SI Vault
February 27, 2012
| DIED |
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
February 27, 2012

For The Record

View CoverRead All Articles

| DIED |

At age 59 after a nine-month battle with colon and liver cancer, former Dolphins and 49ers receiver Freddie Solomon (above). A quarterback at the University of Tampa at a time when black players were scarce at the position, Solomon was drafted in the second round by Miami in 1975, then traded to the 49ers, where he played his last eight years, winning Super Bowls XVI and XIX. Despite having nearly 6,000 career receiving yards, he was best known as the player who Joe Montana first targeted during a play late in the '82 NFC Championship Game against the Cowboys; when Solomon slipped on the turf, Montana turned to Dwight Clark, who made the game-winning grab known now as the Catch. Later in life Solomon worked with at-risk kids through the Hillsborough County Sheriff's office.


After 19 MLB seasons, the last 17 with the Red Sox, 45-year-old knuckleballer Tim Wakefield. Drafted in 1988 by the Pirates as a first baseman, Wakefield (right) first experimented with the eccentric pitch when his manager, Woody Huyke, told him that he wouldn't make it as a position player. "I just want to be able to say I tried everything I could to make it," he said at the time. And make it he did, with an immediate splash, winning eight of his nine decisions as a rookie in 1992, when he also won both of his starts in Pittsburgh's NLCS loss to Atlanta. Two years later he spent an entire season in the minors, going 5--15 before the Red Sox picked him off the scrap heap in 1995. With Boston he won 186 games, third on the team's alltime list behind only Cy Young and Roger Clemens (tied at 192), and picked up two World Series rings, in 2004 and '07, the first of which was made possible when, during Game 3 of the '04 ALCS, he gave up his Game 4 start to pitch in relief in Boston's 19--8 loss to the Yankees. That move saved the Red Sox' bullpen for a 12-inning victory the next night. With Wakefield's retirement, the Mets' R.A. Dickey becomes the majors' only knuckleballer.


On drug charges, four TCU football players: junior linebacker Tanner Brock, junior safety Devin Johnson, junior defensive tackle D.J. Yendrey and sophomore offensive tackle Tyler Horn. The arrests came after a surprise drug test, administered on Feb. 1 by TCU coaches and triggered by a recruit's assertion that he would not attend the school because of player drug use. According to affadavits, all four student-athletes are charged with "delivery of marijuana" and in conversations with undercover officers two players estimated that between 60 and 82 of their teammates would fail the drug test. (Five players, reportedly, failed the test.) In addition to the four football players, the six-month investigation turned up 13 TCU students who were selling drugs; all 17 have been suspended.

| DIED |

At age 74 of an apparent heart attack, John Fairfax, who in 1969 became the first oarsman to cross an ocean alone when he traversed the Atlantic in a rowboat, and who three years later became the first to row across the Pacific, this time with his girlfriend, Sylvia Cook. A daredevil since his youth, Fairfax (right), who was born in Rome and moved at a young age with his mother to Argentina, ran away at 13 to live in the Amazon jungle and would come back to Buenos Aires to sell animal skins. He later hitchiked to Panama and spent three years as captain of a pirate ship, smuggling guns, whiskey and cigarettes all over the world. In the 1960s he moved to London and decided to act upon his childhood dream of rowing across an ocean. His trip in '69 from the Canary Islands to Hollywood Beach, Fla., took 180 days; his later journey, from San Francisco to Australia, took 361 days, during which time Fairfax and Cook were presumed dead. Fairfax spent most of the rest of his life in Las Vegas, where he supported himself playing baccarat


By German police for nearly seven hours last Sunday after a melee at a press conference that followed his unanimous-decision loss to Vitali Klitschko, British heavyweight Dereck Chisora. After the fight Chisora took exception to heckling from fellow Brit David Haye, a former world champion who had crashed the presser in hopes of challenging Klitschko. When Haye claimed to the crowd that he could knock Chisora out, Chisora walked off the stage and put his fist on Haye's jaw. Haye responded with an elbow to Chisora's face, then hit Chisora with a bottle. Chisora was released without charge; Haye returned to England before authorities could question him.