On This Day in Sport for March 31

  • March

Events in Sport


Event of interestEvent of Interest

1877 Test Cricket debut of feared Australian fast bowler Fred "The Demon" Spofforth; Australia loses 2nd Test by 4 wickets vs England at Melbourne Cricket Ground

Cricketer Fred Spofforth
Cricketer
Fred Spofforth
  • 1905 67th Grand National: Frank Mason victorious aboard Kirkland; first Welsh-trained horse to win the event
  • 1909 National Baseball Commission rules players who jump contracts to be suspended for 5 years; players joining outlaw organizations suspended for 3 years
  • 1923 First dance marathon in New York City; Alma Cummings sets record of 27 hours with 6 different partners
  • 1923 Stanley Cup Final, Denman Arena, Vancouver, BC: Ottawa Senators (NHL) edge Edmonton Eskimos (WCHL), 1-0 for a 2-0 series sweep
  • 1955 West Indies cricket all-rounder Collie Smith scores 104 in his Test debut in a 9 wicket 1st Test defeat to Australia in Kingston, Jamaica
  • 1962 116th Grand National: Fred Winter aboard 28/1 shot Kilmore wins by 10 lengths from Wyndburgh
  • 1973 Philadelphia Flyers score an NHL record tying 8 goals from an astounding 60 shots in the 2nd period of a 10-2 win over New York Islanders

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1973 Muhammad Ali suffers a broken jaw in a shock split-points decision loss to Ken Norton over 12 rounds in San Diego; Ali wins rematch in another controversial split decision

Heavyweight Boxing Champion Muhammad Ali
Heavyweight Boxing Champion
Muhammad Ali
  • 1973 127th Grand National: Brian Fletcher wins aboard 9/1 co-favourite Red Rum; recovers from 15 lengths behind at final fence; first of Red Rum's record 3 GN victories
  • 1973 Boston Bruins defenceman Bobby Orr scores his 3rd career hat trick in a 7-3 loss at Toronto to become the first player in NHL history to score 100 points for 4 straight seasons

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1973 American tennis star Billie Jean King ends Australian Margaret Court's 57-match winning streak 6-7, 7-6, 6-3 in semi finals of the WTA event in Indianapolis, IN

Tennis Legend Billie Jean King
Tennis Legend
Billie Jean King
  • 1974 American golfer Lee Trevino goes bogey-free for the full 4 rounds as he wins the Greater New Orleans Open by 8 strokes from Bobby Cole and Ben Crenshaw
  • 1975 37th NCAA Men's Basketball Championship: UCLA beats Kentucky, 92-85; 10th title under coach John Wooden who had announced his retirement 2 days earlier
  • 1976 Cleveland Cavaliers beat Jazz, 110-101 in New Orleans to clinch club's first ever NBA playoff berth
  • 1979 Montreal Canadiens beat visiting Pittsburgh Penguins, 5-3 to become just the 2nd team in NHL history to win 50 (or more) games for 4 straight years

  • 1979 133rd Grand National: Maurice Barnes victorious aboard Rubstic; first Scottish-trained horse to win the event

Sport defeatBoxing Title Fight

1980 Almost concurrent heavyweight boxing championship fights: Larry Holmes TKOs Leroy Jones in 8 for WBC title in Las Vegas, NV whilst Mike Weaver KOs John Tate in 15 for WBA belt in Knoxville, TN

WBC Heavyweight Champion Larry Holmes
WBC Heavyweight Champion
Larry Holmes
WBA World Heavyweight Champion Mike Weaver
WBA World Heavyweight Champion
Mike Weaver
  • 1982 NBA and Players Association reach a 4-year agreement that includes a 53% revenue-sharing plan in return for minimum & maximum payrolls; first of its kind in team sports
  • 1984 138th Grand National: Neale Doughty wins aboard 13/1 Hallo Dandy; 23 complete the course, breaking record for most finishers

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1984 Mike Bossy becomes first player in NHL history to record 7 straight 50 goal seasons; scores 50th and 51st of the year in a 3-1 New York Islanders' win at Washington

Ice Hockey Great Mike Bossy
Ice Hockey Great
Mike Bossy
  • 1985 4th NCAA Women's Basketball Championship: Old Dominion beats Georgia, 70-65; Monarchs' Tracy Claxton, MOP
  • 1985 PGA Tournament Players Championship, TPC at Sawgrass: Calvin Peete shoots final round 66 to win by 3 strokes from D. A. Weibring; Peete only player to break par in all 4 rounds
  • 1986 48th NCAA Men's Basketball Championship: Louisville beats Duke, 72-69; first tournament to use a shot clock (initially set at 45 seconds)
  • 1987 49th NCAA Men's Basketball Championship: Indiana beats Syracuse, 74-73; Hoosiers' guard Keith Smart hits game-winner in final seconds, intercepts full court pass at the last second

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1988 New York Islanders celebrate defenseman Denis Potvin's 1,000 points and 1,000 NHL games at tribute night at Nassau Coliseum

NHL Star Denis Potvin
NHL Star
Denis Potvin

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1990 20-year old Quebec Nordiques' center Joe Sakic scores a goal in a 3-2 loss to Hartford to become the youngest player in NHL history to score 100 points in a season

NHL Legend Joe Sakic
NHL Legend
Joe Sakic
  • 1991 10th NCAA Women's Basketball Championship: Tennessee beats Virginia, 70-67; first overtime win in the NCAA's 10-year history

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1991 St. Louis Blues' future Hockey Hall of Fame right wing Brett Hull scores his 86th goal of the season in a 2-1 win over Minnesota North Stars; 3rd best total in NHL history

NHL Legend Brett Hull
NHL Legend
Brett Hull

Sport awardPGA Players Championship

1991 PGA Players Championship, TPC at Sawgrass: Australian Steve Elkington birdies final hole to win by 1 stroke ahead of runner-up Fuzzy Zoeller

Golfer and PGA Champion Steve Elkington
Golfer and PGA Champion
Steve Elkington
  • 1991 Nabisco Dinah Shore Women's Golf, Mission Hills CC: Amy Alcott breaks her own scoring record to win her 3rd DS by 8 strokes over Dottie Pepper; her 5th major title, and 29th & final LPGA Tour win
  • 1992 Ranji Trophy Cricket Final, Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi: Delhi (Ajay Sharma 175 in 532) beats Tamil Nadu (449) on 1st innings
  • 1992 Phoenix coach Cotton Fitzsimmons guides the Suns to a 128-111 home win over Portland to become the 6th coach in NBA history to record 800 career wins

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1994 Chicago White Sox assigns former NBA superstar Michael Jordan to the Birmingham Barons of Class AA Southern League; returns to NBA after one season

Basketball Superstar Michael Jordan
Basketball Superstar
Michael Jordan

Sport awardDavis Cup

1995 Second time in tennis history, world #1 and #2 ranked players play in the same Davis Cup team; Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi score victories in US quarter-final win against Italy in Palermo

Tennis Player Pete Sampras
Tennis Player
Pete Sampras
Tennis Legend Andre Agassi
Tennis Legend
Andre Agassi
  • 1995 Ranji Trophy Cricket Final, Wankhede Stadium, Bombay: Bombay (Sanjay Manjrekar 224 in 6/690) beats Punjab (Vikram Rathour 177 in 372) on 1st innings
  • 1995 Federal judge Sonia Sotomayor of US District Court in NYC issues an injunction against Major League Baseball owners in move that effectively ends 232-day strike
  • 1996 15th NCAA Women's Basketball Championship: Tennessee beats Georgia, 83-65; 3 Volunteers in All-Tournament team: Michelle Marciniak, Chamique Holdsclaw, Tiffani Johnson
  • 1996 First time in MLB history, the regular season opens in March with Seattle Mariners beating Chicago White Sox, 3-2 in 12 innings at the Kingdome, Seattle
  • 1996 Ranji Trophy Cricket Final, MA Chidambaram Stadium, Madras: Karnataka (Vijay Bharadwaj 146 of 8/620) beats Tamil Nadu (370) on 1st innings
  • 1996 WrestleMania XII, Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim, CA - Shawn Michaels beats Bret Hart for WWF Heavyweight title

Sport awardPGA Players Championship

1996 PGA Players Championship, TPC at Sawgrass: Fred Couples shoots a final round 64 to win his 2nd PC title, 4 strokes ahead of runners-up Colin Montgomerie and Tommy Tolles

Golfer and Masters Champion Fred Couples
Golfer and Masters Champion
Fred Couples

Sport awardGolf Major

1996 Nabisco Dinah Shore Women's Golf, Mission Hills CC: Patty Sheehan wIns by 1 stroke ahead of runners-up Meg Mallon, Kelly Robbins and Annika Sörenstam

LPGA Golfer Meg Mallon
LPGA Golfer
Meg Mallon
LPGA Golfer Patty Sheehan
LPGA Golfer
Patty Sheehan
  • 1997 59th NCAA Men's Basketball Championship: Arizona beats Kentucky, 84-79 (OT); Wildcats' first title in first title game
  • 1997 West Indies cricketers win 3rd Test at Bridgetown, Barbados by 38 runs after setting India a modest 120 run target; tourists dismissed for 81 in Brian Lara's debut as Windies' captain
  • 1998 Expansion clubs, Tampa Bay and Arizona both suffer bad losses in their MLB debuts; Devil Rays lose, 11-6 to the Detroit Tigers and the Diamondbacks fall, 9-2 to Colorado Rockies
  • 1998 Milwaukee becomes first team since the inception of the American League in 1901 to switch MLB leagues; Brewers lose first NL game, 2-1 to the Braves in Atlanta

Event of interestEvent of Interest

2001 German brothers Michael and Ralf Schumacher become first siblings to share front row of the grid in a Formula 1 World Championship event; qualify 1st and 2nd respectively for Brazilian GP in São Paulo

Formula 1 Driver Ralf Schumacher
Formula 1 Driver
Ralf Schumacher
  • 2002 21st NCAA Women's Basketball Championship: Connecticut beats Oklahoma, 82-70; Huskies conclude perfect season (39-0)

Event of interestEvent of Interest

2002 Andre Agassi wins his 700th career match and captures his second straight Key Biscayne title with a 6–3, 6–3, 3–6, 6–4 win over Roger Federer at the Nasdaq-100 Open in Florida

Tennis Legend Andre Agassi
Tennis Legend
Andre Agassi
Tennis Champion Roger Federer
Tennis Champion
Roger Federer
  • 2002 Kraft Nabisco Championship Women's Golf, Mission Hills CC: Defending champion Annika Sörenstam of Sweden shoots a final round 68 to win, 1 stroke ahead of compatriot Liselotte Neumann

Event of interestEvent of Interest

2003 Cincinnati Reds open their new home, The Great American Ball Park, with a 10-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates; former President George H. W. Bush throws first ceremonial pitch

41st US President George H. W. Bush
41st US President
George H. W. Bush
  • 2004 Australian swimmer Lisbeth Lenton breaks Inge de Bruijn's 4-year old 100m freestyle women's world record in 53.66s at the Australian Olympic trials in Sydney
  • 2004 With a 12-1 defeat of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in Tokyo, NY Yankees starter Kevin Brown becomes only the 2nd pitcher in MLB history to have beaten all 30 teams

Birthdays in Sport

  • 1870 Tommy Ryan, American boxer (World Welterweight, Middleweight champion), born in Redwood, NY (d. 1948)
  • 1878 Jack Johnson, American boxer (1st African-American heavyweight champion [1908-15]), born in Galveston, Texas (d. 1946)
  • 1901 Mule Suttles, American Baseball Hall of Fame infielder (5-time Negro Leagues All Star), born in Edgewater, Alabama (d. 1966)
  • 1905 George Treweeke, Australian Rugby League second rower (Australia 7 Tests, South Sydney), born in Grahamstown, NSW
  • 1913 Dai Rees, Scottish golfer (British Open runner-up 1953-54, 61), born in Fontegary, Glamorgan (d. 1983)
  • 1916 Tommy Bolt, American golfer (US Open 1958), born in Haworth, Oklahoma (d. 2008)
  • 1918 Marv Grissom, American baseball pitcher, coach (MLB All Star 1954, NY, SF Giants), born in Los Molinos, CA (d. 2005)
  • 1923 Don Barksdale, American basketball forward (Olympic gold 1948, NBA All Star 1953), born in Oakland, CA (d. 1993)
  • 1923 Lawrie Miller, New Zealand cricket batsman (13 Tests), born in New Plymouth, Taranaki (d. 1996)

Person of interestGordie Howe

1928 Gordie Howe, Canadian Hockey Hall of Fame right wing (23-time NHL All Star), born in Floral, Saskatchewan (d. 2016)

Ice Hockey Legend Gordie Howe
Ice Hockey Legend
Gordie Howe
  • 1931 Miller Barber, American golfer (11 PGA Tour; 3 US Senior Open titles), born in Shreveport, Louisiana (d. 2013)
  • 1932 Godfrey Lawrence, South African cricket fast bowler (5 Tests, 8-53 v NZ 1961), born in Salisbury, Rhodesia
  • 1936 Bob Pulford, Canadian Hockey Hall of Fame left wing, coach (coach: LA Kings, Chicago Blackhawks), born in Newton Robinson, Ontario
  • 1938 Jimmy Johnson, American Pro Football Hall of Fame cornerback (4-time Pro Bowl), born in Dallas, Texas
  • 1946 Aftab Gul, Pakistani cricket batsman (6 Tests @ 22.75), born in Gujar Khan, Punjab
  • 1948 Gustaaf Van Cauter, Belgian cyclist (world champion 100k team road race), born in Mechelen, Flanders
  • 1952 Mike Rafter, England Rugby Union flanker (England 17 caps), born in Bristol, England
  • 1953 Rene Portland, American college basketball coach (Penn State 1980-2007), born in Broomall, Pennsylvania (d. 2018)
  • 1955 Robert Vance, New Zealand cricket wicketkeeper (4 Tests @ 29.57), born in Wellington, NZ
  • 1960 Mark Tuinei, American NFL offensive tackle (3-time Super Bowl winner, Dallas Cowboys), born in Oceanside, CA
  • 1961 Ron Brown, American athlete (Olympic gold 4 x 100m 1984), born in Los Angeles, California
  • 1962 John Taylor, American NFL wide receiver (3-time Super Bowl winner, SF 49ers), born in Philadelphia, PA
  • 1964 Dave Wyman, American NFL linebacker, broadcaster (Seattle Seahawks, Denver Broncos), born in San Diego, CA
  • 1964 David Diaz-Infante, American NFL guard, coach, broadcaster (2-time Super Bowl winner, Denver Broncos, born in San Jose, CA
  • 1965 Patty Fendick, American tennis player (Australian Open doubles 1991), born in Sacramento, California
  • 1965 Tom Barrasso, American NHL goaltender (Calder Memorial Trophy, Vezina Trophy 1984), born in Boston, Massachusetts
  • 1966 Roger Black, English athlete (World C'ships gold 4 x 400m relay 1991, 97), born in Gosport, Hampshire,
  • 1967 Nanci Bowen, American golfer (Nabisco Dinah Shore 1995), born in Tifton, Georgia
  • 1969 Steve Smith, American NBA guard (14 NBA seasons, Olympic gold 2000), born in Highfield Park, MI

Person of interestPavel Bure

1971 Pavel Bure, Russian Hockey Hall of Fame right wing (Vancouver Canucks, Florida Panthers), born in Moscow, Russia

Ice Hockey Great Pavel Bure
Ice Hockey Great
Pavel Bure
  • 1976 Graeme Smith, British swimmer (Olympic bronze 1,500m 1996), born in Falkirk, Scotland
  • 1977 Garth Tander, Australian auto racer (Bathurst 1000: 2000, 09, 11), born in Perth, WA
  • 1978 Jérôme Rothen, French soccer winger (France 13 caps, Paris SG, Caen, Monaco), born in Châtenay-Malabry, France
  • 1980 Chien-Ming Wang, Taiwanese MLB pitcher (NY Yankees, AL wins leader 2006), born in Tainan City, Taiwan
  • 1981 Maarten van der Weijden, Dutch distance swimmer (Olympic gold 10k open water 2008), born in Alkmaar, Netherlands
  • 1982 Jessica Joseph, American ice dancer (World Junior champion 1998), born in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
  • 1982 Tal Ben Haim, Israeli soccer defender (Israel 96 caps), born in Rishon LeZion, Israel
  • 1982 Philippe Mexès, French soccer defender (France 29 caps), born in Toulouse, France
  • 1983 Vlasios Maras, Greek gymnast (World C'ships gold, horizontal bar 2001-02), born in Athens, Greece
  • 1983 Hashim Amla, South African cricket batsman (first RSA Test triple century, 311), born in Durban, Natal
  • 1984 Eddie Johnson, American soccer striker (USA 63 caps), born in Bunnell, Florida
  • 1984 James Jones, American NFL receiver (NFL receiving TD leader 2012), born in San Jose, CA
  • 1987 Humpy Koneru, Indian chess player (youngest woman to achieve title of grandmaster), born in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh

Weddings in Sport

  • 2006 Long jumper gold medalist Bronwyn Thompson (28) weds Jason Chipperfield at Roma Street Parkland in Brisbane, Australia
  • 2006 2006 Commonwealth Games gold medalist Jana Pittman (23) weds track and field athlete Chris Rawlinson (33) at Morning Star Estate on Mornington Peninsula in Australia

Deaths in Sport

  • 1900 Frank Milligan, cricketer (Mafeking 2 Tests Eng v South Africa 1898-99), dies
  • 1915 Wyndham Halswelle, Scottish athlete (Olympic gold 1908), dies at 32
  • 1931 Knute Rockne, American College Football Hall of Fame receiver, coach, (Notre Dame, 13 National titles), dies in a plane crash at 43
  • 1956 Ralph DePalma, Italian-American race car driver (b. 1884)
  • 1968 Grover Lowdermilk, American baseball player (b. 1885)

Person of interestJesse Owens

1980 Jesse Owens, American athlete (4 Olympic gold 1936), dies of lung cancer at 66

Track and Field Athlete Jesse Owens
Track and Field Athlete
Jesse Owens
  • 1990 John Hawkes, Australian tennis player (Australasian C'ship singles, doubles, mixed doubles 1926), dies at 90
  • 1998 Tim Flock, American auto racer (Winston Cup 1952, 55), dies of liver and throat cancer at 73
  • 2017 Rubén Amaro, Sr., Mexican baseball player (Philadelphia Phillies), dies at 81