Historical Events in January 1981

  • Jan 1 47th Orange Bowl: #4 Oklahoma beats #2 Florida State, 18-17
  • Jan 1 47th Sugar Bowl: #1 Georgia beats #7 Notre Dame, 17-10
  • Jan 1 67th Rose Bowl: #5 Michigan beats #16 Washington, 23-6
  • Jan 1 Greece is 10th country to join European Economic Community
  • Jan 1 International Year for the Disabled begins
  • Jan 1 Palau (Trust Territory of Pacific Is) becomes self-governing

Historic Publication

Jan 1 Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa publishes his historical novel "The War of the End of the World"

  • Jan 1 Roger Smith becomes CEO of General Motors

Sports History

Jan 3 American golfer Johnny Miller wins the sport's first $1 million tournament when he beats Seve Ballesteros of Spain in a playoff in the inaugural Million Dollar World Challenge at Sun City, South Africa

  • Jan 3 Australian cricket captain Greg Chappell scores a masterly 204 v India in the 1st Test in Sydney; home side wins by an innings and 4 runs

Australian Open Women's Tennis

Jan 3 Australian Open Women's Tennis: Czech teenager Hana Mandlíková wins her 1st of 4 career Grand Slam singles titles; beats home favourite Wendy Turnbull 6-0, 7-5

  • Jan 3 NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers retire jersey # 34, Austin Carr
  • Jan 4 "Frankenstein" opens & closes on Broadway
  • Jan 4 "Red Right 88", trailing 14–12 Clevelands Browns attempt an end zone pass play (Red Right 88) and a game-winning field goal in the final minute, but pass intercepted by Raiders safety Mike Davis and Oakland wins
  • Jan 4 Australian Open Men's Tennis: American Brian Teacher wins his first and only Grand Slam event; beats home favourite Kim Warwick 7-5, 7-6, 6-3

Historic Event

Jan 4 British police arrest Peter Sutcliffe, the "Yorkshire Ripper"

  • Jan 4 Musical "Peter Pan", starring Sandy Duncan, closes at Lunt-Fontanne Theater NYC after 578 performances
  • Jan 5 Late night television news program "Nightline" with Ted Koppel extended from 20 mins to 30 mins
  • Jan 5 Peter Sutcliffe, a truck driver confesses that he is the "Yorkshire Ripper" and murdered 13 women
  • Jan 6 50th hat trick in Islander history-John Tonelli scored 5 goals
  • Jan 8 India all out 63 in one-day international v Australia

Historic Event

Jan 8 Isabel Allende begins a letter to her dying grandfather that will become her first novel "The House of the Spirits"

Music History

Jan 8 Joseph Papp's revival of Gilbert and Sullivan's operetta "The Pirates of Penzance", starring Linda Ronstadt, Rex Smith, and Kevin Kline, opens at the Uris Theater, NYC; runs for 772 performances and wins a Tony Award

  • Jan 8 MLB Cincinnati Reds become last team to sign a free agent (Larry Biitner)
  • Jan 9 Francisco Balsamao elected President of Portugal
  • Jan 10 El Salvador guerrilla group FMLN opens "general offensive"
  • Jan 10 John Severin sets 100-mi unicycle speed record, 9 h 21 m
  • Jan 11 "Tintypes" closes at John Golden Theater NYC after 93 performances
  • Jan 11 AFC Championship, Jack Murphy Stadium, San Diego: Oakland Raiders beat San Diego Chargers, 34-27
  • Jan 11 British team led by Ranulph Fiennes completes longest & fastest crossing of Antarctica, reaching Scott base after 75 days (2,500 miles)
  • Jan 11 NFC Championship, Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia: Philadelphia Eagles beat Dallas Cowboys, 20-7
  • Jan 11 Palau adopts constitution
  • Jan 12 -35°F (-37°C), Chester, Massachusetts (state record)

Television Premiere

Jan 12 Soap opera "Dynasty" produced by Aaron Spelling and starring John Forsythe, Linda Evans and Joan Collins premieres on ABC-TV

  • Jan 13 Barbara Sonntag, Colo, crochets record 147 stitches/min for 1/2 hour
  • Jan 13 Bollingen Prize for poetry awarded to May Swenson and Howard Nemerov

NHL Record

Jan 13 Islander's Mike Bossy's 15th career hat trick-4 goals

  • Jan 14 US Federal Communications Commission frees stations to air as many commercials an hour as they wish
  • Jan 15 Pitcher Bob Gibson is elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility; after a stellar 17 year career, polls 337 votes from Baseball Writers Association of America
  • Jan 15 Police drama "Hill Street Blues" premieres on NBC-TV

Historic Event

Jan 15 Pope John Paul II receives Lech Wałęsa and Solidarity delegation at the Vatican

Sports History

Jan 16 Boxer Leon Spinks is mugged, his assailants even take his gold teeth

Music Single

Jan 16 John Lennon's single "Woman" is posthumously released in the UK

  • Jan 16 Protestant gunmen shoot & wound Bernadette Devlin McAliskey & husband

Historic Event

Jan 17 President of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos ends martial law

  • Jan 18 Iran accepts US offer of $7.9 billion in frozen assets
  • Jan 18 Phil Smith and Phil Mayfield become the first two people to BASE jump from objects in all four categories (buildings, cliffs, bridges, antennae) after parachuting off a Houston skyscraper
  • Jan 18 Punk singer Wendy O. Williams arrested in Milwaukee for on-stage obscenity (later cleared)

Sports History

Jan 18 Swedish tennis star Björn Borg claims his second straight ATP Masters Grand Prix title with a 6–4, 6–2, 6–2 win over Ivan Lendl at Madison Square Garden, NYC

Agreement of Interest

Jan 19 Formula One Constructors Association (FOCA) led by Bernie Ecclestone, the Fédération Internationale du Sport Automobile led by Jean Marie Balestre and the Formula One teams agree to the First Concorde Agreement granting FOCA the right to televise Formula One races and requiring all teams to compete in every race under fixed rules

Sports History

Jan 19 Muhammad Ali talks a despondent 21 year old out of committing suicide

  • Jan 19 US & Iran sign agreement to release 52 American hostages
  • Jan 20 Adm Stansfield Turner, USN (Ret), ends term as 12th director of CIA
  • Jan 20 Frank C. Carlucci, ends his term as deputy director of CIA
  • Jan 20 Islander Glenn Resch's 25th & last shut-out opponent-Flames 5-0

President Inaugurated

Jan 20 Ronald Reagan inaugurated as the 40th President of the United States of America

Iran Hostage Crisis

Jan 20 The US diplomats and citizens held hostage at the US embassy in Tehran are released and begin their journey home after 444 days

  • Jan 21 "Shakespeare's Cabaret" opens at Bijou Theater New York City for 54 performances
  • Jan 21 Bernhard Goetz is assaulted for 1st time on a New York City subway train
  • Jan 21 Norman Stronge and his son James (both former Ulster Unionist Members of Parliament) are assassinated by the Irish Republican Army at their home Tynan Abbey, which is then burnt down
  • Jan 22 40th Islander shut-out opponent-3-0 vs Red Wings-Billy Smith 15th
  • Jan 22 O A "Bum" Phillips becomes head coach of New Orleans Saints
  • Jan 23 1st Richard Nixon museum opens in San Clemente California
  • Jan 23 Jochem Bird elected mayor of West Berlin
  • Jan 23 Mike Bossy becomes 1st in NHL to score 50 goals in 50 games
  • Jan 24 Islanders scored 5 power play goals against Nordiques

Sports History

Jan 24 Kim Hughes scores 213 v India at Adelaide

  • Jan 25 52 Americans held hostage by Iran for 444 days arrived back in US

Historic Event

Jan 25 Mao's widow Jiang Qing sentenced to death

  • Jan 25 Super Bowl XV, Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, LA: Oakland Raiders beat Philadelphia Eagles, 27-10; MVP: Jim Plunkett, Oakland, QB
  • Jan 26 Sandeep Patil scores memorable 174 v Australia at Adelaide Oval
  • Jan 28 Olympic Glory tanker at Galveston Bay, Texas, spills 1 million gallons of oil in a ship collision
  • Jan 28 Revival of Brt Kalmar and Harry Ruby's musical "The Five5 O'Clock Girl" opens at Helen Hayes Theater, NYC; runs for 12 performances

Historic Event

Jan 28 William J. Casey becomes 13th director of CIA (until 1987)

  • Jan 29 AL approves sale of White Sox to Jerry Reinsdorf & Eddie Einhorn for $20 million, & 80% of Mariners to George Argyros for $104 million
  • Jan 31 "The Tide Is High" by Blondie hits #1
  • Jan 31 Gaetan Boucher skates world record 1000m (1:13.39)