RETIRED After a 24-year career with nine teams, Jesse Orosco, 46,
who pitched in more big league games (1,252) than anyone else.
Finishing 87-80, with a 3.16 ERA and 144 saves, Orosco was an
effective closer and thrived as a lefty-on-lefty specialist.
(Barry Bonds was 4 for 28 against him.) Last spring Orosco told
SI, "I feel the same way I did when I was in Little League....
The games are thrilling." But after a season in which he went 2-2
with a 7.68 ERA for three teams, Orosco decided that he no longer
felt "that excitement in me to get going." Orosco, who made the
Mets out of Rookie League in '79, will forever conjure the image
of his striking out the Red Sox' Marty Barrett to win the '86
World Series for the Mets, then falling to his knees and flinging
his glove skyward into the night.
CHALLENGED The NCAA rule prohibiting athletes from accepting
endorsements, by Olympic freestyle skier and Colorado receiver
Jeremy Bloom. A moguls gold medalist in last year's freestyle
world championships and a member of the 2002 U.S. Olympic ski
team, Bloom said he'll begin accepting endorsement fees and that,
in defiance of the NCAA, he intends to play football this fall
for Colorado, where he's on scholarship. Bloom, a sophomore, says
he needs endorsement funding to properly prepare for the 2006
Turin Games and "if they [the NCAA] want me out, they'll have to
kick me out." An NCAA spokesman said the organization "remains
open to finding a way to resolve this issue" but had yet to "come
to a solution that works for both parties."
APOLOGIZED The editors of Trail, Britain's top hiking magazine,
for inadvertently publishing directions that would lead climbers
to plunge off Ben Nevis, Scotland's tallest peak. The current
Trail includes instructions for descending the 4,406-foot summit
of Ben Nevis, which has notoriously unpredictable weather and
which has taken the lives of many climbers, but the route omits a
crucial bearing. Guy Procter, Trail's editor in chief, said he
was "gutted by this mistake." Scotland's Mountaineering Council
printed an alert on its website, saying, "The descent bearing
which was provided on Page 105 of Trail February 2004 is
WRONG--it would take you over the north face."
DIED Dutch track star Fanny Blankers-Koen, 85, who in 1999 was
named the best female athlete of the 20th century by the
International Association of Athletics Federation. Blankers-Koen
didn't win a medal at the '36 Olympics, and because of World War
II she didn't have another Olympic chance until the '48 Games in
London. By then, she was 30, married, had two children and was
pregnant with a third. Dubbed the Flying Housewife, she won four
golds, a feat still unmatched in women's track. She was motivated
by a British coach who said she was too old to win. "It was just
the thing to rouse me," she said, "to make me go out and prove
that ... I could still be a champion."
HOOKED By contractor Cody Mullennix (left) in Lake Texoma in
north Texas, a 121 1/2-pound blue catfish, which is awaiting
certification as a world record. The 135-pound Mullennix, who
used shad as bait, struggled for 20 minutes to reel in the
58-inch creature on his 20-pound line. Determined not to kill
it--he says he felt respect for the fish, which may be 30 years
old--Mullennix stood in the lake for an hour, holding the fish
with his hands while waiting for a friend to arrive. Mullennix,
27, donated his catch to the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in
Athens, where it is swimming around and attracted 740 visitors