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 Chicago White Sox manager; reach World Series but lose in the "Black Sox" betting scandal; Gleason not involved
  • 1920 Victorian all-rounder Roy Park makes Test cricket debut for Australia v England in 2nd Test in Melbourne; bowled by Harry Howell for a first ball 'golden duck' in his first and only Test innings
  • 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

Sports History

1945 Before the biggest Adelaide Oval crowd of the season, batting maestro Don Bradman scores his first post-WWII century; 112 for South Australia v Australian Services

Sports History

1950 American thoroughbred jockeys Bill Shoemaker and Joe Culmone end the year tied, leading the nation with record 388 wins

Davis Cup

1952 Davis Cup Men's Tennis, Memorial Drive, Adelaide: Vic Seixas beats Ken McGregor in 4 sets but Australia retains title for third straight year; beats US, 4-1 in Adelaide

Sports History

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

  • 1953 Bill Shoemaker shatters record, riding 485 winners in a year
  • 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

NFL 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

  • 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

Sports History

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

  • 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

Australian Open Women's Tennis

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

Sports History

1973 Johan Cruyff chosen European Football Player of theYear

Australian 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

  • 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

Australian 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

  • 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

Australian Men's Tennis Open

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

Sports History

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

  • 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