Farewell

A BOWLER AND SEVERAL BRAWLERS, COACHES AND A CARD SHARP, TWO SLUGGERS AND A TACKLE WHO SLUGGED A HORSE—LUMINARIES OF ALL SORTS PASSED AWAY IN 2012
December 31, 2012

Teófilo Stevenson, 60

After winning the heavyweight gold at the 1972 Olympics, Stevenson turned down $1 million to defect from Cuba and fight Muhammad Ali, saying, "What is a million dollars against eight million Cubans who love me?" Once described by the BBC as Cuba's "most famous figure after Fidel Castro," Stevenson won two more golds before Cuba boycotted the '84 and '88 Games.

Rick Majerus, 64

Of the 80 players he recruited to Utah only 33 stayed for four years, but those who stuck with Majerus were intensely loyal, not to mention successful. In a 25-year career with four schools he went 517--216 and took the Utes to the 1998 national final. Poor health forced Majerus to resign from Saint Louis after the 2012 NCAA tournament—the Billikens' first NCAA berth in 12 years.

Junior Seau, 43

San Diego born and bred, Seau forged a deep bond with the fans during his 13 seasons with the Chargers. A 6'3", 250-pound linebacker who once caught Sam Graddy, an Olympic sprinter turned receiver, from behind, Seau made 12 Pro Bowls and led San Diego to the AFC title in '94, when he was named NFL Man of the Year for his work with kids. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot.

Gary Carter, 57

Dubbed "baseball's happiest warrior" in a 1986 PEOPLE profile, Carter once estimated that he signed between 75,000 and 100,000 autographs a year—and it's possible he was even more outgoing when he was behind the plate. (Ted Simmons once stepped out of the box to ask Carter, "Are we going to talk or are we going to play?") The Kid could have let his play do the talking; in 12 seasons with the Montreal Expos, he cultivated a well-earned reputation as one of the game's best defensive catchers, with a strong arm, a snap-quick release, and the ability to call a game and frame a pitch. Unlike most other top backstops, he could also rake. Carter had six 20 home run seasons and played in seven All-Star Games as an Expo, becoming the most popular player north of the border. (When he was prime minister of Canada, Pierre Trudeau remarked, "I am certainly happy that I don't have to run for election against Gary Carter.") Ultimately his salary grew too large for the cash-strapped Expos, and he was traded to the Mets before the 1985 season. Any doubts about how Carter's act would play in New York were allayed on Opening Day, when the Shea Stadium crowd erupted as he circled the bases pumping his fist following his 10th-inning, game-winning homer. He continued to provide clutch hits in the Mets' 1986 championship run—including a 12th-inning single to win Game 5 of the NLCS and a 10th-inning, two-out single to start the comeback in Game 6 of the World Series. His rah-rah ways were off-putting to some, but Carter never cared. "I've always been smiling," he told SI in '83. "I might get ridiculed for it, but it's just me. You can't fake being nice, you know."

Slater Martin, 86

The face of the Minneapolis Lakers' early NBA dynasty was center George Mikan, but its heart was Hall of Famer and five-time champ Martin, a frisky point guard who got the ball inside and patrolled the perimeter. Once, rival Bob Cousy went behind his back to get past Martin. "I told him that if he did that again, I would break his nose," he recalled in 1999. "He didn't do it again."

Don Carter, 85

As a young pitcher and outfielder who played American Legion ball with Yogi Berra and Joe Garagiola in St. Louis, Carter tried a popular exercise in the 1940s for improving arm strength: He grabbed a ball and hit the lanes. When his baseball career flamed out after just one season with the Philadelphia A's Class D team, he said, "I began devoting practically all my waking hours to bowling." By the early '50s he was on a team sponsored by Budweiser; his salary, winnings and endorsements made him one of the highest-paid athletes in the U.S. In '64 he became the first athlete to sign a $1 million endorsement deal, with ballmaker Ebonite International. Carter, who won 18 pro titles, was instrumental in the formation of the Professional Bowlers Association in '58, and he was the tour's first president.

Sarah Burke, 29

A leader in the movement to get women's superpipe added to the Olympics, Burke would have been a favorite to medal in the event when it debuts in Sochi in 2014. The Barrie, Ont., native won the superpipe at the X Games four times in five years, and she received the 2007 ESPY Award for Best Female Action Sports Athlete. Burke died after crashing on a training run.

Johnny Pesky, 92

Born John Paveskovich, Pesky shortened his name so it would fit in a box score—and the new handle couldn't have been more apt. A 5' 9", 168-pound shortstop, he led the American League in hits in each of his first three seasons with the Red Sox, and he batted .307 over his 10-year career. Pesky had a 60-year relationship with the Sox as a player, coach, manager and broadcaster.

Orlando Woolridge, 52

The sixth pick of the 1981 draft, Woolridge had horrible timing in his NBA career. He left the Bulls just as Michael Jordan began to peak, and he played for the Lakers and the Pistons at the conclusions of their title runs. In his 13 seasons, which were interrupted by a drug suspension, the 6'9" forward averaged more than 20 points four times. He coached in the WNBA for two years.

Hector Camacho, 50

A reformed car thief who was guided to boxing by a teacher, Camacho wasn't a big puncher, but he was maddeningly hard to hit, flustering boxers in seven weight classes. Macho did it with a flair the sport had never seen—no small feat in boxing—wearing leopard-print trunks or ones adorned with tassels. He died after being shot in a car that was later found to contain cocaine.

Alex Karras, 77

One of the fiercest pass rushers of his day, Karras didn't look the part. At 6'2" and 248 pounds he was undersized at tackle—an SI story on him was headlined A GIGANTIC MIDGET AMONG GIANT MEN. (Karras compensated with a nimbleness that earned him the nickname Mr. Twinkletoes.) He also wore thick, horn-rimmed glasses that, as George Plimpton noted, gave Karras "a benign, owllike bearing." That mien suited him well after his 12 seasons with Lions, during which he was a three-time All-Pro. Already something of an actor (he had played himself in the film of Plimpton's Paper Lion), Karras memorably KO'd a horse in Mel Brooks's Blazing Saddles before introducing himself to a younger generation as a star of TV's Webster. But the role in which Karras shone brightest was that of himself. With his quick wit and affability, he cracked up Johnny Carson, spent three years in the Monday Night Football booth, slung insults on Dean Martin's roasts and was the ideal game-show guest. (On Match Game he once winged a wrestling demonstration with a contestant who grappled professionally as Lola Kiss, the Kiss of Death from Transylvania.) After returning from a one-year suspension, in 1963, for betting on football, Karras was asked to call a pregame coin toss. "I'm sorry, sir," he told the ref. "I'm not permitted to gamble."

Gene Bartow, 81

Even though George Raveling, then coach at Washington State, said Bartow's succeeding John Wooden at UCLA was "like St. Peter replacing the Lord," Clean Gene never stood a chance. After two seasons in which he was ripped despite going 52--9 and reaching a Final Four, Bartow left to launch the UAB program, then led the Blazers to nine NCAA tournaments in 17 years.

Jeff Blatnick, 55

In a sport obscure to most Americans, Blatnick provided an enduring memory from the 1984 Los Angeles Games. Two years after his spleen was removed because of Hodgkin's lymphoma, he won heavyweight gold in Greco-Roman wrestling, then wept and said, "I'm a happy dude." Blatnick became a commentator for wrestling and mixed martial arts—which he named.

Pascual Perez, 55

While he was among the game's tougher righthanders, too often Perez wasn't able to pitch, the causes ranging from injury (several) to drug suspension (two) to getting lost on the interstate that rings Atlanta and circling the city until his car overheated (one). Perez, a 1983 All-Star who won 67 games in 11 seasons, was killed in his native Dominican Republic in an apparent robbery.

Angelo Dundee, 90

From Cassius Clay's second pro fight, in 1960, until Muhammad Ali's final loss, in '81, Dundee was a constant in the Greatest's corner. He also trained 14 other champs, including Sugar Ray Leonard and George Foreman. Dundee was a cut man, tactician, hype artist, kind soul and, above all, pedagogue. As he told The Tampa Tribune in 2008, "I could teach a dead rat to be deader."

Joe Paterno, 85

"My high school gave me an award for something, and it was a Don Quixote statue," Paterno said in 1980. "The Romantic period is my period, O.K.?" That fight-the-good-fight-no-matter-what attitude is what made Paterno's fall from grace in the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal so shocking: How could a man with such an ardent desire to not just believe in but also to bring out the best in everyone have played a role in enabling such a monster? How could a man who so famously undertook a Grand Experiment at Penn State to wed athletic excellence with success in the classroom be accused by a school trustee of "not meet[ing] his moral obligation"? But it happened, and Paterno's legacy, which for so long seemed unassailable, became hopelessly clouded. After graduating from Brown, he took a job as an assistant in State College to make some money before going to law school. He stayed for 62 seasons, the final 46 as head coach. Paterno won his record-setting 409th game on Oct. 29, 2011. It was the last game he coached. Seven days later Sandusky was arrested; when it was revealed that Paterno had only reported allegations of abuse to his superiors and not to the proper authorities, his position became untenable. Less than three months after being fired, Paterno died of lung cancer.

Harry Keough, 84

A St. Louis mailman, Keough played club soccer for a team sponsored by an undertaker. He made enough of an impression to earn a spot as a defender on the 1950 U.S. World Cup team, which knocked off England 1--0 in one of the biggest upsets in soccer history. Keough was still at the post office in '67 when Saint Louis hired him as coach; he led the Billikens to five NCAA titles.

Dwayne Schintzius, 43

Still the only player in SEC history with 1,000 points, 800 rebounds, 250 assists and 250 blocks, the 7'2" Schintzius was known for his well-kept mullet, a.k.a. the Lobster. He clashed with coaches at Florida and during his eight-year pro career; when a Spurs G.M. told him to cut his hair, Schintzius complied—and mailed him the clippings. He died of respiratory failure.

Doris Sams, 85

A pitcher turned outfielder in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, Sams—one of the inspirations for the film A League of Their Own—threw a perfect game five years before setting the single-season home run mark, with 12. A badminton and marbles champ as well, Sams talked her way into a tryout when she was 19 and was an All-Star in five of her eight seasons.

Marvin Miller, 95

His reaction when he first looked at a standard major leaguer's contract? It was, Miller said, "one of the worst labor documents I'd ever seen." He left the United Steelworkers of America to take over the players' association in 1966, and in 16 years earned his membership the unprecedented right to arbitration (which led to free agency) and a 12-fold increase in average salary.

Steve Van Buren, 91

The Eagles had never won a title before Van Buren arrived from LSU in 1944; when he retired in '51 as the NFL's alltime leading rusher, Philly had a pair. The first came in a foot of snow in 1948, when Van Buren's TD provided a 7--0 win over the Chicago Cardinals; the second came in a monsoon a year later, when Wham-Bam slammed the Los Angeles Rams for 196 yards.

Carmen Basilio, 85

Nicknamed the Upstate Onion Farmer (his father had a farm in Canastota, N.Y.), Basilio proved he was the dominant welterweight of his day when he retained his title with a knockout of Johnny Saxton in their third and final meeting, in 1957. Basilio, who stood just 5'6½", gave up that belt for a shot at Sugar Ray Robinson's middleweight championship, which he won and then lost in a pair of split decisions. Basilio paid a price in each, especially the second, a brawl in which his left eye was swollen shut for the final nine rounds. Still, he never stopped attacking. After the third Saxton fight, in which Basilio tried to pace himself, SI's Martin Kane wrote, "Regardless of what his brain advised, Carmen Basilio could no more ease up than a pit bull terrier could give quarter."

Darrell Royal, 88

Although the Texas coach wasn't much for change—one of his favorite sayings was "dance with the one who brung ya"—Royal helped revolutionize college football in 1968 when he installed the wishbone offense. The next season his Longhorns won the national title, the second in a 20-year stint at Austin during which Royal, who inherited a 1--9 team in '57, never had a losing record.

Moose Skowron, 81

Had he not gotten his nickname as a child, when a bad haircut left him resembling Benito Mussolini, Bill Skowron would have earned it for his power. The first baseman had four 20 home run seasons for the Yankees (and hit .300 five times). Skowron was often overshadowed by teammates such as Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra and Whitey Ford—the three men with whom he sang "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1958—but he never shrank from the postseason spotlight: Moose slugged .519 for five World Series champions, and is still one of just two players with three Game 7 home runs. (Berra is the other.) In retirement Skowron worked for his hometown White Sox, occasionally calling bingo games in Polish at Comiskey Park's rightfield patio area.

Art Heyman, 71

Nicknamed the Pest, Heyman is most responsible for escalating the Duke--North Carolina rivalry. First the 6' 5" swingman reneged on his commitment to Chapel Hill to become a Blue Devil. Then in a 1961 game he scuffled with a male cheerleader and decked Tar Heels star Larry Brown in a brawl. Heyman was more than a brute, though: He was the '63 national player of the year.

Vladimir Krutov, 52

A member of the Soviet Union's vaunted KLM Line (with Igor Larionov and Sergei Makharov), the 5'9", 195-pound Krutov was considered the best left wing in the world in the '80s. After losing to the U.S. in the Miracle on Ice in 1980, he won gold at the next two Olympics. Krutov jumped to the NHL in '89 but struggled with the more physical game and returned to Europe after one season.

Johnny Tapia, 45

The tattoo on his stomach that read MI VIDA LOCA wasn't false advertising. Tapia was nearly killed in a bus crash at age seven, and at eight watched his mother's boyfriend stab her to death. After a three-year suspension for cocaine, he won belts in three divisions with a ferocious style. "Boxing brings out my anger," he said in 1995. "Each fight is taking care of a problem from my past."

Rich Saul, 64

A backup lineman for his first five NFL seasons, Saul was so skilled at covering kicks that he was profiled in a Life cover story on special teams. "Football is a collision sport, and special team play is the essence," he said. "It's football without all the fancy stuff." Saul finally cracked the Los Angeles Rams' lineup in 1975 and was named the NFC Pro Bowl center for six straight years.

Amarillo Slim, 83

Calling Thomas Preston one of the greatest poker players who ever lived is to miss the bigger picture. Amarillo Slim wasn't a poker player. He was a gambler. He bet Bobby Riggs he could beat him at table tennis, so long as Slim chose the implements; he picked skillets and won. He took $30,000 off Jimmy the Greek by successfully rafting down the River of No Return in Boise (in a wet suit designed by Jacques Cousteau). He won 10 times that playing dominoes with Willie Nelson. He'd wager on whether he could beat Evel Knievel at golf using carpenter's hammers and which sugar cube a fly would land on. But it was poker that gave Slim his everlasting fame. He played with presidents (LBJ and Nixon) and celebrities (he claimed to have won $1.7 million from Larry Flynt). He played in back rooms and casinos from Vegas to Cartagena, Colombia, where he was kidnapped by agents of the drug baron Pablo Escobar, who demanded to meet Slim before he was released. Rail thin and 6'2" (though his Stetson made him appear even taller), the Texan got his start hustling pool in the town that gave him his nickname. After stints in the Navy and the Army (he sold bootleg Mickey Mouse watches to foreign soldiers while stationed in Europe), he became so well-known as a hustler that he had to switch his game to cards. He won five World Series of Poker bracelets and was the sport's first marquee player. And if some of his exploits beggar belief (Flynt, for instance, disputes the amount he lost), then chalk it up to the same trait that made Slim so dangerous at hold 'em: his ability to sell a story. "It's a real strong bluffing game," he said. "I like that."

Ben Davidson, 72

As a Packers rookie, Davidson ran an errand to Bart Starr's house. Said Starr's wife, "Our dog is a good watchdog, but she took one look at Ben and ran howling under the bed." The 6'8" defensive end didn't last with the Pack, but he found a home in Oakland, where his bushy mustache and love of motorcycles made him the ideal Raider. A three-time All-Star, he later acted tough in Miller Lite ads.

Jack Twyman, 78

The first time Twyman gave an acceptance speech at the Basketball Hall of Fame, in 1983, it was in honor of his 11-year NBA career, during which the 6'6" swingman joined Wilt Chamberlain as the first players to average 30 points. (Twyman scored 31.2 per game for the Cincinnati Royals in 1959--60.) The second time, in 2004, he spoke on behalf of his former teammate, All-Star forward Maurice Stokes. After Stokes was paralyzed by a fall in a '58 game, Twyman—then only 23—became his legal guardian, raising money for his care and teaching him to signify letters by blinking until he could speak again. Twyman, who retired in '66 and became a broadcaster, cared for Stokes until his death in '70, at 36. "Whatever I've done for Maurice," Twyman said in '04, "I've gained tenfold from him."

Margaret duPont, 94

No doubles team won more Grand Slam titles than the 20 of duPont and Louise Brough. They could have won more had not duPont's husband, chemical-company heir William Jr., threatened to divorce her if she played in the Australian Open rather than winter with him in California. Even without the Aussie, duPont won 37 Grand Slams, including six singles crowns.

Giorgio Chinaglia, 65

On the most star-studded soccer team the U.S. has seen, the New York Cosmos of the late 1970s, Chinaglia stood out. Unlike Pelé and Franz Beckenbauer, who joined the club late in their careers, Chinaglia came from Italy in his prime, scoring goals (193 in 213 games) and living large. He favored a silk dressing gown in the locker room, explaining, "Chinaglia doesn't wear a towel."

Art Modell, 87

One of the original hands-on owners, Modell bought the Cleveland Browns in 1961 and two years later fired the only coach they had known, Paul Brown. The Browns won the NFL title in '64, but Modell would not win again until 2000—after he moved the team to Baltimore and renamed it the Ravens. He was a driving force behind revenue-sharing and Monday-night games.

Emanuel Steward, 68

The 1963 Golden Gloves bantamweight national champ, Steward had been away from boxing for six years when his half-brother expressed interest in the sport. Then an electrician for Detroit Edison, Steward took him to the Kronk gym, and that became his base. Of the fighters Steward trained, 41 won title belts, including Thomas Hearns and Evander Holyfield.

Bob Boozer, 75

The first pick in the 1959 draft out of Kansas State, the 6'8" Boozer put his NBA career on hold to play in the '60 Olympics. He got his gold medal—and, 50 years later, a place in the Hall of Fame—as part of a U.S. team that won its eight games by an average of 42.4 points. Boozer joined the Cincinnati Royals, then was an All-Star with the Bulls in '68 and a champion with the Bucks in '71.

Lee MacPhail, 95

The younger half of the only father-son combination in the Baseball Hall of Fame, Lee took the same path to Cooperstown as his father, Larry: through the front office. Lee ran the Yankees and the Orioles before becoming American League president in 1974. In that position, he oversaw expansion into Toronto and Seattle and helped settle the '81 players strike.

Eddie Yost, 86

Had he played in the Moneyball era, Yost might have gone down as a star. Though pitchers had little reason to work around him—he was a career .254 batter over 18 seasons and only once hit more than 14 homers—the third baseman drew enough bases on balls to be dubbed the Walking Man. His career on-base percentage of .394 is one point better than Rod Carew's.

Dan Roundfield, 59

Advised by his coach at Detroit's Chadsey High to give up basketball, Roundfield kept at it and in '83 was named to SI's All--Work Ethic team. The 6'8" power forward, who was a bank teller in the off-season early in his career, averaged a double double six straight seasons for the Hawks and was a three-time All-Star. He drowned in Aruba after rescuing his wife.

MORE FAREWELLS

Butch Bouchard, 92

A hulking Hall of Fame defenseman, Bouchard was the captain of the Canadiens for eight years and won four Stanley Cups.

Charlie Spoonhour, 72

The folksy basketball coach led Southwest Missouri State and Saint Louis to eight NCAA tournaments.

Michael Dokes, 54

A potent puncher, Dokes knocked out WBA heavyweight champion Mike Weaver in the first round to win the belt in 1982.

Harry Wendelstedt, 73

A major league umpire for 33 years, Wendelstedt worked five World Series and ran a school that sent 225 umps to the bigs.

Freddie Solomon, 59

A college quarterback, Solomon converted to wideout and ranks eighth in 49ers history in receiving yards (4,873).

Steve Sabol, 69

The son of NFL Films founder Ed Sabol, Steve won 35 Emmy Awards and was the company's creative force for 50 years, doing everything from filming to directing to producing.

Beano Cook, 81

A former publicist, the witty Cook moved in front of the camera in the '80s and became known as the Pope of College Football.

FROM THE SI FAMILY

Robert Creamer, 90

A member of SI's original staff, Creamer was the author of Babe, the definitive biography of Babe Ruth.

Clive Gammon, 83

An avid angler, Gammon, a native of Wales, covered soccer and traveled the world writing about fishing.

William Oscar Johnson, 81

After writing 20 cover stories for TIME, Johnson spent 27 years as a writer and editor at SI.

Ken Regan

A photographer who also shot pop culture and politics, Regan (he kept his age a secret) had seven SI covers.

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