Died of emphysema at age 89, former major league pitcher and umpire Ken Burkhart. The righthander was 18--8 with a 2.90 ERA as a Cardinals rookie in 1945, but an elbow injury limited him to nine more wins before he hung up his spikes in '49. Burkhart became an NL ump in '57 and worked six All-Star Games and three World Series, including one in which he made a highly controversial call. In Game 1 of the '70 Series, Burkhart got tangled up with Baltimore catcher Elrod Hendricks and Cincinnati's Bernie Carbo, who was trying to score (above). Burkhart was spun around and, with his back to the play, called Carbo out. (Baltimore won the game 4--3 and took the Series in five games.) Although replays showed Hendricks tagged Carbo with an empty glove, Burkhart stood by his call. "I was tough," he said in 2004. "I did not take anything from anybody."
Renamed the Anaheim Angels, as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The team made the switch in an effort to expand its appeal beyond Orange County, but it runs the risk of alienating its hometown base: The city of Anaheim says it will file a lawsuit to get Los Angeles dropped from the name on the grounds that the change violates the team's lease with the city. Anaheim spokesman Joe Nicoletti called the new name "geographically confusing and absurd."
Sentenced to 18 months' probation for DUI, six-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps, 19. The swimmer was pulled over by police after driving through a stop sign in Salisbury, Md., in November. After initially denying he had been drinking, he pleaded guilty and was ordered by the judge to abstain from drinking for the duration of his probation and to give three speeches about the dangers of alcohol to students. Said Phelps, "I've learned from this mistake and will continue learning from this mistake for the rest of my life."
Surrendered to Tampa police, Rodney Roman, who is accused of killing Vanderbilt running back Kwane Doster, 21, early on Dec. 26. Doster, the 2002 SEC Freshman of the Year, was shot after he and a group of friends got into an argument with another group of men over who had a nicer car. Roman, 28, was charged with first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder. His lawyer says, "They got the wrong guy."
January 10, 2005
Foiled by World Series of Poker champion Greg Raymer, a robbery attempt by two men who attacked him at a casino. As the heavyset former patent attorney--who was carrying $150,000 in chips--went to his room following a game at the Bellagio in Las Vegas last month, the men tried to push him inside. Raymer, 40, who won the $5 million World Series last May, fought them off, even after one of the men pulled a gun. The pair fled. On a poker website after the incident Raymer wrote, "I don't write this to brag, I just want any robbery-minded people out there who hear about this to know that I'm a tough mark."
Awarded to 11 members of the 2003 Tampa Bay Storm, ArenaBowl championship rings made with fake diamonds. Six of the 11 signed with other teams as free agents following the season, and last week they filed a grievance with the players' association. The rings, which contain five cubic zirconia stones, are worth approximately $400 less than the $2,500 diamond rings most Tampa Bay players received.