On This Day

January 1961 in Sports History

Events in Sport

  • Jan 1 Briggs Stadium, home of baseball's Detroit Tigers is officially renamed Tigers Stadium
  • Jan 1 1st AFL Championship, Jeppesen Stadium, Houston; Houston Oilers beat Los Angeles Chargers, 24-16; QB George Blanda 3 TD passes, 3 conversions and a field goal
  • Jan 2 47th Rose Bowl: #6 Washington beats #1 Minnesota, 17-7
  • Jan 2 27th Sugar Bowl: #2 Mississippi beats Rice, 14-6
  • Jan 2 27th Orange Bowl: #5 Missouri beats #4 Navy, 21-14
  • Jan 7 1st NFL Playoff Bowl (runner-up bowl)-Detroit beats Cleveland 17-16
  • Jan 14 Chicago Bear Willard Dewveall becomes 1st NFLer to join AFL

NFL Pro Bowl

Jan 15 11th NFL Pro Bowl, LA Memorial Coliseum: Western Conference beats Eastern Conference, 35-31; MVPs: Johnny Unitas, Baltimore Colts, QB; Sam Huff, NY Giants, LB

NBA All-Star Game

Jan 17 11th NBA All-Star Game, Onondaga County Coliseum, Syracuse, NY: West beats East, 153-131; MVP: Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati Royals, PG; at 22, youngest player to receive All-Star MVP honours, 23 points & 14 assists

Sports History

Jan 25 Toronto left wing Frank Mahovlich scores twice, giving him 39 for the season, and making him highest single season goal scorer in Maple Leafs' history, as Toronto beats Montreal Canadiens, 5-3

  • Jan 27 Australian Championships Women's Tennis: Margaret Court retains title; repeat of previous year's final beating Jan Lehane O'Neill 6-1, 6-4

Australian Men's Tennis Open

Jan 27 Australian Championships Men's Tennis: Roy Emerson beats fellow Australian Rod Laver 1-6, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 for his first Grand Slam title

  • Jan 31 West Indian cricket batsman Rohan Kanhai scores back-to-back centuries in the drawn 4th Test against Australia in Adelaide; follows 1st innings 117 with 115 in 2nd knock

Birthdays in Sport

  • Jan 2 Craig James, American NFL running back and sports commentator (Pro Bowl 1985; New England Patriots; ABC, ESPN), born in Jacksonville, Texas
  • Jan 5 Curt Bader, American sprint kayaker (Olympics 1996), born in Bloomfield, Iowa
  • Jan 6 Howie Long, American NFL tackle/actor/broadcaster (Broken Arrow), born in Somerville, Massachusetts
  • Jan 8 Shoaib Mohammad, Pakistani cricket batsman (45 Tests @ 44.34; 7 x 100; 63 ODIs; son of Hanif Mohammad), born in Karachi, Pakistan
  • Jan 8 Calvin Smith, American athlete, born in Bolton, Mississippi
  • Jan 12 Andrea Carnevale, Italian soccer player (Napoli), born in Monte San Biagio, Italy
  • Jan 13 Kelly Hrudey, Canadian NHL goalie, 1983-98 (NY Islanders; LA Kings), and broadcaster, born Edmonton, Alberta
  • Jan 13 Kent Hull, NFL center (Buffalo Bills)
  • Jan 17 Maia Chiburdanidze, Soviet women's world chess champ, born in Kutaisi, USSR

Mark Messier

Jan 18 Mark Messier, Canadian NHL Center (Edmonton, NY Rangers), born in Edmonton, Alberta

  • Jan 18 Peter Beardsley, English footballer, born in Hexham, United Kingdom
  • Jan 23 Trey Junkin, American football tight end (Arizona Cardinals), born in Conway, Arkansas
  • Jan 23 Fausto Gresini, Italian Grand Prix motorcycle racer (125cc World C'ship 1985, 87) and team manager (Aprilia Racing, Gresini MotoGP), born in Imola, Italy (d. 2021)
  • Jan 24 William Van Dijck, Belgian athlete, born in Leuven, Belgium

Wayne Gretzky

Jan 26 Wayne Gretzky, Canadian ice hockey HOF center (Stanley Cup 1984, 85, 87, 88; Hart Memorial Trophy [MVP] 1980–87, 89; Art Ross Trophy [scoring champion] 1981–87, 90, 91, 94; Edmonton Oilers, LA Kings), born in Brantford, Ontario

  • Jan 27 Jean-Paul Banos, Lavelanet France, Canada sabre (Olympic 9/10-88, 92, 96)
  • Jan 29 Mike Aldrete, American baseball infielder (Oakland Athletics, NY Yankees)
  • Jan 30 Ranjit Madurasinghe, Sri Lankan cricketer (3 Tests for Sri Lanka 1988-92), born in Kurunegala, Sri Lanka

Weddings in Sport

Mike Ditka

Jan 28 NFL coach Mike Ditka (21) weds Marge Dougherty

Deaths in Sport

  • Jan 2 Bob Catterall, South African cricketer (1555 runs/24 Tests for South Africa 1922-31), dies at 60
  • Jan 8 Lynwood Thomas "Schoolboy" Rowe, American baseball pitcher (Detroit Tigers), dies at 50

Alfred Carlton Gilbert

Jan 24 Alfred Carlton Gilbert, American athlete, inventor, and businessman (invented the Erector Set), dies at 76

  • Jan 26 Morris Nichols, cricketer (41 wkts in 14 Tests for Eng 1930-39), dies