At 64, Dodgers minor league hitting coordinator and former major league outfielder Bill Robinson. His 16-season career began with the Braves in 1966. In '67 he was traded to the Yankees; he homered in his first game, and soon the team president compared him to Roger Maris. Robinson swung for the fences all year, with little success. "Mickey [Mantle] used to tell me, 'You can't hit like me; you have to hit like yourself,'" Robinson said. "He told me to relax, but I don't think I listened." He was traded in 1970 and eventually became a solid hitter, swatting 24 homers for the Pirates in 1979. After he retired he became a hitting coach and won rings with the Mets in 1986 and the Marlins in 2003.
At age 80 of prostate cancer, Bill Flemming, who broadcast more than 600 events on ABC's Wide World of Sports. The show began with the words "Spanning the globe ..." which is what Flemming did for more than three decades. He covered chess in Iceland, motorcycle racing in Moscow and parachuting in Bavaria, as well as 11 Olympics.
At gunpoint in his suburban Chicago home, Knicks center Eddy Curry. Three masked intruders broke into Curry's house and bound him, members of his family and an employee with duct tape before making off with cash and jewelry. Three weeks ago Heat forward Antoine Walker was bound with tape and robbed by masked intruders about 20 miles away.
Seven months after he proposed to her on national television, Boise State running back Ian Johnson and Broncos cheerleader Chrissy Popadics. Minutes after Johnson scored a two-point conversion to beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl, capping one of the wildest bowl games ever played, he dropped to his knee and asked Popadics to marry him. She did last Saturday in Boise. As they drove off in a stretch limo, Johnson, who'll be a junior this fall, said, "Let's play ball!"
August 5, 2007
Along with a dozen of their friends after a Lutsen, Minn., bachelor party got out of hand, NHL brothers Eric and Jordan Staal. They were charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct and obstructing the legal process after rowdy behavior at Eric's bachelor party led to several complaints. Eric, 22, had 70 points for Carolina last year. Penguins center Jordan, who is 18 and was also charged with underage drinking, was on the All-Rookie team last year. They are due in court on Aug. 8.
His intention to retire following the season, Astros second baseman Craig Biggio. Earlier this summer Biggio became the 27th player to reach the 3,000-hit plateau, but the 41-year-old is hitting just .249 this season, 33 points below his career average. "I get to go out on top," said Biggio, who has spent his entire 20-year career with Houston. "I'm in a good place. I think I've done everything I could on a baseball field."
His retirement, Jets running back Curtis Martin. In his 11 seasons Martin rushed for 14,101 yards, fourth on the NFL's all-time list. Though small—he's 5' 11", 210 pounds—Martin was durable enough to rush for more than 1,000 yards in each of his first 10 seasons. (The only other player to do that was Barry Sanders.) But knee injuries slowed him in recent years; he spent all of 2006 on the physically unable to perform list. "I don't see this as a sad time," said Martin. "At the end of the day, things turned out better than what I intended even from the beginning."
A recently released account of the final minutes of Pat Tillman's life, by the soldier who was next to the former NFL star when he was killed in Afghanistan. Documents released last week contained testimony from a chaplain (whose name was blacked out), who said that Tillman snapped at Sgt. Bryan O'Neal as he was praying. The chaplain told investigators that Tillman said, "Would you shut your [expletive] mouth? God's not going to help you; you need to do something for yourself, you sniveling...." O'Neal disputed that to the AP. "He never would have called me 'sniveling,'" O'Neal said. "I don't remember ever speaking to this chaplain, and I find this characterization of Pat really upsetting. He never once degraded me. He's the only person I ever worked for who didn't degrade anyone." Punishments in the cover-up of Tillman's death could come this week, with the harshest expected to be the demotion of a retired three-star general. Other officials will reportedly receive letters of reprimand. Last week, Tillman's mother, Mary, called the punishments "a complete donkey show."
By Rockies first base coach Glenallen Hill (left), a batting helmet. Last month Mike Coolbaugh was killed when a foul ball struck him as he coached first base for Colorado's Double A affiliate in Tulsa. (Originally it was thought that he was struck in the head, but doctors last week said that Coolbaugh was hit in the neck.) "I heard about Mike, and it brought a lot of emotions, for his family, his children, safety, how many close calls I've had," said Hill, 42. "It just makes sense."
They Said It
Wife of Buccaneers quarterback Jeff Garcia, on the couple's decision not to go on a honeymoon following their April 21 wedding:
"Coach [Jon] Gruden wouldn't let us. But at least he didn't bring the playbook to the wedding."
1,220 Career at bats before Minnesota's Jason Tyner hit his first major league homer, off Cleveland's Jake Westbrook last Saturday.
323 Homerless at bats for Anaheim's Reggie Willits, who now has the most big league at bats without a home run.
? Strokes taken by Henrik Stenson on the 17th hole of the second round of the Deutsche Bank championship; he lost count after several botched shots, and because he was unable to sign a correct scorecard, he disqualified himself.
85 Speed in miles per hour of Nolan Ryan's ceremonial first pitch at a recent Chiba Lotte Marines game.
60 Ryan's age.
3,769 Ironman streak of Baltimore umpires' room attendant Ernie Tyler, who hadn't missed a home game since 1960 before skipping Saturday's game to attend the Hall of Fame induction ceremony as a guest of Cal Ripken.
SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE
Two youth baseball teams in Washington were forced to forfeit tournament wins because their American Legion patches were silk-screened instead of sewn on.