At age 83, NFL Hall of Fame quarterback and kicker George Blanda. A 12th-round selection in 1949 out of Kentucky, Blanda's career unfolded in three acts. First he helmed George Halas's Bears for 10 years, taking them to the '56 title game before retiring, in '59. Act Two commenced a year later when he took big money to play for Bud Adams's Houston Oilers, which Blanda quarterbacked to the first two AFL titles. Assumed to be washed up after seven years there, Blanda, then 40, entered his final act in '67, when Raiders owner Al Davis snatched him off the waiver wire for the meager fee of $100. He spent most of those final nine years in Oakland (above) relieving Daryle Lamonica, but managed, in '70, to string together five games in which he used his arm or foot to achieve a victory or a tie, exploits that led to his being named AFC Player of the Year. When he retired in '75, a month short of 49, Blanda held 18 NFL records, including those for service (26 years) and field goals (943), both of which still stand.
Of his boxing license and fined $32,000 after he was found guilty of misconduct by the British Boxing Board of Control, former world welterweight and light welterweight champion Ricky Hatton. The 31-year-old Manchester native was admitted to a London rehab clinic after the News of the World made public a video that showed him in a hotel room, snorting what appeared to be seven lines of cocaine through a rolled-up banknote. Last Thursday the board announced Hatton's suspension while citing both "actions and behaviors [that] were detrimental to the interests of Boxing and to the public interest" and Hatton's deteriorating fitness. Hatton, who hasn't fought since a May 2009 loss to Manny Pacquiao, has the legal authorities to deal with next; an investigation is expected upon his release.
October 3, 2010
Of suspected suicide by hanging, 31-year-old British rugby player Terry Newton, who in February became the first professional athlete to be suspended for using human growth hormone. Newton (who was busted in off-season testing and later cut by his team, Wakefield) later openly addressed his HGH use, which he had hoped would resurrect his sliding 15-year career, calling it "one of the biggest mistakes of my life." He also admitted that the seriousness of his two-year ban was starting to sink in, and recently was said to have been suffering emotionally from a divorce from his wife, Stacey. On Sunday, after receiving calls of concern about his well-being, police visited Newton's house in Wigan, England, and found his body.
In a wine cellar that once belonged to late entertainer Bing Crosby, what is believed to be the only existing footage of Game 7 of the 1960 World Series, in which the Pirates' Bill Mazeroski hit a game-winning home run (above) to beat the Yankees 10--9. According to a story first reported by The New York Times, five 16-millimeter reels of the game—which was broadcast on NBC by Yankees announcer Mel Allen and Pittsburgh play-by-play man Bob Prince—were found in the San Francisco home of Crosby (inset), who owned a stake in the Pirates from 1946 until his death in '77 at age 74. According to Crosby's widow, Kathryn Grant, who's now 76, Der Bingle was too superstitious to watch the game on TV. So he traveled to Paris, where he listened on the radio, while filming the game in the U.S. using a kinescope. That stash turned up last winter and will be telecast on MLB Network in December as part of a 50th anniversary celebration of the game.
For allegedly attempting to detonate a backpack bomb across the street from Wrigley Field in Chicago, 22-year-old Lebanese citizen Sami Samir Hassoun. The subject of a monthslong FBI investigation, Hassoun was snared last week after he was said to have planted a package—a fake explosive provided by undercover agents posing as financiers—in a trash can barely half a block from Wrigley. Believed to have acted alone and without the support of any terrorist groups, Hassoun was immediately apprehended and charged with one count each of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and attempted use of an explosive device. A lawyer for Hassoun, who was denied bail, claimed his client may have been influenced by government officials.
In what police have labeled an apparent suicide, 23-year-old Broncos receiver Kenny McKinley. Denver's fifth-round draft choice in 2009 out of South Carolina, where he set the Gamecocks' alltime receptions record (207), McKinley played in eight games last year before being sidelined with a left knee injury. He was slated to return in '10 before a training camp injury to the same knee put him back on the IR, ending his season. The latest setback, according to acquaintances interviewed by police, led to McKinley's musing—most recently during a dominos game—that he might be better off committing suicide. Last Monday, McKinley was discovered in his Centennial, Colo., home with a fatal bullet wound to the head, apparently delivered through a pillow with a .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol.
Consecutive games in which the Giants held their opponents below four runs, the longest such streak in 93 years, before losing 10--9 last Saturday to the Rockies.
Increase from 2009 to '10 (through Sunday) in home runs by the Blue Jays' Jose Bautista, the largest one-season jump in big league history.
Games it took for Florida's Urban Meyer to reach his 100th win (a 48--14 defeat of Kentucky last Saturday). Only Gil Dobie (108), George Woodruff (109), Bud Wilkinson (111), Fielding Yost (114) and Knute Rockne (117) hit the century mark faster.
200' √ó 80'
Width and height of the HD video board planned to go up at Charlotte Motor Speedway next year, making it the largest in the world.
Cal Irvine students who participated in a Sept. 22 dodgeball game, breaking the previous Guinness World Record by 547.
New world high score in Donkey Kong, achieved by Washington teacher Steve Wiebe, whose previous failed chase for the record was documented in the 2007 film The King of Kong.
THEY SAID IT
Washington right wing, on HBO's upcoming uncensored, Hard Knocks--like series that will focus on the Capitals and the Penguins (including Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby, left):
"Hockey players don't swear, so we don't have to worry about that."