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April 02, 2012
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April 02, 2012

For The Record

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At age 75 following a long battle with lung cancer, colorful boxing writer Bert Sugar. Recognizable ringside or on a red carpet with his trademark brown fedora and cigar, Sugar (above) wrote more than 80 books, mostly about boxing history; published and edited Boxing Illustrated and The Ring; and appeared as himself in fight movies such as The Great White Hype and Rocky Balboa. Originally planning a career as a lawyer, Sugar graduated from Maryland and got his JD and MBA at Michigan, but he changed course once he got to New York City and fell in love with the sweet science. Ever a slave to sports, he got the call about his election to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2005—but he asked Hall director Ed Brophy to call back because he was watching his Wolverines in the Rose Bowl.

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At age 89 of pneumonia following a battle with lymphoma, Mel Parnell, the winningest lefthander in Red Sox history. Spending his entire 10-year career in Boston, for whom he threw a no-hitter in 1956, Parnell (right) was 123--75 with an ERA of 3.50 (including 71--30 and 3.40 at Fenway Park, which is notoriously difficult for lefty pitchers because of the Green Monster). His finest season came in '49, when he went 25--7 with a 2.77 ERA, started the All-Star Game and led the league in wins, complete games and innings pitched. Despite a formidable array of teammates, led by Ted Williams, Parnell's Red Sox never overcame the Yankees to win a pennant—but that was no fault of his own. He beat the Bombers 15 times from '49 to '53, earning himself the nickname Yank. An elbow injury ended Parnell's career in '57, and he managed in the minors before becoming a Red Sox broadcaster, where he helped popularize the term Pesky Pole for Fenway's rightfield foul marker.


By NASCAR, a 25-point penalty levied against Jimmie Johnson and a six-race suspension issued to his crew chief, Chad Knaus, for what had been deemed an illegal modification to Johnson's number 48 Chevrolet before Daytona on Feb. 17. Officials had taken issue with Johnson's C posts, which connect the car roof to the top of the rear quarter panel and decklid (an alteration of which might have lent an aerodynamic advantage). An appeals panel initially upheld NASCAR's penalties on March 13. But chief appellate officer John Middlebrook overturned the ruling a week later without giving a reason. Restoring the points catapults Johnson, who races for Hendrick Motorsports, from 17th to 11th in the Sprint Cup standings.

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At age 56 of mesothelioma, likely brought on by exposure earlier in life to asbestos, Australian climber Lincoln Hall, who was famously rescued in May 2006 on Mount Everest the morning after his team left him for dead. Hall had reached the summit but was overcome by altitude sickness shortly after he began his descent. Sherpas dragged him down the mountain, but as night fell and he showed no signs of life, the expedition leader told the group by radio to leave him and save themselves. Hall's family was notified of his death. The next morning, however, another group of climbers discovered him at 28,000 feet, sitting up and saying, "I imagine you are surprised to see me here." They abandoned their summit attempt and rescued him. "My Christian and Muslim friends call it a miracle, my climbing friends say I am a lucky bastard, and my Buddhist friends say I must have more to do on this Earth," Hall said afterward.


From a heart attack, former UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian. According to family members, Tarkanian, who led the Runnin' Rebels to their first national title, in 1990, was at a dermatologist's appointment on March 20 when he began wheezing. Tarkanian, 81, was taken to MountainView Hospital in Las Vegas, where an EKG confirmed that he had suffered the attack; he was expected to be released the next day, at which point doctors discovered a partially collapsed lung. A hospital spokeswoman later reported that Tarkanian was doing "very well" and that he was moved from intensive care.

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