After 19 seasons in the majors, 12-time All-Star shortstop Barry Larkin. The Cincinnati native spent his entire career with the Reds (it was the longest tenure with one team among active players), leading them to a World Series title in 1990 and winning the National League MVP award in '95. But when the Reds informed him they were not interested in having him return, Larkin, 40, took a job with the Washington Nationals as a special assistant to G.M. Jim Bowden, saying he's eager to gain experience that might lead to a managing job. "I had some opportunities with other teams to play," Larkin said, "but I didn't feel that I could make the commitment as a player with another team." He'll assist Bowden--who was the Reds' G.M. for 11 years--with scouting and talent evaluation and will work with the team's shortstops in spring training.
To be a man, one of Zimbabwe's top young female track athletes. Until last month Samukeliso Sithole, whose age has not been reported, was a rising national star in the long jump, javelin and 400-meter hurdles. But Sithole was charged with offensive behavior and impersonation after a male acquaintance told authorities the athlete was actually a man. Sithole (right) admits that is partly true and told a judge that he (or she) was born with both male and female organs and that a tribal healer prescribed a mixture of herbs that caused his male genitals to disappear. Sithole said the healer caused those organs to regenerate when the bill wasn't paid on time. A trial is scheduled for next month.
To buy the Minnesota Vikings for a reported $625 million, Arizona businessman and former Wyoming linebacker Reggie Fowler, 46, who would be the NFL's first black majority owner. Red McCombs, who bought the Vikings for $246 million in 1998, has been unhappy with the lack of progress toward a new stadium and has been trying to unload the team for three years. The deal still must be approved by NFL owners.
In Gresham, Ore., on charges of assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest and driving while intoxicated, former Olympic downhill champion Bill Johnson. According to the Multnomah County sheriff's office Johnson, 44, taunted officers who pulled him over last Friday afternoon by pulling out his 1984 gold medal and saying, "You don't have one of these." Johnson allegedly scuffled with police officers and was subdued with a Taser. Johnson retired after a near-fatal accident during a 2001 training run left him brain damaged and in a coma for three weeks. Last year he told The Boston Globe that he was still suffering memory lapses.
February 21, 2005
By a group suspected of being a front for terrorist groups including al-Qaeda and Hamas, $80,000 from a mosque established by former NBA star Hakeem Olajuwon. Tax records show the Islamic Da'Wah Center in Houston, founded by Olajuwon, gave the funds to the Islamic African Relief Agency, which in October had its assets frozen by the federal government. Officials say Olajuwon is not being investigated. "I made donations in good faith," said Olajuwon. "I wouldn't have done it if I had known they were not good people."
Playwright Arthur Miller, at age 89. Miller--who was married to Marilyn Monroe for five years after she and Joe DiMaggio divorced--was an avid athlete in New York City; a high school football knee injury kept him out of World War II. In his plays sports were often seen as the workingman's ticket to the American dream. In The Man Who Had All the Luck a father fruitlessly grooms his son to be a baseball star. And in Death of a Salesman, Biff Loman's failure to become a football hero helps precipitate his father's demise.