From Kobe to Maradona, a year of staggering losses in sports
Not long after came a seismic jolt, the helicopter crash of Kobe Bryant in the fog-shrouded California hills that reverberated across sports and across continents. Deep into the year, a bookend to Bryant, Diego Maradona died from a heart attack in Argentina weeks after brain surgery, the waves of grief rippling across soccer. The losses, of course, came against a backdrop of a pandemic, its number of fatalities rolled out daily on TV screens. Niekro won 318 games and pitched until he was 48, his knuckleball dancing and mystifying batters across the decades. Kurt Thomas in 1978 became the first U.S. male gymnast to win a world title but lost an Olympic shot in 1980 because of the boycott.
John McNamara, manager of ill-fated '86 Red Sox, dies at 88
He took over in Boston, his fifth, in 1985 and guided the Red Sox to the AL pennant the next year. The Mets won Game 7, leaving Boston without a championship until they finally won it all in 2004. The Boston Globe first reported McNamara's death on Wednesday a day the Red Sox were also in New York to play the Mets. Boston won the game 6-5 the same score by which the Red Sox lost that fateful Game 6. Current Cleveland manager Terry Francona, who was the Red Sox skipper when they ended their title drought, said he first met McNamara in Oakland in 1969-70.
Maryland to award $300K for newspaper shooting memorial
ANNAPOLIS, Md. Maryland is set to award $300,000 for the construction of a memorial honoring the victims of a deadly shooting at a newspaper office. The state plans to award the funds next week for a memorial that will be located in an Annapolis park and pay tribute to slain Capital Gazette employees John McNamara, Gerald Fischman, Wendi Winters, Rob Hiaasen and Rebecca Smith, the newspaper reported. The memorial, called Guardians of Free Speech, will include five pillars in front of the text of the First Amendment carved in stone, the newspaper said. Jarrod Ramos pleaded guilty in the killings.