Into baseball's Hall of Fame, outfielders Rickey Henderson and
Jim Rice (above). A supreme leadoff hitter for nine teams, Henderson, the alltime leader in stolen bases (1,406) and runs (2,295), gained entry into Cooperstown in his first year of eligibility, being named on 94.8% of the ballots cast by baseball writers. The induction of Rice, an eight-time All-Star and the 1978 AL MVP for the Red Sox, ends a long climb. After seeing his vote totals slowly increase, he made the Hall in his 15th and final year of eligibility with 76.4% of the vote. Players must be named on 75% of ballots for induction.
After 13 years as an NFL head coach, the Colts' Tony Dungy. On Monday, nine days after Indianapolis was upset in the AFC playoffs by the Chargers, Dungy, 53, told the team he was stepping down, ending a seven-year run during which the Colts were 92--33 and went to the playoffs each season. In 2007 he became the only black coach to win a Super Bowl. Associate head coach Jim Caldwell, who had previously been anointed as Dungy's successor by owner Jim Irsay, takes over the team.
That she is pregnant, reigning WNBA MVP and Rookie of the Year
Candace Parker (below). The Los Angeles Sparks forward, 22, and her husband, Sacramento Kings forward Shelden Williams, are expecting their first child in May. Parker is likely to miss a chunk of the WNBA season, which begins June 6. "Shelden and I are very excited," said Parker.
Bob Knight as the NCAA's winningest men's basketball coach, Northern State's Don Meyer. The Wolves' win over the University of Mary last Saturday was the 903rd for Meyer, who began coaching at Hamline in 1972 and spent 24 years at Lipscomb before moving to Northern State, in Aberdeen, S.D., in '99. Meyer, 64, is coaching in a wheelchair after his lower left leg was amputated following a car crash in September (SI, Dec. 15, 2008). He is 76 wins behind alltime leader Harry Statham of NAIA McKendree University.
At age 80, longtime horse racing writer Joe Hirsch. He joined the
Daily Racing Form
in 1955 and quickly became the nation's preeminent turf writer, known for his wit ("Once upon a time, there was a horse named Kelso," he wrote about the five-time Horse of the Year, "but only once") and for being an ambassador for the sport of kings. In the '60s New York Jets owner Sonny Werblin, a close friend, asked him to live with Joe Namath to help keep the young QB on the straight and narrow. "Joe learned a lot about women from me over the years," said Namath, "but I learned so much more from him." Hirsch, who battled Parkinson's disease, retired in 2003.
By more than 1,000 people at a funeral in Minneapolis last Thursday, Twins owner Carl Pohlad, who died on Jan. 5 at age 93. Pohlad, a billionaire in the banking industry, bought the Twins in 1984. At the time he was credited for keeping the team in the Twin Cities, and Minnesota won the World Series in '87 and '91. But Pohlad later became a target of fans' anger for keeping the team's payroll low and threatening to move if lawmakers didn't finance a new stadium. A ballpark built mostly with public funds will open in 2010.
After being shot by a police officer in Bellaire, Texas, on New Year's Eve, Robbie Tolan, the son of former major leaguer Bobby Tolan. The younger Tolan, 23, was outside the family's home when he was approached by officers who mistakenly believed the SUV he was driving was stolen. An unarmed Tolan was forced to the ground; when he moved as if he might get up, he was shot in the chest. The bullet punctured a lung and lodged in his liver. Tolan, a former Nationals minor league outfielder who played in the Continental Baseball League last year, is expected to recover but remained hospitalized as of Monday. The incident, which has sparked protests and complaints that Tolan was the victim of racial profiling, is being investigated by the city.