On This Day

Events in Sport on December 31

  • 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