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March 12, 2012
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March 12, 2012

For The Record

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At age 80, former Giants running back and coach Alex Webster, a two-time Pro Bowler and mainstay of the powerhouse New York teams of the late 1950s and early '60s. Plucked out of N.C. State by the Redskins in the 11th round of the '53 draft, Webster (above) was cut after training camp and played two seasons with the Montreal Alouettes before he saw NFL action with the Giants, the 6'3", 220-pound power runner led the team to six division titles and the '56 NFL championship, in which he scored two touchdowns in a 47--7 rout of the Bears. "Every time he got the ball, he turned into a grinding machine," teammate Frank Gifford wrote in his memoir, The Whole Ten Yards. After a 10-year playing career, Webster served as the Giants' head coach, from '69 to '73, and operated a bar and restaurant in Florida.

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At age 66 of a heart attack, former Monkees frontman Davy Jones, who in his teens tried to make it as a jockey. Born and raised in Manchester, England, the five-foot-nothing Jones (right) quit high school in 1961 in order to apprentice with trainer Basil Foster. He left to pursue a show business career when he was cast as the Artful Dodger in the London production of the musical Oliver!. The Monkees, a made-for-television pop rock band, made their debut on NBC in 1966 with Jones as the lead singer. More than 30 years later, in '96, Jones won his first race in silks, at Lingfield Park in the one-mile Ontario Amateur Riders' Handicap. Following his death, the park renamed its first two races on March 3 in Jones's honor.


To open in April, a new $744,000 soccer field at the U.S. detention camp at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba. The 28,000-square-foot recreation area, which will include a field and a soft gravel walkway, replaces a makeshift pitch that authorities closed two years ago due to drainage problems. Use of the field will be limited to residents of Camp 6, which houses more than 85% of Guantánamo's 171 prisoners—those deemed "compliant." While there has been opposition to the field's high price tag, Guantánamo officials have explained that the high costs resulted from the U.S.'s economic embargo against Cuba, which necessitates importing building supplies.


On drug charges, Brien Taylor, who in 1991 was the No. 1 overall pick, by the Yankees, in the MLB draft. According to police in Beaufort, N.C., undercover narcotics agents bought cocaine and crack from Taylor, now 40, over several months, leading to his arrest on March 1. The incident marks yet another strange twist in the tale of Taylor, who received a then record $1.55 million signing bonus in '91. After pitching well in his first two minor league seasons, he got into a bar fight and missed all of '94 while recovering from shoulder surgery. Taylor came back for parts of five more seasons, but he never regained his form and hung it up after five relief appearances for the Indians' Class A team in 2000. Taylor, one of only two No. 1 overall picks never to appear in the majors, is being held on $275,000 bond.


In Montreal General Hospital after a stroke, Jean Béliveau. The 80-year-old former center is the connective tissue between Maurice Richard and Guy Lafleur in the grand sweep of Canadiens history, noted for his elegance on the ice and dignity off it. Béliveau (right) played for 10 Stanley Cup winners and retired in 1971 as the NHL's alltime leading playoff scorer with 176 points in 162 games. He scored 507 regular-season goals in a 20-year career. At 6'3", Béliveau was the first of the big centers, the forerunner of such stars as Vincent Lecavalier and Evgeni Malkin. The hockey hall of famer, who suffered a stroke two years ago, has been bedeviled by health problems, starting with throat cancer in 2000.

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