At age 71 of pancreatic cancer, Andy Jurinko, who lovingly depicted baseball's Golden Age in more than 600 paintings. An avid Phillies fan, Jurinko spent two decades re-creating some of baseball's most famous photos, moments and venues (such as Comiskey Park, above) in realistic oil paintings. His acclaimed 2004 book Heart of the Game focused on the American League from 1946 through '60, when he believed baseball experienced a rebirth. Another effort, on the NL during the same era, comes out this year. While most of Jurinko's originals remain in private collections, his artwork has graced more than 20 books and two dozen of his lithographs are in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
As MLB's executive VP for baseball operations, Joe Torre. Commissioner Bud Selig announced last Saturday that Torre, who managed the Yankees to four World Series titles, will oversee on-field discipline, umpiring and other unspecified areas. The 70-year-old, who spent 47 years as a player and manager in the majors, will also represent general managers and field managers. Following the announcement Torre, whose name has come up as a candidate for job openings since he stepped down as the Dodgers' manager in October, said that his appointment "shuts the door" on a return to the dugout. When February rolled around this year, he added, "I didn't miss it."
By a magnitude 6.3 earthquake, the city of Christchurch in New Zealand, host country of the 2011 Rugby World Cup, which is set to begin on Sept. 9. The quake struck the country's second-largest city on Feb. 22, killing at least 154 people and severely damaging, among other buildings, AMI Stadium, which was to host seven matches this fall. Tournament spokesman Mike Jaspers could not say whether contingency plans—including moving games to Australia—would be implemented. In the meantime, Christchurch's Super Rugby team, the Canterbury Crusaders, will play its next two home games elsewhere and is unlikely to return this season.
At age 38 from hypertensive heart disease, street basketball star Troy Jackson, the brother of former NBA guard Mark Jackson. Nicknamed Escalade for his staggering size—he topped out at 6'10" and as much as 500 pounds—Jackson learned his game on the asphalt courts of Queens and at Madison Square Garden, where he watched his older brother play for St. John's and the Knicks. Troy later played for Louisville and with the Harlem Globetrotters before finding a home on the And1 Mixtape Tour streetball circuit. There, his surprising ballhandling skills, given his size, made him a fan favorite, and in 2005 he appeared on the cover of SI as one of the faces of the street basketball revolution.