This day in sports: Pirates Hall of Famer Willie Stargell dies at 61

Willie Stargell, who led the Pittsburgh Pirates to two World Series championships with his tape-measure home runs and patriarchal leadership, died on this date in 2001 of a stroke at a medical facility in Wilmington, N.C. He was 61.

Known as “Pops,” Stargell hit three home runs in the 1979 World Series against the Baltimore Orioles and was selected the Series’ most valuable player.

The Clippers and Lakers were scheduled to meet at Staples Center on Thursday night in a game that had been postponed Jan. 28 after the death of Kobe Bryant. The Clippers had won two of three games against the Lakers before the season was postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In baseball, the Dodgers would have played a day game in St. Louis, wrapping up a four-game series against the Cardinals.

Other sports canceled or postponed included the first round of the Masters, which has been rescheduled for Nov. 12-15, and first-round games of hockey’s Stanley Cup playoffs.

Here is a look at memorable games and outstanding sports performances on this date:

1946 — A crowd of more than 8,500 at the Olympic Auditorium in downtown Los Angeles watches Jackie Wilson defend his California State welterweight title against challenger Freddie Dixon. Wilson wins an easy 12-round decision.

1953 — Sam Snead shoots a first-round one-under-par 71 at the Masters. Snead thought he had a 70, but playing partner Byron Nelson puts down a four on Snead’s scorecard for the 18th hole instead of a birdie three. Snead signed the card without noticing the error and it’s ruled that the card is official.

1959 — Bill Sharman scores 29 points to lead the Boston Celtics to a 118-113 win and a four-game sweep of the Minneapolis Lakers in the NBA Finals. It is the Celtics’ second championship in three years. Elgin Baylor scores 30 for the Lakers.

1959 —The Baltimore Orioles pull off a triple play against the Washington Senators — the first on opening day in baseball history. First baseman Bob Boyd catches a line drive off the bat of Ed Fitzgerald, throws to shortstop Chico Carrasquel to nail Roy Sievers off second and takes the return throw to get Bob Allison off first. The Senators win anyway 9-2.

1962 — A ceremony at City Hall welcomes the Dodgers home from their spring training camp at Vero Beach, Fla., and a motorcade carries the team to its new stadium in Chavez Ravine. More than 2,000 attend a show at the ballpark and box lunches, which were included in the ticket price for the event, run out at 1,900.

1970 — The Lakers come back from a 3-1 series deficit to beat the Phoenix Suns in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals 124-94 at the Forum. Wilt Chamberlain dominates with 30 points, 27 rebounds and 11 blocked shots. It is only the second time in NBA history (Boston in 1968) that a team down 3-1 wins a seven-game series.

1980 — Pearl Moore scores 27 points and Janice Thomas adds 22 to lead the New York Stars to the Women’s Basketball League championship with a 125-114 win over the Iowa Comets at Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The Stars take the best-of-five game series, 3-1.

1983 — The Angels break out of a scoring slump (13 runs in four games) against Oakland with a 10-2 win over the Athletics. Rod Carew and Fred Lynn lead an 18-hit attack, with Carew hitting a grand slam off Matt Keough in the fifth inning.

SOURCE: The Times

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