On This Day

December 1968 in Sports History

Events in Sport

  • Dec 3 MLB Rules Committee adopts a series of changes designed to increase amount of offensive run production; decreases strike zone size and lowers height of pitcher's mound from 15" to 10"; changes are successful

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 5 Future Hockey Hall of Fame center Phil Esposito of the Boston Bruins scores 2 goals in his goaltender brother Tony's (also HOF) NHL debut for the Montreal Canadiens; 2-2 tie

NHL Star Phil Esposito
NHL Star
Phil Esposito
  • Dec 6 Baseball dismisses Commissioner William Eckert after 3 years

Sport defeatBoxing Title Fight

Dec 10 Joe Frazier beats Oscar Bonavena in 15 for heavyweight boxing title

Heavyweight Boxing Champion Joe Frazier
Heavyweight Boxing Champion
Joe Frazier

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 12 Arthur Ashe becomes 1st black to be ranked #1 in tennis

Tennis Player Arthur Ashe
Tennis Player
Arthur Ashe

Sports record brokenNHL Record

Dec 14 Bobby Orr scores first career hat trick (vs Chicago Blackhawks)

Ice Hockey Legend Bobby Orr
Ice Hockey Legend
Bobby Orr
  • Dec 24 Ballon d'Or: Manchester United's winger George Best wins award for best European football player ahead of teammate Bobby Charlton and Red Star Belgrade winger Dragan Džajić; first Northern Irish national to win the award
  • Dec 26 Bruin Ted Green sets NHL penalty record of 3 minors, 2 majors & 2 game misconducts in a game against NY Rangers in NY's Madison Square Garden
  • Dec 28 57th Davis Cup: USA beats Australia in Adelaide (4-1)
  • Dec 29 NFL Championship, Cleveland Municipal Stadium: Baltimore Colts shutout Cleveland Browns, 34-0

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 29 AFL Championship, Shea Stadium, NYC: New York Jets beat Oakland Raiders 27-23; Joe Namath 3 TD passes sparks Jets to win

NFL Coach and Sportscaster John Madden
NFL Coach and Sportscaster
John Madden
NFL Quarterback Joe Namath
NFL Quarterback
Joe Namath
  • Dec 31 NY Jets win AFL championship

Birthdays in Sport

  • Dec 1 Anders Holmertz, Swedish swimmer (4 x Olympic silver 200m, 1 x bronze 400m 1988-96), born in Motala, Sweden
  • Dec 2 Darryl Kile, American baseball pitcher (MLB All-Star 1993, 97, 2000; no-hitter 1993; Houston Astros), born in Garden Grove, California (d. 2002)
  • Dec 2 Elna Reinach, South African tennis player (US Open mixed doubles [with Patrick Galbraith] 1994), born in Pretoria, South Africa
  • Dec 2 Jiri Dopita, Czech ice hockey center (World C'ship gold 1996, 2000-01; Philadelphia Flyers), born in Šumperk, Czech Republic
  • Dec 2 David Batty, English soccer midfielder (42 caps; Leeds United, Blackburn Rovers, Newcastle United), born in Leeds, England
  • Dec 4 Mike Barrowman, American swimmer (Olympic gold 200m breaststroke 1992, World C'ship gold 1991), born in Costa Mesa, California
  • Dec 5 Rhett Hall, American NFL defensive tackle (Philadelphia Eagles), born in Morgan Hill, California
  • Dec 7 Keith Goganious, American NFL linebacker (Jacksonville Jaguars), born in Virginia Beach, Virginia
  • Dec 7 Melissa Iverson, American rower (Olympics 1996), born in Anoka, Minnesota
  • Dec 7 Ricky Ervins, American NFL running back (SF 49ers), born in Fort Wayne, Indiana
  • Dec 7 Tom Myslinski, American NFL guard (Jacksonville Jaguars, Pittsburgh Steelers), born in Rome, New York
  • Dec 7 Mark Geyer, Australian rugby league footballer, born in Granville, Australia
  • Dec 8 Bill Johnson, American football defensive tackle (St Louis Rams), born in Minnesota
  • Dec 8 Mike Mussina, American baseball pitcher (5-time MLB All Star), Williamsport, Pennsylvania
  • Dec 9 Bill Johnson, NFL defensive linebacker (Pittsburgh Steelers)
  • Dec 9 Brent Price, NBA guard (Houston Rockets, Washington Bullets)
  • Dec 9 Kurt Angle, American 220 lbs freestyle wrestler (Olympic gold 1996), born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Dec 10 Rob Davis, American NFL guard (Green Bay Packers-Super Bowl 31), born in Washington, D.C.
  • Dec 11 Derek Bell, American baseball outfielder (Houston Astros), born in Tampa, Florida
  • Dec 11 Mark Dailey, American 1.5k runner, born in Youngstown, Ohio
  • Dec 12 Chris Walsh, American NFL wide receiver (Minnesota Vikings; sues NFL over head injuries 2011), born in Cleveland, Ohio
  • Dec 12 Kurt Schulz, American football safety (Buffalo Bills), born in Wenatchee, Washington
  • Dec 12 Laurie Williams, West Indian cricketer (West Indian ODI all-rounder v NZ 1996), born in Saint Ann Parish, Jamaica (d. 2002)
  • Dec 12 Ray Ethridge, American football wide receiver (Baltimore Ravens), born in San Diego, California
  • Dec 13 Carlos Hasselbaink, Dutch soccer player (VVV/FC Utrecht/Haarlem), born in Paramaribo, Suriname
  • Dec 13 Shaun Stafford, American tennis star (1992 Taipei), born in Ocala, Florida
  • Dec 14 Cees Marbus, Dutch soccer player (Go Ahead Eagles), born in Noordwijk, Netherlands
  • Dec 14 Jamie Crysdale, CFL corner (Calgary Stampeders), born in Calgary, Alberta
  • Dec 16 Darryll Lewis, NFL cornerback (Houston/Tennessee Oilers)
  • Dec 16 Wendy Doolan, Australian golfer (Evian Masters 2004), born in Sydney, New South Wales
  • Dec 17 Curtis Pride, outfielder (Detroit Tigers), born in Washington, D.C.
  • Dec 17 Jeff[rey] Klepacki, Kearny NJ, rower (Olympics 1992, 96)
  • Dec 18 Aaron Craver, NFL running back (Denver Broncos, San Diego Chargers)
  • Dec 19 Jennifer Devine, rower (Olympics 1996), born in Portland, Oregon
  • Dec 21 Anthony Lynn, NFL running back (Denver Broncos-Super Bowl 32), born in McKinney, Texas
  • Dec 22 Lauralee "Bug" Bell, American actress (Cricket-Young & Restless), born in Chicago, Illinois
  • Dec 24 Joe Scuderi, Australian cricketer (South Australian all-rounder), born in Ingham, Australia
  • Dec 24 Marleen Renders, Belgian athlete, born in Diest, Belgium
  • Dec 25 Corey Widmer, NFL linebacker (NY Giants), born in Alexandria, Virginia
  • Dec 25 Don Silvestri, NFL/WLAF kicker (NY Jets, London Monarchs), born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Dec 25 Jim Dowd, American NHL center (Vancouver Canucks), born in Brick Township, New Jersey
  • Dec 25 Scott Bullett, American baseball outfielder (Chicago Cubs), born in Martinsburg, West Virginia
  • Dec 26 Darren Barber, Canadian rower (Olympics 1996), born in Victoria, British Columbia
  • Dec 27 Dean Palmer, infielder (Texas Rangers), born in Tallahassee, Florida
  • Dec 28 Darrick Brownlow, US NFL linebacker (Washington Redskins), born in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Dec 29 Darren Perry, American NFL free safety (Pittsburgh Steelers), born in Chesapeake, Virginia
  • Dec 29 James Mouton, American baseball outfielder (Houston Astros), born in Denver, Colorado
  • Dec 30 Kevin Dahl, Regina, NHL defenseman (Calgary Flames)
  • Dec 30 Sean Higgins, NBA guard/forward (Philadelphia 76ers, Portland Trailblazers)

Deaths in Sport

  • Dec 12 Walter Robins, cricketer (19 Tests for England 64 wkts), dies
  • Dec 15 Jess Willard, Heavyweight boxing champ (1915-19), dies at 86
  • Dec 31 Carl Oscar Ahues, German International Chess Master (1950), dies at 85