derby club, its rooters would chant, "He's fat, he's round, he's never at the ground."