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For the Record

Jan. 17, 2005
Jan. 17, 2005

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Jan. 17, 2005

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For the Record

Crowned as minor league hockey's top career goal scorer, Kevin Kerr, a right wing for the Flint Generals of the United Hockey League. Kerr, 37, scored the 664th goal of his 18year career in a win over the Fort Wayne Komets last Friday, breaking the record set by Scott Gruhl in 1996 and making the North Bay, Ont., native hockey's answer to Crash Davis of Bull Durham. He was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in 1986 but never cracked an NHL roster. Along the way he has played for 15 teams in five minor leagues, racked up nearly 3,700 penalty minutes, skated with Gretzky and Sakic (Keith and Brian, that is, the younger brothers of NHL greats Wayne Gretzky and Joe Sakic), been traded for himself (he was the player to be named later in a 2003 deal that sent him from the UHL's Elmira Jackals to the Rockford IceHogs and back again) and endured countless miles of bus travel. Now his jersey, his stick and the puck he potted for the record-setting goal are headed for the Hockey Hall of Fame. "Not bad for a kid from a small town in Canada," he says. "I wouldn't change a thing."

This is an article from the Jan. 17, 2005 issue Original Layout

Filed in Canadian court by imprisoned former St. Louis Blues center Mike Danton, a notice of libel against two newspapers that last year implied he was gay. On April 17, the day after Danton was arrested for conspiring to have his agent, David Frost, murdered, the Toronto Sun and the Ottawa Sun ran stories under the headline NHLER CHARGED IN GAY HIT PLOT, suggesting the target of the foiled plot was Danton's homosexual lover. "That interpretation was incorrect," Alan Shanoff, a lawyer for the papers' parent company, Sun Media, said last week. The notice filed by Danton, which could be the precursor to a libel suit, states that the papers' coverage of his case was "false, defamatory and malicious," and could harm the player's career. In November, Danton pleaded guilty to hiring a hit man and was sentenced to 71/2 years in prison.

Retired Andy Geiger, Ohio State's embattled athletic director. In his 11 years in Columbus, Geiger, 65, oversaw a $350 million renovation of the Buckeyes' athletic facilities and watched the basketball team go to the Final Four in 1999 and the football team win the national title in 2002. But Geiger said he was worn down by the stress of dealing with the scandals that have rocked those programs in the last two years, including allegations of academic fraud by former running back Maurice Clarett and the firing of basketball coach Jim O'Brien for giving cash to a recruit. "I'm just tired, just bone weary, not the tired that a good night's sleep fixes," said Geiger, who will step down on June 30. "Burnout, I guess, is what they call it in the industry."

Released from a jail in Aruba after being held for 10 days while police investigated charges that he punched a judge on Christmas Day, Orioles pitcher--and Aruban knight--Sidney Ponson. The 28year-old righthander was released on Jan. 4 and faces a March trial on charges of public violence and simple aggression. Ponson, who in 2003 was dubbed a knight of the semiautonomous Dutch Caribbean territory, was riding his Jet Ski off the waters of Boca Catalina when several people on the beach, including a local judge, complained that he was driving recklessly. When they confronted Ponson, the 250-pound pitcher allegedly punched the judge in the face several times. (The victim suffered minor injuries.) A day after his release, Ponson flew to Miami to prepare for spring training. "I'm not particularly proud of what happened and the way I behaved on the beach that particular day," said Ponson, who didn't admit to striking the man.

Died at age 89, Bob Karstens, the first white player to sign a contract with the Harlem Globetrotters. He was discovered in the early 1940s, when his Iowa club team played the Globetrotters. When star Reece (Goose) Tatum was drafted into the Army in 1942, team founder Abe Saperstein hired Karstens to be the team's main showman. Karstens played the '42 and '43 seasons (he served as the team's manager until 1954) and is credited with devising signature Globetrotter routines like the Magic Ball pregame warmup, the yoyo basketball and the "goofball," an erratically bouncing ball filled with weights. "Being the only white guy was never a problem," Karstens (left) once said. "I had the skills to fit in and do the tricks. Everybody respected that, and that's all there was to it."

Died at age 85, former rodeo star Gerald Roberts. The Abilene, Kans., native was born into a rodeo family--his father held rodeos on the family ranch, and Roberts's brother and sister won world championships in bull riding and bronco riding. Roberts won two all-around rodeo world titles, in 1942 (at the age of 22) and '48. After retiring, he was inducted into the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Hall of Fame and the National Cowboy Hall of Fame. He also went on to a career in Hollywood, consulting on Westerns and serving as a stunt double for such actors as Jack Lemmon and Glenn Ford.

Died at age 18, Alem Techale, who won the 1,500 meters at the 2003 World Youth Championship and was the fiancée of Olympic 10,000-meter gold medalist Kenenisa Bekele. The Ethiopian runners, who were planning to marry in May, were training in a hilly area outside of Addis Ababa on Jan. 4 when Techale collapsed. Bekele, 22, ran to get his car and drove her to the hospital, but she was dead by the time they arrived. The cause of death has not been determined. "She is not the lucky girl; I am the lucky man," Bekele said in September as he accepted the IAAF Male Athlete of the Year Award. "We have not discussed anything about children yet, but I don't want her to be my housewife. I want her to run for her country and make a name for herself."

Invited by NASCAR, to bid to become the home of its Hall of Fame, the cities of Atlanta, Charlotte, Daytona Beach and Kansas City, Kans. The front-runner appears to be Charlotte; most NASCAR teams are based in the area, and the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame in nearby Mooresville draws 250,000 visitors a year--the same number as the pro basketball hall in Springfield, Mass. The cities have five months to respond to NASCAR's invitation, and a site could be selected by the end of the year.

Struck Out in a pro bowling tournament, former major league pitcher Tom Candiotti, 48. Last week the righty knuckleballer--he retired with 151 wins in 1999--earned $2,000 for finishing last in a field of 64 at the PBA Geico Open in Mesa, Ariz. Candiotti, who plays in two leagues in Scottsdale, received a special exemption allowing him to compete. He had a pinfall of 2,634 for 14 games, which left him nearly 600 behind first-round leader Parker Bohn--and aching. "I can go out and throw 120 pitches, and I'm fine," he says. "After one day of bowling, my thumb's killing me, I'm icing my elbow and my back is stiff."

COLOR PHOTOERIK HOLLADAY/THE FLINT JOURNAL (KERR)B/W PHOTOCOURTESY OF THE HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS (KARSTENS)COLOR PHOTOCOURTESY OF THE PBA TOUR (CANDIOTTI)