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1972 Fischer Spassky World Chess Championship Chess was front page news and on the cover of Time Magazine in the summer of 1972 when American Bobby Fischer challenged world champion Boris Spassky of the Soviet Union. Fischer, 29, had been prominent on the chess scene since 1958 when he won the U.S. championship just before he turned 15. The Soviet Union had dominated international chess for 25 years, but Spassky was bamboozled by Fischer's unpredictable openings. Fischer clinched the 24-game match, held in Reykjavik, Iceland, after 21 games with a record of seven wins, three losses, and eleven draws. Fischer's victory generated tremendous interest in the game in the United States. Known as the 'Fischer Boom,' membership numbers in the U.S. Chess Federation reached their peak in the following two years. The eccentric Fischer never defended his title. He opted to resign as world champion in 1974 when not all of his 64 conditions to defend against Anatoly Karpov were accepted by chess' governing body. Since then Fischer has been a recluse. He did make an appearance in 1992 to play his old rival Spassky in a specially arranged match in Yugoslavia. (This violated UN sanctions against Yugoslavia at the time.) Fischer won the match and proclaimed he was still the legitimate world champion. Despite having Jewish ancestry, Fischer is an anti-Semite and a passionate Holocaust denier. Fischer called a Manila talk-radio station to applaud the 9/11 terrorist attacks in a profanity-filled rant. Fischer now lives in Iceland where he was granted citizenship.
Tags: Bobby  Fischer  Boris  Spassky  chess 
Added: 12th December 2007
Views: 1901
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Posted By: Lava1964
1919 Black Sox The 1919 Chicago White Sox--known to baseball historians as the Black Sox--were bribed by gamblers to deliberately lose the World Series that autumn to the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds took the best-of-nine series five games to three. The two best pitchers on White Sox accounted for all five losses: Eddie Cicotte lost two games and Lefty Williams lost three. Eight members of the team were eventually banned from baseball for life when the details of the scandal broke in 1920.
Tags: baseball  Black  Sox  scandal 
Added: 20th August 2008
Views: 1521
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Posted By: Lava1964
Seattle Pilots The Seattle Pilots were an American League baseball club that lasted just one season--1969. This is the official team logo. The Pilots began play the same year as the Kansas City Royals, the San Diego Padres, and the Montreal Expos. The Pilots' owners were granted a team because they assured Major League Baseball a domed stadium would be built in Seattle within two years. That didn't happen. Instead they played at an antiquated minor league park called Sick's Stadium. The venue was so shoddy that seats were still being renovated on Opening Day. Visiting teams hated playing in Seattle because the ballpark's plumbing was horribly inadequate, forcing them to shower at their hotel. The stadium's toilets often failed when more than 10,000 people came to games. (That seldom happened; the Pilots drew just 677,944 fans for their 74 home dates. Still, the Pilots outdrew four other MLB clubs in 1969.) The team alienated potential supporters by having no local TV deal and charging as much as (gasp!) $6 per ticket--the highest price in MLB at the time. After finishing in last place in the American League West with a 64-98 record, and incurring losses of about $250,000, the team uprooted and moved to Milwaukee in 1970 and became the Brewers. Oddly enough, there is more interest in the Pilots now than when they were around. Mainly it is because of pitcher Jim Bouton's irreverent book, Ball Four.
Tags: Seattle  Pilots  baseball 
Added: 18th May 2009
Views: 1453
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Posted By: Lava1964
Football Point Spreads Invented During the football season, millions of dollars are bet legally and illegally every weekend on college and pro games. This is largely due to the system of point spreads. The invention of this new form of wagering occurred in the 1930s and is generally credited to Charlie McNeil, a Chicago stockbroker. Before the advent of point spreads, few people bet on football. Because most games had predictable outcomes and wagers could only be placed on outright wins, few gamblers bothered. (Why bet on a 15-1 longshot that wasn't likely to win?) Bookies were also reluctant to accept bets on overwhelming favorites or risk huge losses on upsets. McNeil's point spread system made football betting much more attractive by statistically levelling the playing field. Now favorites had to win by certain amounts for bettors to win. It also guaranteed a more equitable distribution of bets on each team, pleasing bookies and legal gaming establishments who make their profits largely on commissions.
Tags: football  point  spreads  gambling 
Added: 27th October 2009
Views: 1243
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Posted By: Lava1964
1919 Black Sox Scandal The worst sports scandal in American history revolved around the 1919 Chicago White Sox. The White Sox won their second American League pennant in three years and were heavily favored to beat the National League champion Cincinnati Reds in the best-of-nine World Series. But, lo and behold, the Reds won in eight games. Reporters and baseball insiders who watched the games knew something was amiss. White Sox pitchers Eddie Cicotte and Lefty Williams, the team's two aces, combined for all five Chicago losses. Their pitches seemed to lack zip. The White Sox also made uncharacteristic errors in the field and amateurish mental mistakes. It took nearly a year for evidence to surface that the eight of the White Sox had thrown the Series for gamblers. The press dubbed them the 'Black Sox,' and the eight were banned from pro baseball. Among them was the great Shoeless Joe Jackson, whose .356 career batting average is the third best ever. In order to restore the public's faith in Major League Baseball, Judge Kenesaw M. Landis was hired by the 16 team owners to serve as the sport's commissioner. He was given a lifetime contract and extraordinary powers. The White Sox did not play in another World Series until 1959.
Tags: baseball  Black  Sox  scandal 
Added: 20th November 2009
Views: 1680
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Posted By: Lava1964
United States Football League Sports history has shown that it is very difficult for nascent pro sports leagues to challenge old, established ones. Nevertheless, there are entrepreneurs always willing to try. From 1983 through 1985 the United States Football League existed as a spring/summer league. The USFL was the brainchild of David Dixon, a New Orleans antique dealer. In 1980, Dixon commissioned a study by Frank Magid Associates that found promising results for a spring and summer football league. He'd also formed a blueprint for the prospective league's operations, which included early television exposure, heavy promotion in home markets, and owners willing to absorb years of losses—-which he felt would be inevitable until the league found its feet. The USFL secured television contracts from both ABC and ESPN. The league also was able to sign several collegiate stars--most notably Herschel Walker who was still an underclassman. Mostly, however, the public responded with yawns. Television ratings and overall attendance were below expectations. Teams often spent far more than the proposed $1.8 million salary cap to land big-name players. In three seasons, 23 different teams played under the USFL banner. The Breakers were a typical USFL franchise, operating in three different cities (Boston, New Orleans, and Portland) over the three years. Teams typically wallowed in debt. The San Antonio Gunslingers were in such dire straits that some players, whose pay checks had bounced, were exchanging their complimentary game tickets for food and were boarding at the homes of sympathetic fans. The USFL was dealt its death blow in a courtroom in 1986 when it won an antitrust lawsuit versus the National Football League--but the jury awarded the USFL only $3 in damages. Still, some USFL innovations were evenutally adopted by the NFL. These included the two-point conversion, the use of instant replay to assist officials, and a salary cap.
Tags: USFL  football 
Added: 21st November 2009
Views: 1443
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Posted By: Lava1964
Harvey Haddix Tough Loss Baseball losses don't come much tougher than the one suffered by Harvey Haddix of the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 26, 1959. Pitching in Milwaukee's County Stadium against the defending National League champion Braves, the diminutive left-handed Haddix set down batter after batter. The trouble was that Milwaukee's Lew Burdette was fashioning a shutout too. After nine innings the score was tied 0-0, but only Haddix was perfect. Haddix got through 12 innings unscathed. However Milwaukee's Felix Mantilla reached first base on a throwing error by Pirates' third baseman Don Hoak to open the bottom of the 13th inning. Mantilla advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Eddie Mathews. Hank Aaron was intentionally walked to set up a force play. Joe Adcock blasted an apparent home run to end the game. Aaron foolishly left the basepath after Mantilla scored. Adcock was called out for passing Aaron and only got credit for a double. The game officially went into the books as a 1-0 Braves' win. Haddix went into the books as the man who retired 36 straight batters from the start of a game--yet lost.
Tags: Harvey  Haddix  baseball  pitcher 
Added: 5th June 2010
Views: 1454
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Posted By: Lava1964
Ray Combs The original ABC version of Family Feud was hosted by Richard Dawson from 1976 through 1985. Three years later the game show returned to the air on CBS (and then syndication) with Ray Combs as its host. Combs was originally a comedian who was successful as a warm-up act for studio audiences at TV tapings. His favorable reputation once got him a stand-up gig on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. When Family Feud was resurrected, Combs was inevitably compared to Richard Dawson--usually unfavorably. When Mark Goodson, Family Feud's creator, died in 1993, his son took control of the show. With ratings noticeably falling, it was announced that Combs would be replaced by old favorite Richard Dawson in 1994. At the end of the final Family Feud that Combs hosted, he left the stage immediately after he said goodbye--instead of mingling with the competing families, as was the custom. Combs never recovered from losing the show. A car accident caused a spinal injury that put him in constant pain. The comedy clubs he owned closed; he suffered major financial losses and lost his home. His wife of 18 years left him. Displying suicidal tendencies, Combs was hospitalized shortly after his 40th birthday. Not long after his release, police were called to Combs' home which he was violently trashing. He was taken to a mental institution. A short time later Combs committed suicide by hanging himself with his bed linen. In a weird coincidence, Richard Dawson died 16 years to the day that Ray Combs did.
Tags: Ray  Combs  suicide  game  show  host 
Added: 24th July 2010
Views: 6693
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Posted By: Lava1964
Brooklyn Dodgers Win 1955 World Series For 65 years the Brooklyn Dodgers lived in the shadow of their more successful neighbors, the New York Yankees. Fans of the Bums, a nickname lovingly bestowed on Brooklyn's ballplayers, suffered World Series losses to the Yanks in 1941, 1947, 1949, 1952, and 1953. 'Wait till next year!' became an annual lament for Dodgers fans. Finally, on October 4, 1955, the seemingly impossible happened: The Dodgers beat the Yankees 2-0 in the seventh game of the World Series. This is the cartoon that adorned the front page of the next day's New York Daily News. It was an extension of the jubilation that pervaded Brooklyn that autumn day. Former Daily News writer Pete Hamill described that day for Brooklyn fans as being 'a combination of the Liberation of Paris, V-J Day, and New Year's Eve as car horns blared, trolley cars ding-dinged their bells, church bells rang, pots were beaten outside fire escape windows, kids and grown-ups leaped with joy and exultation. Next Year! It was true. This was Next Year! The Dodgers beat the script. No: they wrote a new one.'
Tags: baseball  Brooklyn  Dodgers  Daily  News  cartoon 
Added: 1st August 2010
Views: 2720
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Posted By: Lava1964
Boxer Ron Lyle 1941-2011 Former heavyweight contender Ron Lyle died on November 26, 2011 as a result of complications from stomach surgery. He was 70. Lyle spent more than seven years in a Colorado prison for his part in a 1961 gang murder. He took up boxing while incarcerated. Lyle, paroled in 1969, did not have his first pro fight until 1971 when he was 30. He compiled an excellent 43-7-1 professional record, but his two most famous fights were losses. Lyle was stopped by Muhammad Ali in a May 16, 1975 world title fight in Las Vegas. Lyle was leading on the judges' scorecards when the fight was stopped, somewhat controversially by the standards of the day, in the 11th round. On January 24, 1976, Lyle engaged in a memorable crossroads fight versus George Foreman, also in Las Vegas. It was a wild, nationally televised brawl that featured both men in trouble several times. Each man was knocked down twice. Foreman eventually prevailed by a fifth-round knockout. Boxing historian Bert Sugar claimed it was "the most two-sided fight" he had hever seen.
Tags: Ron  Lyle  boxing 
Added: 28th November 2011
Views: 1002
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Posted By: Lava1964

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