On This Day

On This Day in Sport for December 31

Events in Sport

  • 1906 Australasian Championships Men's Tennis, Christchurch, NZ: All-NZ final; Antony Wilding beats Francis Fisher 6-0, 6-4, 6-4
  • 1918 Kid Gleason replaces Pants Rowland as White Sox manager
  • 1920 Roy Park makes 1st-ball duck in only Test Cricket inn, v Eng at MCG
  • 1920 International Lawn Tennis Challenge, Auckland, NZ: Bill Johnson & Bill Tilden (US) beat Norman Brookes & Gerald Patterson (Australasia) 6-4, 4-6, 6-0, 6-4 for an unassailable 3-0 lead; ends 5-0
  • 1921 Australasian Championships Men's Tennis, Perth: Australian Rhys Gemmell beats countryman Alf Hedeman 7-5, 6-1, 6-4

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1945 Bradman scores 112, his 1st post-War century, SA v Aust Services

Cricket Legend Donald Bradman
Cricket Legend
Donald Bradman
  • 1950 Jockeys Bill Shoemaker & Joe Culmone set record of 388 wins in a year
  • 1952 41st Davis Cup: Australia beats USA in Adelaide (4-1)

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1952 Danny Nardico stops former world middleweight champion Jake LaMotta in 7 rounds in a light heavyweight non-title bout in Coral Gables, Florida; LaMotta is knocked down for the only time in his career, his corner stopping fight after the round

World Middleweight Boxing Champion Jake LaMotta
World Middleweight Boxing Champion
Jake LaMotta
  • 1953 42nd Davis Cup: Australia beats USA in Melbourne (3-2)
  • 1958 47th Davis Cup: USA beats Australia in Brisbane (3-2)
  • 1958 Bill Shoemaker 1st jockey to win national riding championship 4X

Sport awardNFL Championship

1961 National Football League Championship, City Stadium, Green Bay: Green Bay Packers shutout NY Giants 37-0; first of 5 NFL titles won in 7-season span by Packers and head coach, Vince Lombardi

NFL Coach Vince Lombardi
NFL Coach
Vince Lombardi
  • 1962 American Basketball League announces suspension of operation
  • 1966 Test Cricket debut of Bishen Singh Bedi, India v WI Calcutta, 2-92
  • 1967 1st NBA game at Great Western Forum, LA Lakers beat Houston 147-118

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1967 AFL Championship, Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland: Oakland Raiders beat Houston Oilers 40-7; George Blanda 4 field goals for Raiders in club's 1st AFL Championship

NFL Coach and Sportscaster John Madden
NFL Coach and Sportscaster
John Madden
  • 1967 NFL Championship, Lambeau Field, Green Bay: Green Bay Packers beat Dallas Cowboys, 21-17; "The Ice Bowl", -13°F
  • 1968 NY Jets win AFL championship
  • 1970 Would have been start of Aust/Eng Test Cricket at MCG, washed out
  • 1972 AFC Championship, Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh: Miami Dolphins beat Pittsburgh Steelers, 21-7
  • 1972 Australian Open Women's Tennis: Margaret Court beats Evonne Goolagong Cawley 6-4, 7-5 for her record 11th and final Australian singles crown
  • 1972 NFC Championship, RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C.: Washington Redskins beat Dallas Cowboys 26-3
  • 1972 39th Sugar Bowl: #2 Oklahoma beats #5 Penn State, 14-0
  • 1973 Johan Cruyff chosen European Football Player of theYear

Sport awardAustralian Open Women's Tennis

1973 Australian Open Women's Tennis: Australian Evonne Goolagong Cawley beats Chris Evert 7-6, 4-6, 6-0 for her first of 4 home singles titles

Tennis Legend Chris Evert
Tennis Legend
Chris Evert
  • 1973 40th Sugar Bowl: #3 Notre Dame beats #1 Alabama, 24-23
  • 1974 New York Yankees sign Cy Young Award winner Jim "Catfish" Hunter for 5 years for a record $3.75 million from the Oakland A's

Sport awardAustralian Open Women's Tennis

1974 Australian Open Women's Tennis: Australian Evonne Goolagong Cawley retains her title; beats Martina Navratilova of Czechoslovakia 6-3, 6-2

Tennis Player Martina Navratilova
Tennis Player
Martina Navratilova
  • 1974 41st Sugar Bowl: #8 Nebraska beats #18 Florida, 13-10
  • 1974 Ballon d'Or: Ajax forward Johan Cruyff wins back-to-back awards, and his 3rd overall, for best European football player ahead of Bayern Munich defender Franz Beckenbauer and Legia Warsaw midfielder Kazimierz Deyna
  • 1975 42nd Sugar Bowl: #3 Alabama beats #7 Penn State, 13-6
  • 1977 Australian Open Men's Tennis: American Vitas Gerulaitis wins his first and only Grand Slam event; beats Englishman John Lloyd 6-3, 7-6, 5-7, 3-6, 6-2
  • 1980 NY Islanders greatest shutout margin (9-0) vs Chicago Black Hawks
  • 1984 Test Cricket debut of Mohammad Azharuddin, v England at Calcutta

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1988 Pittsburgh NHL center Mario Lemieux accounts for all his team's goals in Penguins 8-6 win over the NJ Devils; famously scores 5 goals, each in a different way: even strength, power play, shorthanded, penalty shot and empty net; also 3 assists

NHL Legend and Owner Mario Lemieux
NHL Legend and Owner
Mario Lemieux

  • 1989 Jockey Kent Desormeaux sets record with 598 wins in a year
  • 1991 Daniel R McCarthy elected NY Yankee managing general partner
  • 1991 J Donald Crump resigned as CFL Commissioner
  • 1995 Matthew Elliott scores separate cricket century same day for Victoria
  • 1995 62nd Sugar Bowl: #13 Virginia Tech beats #9 Texas, 28-10
  • 1996 63rd Orange Bowl: #6 Nebraska beats #10 Virginia Tech, 41-21
  • 1997 72 year-old Marv Levy retires as coach of the NFL Buffalo Bills after 12 seasons, including 4 consecutive losing Super Bowl appearances
  • 1997 27th Fiesta Bowl: #10 Kansas State beats #14 Syracuse, 35-18
  • 1997 Buffalo's Czech NHL goalie Dominik Hasek stops 36 shots for his 27th career shutout in Sabres' 3-0 win over Ottawa Senators; his 6th shutout in month of December; first since George Hainsworth in 1928-29 to achieve the feat
  • 2006 The final contest at the old Lansdowne Road Stadium in Dublin is a rugby match with Leinster beating Ulster 20-12 in a Celtic League game
  • 2014 44th Fiesta Bowl: #20 Boise State beats #10 Arizona, 38-30
  • 2014 81st Orange Bowl: #10 Georgia Tech beats #8 Mississippi State, 49-34
  • 2015 82nd Orange Bowl: #1 Clemson beats #4 Oklahoma, 37-17
  • 2017 Cleveland Browns crash to a 28-24 loss to Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field to become only the 2nd team in NFL history to finish season with 0-16 record
  • 2018 Houston guard James Harden scores 43 points in Rockets' 113-101 win over Memphis Grizzlies; 4th straight NBA game with 40+ points and 8th straight with 35+; joins Oscar Robertson as only player with at least 35 points & 5 assists in 8 straight games

Birthdays in Sport

  • 1857 King Kelly, American baseball player, born in Troy, New York (d. 1894)
  • 1870 Thomas Connolly, English-American baseball umpire, born in Manchester, United Kingdom (d. 1961)
  • 1880 Fred Beebe, American baseball player, born in Lincoln, Nebraska (d. 1957)
  • 1882 Ben A. Jones, American horse trainer (US Champion trainer by earnings 1941, 43, 44, 52; Kentucky Derby x 6 including Citation, Whirlaway), born in Parnell, Missouri (d. 1961)
  • 1884 Bobby Byrne, American baseball player, born in St. Louis, Missouri (d. 1964)
  • 1893 Jimmy Blanckenberg, South African cricket medium pace bowler (18 Tests, 60 wickets; Western Province), born in Cape Town, South Africa (d. 1955)
  • 1893 Jimmy Blanckenberg, South African cricketer (60 wkts in 18 Tests for South Africa), born in Cape Town, South Africa (d. 1955)
  • 1904 Chuck Gardiner, Canadian NHL goalie (Vezina winner), born in Edinburgh, United Kingdom (d. 1934)
  • 1906 Erna Bogen-Bogáti, Hungarian foils (Olympic bronze 1932), born in Jaroslaw, Poland (d. 2002)
  • 1919 Tommy Byrne, American baseball player, born in Baltimore, Maryland (d. 2007)
  • 1924 Victoria Draves, American platform/springboard diver (Olympic gold 1948)
  • 1928 Hugh McElhenny, American NFL halfback (SF, Minnesota, Giants, Detroit), born in Los Angeles, California
  • 1929 Peter May, English cricketer (dashing batsman of 50's), born in Reading (d. 1994)
  • 1935 Peter Allan, Australian cricketer (1 Test Australia v England 1965, 2-58 & 0-25), born in Brisbane, Australia
  • 1936 Jerry Sturm, American football tackle (AFL All-Star 1964, 66; Denver Broncos, NO Saints), born in English, Indiana (d. 2020)
  • 1938 Atje Keulen-Deelstra, Dutch speed skater (world champ, born in Grou, Netherlands (d. 2013)
  • 1939 Afaq Hussain, Pakistani cricketer (Pakistani off-spinner in 2 Tests 1961-64), born in Lucknow, India (d. 2002)
  • 1939 Willye White, American athlete (Olympic silver long jump 1956, 4x100m relay 1964; Sports Illustrated 100 greatest women athletes of 20th century), born in Money, Mississippi (d. 2007)
  • 1941 Milkha Singh, Indian cricketer (brother of Kripal Singh India batsman in 4 Tests), born in Madras, India (d. 2017)
  • 1941 Sir Alex Ferguson, Scottish football manager, born in Glasgow, United Kingdom
  • 1946 Cliff Richey, American tennis player (Davis Cup 1969-70), born in San Angelo, Texas
  • 1948 René Robert, Canadian NHL player, born in Trois-Rivières, Canada
  • 1950 Inge Helten, German sprinter (Olympic bronze 1976), born in Sinzig, Germany
  • 1950 Bob Gilder, American golfer (6 PGA tour titles), born in Corvallis, Oregon
  • 1951 Michael Allen Bantom, American basketball player (Olympic silver 1972), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • 1958 Geoff Marsh, Australian cricketer (Aust opening batsman 1985-92), born in Northam, Australia
  • 1960 Broderick Dyke, Australian tennis player, born in Gumeracha, Australia
  • 1961 Rick Aguilera, American baseball pitcher (Minnesota Twins), born in San Gabriel, California
  • 1962 Tyrone Corbin, American NBA forward (Miami Heat, Atlanta Hawks), born in Columbia, South Carolina
  • 1963 Ed Simmons, American NFL tackle (Washington Redskins), born in French Camp, California
  • 1963 Konishiki, Japanese-Samoan sumo wrestler, born in Honolulu, Hawaii
  • 1964 Denis Hickey, Australian cricketer (fast bowler for Vic, SA & Glamorgan), born in Mooroopna, Australia
  • 1964 Klari MacAskill, Canadian kayaker (Olympics-5-92, 96), born in Budapest, Hungary
  • 1964 Liz Masakayan, Filipino WPVA volleyball player (Best of Beach-3rd-1994), born in Quezon City, Philippines
  • 1964 Winston Benjamin, Antiguan cricketer (WI right armed fast bowler 1987-95), born in All Saints, Antigua and Barbuda
  • 1967 Brad Daluiso, American NFL placekicker (NY Giants), born in San Diego, California
  • 1970 Bryon Russell, American NBA forward (Utah Jazz), born in San Bernardino, California
  • 1970 Dan Howe, Canadian canoeist (Olympics 1996), born in Kingston, Ontario
  • 1970 Dunstan Anderson, NFL defensive end (Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, Rhein Fire), born in Fort Worth, Texas
  • 1970 Michel Brunet, Canadian ice dancer (1996 Canadians-2nd), born in Gatineau, Quebec
  • 1971 Brent Barry, American NBA guard (LA Clippers), born in Hempstead, New York
  • 1971 Erin Warren, American luger (Olympics 1994), born in Winchester Massachusetts
  • 1971 Heath Shuler, NFL quarterback (Washington Redskins, New Orleans Saints), born in Bryson City, North Carolina
  • 1971 Ricardo López Felipe, Spanish footballer, born in Madrid, Spain
  • 1972 Chris Parker, American football running back (Jacksonville Jaguars), born in Lynchburg, Virginia
  • 1972 Kelvin Kinney, American football defensive end (Washington Redskins), born in Montgomery, West Virginia
  • 1972 Cole Ford, American football placekicker (Oakland Raiders), born in Tucson, Arizona
  • 1973 Curtis Myden, Canadian 200m/400m swimmer (Olympic 2 bronze-96), born in Calgary, Alberta
  • 1973 George Jones, American running back (Pittsburgh Steelers), born in Greenville, South Carolina
  • 1973 Hiroyuki Miura, Japanese hockey defenceman (Team Japan 1998, Montreal Canadiens), born in Hokkaido, Japan
  • 1974 Mario Aerts, Belgian cyclist, born in Herentals, Belgium
  • 1974 Tony Kanaan, Brazilian racing driver, born in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil
  • 1975 Toni Kuivasto, Finnish footballer, born in Tampere, Finland
  • 1977 Wardy Alfaro, Costa Rican footballer, born in Alajuela, Costa Rica
  • 1980 Richard "Richie" McCaw, New Zealand rugby player (All Blacks), born in Oamaru, New Zealand
  • 1981 Jason Campbell, American football player, born in Laurel, Mississippi
  • 1981 Matthew Pavlich, Australian football player, born in Adelaide, Australia
  • 1982 Julio DePaula, Dominican baseball player, born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
  • 1982 Luke Schenscher, Australian basketball player, born in South Australia, Australia
  • 1982 Craig Gordon, Scottish footballer, born in Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • 1987 Javaris Crittenton, American basketball player, born in Atlanta, Georgia
  • 1987 Émilie Le Pennec, French gymnast, born in La Garenne-Colombes, France
  • 1993 Ryan Blaney, American auto racer (Daytona 500 2020 runner-up), born in Hartford Township, Trumbull County, Ohio
  • 1995 Gabby Douglas, American gymnast (2012 Olympic champion), born in Newport News, Virginia

Weddings in Sport

LoveWedding of Interest

1950 World heavyweight boxing champion Rocky Marciano (27) weds Barbara Cousins in Brockton, Massachusetts

Heavyweight Boxing Champion Rocky Marciano
Heavyweight Boxing Champion
Rocky Marciano

LoveWedding of Interest

1973 MLB executive Tony La Russa (29) weds Elaine Coker

Baseball Manager Tony La Russa
Baseball Manager
Tony La Russa

LoveWedding of Interest

1992 MLB Outfielder David Justice (26) weds actress Halle Berry (26) in Atlanta, Georgia

MLB Outfielder David Justice
MLB Outfielder
David Justice
Actress Halle Berry
Halle Berry
  • 2005 Olympic gold medal skater Jamie Sale (28) weds her pair figure skater David Pelletier (31) at Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel in Canada
  • 2006 L.A. Galaxy soccer player Landon Donovan (24) weds actress Bianca Kajlich (29) at Bacara Resort in Santa Barbara, California
  • 2010 NASCAR driver and team owner Kyle Busch (25) weds model Samantha Sarcinella at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago

LoveWedding of Interest

2013 "The Big Bang Theory" actress Kaley Cuoco (28) weds professional tennis player Ryan Sweeting (26) at Hummingbird Nest Ranch in Santa Susana, California

Actress Kaley Cuoco
Kaley Cuoco

LoveWedding of Interest

2014 Olympic gold medalist soccer player Alex Morgan (25) weds Houston Dynamo midfielder Servando Carrasco (26) in Santa Barbara, California

Soccer Player Alex Morgan
Soccer Player
Alex Morgan

Deaths in Sport

  • 1896 Leland Hone, Irish cricketer (scored 7 & 6 in only England Test 1879), dies
  • 1948 Malcolm Campbell, British motor racer (world land and water speed record holder), dies of a stroke at 63
  • 1951 H. Guy Bedwell, American thoroughbred trainer (North American champion in wins x 7; earnings 1918-19; first Triple Crown winner, Sir Barton), dies at 76
  • 1964 Bobby Byrne, baseball player (b. 1884)
  • 1967 Arthur Mailey, Australian cricket spin bowler (21 Tests, 99 wickets; 10/66 v Gloucestershire 1921), dies at 81
  • 1968 Carl Oscar Ahues, German International Chess Master (1950), dies at 85

Person of interestRoberto Clemente

1972 Roberto Clemente, Puerto Rican Baseball Hall of Fame outfielder (15 x MLB All Star; World Series 1960, 71 [MVP]; Pittsburgh Pirates), dies in a plane crash at 38

Baseball Player Roberto Clemente
Baseball Player
Roberto Clemente
  • 1980 Arthur Wellard, cricketer (2 Tests for England, legendary 6-hitter), dies
  • 1980 Bob Shawkey, American baseball pitcher (World Series 1923, 27; AL ERA leader 1920, New York Yankees), dies at 90
  • 1983 Bill Hunt, cricketer (Test for Aust, out 0, took 0-25 & 0-14), dies
  • 1985 Mal Matheson, New Zealand cricket fast bowler (2 Tests) and rugby union Test referee (Australia v NZ 1946), dies at 79
  • 1990 George Allen, American NFL football coach (LA Rams, Wash Redskins), dies at 72

Person of interestWoody Strode

1994 Woody Strode, African American football player and actor (Posse, Cotton Club, Vigilante, Scream), dies of lung cancer at 80

Actor and Sportsman Woody Strode
Actor and Sportsman
Woody Strode
  • 2006 George Sisler, Jr., baseball executive (b. 1917)
  • 2006 Liese Prokop, Austrian pentathlete (Olympic silver 1968), dies at 65
  • 2007 Tommy Dickson, British footballer (b. 1929)
  • 2007 Tony Elliott, American football player (b. 1959)
  • 2019 Basil Watts, English rugby league second rower (5 Tests Great Britain, 1 England; World Cup 1954; York RLFC), dies at 93
  • 2020 Tommy Docherty, Scottish soccer midfielder (25 caps; Preston North End) and manager (Chelsea, QPR, Scotland, Manchester United), dies at 92