At age 84, Joe Perry, the first African-American to play for the 49ers and one of the most dominant running backs of his era. Plucked in 1948 from the Alameda Naval Air Station, where he was relatively new to the game, the Jet—named such for his quick starts—played 16 pro seasons before retiring in '63 as the NFL's career rushing leader, with 9,723 yards. Perry (above) led San Francisco in rushing eight times and, in 1953 and '54, became the first NFL rusher with consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. Among the 14 team records that he set, those for career rushing yards (7,344) and touchdowns (50, since tied by Roger Craig) still stand. Impressively, much of that work came while sharing the load. In '69, Perry was the first of four 49ers backs from the 1950s to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
By the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at the Boston University School of Medicine, the results of an examination of the brain of Dave Duerson, which determined that the former NFL safety had the brain disorder CTE when he committed suicide in February. The BU center's study, released on Monday, adds Duerson's name to the list of more than 20 deceased former NFL players found to have had the disorder, which is associated with repeated hits to the head, when they died. Researchers, however, have yet to determine whether CTE influences suicide. In the case of Duerson, who played for three teams over 11 years, and who requested in a suicide note that his brain be studied, family and financial woes are suggested to have been contributing factors in the act.
May 8, 2011
At age 79, Alice Ward, whose tough love and management of her sons, Boston-area boxers Micky Ward and Dicky Eklund, inspired the character for which actress Melissa Leo won a 2010 Best Supporting Actress Oscar in the Best Picture--nominated movie The Fighter. The mother of seven daughters and two sons was hospitalized in January—a week before Leo won a Golden Globe for the role—when she suffered a heart attack and a stroke and was pronounced dead for some 45 minutes before being revived. Ward had remained under a doctor's care in Boston, but last week she slipped into a coma, and on Tuesday was taken off life support.
From calling any of the Triple Crown races in 2011, NBC Sports broadcaster Tom Durkin, who spent more than two decades as the voice of American horse racing, but who said last week that his mental health was more important than continuing that tradition. Since 1984, Durkin's narrations have been synonymous with the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes. But, Durkin says, six years ago he began developing debilitating anxiety every time the Derby rolled around. Despite attempting treatment through diet, exercise and even hypnosis, Durkin says the buildup has continued to bring nightmares in which he is incapable of calling the race. Having spent the past year reflecting on his anxiety, the 60-year-old decided not to renew his contract with NBC Sports.
Last Friday, in the middle of the NFL draft (page 42), hours after players had reported to work for the first time in seven weeks, the NFL lockout, following a ruling in the league's favor by an appeals court. The U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to decide this week whether to extend the league's stay of the injunction. That process could take six to eight weeks.
At age 76, Henry Cooper, who was one of Britain's most popular sportsmen and its first knighted boxer. The wielder of a vicious left hook that U.K. boxing writers dubbed 'Enry's 'Ammer (an acknowledgement of his south London accent), Cooper's most memorable moment came in a 1963 bout at Wembley Stadium (above right) when he used that signature blow to knock down a 21-year-old Muhammad Ali. Then known as Cassius Clay, the up-and-coming contender—who was much larger than Cooper—was so rocked by the punch to the jaw that he later said it "not only shook me, it shook my relations in Africa." Ali came back to win that bout by TKO in the fifth round, despite trailing on the cards, and similarly won a '66 rematch. Cooper remained revered in Britain, where he was respected for his warm, gentlemanly manner as well as for his 40-14-1 record over 16 years.
At age 62 of bile-duct cancer, Jim Mandich, who played tight end on the Dolphins' undefeated squad of 1972 and who later became the team's radio color commentator. At Michigan, in an era when tight ends were known more for blocking than receiving, Mandich set team position records for catches (119) and yards (1,494), earning him induction into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2004. He carried those skills to the Dolphins, making 121 career catches for 1,406 yards and 23 touchdowns in eight years. Later, as an unapologetic Dolphins homer, Mandich's broadcasts were marked by his signature "Allll right, Miami" calls following big plays. In 2010, after he was diagnosed with cancer, Mandich traveled, against his doctor's wishes, to every Dolphins game, the final two of which he called while tethered to a feeding tube.
Consecutive games in April in which Dodgers rightfielder Andre Ethier hit safely, breaking Joe Torre's 40-year-old mark for the month. Ethier's streak reached 27 on May 1.
Time that the Heat's Joel Anthony played against the 76ers on April 27 without attempting a field goal, the longest shotless playoff appearance in NBA history.
Record in 2010 of the Browns, the team of this year's Madden NFL cover subject, Peyton Hillis (who was chosen by fan vote), making him the first from a losing team.
Age of the oldest living professional baseball player, former Negro leagues infielder Emilio Navarro, when he died last Saturday.
Selling price at auction last week of a mint-condition 1979--80 Wayne Gretzky O-Pee-Chee rookie card, the most ever paid for a hockey card.
Betting odds on Royal Wedding before the horse won at Fontwell Park in West Sussex, England, last Friday, just hours after the nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
THEY SAID IT
Heat forward, on the intensity of the NBA postseason:
"Playoff sweat is different than regular-season sweat."