On This Day

May 1981 in Sports History

Events in Sport


Event of interestEvent of Interest

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

Tennis Legend Billie Jean King
Tennis Legend
Billie Jean King
  • 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 own record with two shorthanded playoff goals in a pd vs Minn
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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

Sports record brokenBaseball Record

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

MLB Outfielder Carl Yastrzemski
MLB Outfielder
Carl Yastrzemski
  • May 27 Lenny Randle tries to blow a slow roller foul but umpire says no
  • May 27 25th European Cup: Liverpool beats Real Madrid 1-0 at Paris
  • 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 Matt Murray, English football goalkeeper, born in Solihull, England
  • May 2 Chris Kirkland, English football goalkeeper, born in Barwell, 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
  • May 8 Yasuko Tajima, Japanese swimmer
  • May 8 John Maine, American baseball player
  • May 9 Bill Murphy, American baseball player
  • May 10 Humberto Suazo, Chilean footballer
  • May 11 Lauren Jackson, Australian basketball player, born in Albury, Australia
  • May 11 Daniel Ortmeier, American baseball player, born in Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • May 13 Jimmy Yang, American wrestler
  • May 15 Patrice Evra, French-Senegalese footballer
  • May 15 Justin Morneau, Canadian baseball player
  • May 17 Beñat Albizuri, Spanish cyclist
  • May 17 Giannis Taralidis, Greek footballer
  • May 17 Leon Osman, English footballer
  • May 18 Mahamadou Diarra, Malian footballer
  • May 19 Georges St. Pierre, Mixed Martial Arts Fighter
  • May 19 Luciano Figueroa, Argentine footballer
  • May 19 Klaas-Erik Zwering, Dutch swimmer
  • May 20 Iker Casillas, Spanish footballer
  • May 20 Lindsay Taylor, American basketball player
  • May 20 Mark Winterbottom, Australian racing driver
  • May 21 Beth Botsford, 100m/200m backstroke (Olympic gold 1996)
  • May 21 Josh Hamilton, Major League Baseball player
  • May 22 Jürgen Melzer, Austrian tennis player
  • May 27 Johan Elmander, Swedish footballer
  • May 27 Miloy, Angolan footballer
  • May 27 Fivos Constantinou, Cypriot distance runner
  • 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 Andrey Arshavin, Russian Footballer
  • May 30 Gianmaria Bruni, Italian racing driver
  • May 30 Ahmad Elrich, Australian footballer
  • May 31 Jake Peavy, American baseball player

Deaths in Sport

  • May 8 Maurice Fernandes, cricket captain (WI in 1st Test win, 1930 v Eng), dies
  • May 9 Nip Pellew, Australian cricketer (10 Tests 484 runs at 37), dies at 87
  • May 25 Roy Brown, American boxer/rocker, dies of a heart attack at 55
  • May 30 Don Ashby, Canadian ice hockey player (b. 1955)