Sports Outside the Beltway

Seattle Mariners Outfielder Greg Halman stabbed to death at age 24

Reports are still early, but Halman’s brother has been arrested in connection with the murder. A very sad and tragic story. RIP Greg Halman.

Seattle Mariners outfielder Greg Halman was stabbed to death in Rotterdam on Monday and his brother has been arrested in connection with the incident, police said.

Halman, 24, was signed as a free agent by Seattle in 2004 and made his major league debut in 2010.

Police were called to a home in the Dutch port city early Monday and found Halman bleeding from a stab wound. The officers were unable to resuscitate the outfielder.


Oklahoma State Women’s Basketball Coach Kurt Budke dead at 50

He and an assistant basketball coach died when the plane they were flying on crashed in Arkansas. Very tragic and RIP.

Oklahoma State University women’s basketball coach Kurt Budke and assistant coach Miranda Serna were killed when the single-engine plane they were riding in during a recruiting trip crashed near a wildlife management area in central Arkansas.

The university said the pair died in the crash Thursday night near Perryville, about 45 miles west of Little Rock. The Winona Wildlife Management Area is in steep terrain in the eastern Ouachita Mountains. A cause of the crash was not announced.


13-time PGA Tour winner Dave Hill dead at 74

My interest in golf began in the late 70′s. As I recall now, my weekly golf watching began with the 1978 Masters which was won by Gary Player after he shot a final round 64.

Naturally enough as my interest in following the golf tour grew, I wanted to read about it also. In 1979 shortly before I enlisted in the Navy I bought a book. It was titled Teed Off and it was written by Dave Hill. Hill, whose productive PGA career ran before I began following the sport, gave his opinions in Teed Off on everything from golf course design to some players think sex helps them play better golf. I loved the book and recently bought a new copy of it because the old one I had was falling apart.

Hill was a controversial player.(In Teed Off he claimed or joked that the PGA used to allow fan banners until ones were seen with the words ‘Hill’s Angels’ on them) He’ll never be forgotten for his 80 acres of corn and a few cows wisecrack about Hazeltine National Golf Club in 1970. Less remembered but more important, was Dave Hill filing an anti-trust lawsuit against the PGA Tour in 1971. He said there were two sets of rules, one for the stars and one for everyone else. It’s still true today. Tiger Woods defaces a green at a US Open and does he get fined or penalized? Of course not. Hill’s lawsuit I think did bring about changes but they are behind the scenes. The fines and suspensions handed down to players and why used to be public. Now the PGA Tour doesn’t discuss the matter as seen with their suspension of Jonathan Kaye a decade ago. Did he just attach a badge to his pants zipper or do much more? The Tour won’t talk about it.

Back to Hill. He was outspoken and controversial(Age didn’t seem to mellow him. He got in a fist fight with JC Snead when both of them were playing the Seniors Tour. 20 years prior to that Tour officials had to prevent Hill from having a go at Chi Chi Rodriguez too.) but he was also a talented golfer who won a Vardon Trophy and one of the best shotmakers of his day. RIP Dave.


Dave Hill, whose golf skills combined with a sharp tongue made him Jackson’s most famous athlete, died Tuesday at age 74.

Hill, recognized as one of the top shotmakers on the PGA Tour in the 1960s and ’70s, had suffered from emphysema for several years, according to his brother and fellow PGA Tour player Mike.


Former NFL OT Orlando ‘Zeus’ Brown dead at 40

Very sad and RIP.

BALTIMORE — Former Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Orlando “Zeus” Brown was found dead Friday at his Baltimore home. He was 40.

The cause of death wasn’t known.


Born Dec. 12, 1970 in Washington, D.C., Brown played 10 NFL seasons, including four with the Cleveland Browns (1993-95 and 1999) and six with the Ravens (1996-98 and 2003-05). He started 119 of his 129 games.

Ravens director of player development Harry Swayne, Brown’s former teammate and fellow tackle, called Brown “a big old puppy dog with a little bit of a bark.

“He had a lot of friends around the league. He was one of the best guys. It’s a tough loss.”

Brown always will be remembered for shoving official Jeff Triplette in a 1999 game between Cleveland and Jacksonville.

Brown was suspended for knocking down Triplette after the official threw a weighted penalty flag that accidentally struck the massive tackle in the right eye. The 6-foot-7, 350-pounder stormed onto the field and pushed Triplette.

Brown, whose father was blind from glaucoma, said concern for his eyesight caused him to confront Triplette. Brown was hospitalized for six days with bleeding behind the eye. He sued the NFL for $200 million, settling the lawsuit for $25 million.

He missed the next three seasons because of the injury, returning to football and the Ravens for the 2003 season.

Browns tackle Tony Pashos played three seasons in Baltimore with Brown, known as “Zeus” around the league.

“He was a really good teammate,” Pashos said. “I came in under him as a backup. Even when Zeus wasn’t on the team he came around and supported us. He loved us. He loved football. He could never walk away. Man, I can’t believe it. I remember the attitude he brought to the building to the room. He tried hard. He told the young guys throughout practice to try hard and work on technique but then when it comes to games, it’s about taking the other guy’s will. And he was the apex of that. He did do that.”

Former Ravens coach Brian Billick said Brown will always be one of his favorites.

“He brought such passion and physicality to practices and games,” Billick said in a statement released by the Ravens. “There is no way to quantify his heart, his actual love to play football. The game was so important to him.”

Brown was a frequent visitor to the Ravens’ practices, tutoring young linemen Jah Reid and Ramon Harewood.

“He took time out of his busy schedule over the last couple of months to work with me to help me grow as a player,” Harewood said. “To have a player and man of his stature do that for a young player like myself says all you need to know about him.”

Brown was divorced and is survived by three sons.


Jet carrying Russian professional hockey team crashes

The KHL team, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl , was on board. This team had quite a few former NHL players on its roster. Pavol Demitra, Karel Rachunek and Josef Vasicek are three. Their head coach was Brad McCrimmon. Closer to home, former Florida Panthers(my favorite team) Ruslan Salei, Alexander Karpovtsev, and Karlis Skrastins played for Lokomotiv but early reports say Salei was not on board. The other players are all dead or believed to be. God bless the friends and family members of those who died.

Someone feel free to correct me, but I don’t remember incident like this involving a pro or college hockey team in either the United States or Canada. There have been aviation incidents where most or all of a sports team were wiped out. In most cases in the Americas or involving Americans, the teams were amatuers(The U.S. Figure Skating team aka Sabena Flight 548 disaster in 1961 or college teams like Marshall, University of Evansville, Wichita State) to name a few, involved college athletes.

Overseas is another story. In 1958 members of the Manchester United football were killed in a crash in Germany, the famous ‘Alive’ story involved uruguayan rugby team players. A Zambian soccer team was wiped out in a crash about 10 years ago. I recall a crash involving Italian athletes about 40-50 years ago but I forget the details. There have been other crashes.

Pro sports teams have to travel and with plane travel there is a risk. RIP to those who died today.

Hat tip- Donny at Litter Box Cats


Emory Bellard, creator of wishbone offense, dead at 83

The Wishbone, along with the I formation, were forms of offensive setup when I first started watching college football in the late 1970′s. Alabama won several national championships using the wishbone. Oklahoma ran it to perfection also. I remember how Florida State couldn’t stop the Sooners offense led by JC Watts and Billy Sims in the 1980 Orange Bowl. The Sooners grinding down FSU on the way to a 24-7 win. Sometime in the 80′s the amount of the schools that used the wishbone began to decline. The only two Division I schools I know that use it today are Army and Air Force.

I don’t remember Bellard any where near as well as the offense he created. He left a mark on College Football history. RIP.

Emory Bellard, a former Texas A&M and Mississippi State coach credited with developing the wishbone offense when he was an assistant at Texas, has died. He was 83.

Cathy Capps, director of the Texas A&M Lettermen’s Association, said Bellard died early Thursday at a care facility in Georgetown in Central Texas. She said Bellard had Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Bellard was on Darrell Royal’s staff at Texas in 1968 when the Longhorns developed a multiple running back formation that came to be known as the wishbone.

Bellard later led the Aggies to a 48-27 record in seven years before resigning during the 1978 season. He was 37-42 in seven seasons at Mississippi State.


Former Baseball Manager Sparky Anderson dead at 86

He managed both the Cincinnati Reds and Detroit Tigers to World Series Championships. He played Major League Baseball for exactly one season, 1959, with the Philadelphia Phillies. He spent a long time in the Brooklyn Dodgers organization as a player and began managing in the minor leagues in Toronto.

I grew up as a kid watching baseball in the 1960′s and 70′s, so I got many memories of Anderson led Reds teams. Though my favorite team was the New York Mets. The Reds and Mets played a NLCS in 1973. After a fight broke out between Bud Harrelson and Pete Rose, Met fans started throwing garbage on the field. Anderson pulled his team from the field for safety purposes. I didn’t blame him then or now.

Anderson was nicknamed Captain Hook because of his tendency to pull starters quickly while managing the Reds(Wouldn’t you if your best pitcher was a Don Gullet who couldn’t be worked too hard, backed up by Fred Norman, Jack Billingham, and Gary Nolan?) but in his later days he swung to the other extreme. He stuck with his mediocre starters in Detroit. RIP George Anderson.

Anderson, who directed the Big Red Machine to back-to-back championships and won another in Detroit, died Thursday from complications of dementia in Thousand Oaks, Calif. He was 76. A day earlier, his family said he’d been placed in hospice care.

Anderson was the first manager to win World Series titles in both leagues and the only manager to lead two franchises in career wins.

“Sparky was, by far, the best manager I ever played for,” said former Reds star Pete Rose, the game’s career hits leader. “He understood people better than anyone I ever met. His players loved him, he loved his players and he loved the game of baseball. There isn’t another person in baseball like Sparky Anderson. He gave his whole life to the game.”

Anderson’s teams in Cincinnati — featuring Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan and Rose — won crowns in 1975 and 1976 and rank among the most powerful of all-time. Led by Kirk Gibson and Alan Trammell, Anderson won with the Tigers in 1984.


Denver Bronco WR Kenny McKinley dead at 23

It is believed he committed suicide. Very tragic and RIP.

For the third time in four years, the Denver Broncos are dealing with the death of a teammate.

Wide receiver Kenny McKinley was found dead in his home Monday in an apparent suicide.

Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said authorities were called to McKinley’s home in Centennial at 3:35 p.m. local time and found McKinley’s body in the second-floor master bedroom. He said detectives believe McKinley, 23, was killed by a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Robinson said authorities were called by a female friend of McKinley’s who discovered the body after returning from an errand with his young son. The sheriff declined to say if authorities found a suicide note.

“It’s still part of our investigation and probably nothing we’ll talk about right now,” he said.

McKinley was on injured reserve after hurting his left knee in August for the second time in eight months. He was known for his infectious smile and good sense of humor.

McKinley’s agent, Andrew Bondarowicz, said family and friends are at a loss to explain the death of a young man “who had such a love for life.”

“Everybody has their explanations, their own theories. Whether it was injuries, no one’s going to know for sure,” Bondarowicz said. “It’s a tough situation all the way around.

“Some people speculate that it was his being injured, some said it was financial challenges. … It’s a tragic situation.”

Bondarowicz said funeral arrangements were pending. He also said he’s been in touch with team and the players’ association about setting up a trust fund for McKinley’s son.

McKinley’s death is the latest in a series of tragedies for the Broncos in recent years. Cornerback Darrent Williams was slain in a drive-by shooting on New Year’s Day 2007, and three months later backup running back Damien Nash collapsed and died after a charity basketball game in St. Louis.

McKinley was a fifth-round draft choice out of South Carolina in 2009. He remains South Carolina’s all-time leading receiver with 207 catches for 2,781 yards. He returned to the school earlier this month, watching the Gamecocks beat Georgia 17-6 and visiting with his college coach, Steve Spurrier.

“Had a wonderful smile just like he always did,” Spurrier remembered.

The news of McKinley’s death spread quickly at the end of South Carolina’s practice Monday. Players who normally sprint off the field upbeat walked slowly with their heads down.

“Kenny was certainly one of my all-time favorite players. It’s hard to figure out why it happened like this,” Spurrier said.

Broncos coach Josh McDaniels said in a statement: “Kenny had a promising future on the football field, but more importantly, he was a great teammate whose smile and personality could light up the room. This is a tragic loss for our football team, and his family is in all of our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”


Giants’ Legend Bobby Thomson Dies At 86

Another baseball great, and a man responsible for one of the most memorable moments in baseball, died today at the age of 86:

Bobby Thomson, who hit “the shot heard round the world” — an epic home run for the New York Giants against the Brooklyn Dodgers’ Ralph Branca at the Polo Grounds on Oct. 3, 1951, to climax baseball’s most memorable pennant drive — died Monday at his home in Savannah, Ga. He was 86.

His death was announced by his daughter Megan Thomson Armstrong, who said je he had been in failing health and had recently had a fall.

Memorably described in a play-by-play call by the Giants radio announcer Russ Hodges, Thomson’s homer endures as perhaps the most dramatic play in baseball history, a stirring conclusion to the Giants’ late-summer comeback known as “the miracle of Coogan’s Bluff” and a moment that has since resonated in popular culture.

“I can remember feeling as if time was just frozen,” Thomson once said. “It was a delirious, delicious moment.”

It was the bottom of the ninth inning in the third game of a three-game playoff. The Giants were down by two runs and the count was no balls and one strike. Branca, who had just come into the game, delivered a high fastball to Thomson, perhaps a bit inside. In the radio broadcast booth, Hodges watched the baseball fly off Thomson’s bat.

“There’s a long drive … it’s gonna be … I believe — the Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!

“Bobby Thomson hits into the lower deck of the left-field stands! The Giants win the pennant, and they’re going crazy, they’re going crazy …

“I don’t believe it, I don’t believe it, I do not believe it!”

Thomson’s three-run homer propelled the Giants to a 5-4 victory, he and Branca became bonded as baseball’s ultimate hero and goat, and the moment became enshrined in American culture. In 1999, the United States Postal Service issued a stamp commemorating Thomson’s drive, and Don DeLillo used the baseball he hit as a relic of memory in the acclaimed 1997 novel “Underworld.”

Here’s the video of that legendary home run:

Another great one is gone.

Bill Jempty Update- Here’s another video. At the 0:38 point of the video a young woman is seen clapping. That is my mother. RIP Bobby.


Former Oakland Raider Safety Jack Tatum dead at 61

He was three-time Pro Bowler, but Tatum may be best known for his hit to Darryl Stingley that caused the Wide Receiver’s spine to sever between the 4th and 5th vertebrae. As hard as I could try, I couldn’t find a video of the play. I seem to recall it was a hard but not illegal hit. RIP Jack Tatum.

Former Oakland Raiders and Ohio State defensive back Jack Tatum Tatum died of a heart attack Tuesday in an Oakland hospital.

Tatum, a three-time Pro Bowler, was 61.Jack Tatum-Darryl Stingley

In a statement, the Raiders said, “Jack was a true Raider champion and a true Raider warrior. … Jack was the standard bearer and an inspiration for the position of safety throughout college and professional football.”

Known as “The Assassin” during his career, Tatum was renowned as one of the most feared hitters in the game. The footage of Tatum knocking the helmet off of Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Sammy White in Super Bowl XI is one of the marquee images in the history of the game.

But Tatum’s most infamous hit came during a preseason game.

In Oakland on Aug. 12, 1978, New England Patriots wide receiver Darryl Stingley ran head-on into Tatum on a crossing pattern. The blow severed Stingley’s fourth and fifth vertebrae and left the receiver paralyzed. Eventually, Stingley regained limited movement in his right arm and was able to operate his electric wheelchair on his own, but Stingley died from the after-effects of Tatum’s hit on April 26, 2007 at the age of 55.

Chuck Fairbanks, the Patriots’ coach at the time of the collision, said he couldn’t find anything illegal or dirty about the hit.

“I saw replays many, many times, and many times Jack Tatum was criticized,” Fairbanks said at the time of Stingley’s death. “But there wasn’t anything at the time that was illegal about that play. I do think probably that play was a forerunner for some of the changes in rules that exist today that are more protective of receivers, especially if there is head-to-head-type contact. I think that probably pre-empted some of the things that happened today.”

Tatum and Stingley never met after the hit.

Tatum was not penalized on the play and the NFL took no disciplinary action, but it did tighten its rules on violent hits.

Despite Tatum’s failure to show remorse, former Ohio State teammate John Hicks said Tatum was haunted by the play.

“It was tough on him, too,” Hicks said. “He wasn’t the same person after that. For years he was almost a recluse.”

Tatum had said he tried to visit Stingley at an Oakland hospital shortly after the collision but was turned away by Stingley’s family members.

“It’s not so much that Darryl doesn’t want to, but it’s the people around him,” Tatum told the Oakland Tribune in 2004. “So we haven’t been able to get through that. Every time we plan something, it gets messed up. Getting to him or him getting back to me, it never happens.”

Part of the alienation came after Tatum wrote the 1980 book, “They Call Me Assassin,” in which he was unapologetic for his headhunting ways.

Tatum also wrote books titled “They Still Call Me Assassin: Here We Go Again” in 1989 and “Final Confessions of an NFL Assassin” in 1996.

In the latter he wrote, “I was paid to hit, the harder the better. And I hit, and I knocked people down and knocked people out. … I understand why Darryl is considered the victim. But I’ll never understand why some people look at me as the villain.”

After starring for Ohio State under coach Woody Hayes, Tatum was drafted in the first round by Oakland in 1971. In nine seasons with the Raiders, Tatum started 106 of 120 games with 30 interceptions and helped Oakland win the 1976 Super Bowl. He played his final season with the Houston Oilers in 1980.


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