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This is an article from the March 12, 2012 issue
At age 80, former Giants running back and coach Alex Webster, a two-time Pro Bowler and mainstay of the powerhouse New York teams of the late 1950s and early '60s. Plucked out of N.C. State by the Redskins in the 11th round of the '53 draft, Webster (above) was cut after training camp and played two seasons with the Montreal Alouettes before he saw NFL action with the Giants, the 6'3", 220-pound power runner led the team to six division titles and the '56 NFL championship, in which he scored two touchdowns in a 47--7 rout of the Bears. "Every time he got the ball, he turned into a grinding machine," teammate Frank Gifford wrote in his memoir, The Whole Ten Yards. After a 10-year playing career, Webster served as the Giants' head coach, from '69 to '73, and operated a bar and restaurant in Florida.
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At age 66 of a heart attack, former Monkees frontman Davy Jones, who in his teens tried to make it as a jockey. Born and raised in Manchester, England, the five-foot-nothing Jones (right) quit high school in 1961 in order to apprentice with trainer Basil Foster. He left to pursue a show business career when he was cast as the Artful Dodger in the London production of the musical Oliver!. The Monkees, a made-for-television pop rock band, made their debut on NBC in 1966 with Jones as the lead singer. More than 30 years later, in '96, Jones won his first race in silks, at Lingfield Park in the one-mile Ontario Amateur Riders' Handicap. Following his death, the park renamed its first two races on March 3 in Jones's honor.
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To open in April, a new $744,000 soccer field at the U.S. detention camp at Guantànamo Bay in Cuba. The 28,000-square-foot recreation area, which will include a field and a soft gravel walkway, replaces a makeshift pitch that authorities closed two years ago due to drainage problems. Use of the field will be limited to residents of Camp 6, which houses more than 85% of Guantànamo's 171 prisoners—those deemed "compliant." While there has been opposition to the field's high price tag, Guantànamo officials have explained that the high costs resulted from the U.S.'s economic embargo against Cuba, which necessitates importing building supplies.
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On drug charges, Brien Taylor, who in 1991 was the No. 1 overall pick, by the Yankees, in the MLB draft. According to police in Beaufort, N.C., undercover narcotics agents bought cocaine and crack from Taylor, now 40, over several months, leading to his arrest on March 1. The incident marks yet another strange twist in the tale of Taylor, who received a then record $1.55 million signing bonus in '91. After pitching well in his first two minor league seasons, he got into a bar fight and missed all of '94 while recovering from shoulder surgery. Taylor came back for parts of five more seasons, but he never regained his form and hung it up after five relief appearances for the Indians' Class A team in 2000. Taylor, one of only two No. 1 overall picks never to appear in the majors, is being held on $275,000 bond.
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In Montreal General Hospital after a stroke, Jean Béliveau. The 80-year-old former center is the connective tissue between Maurice Richard and Guy Lafleur in the grand sweep of Canadiens history, noted for his elegance on the ice and dignity off it. Béliveau (right) played for 10 Stanley Cup winners and retired in 1971 as the NHL's alltime leading playoff scorer with 176 points in 162 games. He scored 507 regular-season goals in a 20-year career. At 6'3", Béliveau was the first of the big centers, the forerunner of such stars as Vincent Lecavalier and Evgeni Malkin. The hockey hall of famer, who suffered a stroke two years ago, has been bedeviled by health problems, starting with throat cancer in 2000.
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On Sunday at 73, after a long illness, former first baseman Don Mincher, who played his first year with the Washington Senators and six more with the team after they became the Minnesota Twins, then also played for the A's, Rangers (including the last year of the second incarnation of the Senators before they moved to Texas), Angels and the Seattle Pilots. In '65, Mincher stepped in for an injured Harmon Killebrew and led the Twins to the pennant, before they lost the World Series in seven games to the Dodgers. He made it back to the Series in his final season, '72, with the A's, who beat the Reds in seven games. In between Mincher made the All-Star team twice. Upon his retirement he worked as general manager of the Double A Huntsville (Ala.) Stars from '85 to 2000, and from '00 until last October as president of the Double A Southern League. In '10, Minor League Baseball named Mincher King of Baseball, an annual honor that recognizes lifetime dedication and service to the sport.
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As contestants on Season 14 of ABC's Dancing with the Stars (which begins on March 19), Packers receiver Donald Driver and tennis legend Martina Navratilova. Of the 31 past entrants who were sports figures, six have been winners and four were runners-up. And, according to SI's calculations of average finishes by sport, football players have the happiest feet of all.
NFL: 9 Entrants
Olympic Sports: 7 Entrants
WWE/UFC/Boxing: 7 Entrants
NBA: 4 Entrants
NBA PLAYERS POLL
Who will win Rookie of the Year?
Kyrie Irving, Cavs PG 75%
Ricky Rubio, Timberwolves PG 15%
Derrick Williams, Timberwolves SF 1%
Enes Kanter, Jazz C 1%
Markieff Morris, Suns PF 1%
Six other players received votes: Kings PGs Jimmer Fredette and Isaiah Thomas, Knicks SG Iman Shumpert, Cavs PF Tristan Thompson, Heat PG Norris Cole and Bobcats PG Kemba Walker (1% each).... Irving leads all rookies in scoring (18.5 ppg); two of the next three on that list—Nets SG MarShon Brooks and Pistons PG Brandon Knight—received no votes.... Irving's three-point shooting ranks 10th alltime among rookies (minimum: 90 attempts); his 41-of-43 free throw shooting in February was the best in one month by a rookie since Chauncey Billups's 41-for-41 in March '98.... In a similar poll on Facebook, Rubio received 31% of the vote to Irving's 62%.
Based on 138 NBA players who responded to SI's survey
Percent of contributions by NFL players to political campaigns since 2009 that has gone to Republicans, according to a report by OpenSecrets.org.
Percent of contributions from NBA personnel that has gone to Democrats in that time, according to the same report.
Asking price of Michael Jordan's mansion in Highland Park, Ill., which was put up for sale last week. The 56,000-square-foot estate—secluded behind an iron gate emblazoned with the number 23—includes nine bedrooms, a pool, a full-sized basketball court and three climate-controlled garages that together hold 15 cars.
Amount that world champion boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. wagered in Las Vegas that Duke would beat North Carolina in basketball last Saturday. Carolina won 88--70.
Distance traveled on Feb. 26 by a paper airplane thrown by former Cal quarterback Joe Ayoob, breaking the world record by nearly 20 feet.