On This Day

April 1961 in Sports History

Events in Sport

US Masters Golf

Apr 10 25th US Masters Tournament, Augusta National GC: South African Gary Player beats defending champion Arnold Palmer and amateur Charles Coe by 1 stroke to become first international champion; Monday finish because of rain

Sports History

Apr 10 Washington Senators play first game in franchise history with President John F. Kennedy in attendance; lose a 4-3 decision to the Chicago White Sox

  • Apr 11 15th NBA Championship: Bos Celtics beat St Louis Hawks, 4 games to 1

Sports History

Apr 12 Douglas MacArthur declines offer to become baseball commissioner

  • Apr 15 France wins it’s 2nd outright Five Nations Rugby Championship with an 15-3 victory over Ireland at Lansdowne Road, Dublin
  • Apr 16 Stanley Cup Final, Olympia Stadium, Detroit, MI: Chicago Blackhawks beat Detroit Red Wings, 4-1 for a 4-2 series victory
  • Apr 17 65th Boston Marathon won by Eino Oksanen of Finland in 2:23:39; his 2nd event title

Baseball Record

Apr 26 Roger Maris hits 1st of 61 homers in 1961

  • Apr 27 NFL officially recognizes Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio

Sports History

Apr 28 Warren Spahn pitches 2nd no hitter at 41 beats SF Giants, 1-0

  • Apr 29 ABC's "Wide World of Sports" debuts

Golf Tournament

Apr 30 LPGA Titleholders Championship Women's Golf, Augusta CC: Mickey Wright wins her 5th major title by 1 stroke from Patty Berg & Louise Suggs

Baseball Record

Apr 30 SF outfielder Willie Mays becomes just the 9th player in MLB history to hit 4 homers in one game in the Giants 14-4 win against the Braves in Milwaukee


Birthdays in Sport

  • Apr 1 Jim Jeffcoat, American NFL defensive end (Super Bowl 1992, 93 Dallas Cowboys) and coach (Dallas Cowboys DL 1998-2004), born in Long Branch, New Jersey
  • Apr 1 Sergio Scariolo, Italian basketball coach (NBA: assistant Toronto Raptors; head coach Spain; World Cup gold 2019), born in Brescia, Italy
  • Apr 7 Pascal Olmeta, French footballer
  • Apr 9 Kirk McCaskill, Canadian MLB pitcher (Chicago White Sox), born in Kapuskasing, Ontario, Canada
  • Apr 12 Julius Kariuki, Kenyan 3K steeplechaser (Olympic gold 1988), born in Nyahururu, Kenya
  • Apr 15 Tiina Lillak, Finnish javelin thrower (Olympic silver 1984), born in Helsinki, Finland
  • Apr 17 Boomer Esiason, American NFL quarterback (NY Jets, Cincinnati Bengals), born in East Islip, New York
  • Apr 17 Norman Cowans, Jamaican cricketer (England fast bowler in 19 Tests 1982-85), born in St. Mary, Jamaica
  • Apr 19 Richard Phelps, British pentathlete (Olympic bronze 1988), born in Gloucester, England

Don Mattingly

Apr 20 Don Mattingly, American baseball 1st baseman (6 x MLB All-Star; AL MVP 1985; 9 x Gold Glove; 3 x Silver Slugger; AL batting champion 1984; NY Yankees) and manager (LA Dodgers, Miami Marlins), born in Evansville, Indiana

  • Apr 22 Jeff Hostetler, NFL quarterback (NY Giants, Raiders, Redskins/1990 Superbowl)
  • Apr 22 Jimmy Key, Huntsville Alabama, pitcher (Blue Jays, NY Yanks, Orioles)
  • Apr 24 Roger Mayweather, American boxer, (WBA & lineal super featherweight titles 1983-84, WBC light welterweight 1987-89; IBO light welterweight; IBO welterweight 1994-95), born in Grand Rapids, Michigan (d. 2020)
  • Apr 26 Al Lawrence, Jamaican 4X100m relayer (Olympic silver 1984), born in Jamaica
  • Apr 26 Nancy Scranton, American golfer (du Maurier Classic 1991), born in Centralia, Illinois
  • Apr 28 Cathy Gerring, American golfer (Solheim Cup 1990), born in Fort Wayne, Indiana

Isiah Thomas

Apr 30 Isiah Thomas, American NBA point guard (Detroit Pistons; 1990 NBA playoff MVP), born in Chicago, Illinois