Yogi Berra, 90
This is an article from the Dec. 28, 2015 issue
Even as a kid, Berra had a gift for the one-liner. When asked, "How do you like school?" his stock reply was "closed." So it shouldn't have come as a surprise that Yogi dropped out at age 14, embarking on a litany of odd jobs, each of which inevitably ended when it interfered with baseball.
Berra could have wound up behind the plate for his hometown Cardinals, but they had room for only one catcher from the St. Louis Italian enclave known as the Hill, and that was Joe Garagiola, whose family lived across the street from Yogi's. So after a highly decorated stint in the Navy, Berra landed with the Yankees, for whom he played from 1946 to '63, coining so many Yogi-isms along the way that to many he was known more as a quipster than a catcher. Which is a shame, because as backstops go, none have been more complete than Berra. In the first seven years of the 1950s, he won three MVPs and never finished worse than fourth in the voting. He lacked book smarts—he preferred horror comics and once asked Ernest Hemingway which paper he wrote for—but he knew the game, digesting information on hitters that allowed him to be a superior pitch-caller.
In addition to the 10 World Series he won as a player, he competed in seven more as a coach and a manager with the Yanks and the Mets. When the beloved Berra died, his memorial mass was attended by luminaries from sports, politics and show business, a fitting tribute for the man who said, "Always go to other people's funerals; otherwise they won't go to yours."
Dean Smith, 83
Even in death Smith was looking out for his players. In March, a little more than a month after the former North Carolina coach passed away, each of his 180 letter-winners was informed that Smith had left him $200, so he could have a nice dinner out. The gesture should have come as no surprise because few coaches emphasized camaraderie and character more than Smith.
Hired as head coach at Chapel Hill in 1961 in the wake of a gambling conspiracy that cost legendary Frank McGuire his job, Smith was told by administrators to—above all—run a clean program. Fans had other expectations. Following a loss to Wake Forest in January '65, Smith was hanged in effigy on campus. Eventually, though, Smith satisfied everyone. More than 96% of his players graduated, and just one of his 36 teams finished with a losing record: his first, which went 8--9. After that Smith guided the Tar Heels to 30 seasons of at least 20 victories, including 27 in a row, as well as national titles in 1982 and '93. He retired with the record for wins, with 879.
Smith's innovations on the court are many—the four corners and thanking the passer, to name just two—but he also went places other coaches rarely did away from the game. Speaking out on issues such as the death penalty, the Vietnam War and nuclear weapons, Smith was a shining example that there was more to life than what happened on the hardwood. In addition to being named the 1993 coach of the year, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013.
Bill Monbouquette, 78
A three-time All-Star for the Red Sox, Monbo fanned 17 Washington Senators in front of Dwight Eisenhower in 1961 and no-hit the White Sox in '62. Perhaps his most significant contribution for Boston—the last major league team to integrate—was in standing up to manager Del Baker, who was race-baiting an opposing player in front of Pumpsie Green, the Sox' first African-American player.
Garo Yepremian, 70
As a placekicker Yepremian brought to mind a professional soccer player (which he had once been). As a passer he brought to mind a professional tie-maker (which he also had once been). Plucked out of his basement tie shop by the Dolphins in 1970, Yepremian led the league in field goal accuracy three times and ended the longest game in NFL history, a '71 playoff duel against the Chiefs, with a 37-yarder in double OT. The next year Miami again made the Super Bowl. Late in the game Yepremian had a kick blocked. He picked up the ball and lofted a pass, which the Redskins intercepted and returned for a touchdown. The Dolphins held on to win 14--7. Being known for the biggest blunder in Super Bowl history didn't bother the native of Cyprus. "Fortunately," he said, "I'm a happy-go-lucky guy."
J.P. Parise, 73
A surprise inclusion on Team Canada in the 1972 Summit Series, Parise got tossed from the deciding eighth game for going after a referee with his stick raised. (The ref's pro-Soviet bias diminished afterward.) In 14 seasons in the NHL, the rugged winger made two All-Star teams and scored an overtime goal that gave the Islanders their first postseason series win, in 1975.
Dave Meyers, 62
After leading UCLA to the 1975 NCAA title with 24 points and 11 boards in coach John Wooden's last game, the 6'8" forward known as Spider was drafted by the Lakers with the No. 2 pick, then dealt to the Bucks in the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar blockbuster. Meyers—whose sister Ann was also a UCLA hoops star—retired at 27 after four solid seasons and became an elementary school teacher.
Doris Hart, 89
Safe to say that July 7, 1951, was the apex of Hart's career. On that day she won three Wimbledon titles: singles, doubles and mixed doubles. Hart suffered from serious leg ailments—her right leg was nearly amputated when she was a girl—that restricted her mobility. As a result, she used her wits to win 35 major titles, including the singles in each of the Grand Slams.
Joaquín Andújar, 62
Labeled by SI as a "hot dog you've got to relish," Andújar was a fiery righthander who won Game 7 of the 1982 World Series for the Cardinals, then pitched in their Game 7 loss in the '85 Series—until he was tossed for arguing balls and strikes. The two-time 20-game winner had a zeal for life, once saying, "It's great to be alive because when you are dead, you can't drink beer."
Anthony Mason, 48
After kicking around Turkey, Venezuela and various minor leagues, Mason joined the Knicks in 1991--92, and his NBA career, which lasted 13 years, took off. At 6'7" and 250 pounds he was the chief bruiser on a team full of them, but he was also a wizard passing out of the post, becoming in effect a point power forward. As New York coach Pat Riley put it, "He's deft, almost cute."
Chuck Bednarik, 89
He was nicknamed Concrete Charlie because that's what he sold when he wasn't playing football, but Bednarik certainly could have picked up that moniker for his toughness. One of the last two-way players in NFL history, he didn't dabble at center and linebacker. He played, in his words, "the whole schmear," a true 60-minute man. The 10-time All-Pro led the Eagles to titles in 1949 and '60.
Elmer Lach, 97
Described by a rival GM in 1950 as "the meanest, shrewdest, nastiest so-and-so in the league," Lach was also one of the greatest passers in hockey history. In his 14-year career with the Canadiens—for whom he centered the Punch Line between Maurice Richard and Toe Blake—Lach had 215 goals and 408 assists. He retired in '54 as the NHL's all-time leading scorer.
Billy Casper, 83
Only six golfers have more wins on the PGA Tour than his 51, but Casper's serious on-course demeanor hid a warm, tender personality—he and his wife, Shirley, adopted six children—and led to his being overshadowed by Nicklaus, Palmer and Player. "There should never have been just the Big Three," said pro turned broadcaster Johnny Miller. "It should've been the Big Four."
Ernie Banks, 83
When Banks, a 22-year-old shortstop, signed with the Cubs in 1953, he was lacking two things: a baseball glove and much idea of what he was doing. So teammate Eddie Miksis loaned him some leather, and coach Ray Blades gave him a book called How to Play Baseball. Banks had been barnstorming with the Negro leagues' Kansas City Monarchs, who discovered him while he was playing fast-pitch softball, since Booker T. Washington High in Dallas had no baseball team.
Banks was a quick study. In 1954 he hit 19 homers and finished second in the Rookie of the Year vote. After switching from a 35-ounce bat to a 31-ounce model, the power came; the lighter lumber allowed him to wait on a pitch and then flick it over the fence at the last second. (He finished with 512 home runs.) Said one Chicago teammate, "Ernie swings a bat like Joe Louis used to throw a punch—short and sweet." In 1958 and '59, Banks became the first back-to-back MVP winner in National League history.
He did it all, of course, for the chronically abysmal Cubs. During the first 15 of his 19 seasons the team never finished within 12 games of first place. Still, all of that losing never dampened Banks's enthusiasm for the game. His sunniness irritated some, most notably manager Leo Durocher, who took Banks's demeanor for a lack of intensity. "I'm just a human being trying to survive the only way I know how," Banks said in 1969. "I don't make enemies. If I'm not crazy about somebody, he'll never know it. I kill him with kindness."
Jerome Kersey, 52
The 6'7" forward from Division II Longwood College in Farmville, Va., finished second to Michael Jordan in the 1987 Slam Dunk Contest. In 17 seasons—11 in Portland—he was known not just for scoring (19.2 points per game in '87--88) but also for chasing down fast-breakers and swatting their shots, inspiring announcer Bill Schonely to coin the phrase, "Mercy, mercy, Jerome Kersey!"
Calvin Peete, 71
Peete was flashy. He drove a Caddy that he claimed was maroon but others swore was pink. He played in boots with spikes. And safe to say, he was the first PGA golfer who had diamond chips in his front teeth. Peete had a good reason for getting them: As a teenager in Florida he worked peddling clothes to migrant farmworkers, and he wanted to stand out to his clientele. Peete eventually had the chips taken out after a few years on the PGA Tour, which he joined in 1975 at age 32—just nine years after taking up the game. A broken left arm as a child prevented him from straightening it on his swing, but Peete was still the most accurate player of his day. He won 12 times, including the 1985 Tournament Players Championship.
Marcel Pronovost, 84
A bruising defenseman who wasn't afraid to fling himself in front of a slap shot, Pronovost broke his nose a dozen times and was stitched up so often that writer Stan Fischler called him "the most embroidered man in hockey." The Hall of Famer won five Stanley Cups with Detroit and Toronto, played in eight finals—including in 1961, despite a broken ankle—and made 11 All-Star teams.
Jethro Pugh, 70
Playing on a Cowboys D loaded with future Hall of Famers, Pugh didn't make a single Pro Bowl during his 14-year career out of Elizabeth City (N.C.) State. But the tackle was a mainstay on the Doomsday Defense, starting in four Super Bowls and leading the team in sacks for five consecutive seasons, from 1968 to '72. "If it weren't for a name like Jethro Pugh," he said in '74, "I might be anonymous."
Bevo Francis, 82
Unleashing a lethal jumper, the 6'9" Francis scored 116 points for tiny Rio Grande (Ohio) College in a 1953 game. When the NCAA refused to recognize the record because it came against a two-year school, Francis went out and had a 113-pointer the next season. After touring with the Harlem Globetrotters, he turned down the NBA for a job in a mill so he could be near his family in Highlandtown, Ohio.
Jerry Tarkanian, 84
If Tark the Shark proved anything, it was that being a cheater and being brutally honest are not mutually exclusive. All three of the NCAA programs he coached ended up on probation, which didn't make him the ideal mouthpiece for constant attacks against the hypocrisy of the NCAA. It didn't make him wrong, either. His primary gripe was that the organization—"the NC two-A," as he called it—only paid lip service to weeding out corruption. "The NCAA is so mad at Kentucky, they'll probably slap a few more years' probation on Cleveland State," he said after a Wildcats assistant got busted FedEx-ing an envelope of cash to a recruit's father.
The irony is that while Tarkanian started off as one of the minnows at Long Beach State, he eventually built UNLV into a Goliath by embracing players other programs avoided. His 1989--90 team beat Duke by 30 in a national title game seen by many as a victory of sinners over saints. (The Blue Devils avenged the loss, taking the '91 final by two.) Tark's run with the Runnin' Rebels ended in '92 after pictures surfaced of his players in a hot tub with a convicted point shaver. A brief stint with the Spurs and a seven-year stay at his alma mater, Fresno State, followed, but he never replicated the success he had in Vegas. "Most people will tell you that their favorite time in this town was when I was coaching here," he said in 2010.
Dean Chance, 74
Like Angels roommate Bo Belinsky, Chance enjoyed the Hollywood lifestyle. But the righthander made plenty of headlines on the mound as well. As a 24-year-old in 1964, Chance threw 11 shutouts—only Bob Gibson has more since the Dead Ball era—and became the youngest winner of the Cy Young Award. He had 110 victories by age 27, but injuries limited him to just 18 more.
Neal Walk, 67
The only player to have his jersey retired by Florida, Walk was drafted by the Suns in 1969 after they lost a coin toss for the top pick. (Lew Alcindor went No 1.) A 6'10" center, Walk suited up for three teams over nine seasons, averaging 12.6 points. After undergoing surgery for a spinal tumor in 1987, he kept playing; in '90, President Bush named him Wheelchair Athlete of the Year.
Marques Haynes, 89
Growing up near Tulsa, Haynes didn't have a basketball, so he learned to dribble with a tennis ball. The education took. Haynes was the best dribbler in the world, able to pat it three times a second: At Langston (Okla.) University he dribbled out the final 2½ minutes of a game. He was a pro for 46 years, 13 of them as a Globetrotter, and in 1998 became the first Globie to make the Hall of Fame.
Dusty Rhodes, 69
Proof that not all wrestlers are muscle-bound specimens, the man born Virgil Runnels embraced his flab, building an everyman persona. He referred to himself as the son of a plumber (which he was) and the American Dream. "From the first time I walked into a ring, I had charisma," the Hall of Famer said in 1989. "There was something about me that was going to revolutionize the sport."
Stu Miller, 87
His fastball was in the 80s, so one can imagine how slow Miller's changeup was. Announcer Russ Hodges once quipped, "There's one that almost turned around and went back." But it was effective. The righty twice led the league in saves, and he pitched in the first of two 1961 All-Star games, when he infamously balked after a gust of wind buffeted him on the mound at Candlestick Park.
Allie Sherman, 91
The 5'11" QB from Brooklyn College joked that during his five NFL seasons he was the best lefthanded holder on extra points. Sherman made a much bigger splash as a coach. A student of football who helped resuscitate the T-formation, he led the Giants to the title game in each of his first three years (1961 to '63) and hired the NFL's first full-time African-American assistant coach.
Roy Tarpley, 50
In his second season with the Mavericks, the skilled 6'11" power forward averaged a double double and was the 1988 Sixth Man of the Year. He never again played a full season because of injuries and addiction. In '95 the NBA banned him for life for violating terms of his rehab program. "If Roy had stayed healthy," said teammate Brad Davis, "he could have been one of the top 50 players ever."
Lauren Hill, 19
Though she had just 10 points for Division III Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, Hill was runner-up for 2014 AP Female Athlete of the Year. What she lacked in scoring, she made up for in inspiration. Hill played in four games—the first before a crowd of 10,250—despite having an inoperable brain tumor. Her charity has helped raise more than $2 million for cancer research.
Ken Stabler, 69
The headline of a 1977 story in PEOPLE provides some insight into the Raiders' quarterback: The Super Bowl Was 'A Meat Market'—No, Not the Game, the Women After Ken Stabler. (Recounting the many women who wanted Stabler to sign their breasts, he said, "I'd rather have a challenge than someone just coming on.") To those who knew football, though, the Snake was much more than a philandering and eminently quotable good ol' boy.
Stabler picked up his nickname for his scrambling prowess at Foley (Ala.) High. His smooth southpaw delivery made him one of the most dangerous quarterbacks in the land at Alabama, where he led the Tide to an undefeated season in 1966. He was Oakland's second-round pick two years later, but owner Al Davis was worried about Stabler's right knee and had him play minor league ball in Spokane, Wash. Stabler finally joined the Raiders in 1970 but didn't become the starter until '73, at 28. The gunslinger led the NFL in game-winning drives in three of his first four seasons, ending with a win over the Vikings in the hedonistic Super Bowl XI.
It's easy to say that Stabler parlayed that success into a life of beach bumming and boozing, but he was headed for that no matter what. His success meant he had a nicer boat. In 1977, SI writer Robert F. Jones spent a week with Stabler in Gulf Shores, Ala. "Gettin' nowhere fast," the Snake said. "As philosophies go, it's as good as any. What counts isn't so much where you're going—I mean, we all end up in the same place—but what counts is the getting there."
Bill Guthridge, 77
A Final Four point guard under Tex Winter at Kansas State in 1958, Guthridge was a longtime assistant to Dean Smith at North Carolina, where he was the shooting and big man coach. Guthridge succeeded Smith in '97--98 but led the Tar Heels for just three seasons before retiring. Two of his teams reached the Final Four, making him only the second coach to advance that far in two of his first three years.
Al Arbour, 82
A 1981 TIME story noted that Arbour, then the Blues' coach, "sent his players to an ophthalmologist to work on hand-eye coordination and hired a figure-skating coach to improve footwork." (Perhaps it was just a coincidence that Arbour was the last NHL player to wear glasses on-ice and that, as a stay-at-home defenseman for four teams, he scored all of 12 goals in 626 games.) Such innovative thinking—Arbour was also ahead of the curve on scouting and the use of video—served the man known as Radar well: From 1980 to '83 his Islanders teams won four straight Stanley Cups. Arbour also hoisted the Cup four times as a player, and his 740 victories with the Isles are an NHL record for a coach with a single team.
Bob St. Clair, 84
Like many O-linemen, St. Clair enjoyed a porterhouse. Unlike most, he liked it raw. It was one of the eccentricities that earned the 6'9", 263-pound St. Clair his nickname: the Geek. A 49ers tackle from 1953 to '63, he was asked, upon entering the Hall of Fame in '90, if players of his era would succeed in the modern NFL. St. Clair's reply: "The question is, Could these candy-asses have played with us?"
Darryl Dawkins, 58
Despite his claims that he was from Chocolate Paradise on Planet Lovetron, the 6'11" Dawkins was a high school phenom from Orlando. He jumped straight to the NBA in 1975, averaging 12.0 points and 6.1 rebounds over 14 seasons. Dawkins was best known, though, for his backboard-shattering dunks and outlandish personality, earning the nickname Chocolate Thunder—from Stevie Wonder.
Stuart Scott, 49
Hired by ESPN2 in 1993 when the network's mandate was to appeal to younger viewers, Scott moved over to ESPN to anchor SportsCenter three years later. He kept his hip-hop--influenced voice, introducing countless phrases (Boo-Yah!) to the sports lexicon. He hosted everything from NFL coverage to a David Blaine special, all while remaining as cool as the other side of the pillow.
Harvey Pollack, 93
Pollack's career in pro basketball began with the Philadelphia Warriors in 1946. He worked in p.r. (he organized the famed shot of Wilt Chamberlain holding a 100 sign after his historic 100-point game) but was known more for revolutionizing stats. Because of Pollack, the NBA began to track minutes, steals and turnovers; during 1979--80 he coined the term triple double.
Charlie Sifford, 92
After successfully challenging the PGA Tour's whites-only clause in 1961, Sifford faced abuse ranging from annoying (his golf balls kicked into traps) to abusive. Through it all, Sifford persevered, winning two tournaments—and constantly taking the high road. "I just wanted to show that a black man could play this game and be a gentleman," he said in 2009. "I did that."
Eddie LeBaron, 85
At 5'7", LeBaron quarterbacked a Pacific offense that led the nation in 1950. Twice wounded as a Marine in Korea, he didn't arrive in the NFL until '52, when he was Rookie of the Year with the Redskins. LeBaron came out of retirement in '60—he was practicing as a lawyer after earning his degree at George Washington—to take the first snap ever for the Cowboys. He was their starting QB for two years.
Minnie Miñoso, 90
Miñoso played in five decades, the last two as little more than a publicity stunt. But in his prime there was nothing gimmicky about the Cuban-born outfielder's game. Chicago's first black major leaguer, Miñoso had speed and plenty of pop: In 1949 he smacked the second pitch he saw as a White Sox for a 415-foot homer, and he finished in the top 10 in the AL in slugging six times.
Mal Whitfield, 91
After serving with the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II, Marvelous Mal was still on active duty as an Air Force staff sergeant when he won gold in the 800 meters at the 1948 Olympics. He was then deployed to Korea, where he went on 27 missions as a tail gunner—and trained by running on airstrips at night with a .45 on his hip. Whitfield repeated his gold medal performance at the '52 Games, finishing his career with five medals. Three years later he began holding clinics in Europe and then Africa. For the next 50 years he was a sports ambassador; SI called him a "diplomat in short pants." Whitfield visited more than 130 countries, helping 5,000 athletes attend colleges across the U.S. on sports scholarships.
John Williams, 53
His career at Tulane was darkened by his implication in a point-shaving scandal, but when the player nicknamed Hot Rod was acquitted in 1986, he found a home in Cleveland. A 6'10" power forward with a handle and a sweet shot, Williams had his best NBA season in 1989--90, when he averaged 16.8 points and 8.1 rebounds; the next year the Cavaliers made him the league's highest-paid player ever.
Dolph Schayes, 87
A master of the corny joke—he successfully wooed his wife on their first date with the same tomato-ketchup bit that Uma Thurman told John Travolta in Pulp Fiction—Schayes was the first player in NBA history to reach the 15,000-point plateau. He had size (6'8", which was big during the league's early days), but he didn't rely on it. He grew up in the Bronx playing three-on-three, where camping out under the hoop wasn't an option. First at NYU and then over 15 seasons in the NBA, Schayes spent much of his time on the perimeter either launching a high-arcing, two-handed set shot known as Sputnik, which he clung to even as the jumper came into fashion, or blowing past defenders off the dribble and finishing with either hand. The 12-time All-Star also averaged 12.1 rebounds for the Syracuse Nationals and 76ers (after the team moved to Philadelphia), then coached for four seasons.
Flip Saunders, 60
An amateur magician ("I'm great at kids' birthday parties," he boasted when introduced as the Wizards' coach), Saunders performed his most incredible feat over the course of nearly a decade. He led the previously and subsequently moribund Timberwolves to eight straight playoff berths, the only appearances in their history. In 17 seasons he had a .525 winning percentage for three teams.
Camille Muffat, 25
A medley swimmer for France at the 2008 Olympics, Muffat focused on the freestyle for the London Games, where she set an Olympic record in the 400 meters while also winning a silver and a bronze. She was killed—along with nine others, including Olympic boxer Alexis Vastine and record-setting sailer Florence Arthaud—in a helicopter crash while filming a reality show for French TV.
Frank Gifford, 84
One thing that can't be disputed was Gifford's adaptability. His father, an oil-field roughneck, moved the family more than 45 times looking for work in California and West Texas. Gifford went to Bakersfield (Calif.) High but didn't have the grades to get into USC, so he spent a season at Bakersfield Junior College. When he finally joined the Trojans in 1949, the high school quarterback was forced to play defense for two years before becoming a halfback.
Gifford spent the beginning of his 13-year career with the Giants at left half and led the NFL in yards from scrimmage in '56, when he was named MVP. He moved to flanker after a vicious hit from Eagles linebacker Chuck Bednarik forced him to miss the '61 season. Gifford also lined up at defensive back, making seven Pro Bowls—at three different positions.
After retiring in '64, Gifford transitioned to a career in front of the camera. His first film work had come when he was at USC, in the Martin-and-Lewis film That's My Boy. (He kicked a field goal as a stand-in for Lewis.) In '71 he replaced Keith Jackson on Monday Night Football for its second season, and he was a mainstay on the broadcasts for 27 years. Gifford was the rare former player—a Hall of Famer, at that—who did play-by-play, but his most important function was as a grounding presence (and traffic cop) in a booth with Don Meredith and Howard Cosell. When Al Michaels was brought aboard in '86, the multifaceted Gifford became a color commentator, and he spent his final season with MNF as the studio host.
Moses Malone, 60
As a center at Petersburg (Va.) High, Malone was such a coveted recruit that Oral Roberts's pitch came from Oral Roberts himself, who promised to cure Malone's mother's ulcers. Other recruiters slept on the porch of the rundown home he and his mom, Mary, shared. The 6'11" Malone, who had always been shy, would lie on the floor and hide when they came calling. Eventually, he signed with Maryland.
The irony is that Malone endured the process for nothing. The Utah Stars of the ABA offered him $3 million over seven years to turn pro straight out of high school, so he did. The league folded in 1976, after Malone's second season, and his rights were passed around until he ended up with the NBA's Buffalo Braves, for whom he played just six minutes in two games. The Rockets snapped him up off the Buffalo bench (for two first-round picks), and Malone finally had a home. The big man led Houston to the Finals in 1981 and earned his second MVP the following year. He then moved to Philadelphia, where he won a third MVP and his only NBA title, in '83. That was the famed fo-fo-fo season, Malone's way of predicting the 76ers would sweep their way to the championship. (It took them 13 games, not 12.)
His lack of eloquence was often commented upon; in reality, he grew reluctant to talk as a kid because he had bad teeth. Malone found his solace on the court and, particularly, on the backboards; the 12-time All-Star led the NBA in rebounding five times. "He always loves his basketball," said Mary in '79, "and [that's] what give that boy his courage."
Charlie Sanders, 68
For 43 years Sanders was a part of the Lions' organization—the longest tenure of anyone outside the Ford family, which owns the team. Before broadcasting, coaching and working in personnel, Sanders was a tight end for 10 seasons. An excellent blocker, the Hall of Famer also had fantastic hands, catching 336 passes. He was named to the NFL's All-Decade team for the 1970s.
Dickie Moore, 84
After breaking his hand in a fight, Moore played the second half of the 1957--58 season in a cast and led the NHL with 84 points, raising the question of what he might accomplish if healthy. The answer, provided the next season: He set an NHL record with 96 points. The Hall of Famer's two scoring titles came during his Canadiens' string of five straight Stanley Cups.
Hot Rod Hundley, 80
The fancy-dribbling 6'4" guard—he turned down overtures to become the rare white Harlem Globetrotter—was the No. 1 pick in the 1957 NBA draft out of West Virginia. A two-time All-Star in six years as a Laker, he became a broadcaster for the Jazz in '74, his rapid-fire voice so distinctive in Utah that three times when he called directory assistance he was asked by the operator, "Are you Hot Rod?"
Walter Byers, 93
The first executive director of the NCAA, Byers held the role for 36 years, overseeing a period of astronomical growth in popularity and revenue—as well as their less savory by-products, scandal and corruption. After he retired in 1987, Byers turned on his creation, writing a highly critical memoir decrying college amateurism as "an airtight racket of supplying cheap athletic labor."
Billy Pierce, 88
The Go-Go White Sox were known for their speed on the base paths, but they boasted velocity on the hill as well. Pierce was a wispy lefthander whose heater was second only to that of the Indians' Herb Score in the 1950s. He won 20 games in '56 and '57, and should have done it in '55, too, when he led the American League with a 1.97 ERA, but he went 15--10, losing four 1--0 decisions.
Ed Sabol, 98
Bored with his job selling overcoats for his father-in-law, Sabol found his calling at age 46 when he bid $5,000 for the rights to film the 1962 NFL championship game. No matter that his only experience was shooting his son Steve's high school games: Sabol was the top bidder. And with that, NFL Films was born. (Steve, 20 at that time, would become his partner and successor.) Instead of simply regurgitating highlights, Sabol built programs around themes, featuring sharp editing, comic interludes, dramatic music and voice-of-God narration. The cash brought in by Sabol's productions didn't begin to approach the revenue generated by TV deals. But as former Browns and Ravens owner Art Modell said, "We sold the beauty of the game through NFL Films."
Bill Arnsparger, 88
In 11½ seasons as the Dolphins' defensive coordinator, Arnsparger was the architect of two units so dominant that they became known by their nicknames: the No-Name Defense, which helped the 1972 team finish undefeated, and the Killer B's, which led the '82 Dolphins to the AFC championship. He also coached three seasons at LSU, winning the SEC title in 1986.
Earl Lloyd, 86
Three years after Jackie Robinson integrated major league baseball, in 1947, Lloyd broke the NBA's color line, one day ahead of Chuck Cooper and Sweetwater Clifton. The 6'5" Big Cat played nine seasons—winning a championship with the Syracuse Nationals in '55—before embarking on a coaching career. In '71, Lloyd became the fourth black head coach in the league, with the Pistons.
Mel Farr, 70
A standout in UCLA's Dream Backfield, Farr later made his mark in Detroit: He was named the 1967 Rookie of the Year as a Lion and laid down backing tracks on Marvin Gaye's '71 Motown classic "What's Going On." Injuries limited his NFL career to seven seasons, but he became known to a new generation of Detroiters for the Mel Farr Superstar commercials promoting his Ford dealerships.
Louise Suggs, 91
Called Miss Slugs by Bob Hope for her ability to clobber the ball, Suggs was one of the 13 founders of the LPGA Tour, in 1950. She won 61 pro tournaments over 12 years, including 11 major titles, and in '57 became the first female to achieve the career Grand Slam. Suggs was also a respected teacher, regularly contributing to SI's TIP FROM THE TOP column in the 1950s.
Buddy Baker, 74
NASCAR's Gentle Giant—who once released a country album with several of his fellow drivers that included a cover of "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall"—was at his best when the cars were going fastest. Baker excelled on superspeedways, becoming the first stock car driver to break the 200-mph barrier, on a practice run at Talladega in 1970. Baker drove "as if all of his 215 pounds were concentrated in his right foot when he saw the green flag," SI wrote in 1980. That year Baker won the Daytona 500 with an average speed of more than 177 mph, the fastest 500-mile speed in auto racing history. Although Baker never won a points championship because he rarely raced a full season, in '98 he was named one of NASCAR's 50 best drivers.
John David Crow, 79
Bear Bryant's only Heisman winner, Crow won the trophy in 1957 while at Texas A&M, rushing for 562 yards and picking off five passes. In 11 professional seasons as a running back, Crow made four Pro Bowls and was named to the NFL's All-Decade team of the '60s. He did it all with a bruising style that earned him Bryant's highest compliment: Crow was "a boy who will butt you."
Al Rosen, 91
A year before he led the Indians to a 111--43 record, the third baseman nearly made history. As the MVP in 1953, he led the AL with 43 homers and 145 RBIs and would have won the batting title but was thrown out on a bang-bang play on his final plate appearance. Rosen had a short stint (predictably) as president of the Bronx Zoo Yankees, then in '87 was Executive of the Year with the Giants.
Guy Lewis, 93
One of the first Southern coaches to recruit black players, Lewis had two Final Four runs in his 30 years at Houston, his alma mater. He took the Cougars twice in the 1960s behind Elvin Hayes and three more times in the '80s with the Phi Slamma Jamma team, all along clutching a polka-dot towel. Said former Cougars star Clyde Drexler in 2013, "He's the father of modern basketball in the South."
Mel Daniels, 71
The ABA's all-time leading rebounder also won two MVPs and led the Pacers to three titles. For a man unafraid to mix it up—he was ejected for fighting in his first game—the 6'9" Daniels had an intriguing hobby: poetry. He wrote thousands of poems, often in the early morning after a game. "They're just a means for me to clear my mind," he said. "My favorite poet is Poe. He's my man."
Frank Borghi, 89
One of many St. Louisans on the 1950 U.S. World Cup team, Borghi made several key saves in a 1--0 upset of England.
Jack Haley, 51
The son of a surfing legend played nine years in the NBA and was known as Dennis Rodman's sidekick on the 1995--96 Bulls.
Milo Hamilton, 88
The voice of seven big league teams over more than 50 years called Hank Aaron's 715th homer for the Braves' local affiliate.
Tommy Hanson, 29
The righty pitched five major league seasons, never topping his rookie campaign with the Braves (11--4, 2.89 ERA in 2009).
Lindy Infante, 75
A successful offensive coordinator with the Bernie Kosar--era Browns, Infante had the top job with the Colts and the Packers.
Roddy Piper, 61
Called a "250-pound yapping adrenal gland" by SI in 1985, the kilt-wearing Piper was named WWE's all-time villain in 2012.
Lon Simmons, 91
A Ford C. Frick Award winner, the former minor league pitcher did play-by-play for the 49ers, A's and San Francisco Giants.
Justin Wilson, 37
The former Formula One driver and two-time Champ Car season runner-up was killed in a wreck in an IndyCar race.
From the SI Family
Merrell Noden, 59
A man of many interests (he ran a 4:11.9 mile, was a Phi Beta Kappa at Princeton and taught Shakespeare to prisoners), Noden covered a wide array of topics as a writer for the magazine, including one he may have been uniquely qualified to tackle: the exercise habits of Charles Dickens.
Demmie Stathoplos, 76
In 1991 she became the first woman to receive the Old Hilltop Award, given by Pimlico Race Course for thoroughbred racing coverage. Stathoplos also helped shape SI's Olympics coverage as an editor, always with an eye out for the underdog and a wry one-liner at the ready.