On This Day

December 1981 in Sports History

Events in Sport

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 1 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar passes Oscar Robertson (26,710) to become the NBA’s second all-time leading scorer behind Wilt Chamberlain; scores 14 points in 117-86 Lakers' win over Utah Jazz in Los Angeles

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 2 Pitcher Fernando Valenzuela becomes 3rd consecutive LA Dodgers player to be named National League Rookie of the Year; Rick Sutcliffe 1979, Steve Howe 1980

Baseball Hall of Fame Pitcher Fernando Valenzuela
Baseball Hall of Fame Pitcher
Fernando Valenzuela
  • Dec 2 American 1,500m record holder Steve Scott sets record for fastest round of golf played on a regulation course; posts a 92, completing 18 holes in 29:33.05s at Miller GC in Anaheim, California
  • Dec 5 47th Heisman Trophy Award: Marcus Allen, Southern Cal (RB)
  • Dec 6 Rob de Castella of Australia sets Marathon record at 2:08:18

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 6 PGA Seniors' Championship Men's Golf, Turnberry Isle CC: Miller Barber wins his first of 5 Champions Tour major titles by 2 strokes from Arnold Palmer

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 11 Muhammad Ali's 61st & last fight, losing to Trevor Berbick

Heavyweight Boxing Champion Muhammad Ali
Heavyweight Boxing Champion
Muhammad Ali
  • Dec 11 Wash Capitals biggest margin of victory (9) beating Toronto 11-2
  • Dec 13 70th Davis Cup: USA beats Argentina in Cincinnati (3-1)
  • Dec 20 Winnipeg left wing Doug Smail sets NHL record by scoring just 4 seconds into Jets' 5-4 win over the St Louis Blues; fastest goal from opening face-off to back of net in history; later tied by Bryan Trottier and Alex Mogilny
  • Dec 21 Cincinnati beats Bradley 75-73 in 7 OTs (NCAA record)
  • Dec 23 Geoffrey Boycott becomes leading run-scorer in Test Cricket with 8033
  • Dec 26 One of the great day's Test Cricket at the MCG Australia v West Indies
  • Dec 27 Lillee becomes the leading wicket-taker in test cricket with 310

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 27 Oiler Wayne Gretzky becomes fastest NHLer to get 100 pts (38th game)

Ice Hockey Great Wayne Gretzky
Ice Hockey Great
Wayne Gretzky
  • Dec 29 Ballon d'Or: German 1-2-3 with Bayern Munich forward Karl-Heinz Rummenigge taking title of Europe's best football player for the 2nd straight year; beats teammate Paul Breitner and Barcelona midfielder Bernd Schuster
  • Dec 30 Wayne Gretzky scores 5 goals and an assist in Edmonton's 7-5 win over Philadelphia; gives Gretzky 50 goals in 39 games, the fastest 50 in 50 in NHL history; also sets NHL record with 15-game assist streak

Birthdays in Sport

  • Dec 2 Danijel Pranjić, Croatian soccer wingback (58 caps; SC Heerenveen), born in Našice, Croatia
  • Dec 3 Ioannis Amanatidis, Greek soccer forward and coach (35 caps; Eintracht Frankfurt), born in Kozani, Greece
  • Dec 3 David Villa, Spanish soccer striker (98 caps; Valencia, Barcelona), born in Langreo, Spain
  • Dec 3 Edwin Valero, Venezuelan boxer (undefeated world champion WBA super featherweight 2006-08; WBC lightweight 2009-10), born in Bolero Alto, Mérida, Venezuela (d. 2010)
  • Dec 8 Jeremy Accardo, American baseball player, born in Phoenix, Arizona
  • Dec 8 Philip Rivers, American NFL quarterback (San Diego, LA Chargers), born in Decatur, Alabama
  • Dec 9 Mardy Fish, American tennis player, born in Edina, Minnesota
  • Dec 10 Fábio Rochemback, Brazilian footballer
  • Dec 10 Ryan Pini, Papua New Guinea swimmer
  • Dec 11 Javier Saviola, Argentine footballer, born in Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Dec 12 Pedro Ríos, Spanish footballer, born in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain
  • Dec 12 Ronnie Brown, American football player, born in Rome, Georgia
  • Dec 12 Shane Costa, American baseball player, born in Visalia, California
  • Dec 12 Jeret Peterson, American aerial skier (Olympic silver 2010), born in Boise, Idaho
  • Dec 12 Yuvraj Singh, Indian cricketer (Man of the Tournament, ICC World Cup 2011), born in Chandigarh, India
  • Dec 12 Stephen Warnock, English footballer, born in Ormskirk, England
  • Dec 14 Emilie Heymans, Canadian diver, born in Brussels, Belgium
  • Dec 14 Shaun Marcum, American baseball player, born in Kansas City, Missouri
  • Dec 14 Liam Lawrence, English footballer, born in Retford, England
  • Dec 15 Andy González, Puerto Rican baseball player
  • Dec 15 Roman Pavlyuchenko, Russian football player
  • Dec 15 Thomas Herrion, American football player (d. 2005)
  • Dec 16 Gareth Williams, Scottish footballer
  • Dec 17 Emma Laaksonen, ice hockey defenseman (Finland, Olympics 1998)
  • Dec 20 Roy Williams, American football player (Detroit Lions, Dallas Cowboys), born in Odessa, Texas
  • Dec 20 James Shields, American baseball player, born in Santa Clarita, California
  • Dec 21 Cristian Zaccardo, Italian football player, born in Formigine, Italy
  • Dec 21 Sajid Mahmood, English cricket fast bowler (8 Tests, 20 wickets; Lancashire, WA, Essex), born in Bolton, England
  • Dec 23 Yuriorkis Gamboa, Cuban boxer, born in Guantánamo, Cuba
  • Dec 25 Willy Taveras, Dominican baseball player, born in Tenares, Dominican Republic
  • Dec 25 Meena Lee, South Korean golfer (Canadian Open 2005), born in Jeonju, South Korea
  • Dec 28 Khalid Boulahrouz, Dutch soccer defender (35 caps; RKC Waalwijk, Hamburger SV, Chelsea, VfB Stuttgart), born in Maassluis, Netherlands
  • Dec 28 Mika Väyrynen, Finnish football player, born in Eskilstuna, Sweden
  • Dec 30 Ali Al Habsi, Omani footballer
  • Dec 30 Michael Rodríguez, Costa Rican footballer
  • Dec 30 Matt Ulrich, American football player
  • Dec 31 Jason Campbell, American football player, born in Laurel, Mississippi
  • Dec 31 Matthew Pavlich, Australian football player, born in Adelaide, Australia

Deaths in Sport

  • Dec 2 Hershy Kay, American composer (Olympic Hymn, A Chorus Line), dies at 62