May 1981 in Sports History

Events in Sport

Sports History

May 1 Tennis player Billie Jean King acknowledges a lesbian relationship with Marilyn Barnett - becoming first prominent sportswoman to come out

  • May 2 107th Kentucky Derby: Jorge Velásquez on Pleasant Colony wins in 2:02
  • May 4 Yankee Ron Davis strikes out 8 consecutive Angels, ran record of 13 strikeouts of last 14 faced, also saved Gene Nelsons 1st win, 4-2
  • May 5 16th and final MLB pre-season Mayor's Trophy Game prior to inter-league play; NY Mets beat NY Yankees, 4-1 to hold 8-7-1 edge
  • May 10 Montreal Expo Charlie Lee no-hits SF Giants, 4-0
  • May 12 NY Islanders tie their own record with two shorthanded playoff goals in a period vs Minnesota North Stars
  • May 13 Dinamo Tbilisi wins 21st European Cup Winner's Cup against Carl Zeiss Jena of East Germany 2-1 in Düsseldorf
  • May 14 35th NBA Championship: Bost Celtics beat Houston Rockets, 4 games to 2

Sports History

May 15 "Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island" airs

  • May 16 106th Preakness: Jorge Velásquez aboard Pleasant Colony wins in 1:54.6
  • May 16 Houston shortstop Craig Reynolds hits 3 triples as Astros beat Chicago Cubs, 6-1
  • May 17 Islanders score 5 power play goals against Flyers in a playoff
  • May 21 Stanley Cup Final, Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY: NY Islanders win back-to-back titles; beat Minnesota North Stars, 5-1 for 4 games to 1 series win

Sports History

May 23 Puerto Rican boxer Wilfred Benítez (22) becomes the youngest 3-division world champion in history by knocking out WBC World Super Welterweight champion Maurice Hope in 12 rounds in Las Vegas

  • May 24 Indianapolis 500: Bobby Unser crosses finish line ahead of Mario Andretti; Unser disqualified for pit lane infraction, later reinstated for his 3rd race victory

Baseball Record

May 25 Boston Red Sox Carl Yastrzemski (41) is 4th to play 3,000 MLB baseball games (Cobb, Musial & Aaron)

  • May 27 25th European Cup: Liverpool beats Real Madrid 1-0 at Paris
  • May 27 Lenny Randle tries to blow a slow roller foul but umpire says no
  • May 30 LA Dodgers are quickest to get 1,000,000 attendance in a season in only 22 games

Birthdays in Sport

  • May 1 Aliaksandr Hleb, Belarusian soccer winger (80 caps; VfB Stuttgart, Arsenal), born in Minsk, Belarus
  • May 1 Wes Welker, American NFL wide receiver (Pro Bowls 2008-12; First Team All Pro 2009, 12), born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • May 2 Chris Kirkland, English football goalkeeper, born in Barwell, England
  • May 2 Matt Murray, English football goalkeeper, born in Solihull, England
  • May 4 Eric Djemba-Djemba, Cameroonian footballer, born in Douala, Cameroon
  • May 5 Chris Duncan, American baseball player, born in Tucson, Arizona
  • May 8 Andrea Barzagli, Italian footballer, (Juventus), born in Fiesole, Italy
  • May 8 John Maine, American baseball player (NY Mets), born in Fredericksburg, Virgini
  • May 8 Yasuko Tajima, Japanese swimmer, born in Kanagawa, Japan
  • May 9 Bill Murphy, American baseball player
  • May 10 Humberto Suazo, Chilean footballer
  • May 11 Daniel Ortmeier, American baseball player, born in Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • May 11 Lauren Jackson, Australian basketball player, born in Albury, Australia
  • May 13 Jimmy Yang, American wrestler, born in Los Angeles, California
  • May 15 Justin Morneau, Canadian baseball player
  • May 15 Patrice Evra, French-Senegalese footballer
  • May 16 Schalk Brits, South African rugby union hooker (15 Tests; Stormers, Saracens), born in Empangeni, South Africa
  • May 17 Beñat Albizuri, Spanish cyclist
  • May 17 Giannis Taralidis, Greek footballer
  • May 17 Leon Osman, English footballer
  • May 18 Mahamadou Diarra, Malian footballer, born in Bamako, Mali
  • May 19 Georges St. Pierre, Mixed Martial Arts Fighter
  • May 19 Klaas-Erik Zwering, Dutch swimmer
  • May 19 Luciano Figueroa, Argentine footballer
  • May 20 Iker Casillas, Spanish footballer
  • May 20 Lindsay Taylor, American basketball player
  • May 20 Mark Winterbottom, Australian auto racer (Bathurst 1000 2013; International V8 Supercars C'ship 2015; Sandown 500 2006, 15), born in Sydney, Australia
  • May 21 Beth Botsford, American swimmer (Olympic gold 1996), born in Baltimore, Maryland
  • May 21 Josh Hamilton, Major League Baseball player, born in Raleigh, North Carolina
  • May 22 Jürgen Melzer, Austrian tennis player
  • May 27 Fivos Constantinou, Cypriot distance runner
  • May 27 Johan Elmander, Swedish footballer
  • May 27 Miloy, Angolan footballer
  • May 28 Daniel Cabrera, Dominican baseball player
  • May 29 Andrei Arshavin, Russian soccer midfielder (Russia 75 caps, Zenit SP, Arsenal), born in Saint Petersburg, Russia
  • May 30 Ahmad Elrich, Australian footballer
  • May 30 Andrey Arshavin, Russian Footballer
  • May 30 Gianmaria Bruni, Italian racing driver
  • May 31 Jake Peavy, American baseball player (San Francisco Giants), born in Mobile, Alabama

Deaths in Sport

  • May 8 Maurice Fernandes, West Indian cricket captain (WI in 1st Test win, 1930 v England), dies at 83
  • May 9 Nip Pellew, Australian cricketer (10 Tests 484 runs at 37), dies at 87
  • May 25 Roy Brown, American R&B singer, songwriter ("Good Rockin' Tonight"), dies of a heart attack at 55
  • May 30 Don Ashby, Canadian ice hockey player (b. 1955)