On This Day

April 1981 in Sports History

Events in Sport


Event of interestEvent of Interest

Apr 1 Edmonton center Wayne Gretzky has an assist (his 103rd) in the Oilers 4-4 tie with Colorado Rockies to break Bobby Orr's 10-year mark for most assists in a single NHL season

Ice Hockey Great Wayne Gretzky
Ice Hockey Great
Wayne Gretzky
  • Apr 4 135th Grand National: Bob Champion aboard 10/1 hope Aldaniti wins by 4 lengths from 8/1 favourite Spartan Missile
  • Apr 5 Philadelphia Flyers amass a record 2,621 penalty minutes
  • Apr 8 Islanders scored 9 goals against Toronto in playoffs

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Apr 9 LA Dodgers Fernando Valenzuela's 1st start, beats Astros 2-0

Baseball Hall of Fame Pitcher Fernando Valenzuela
Baseball Hall of Fame Pitcher
Fernando Valenzuela

Sport defeatBoxing Title Fight

Apr 11 Larry Holmes beats Trevor Berbick in 15 for heavyweight boxing title

WBC Heavyweight Champion Larry Holmes
WBC Heavyweight Champion
Larry Holmes

Sport awardUS Masters Golf

Apr 12 45th US Masters Tournament, Augusta National GC: Tom Watson wins his second green jacket and 5th major title by 2 strokes over Jack Nicklaus and Johnny Miller

  • Apr 17 New York Islander Dennis Potvin's 3 playoff power-play goals vs Edmonton Oilers tie NHL record
  • Apr 17 Ranger's Anders Hedberg is 2nd to score on a Stanley Cup penalty shot
  • Apr 18 Longest game in Professional Baseball: Pawtucket Red Sox tie Rochester Red Wings 2-2 in 32 innings (game resumed 23rd June)
  • Apr 19 Oakland A's runs record to 11-0
  • Apr 20 85th Boston Marathon: Toshihiko Seko of Japan wins men's race in 2:09:26; Allison Roe of New Zealand takes women's title in 2:26:46
  • Apr 22 Dodgers rookie Fernando Valenzuela tosses his 3rd shutout in 4 starts
  • Apr 24 Bill Shoemaker wins his 8,000th race, 2000 more than any other jockey
  • Apr 24 San Antonio blocks 20 Golden State shots to set NBA reg game record
  • Apr 25 Seattle Mariners MLB manager Maury Wills is suspended for 2 games after ordering Kingdome grounds crew to enlarge batter's boxes by one foot
  • Apr 27 1st female soccer official is hired by NASL

Sports record brokenBaseball Record

Apr 29 Phillie Steve Carlton is 1st lefty to strike out 3,000 batters

Baseball Pitcher Steve Carlton
Baseball Pitcher
Steve Carlton
  • Apr 29 NFL Draft: South Carolina running back George Rogers first pick by New Orleans Saints

Birthdays in Sport

  • Apr 1 Antonis Fotsis, Greek basketball power forward and captain (Ilysiakos, Panathinaikos, Real Madrid; NBA: Vancouver Grizzlies), born in Maroussi, Greece
  • Apr 1 Bjørn Einar Romoeren, Norwegian ski jumper (world record longest jump 239m 2005; Olympic bronze team 2006), born in Oslo, Norway
  • Apr 1 Bjørn Einar Romøren, Norwegian ski jumper (FIS Ski Flying World C'ship gold team 2004, 06; Olympic bronze LH 2006), born in Oslo, Norway
  • Apr 2 Michael Clarke, Australian cricket batsman and captain (115 Tests, 8,643 runs @ 49.10, 28 x 100s; 245 ODIs) and broadcaster (9 Network, FoxSports), born in Sydney, Australia
  • Apr 3 Matthew Nash, Australian soccer player (goalkeeper), born in Sydney, Australia
  • Apr 3 DeShawn Stevenson, American basketball player, born in Fresno, California
  • Apr 6 Robert Earnshaw, Welsh soccer striker (59 caps; scored hat-tricks in Premier League, Divisions 1, 2 & 3, FA Cup, League Cup and international match; Cardiff City), born in Mufulira, Zambia
  • Apr 7 Suzann Pettersen, Norwegian golfer (LPGA C'ship 2007, Evian C'ship 2013), born in Oslo, Norway
  • Apr 8 Rebecca Wilson, Australian gymnast (Olympics 1996), born in Queensland, Australia
  • Apr 8 Brian Burres, American baseball player, born in Oregon City, Oregon
  • Apr 9 Ireneusz Jeleń, Polish footballer (Polish national football team), born in Cieszyn, Poland
  • Apr 9 Milan Bartovič, Slovak ice hockey player, born in Trenčín, Slovakia
  • Apr 9 Dennis Sarfate, American baseball player, born in Queens, New York
  • Apr 10 Alexei Semenov, Russian ice hockey player, born in Murmansk, Russia
  • Apr 11 Alexandre Burrows, Canadian ice hockey player, born in Pincourt, Quebec, Canada
  • Apr 12 Nicolás Burdisso, Argentine footballer, born in Altos de Chipión, Córdoba, Argentina
  • Apr 12 Brian Vandborg, Danish cyclist, born in Snejbjerg, Denmark
  • Apr 13 Nat Borchers, American soccer player, born in Tucson, Arizona
  • Apr 15 Andrés D'Alessandro, Argentine football player
  • Apr 17 Ryan Raburn, American baseball player, born in Tampa, Florida
  • Apr 18 Brian Buscher, American MLB third baseman, born in Jacksonville, Florida
  • Apr 19 Martin Havlát, Czech ice hockey player, born in Mladá Boleslav, Czechoslovakia
  • Apr 19 Troy Polamalu, American football player (Pittsburgh Steelers), born in Garden Grove, California
  • Apr 22 Ken Dorsey, American football player
  • Apr 23 Sean Henn, American baseball player (NY Yankees), born in Fort Worth, Texas
  • Apr 24 Taylor Dent, American tennis player, born in Newport Beach, California
  • Apr 25 Felipe Massa, Brazilian Formula One racing driver (11 wins), born in São Paulo, Brazil
  • Apr 25 John McFall, British Paralympic sprinter, born in Frimley, Surrey, England
  • Apr 25 Anja Pärson, Swedish alpine skier, born in Umeå, Sweden
  • Apr 25 Dwone Hicks, American NFL running back, born in Huntsville, Alabama
  • Apr 26 Matthieu Delpierre, French footballer, born in Nancy, France
  • Apr 27 Patrik Gerrbrand, Swedish footballer, born in Älvsjö, Sweden
  • Apr 27 Joey Gathright, American baseball player, born in Columbia, Mississippi
  • Apr 29 Émilie Mondor, Canadian athlete (d. 2006)
  • Apr 29 George McCartney, Northern Irish footballer
  • Apr 30 John O'Shea, Irish footballer

Weddings in Sport


LoveWedding of Interest

Apr 9 NFL coach Bill Cowher (23) weds Kaye Young

NFL Head Coach Bill Cowher
NFL Head Coach
Bill Cowher

Deaths in Sport

  • Apr 2 Delfo Cabrera, Argentine distance runner (Olympic gold marathon 1948), dies in a car accident at 62

Person of interestJoe Louis

Apr 12 Joe Louis, American boxer (world heavyweight champion 1937-49), dies of cardiac arrest at 66

Boxer and World Heavyweight Champion Joe Louis
Boxer and World Heavyweight Champion
Joe Louis
  • Apr 16 Eric Hollies, English cricket spin bowler (13 Tests, 44 wickets; dismissed Donald Bradman for 0 in his final Test innings), dies at 68
  • Apr 21 Harry Lee, cricketer (scored 18 & 1 in only Test for England), dies
  • Apr 28 Mickey Walker, American boxer (World Welterweight Champion 1922-26; World Middleweight Champion 1926-29), dies at 79
  • Apr 28 Cliff Battles, American football halfback (First-team All-Pro 1933, 34, 36; Boston Braves/Redskins, Washington Redskins), dies at 70