Here's a look back at notable sports news on April 6 through the years.
Led by Grant Hill and Christian Laettner , the Duke Blue Devils (34-2) routed Michigan and its “Fab Five” freshmen, 71-51, to win their second consecutive NCAA hoops title. The Blue Devils were ranked No. 1 the entire season. Laettner started slowly, missing two shots. When Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski pulled his star from the game early, he knelt in front of him and “delivered a red-faced oration,” wrote Charlotte Observer columnist Ron Green. Evidently inspired, Laettner finished with a game-high 19 points. For Michigan, the loss was a humiliating end to a great season. “It wasn’t pressure. It wasn’t youth,” Detroit Free-Press columnist Mitch Albom wrote of the Wolverines. “It was simply a team that, on this night, was the better warrior.”
1896: The first modern Olympic Games began in Athens, Greece, where the ancient games started centuries earlier. “Great enthusiasm was manifested by the people,” a U.S. newspaper correspondent wrote, “and the occasion is observed as a national festival, the city being gaily and brilliantly decorated and thousands of sightseers being abroad.” James Connolly of the United States won the triple jump –- the first event of the Games.
1958: Arnold Palmer won the Masters, his first major tournament championship. “I am in this game to win championships -– the Masters, the Open, and PGA,” he told the Associated Press. “Money is not the biggest factor. I want to be the best.” He went on to three more Masters and three other majors.
1973: On Opening Day, the Pirates retired No. 21 for right fielder Roberto Clemente , who died in a plane crash off the coast of Puerto Rico on Dec. 31, 1972. Pirate Manny Sanguillen, perhaps Clemente’s closest friend on the team, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “I dreamt of Roberto last night. I dreamt I was diving and looking for his body in the water. I dreampt and I dreampt.”
1973: New York Yankees Ron Blomberg became the first designated hitter to bat in the history of the American League, which approved the DH four months earlier. In his first-at bat, Blomberg drew a bases-loaded walk from Red Sox starter Luis Tiant. Boston won, 15-5, on a blustery day at Fenway Park. Blomberg’s bat was sent to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. So was Boston DH Orlando Cepeda’s. “Whatever the reason,” wrote Phil Pepe of the New York Daily News, “the crowd loved [the DH], all 32,882 of them, and that’s what the rule was all about to begin with.”
1977: Eight years after the Seattle Pilots left the Pacific Northwest after only one season, Major League Baseball returned to Seattle. In the first game at the Kingdome, 57,762 fans watched the Mariners lose to the Angels, 7-3. “This building,” one fan said, “is the best thing to ever happen to Seattle.” The Mariners finished 64-98; the multi-purpose Kingdome was imploded in 2000.
1980: In his final regular-season game in the NHL, 51-year-old Hartford Whalers forward Gordie Howe scored a goal and added an assist in a 5-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings, the team he played for in 25 seasons. Howe played a record 26 seasons in the NHL.
1986: Pat Bradley won the Nabisco Dinah Shore title, the fourth of the six majors she won during her career. "I talked with my parents and they said cars were even driving past the house [in Massachusetts] blowing their horns," she said afterward.
1987: In a controversial split-decision, Sugar Ray Leonard stunned defending champ Marvelous Marvin Hagler to win the middleweight boxing title. Afterward, Hagler blamed boxing “politics” for the loss. “I’ve been a true champion in my sport, and now this,” he said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “I’ve never seen a split decision go against a champion. If Leonard takes my title, he should’ve had to knock me down, beat me up bad, and he didn’t.” Said Leonard of Hagler: “To me he’s still the undisputed middleweight champion.”
1987: Al Campanis, a longtime Dodgers executive, sparked a controversy on the TV show “Nightline,” telling host Ted Koppel that blacks may not be equipped to be in baseball management. “I was shocked,” retired baseball star Henry Aaron said, “and I think Mr. Campanis needs to apologize to every single black person in America …” Campanis apologized, but two days after he made the remarks, he was fired by the Dodgers.
1996: Major League Soccer kicked off in the United States, with San Jose defeating D.C. United, 1-0, on a goal by Eric Wynalda with less than three minutes left. “It was the best feeling scoring a goal I’ve ever had in my life," said Wynalda, who ripped off his jersey and slid to the ground after the game-winner.
2004: With a 70-61 victory over Tennessee, UConn became the second Division I women's basketball team to win three straight titles. UConn's Diana Taurasi, named Most Outstanding Player for the second straight NCAA Tournament, finished with a 139-8 record at the school. The night before, the UConn men's basketball team beat Georgia Tech for their second title in six seasons.
2018: A bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos, a Canadian junior hockey team, collided with a truck in Saskatchewan, claiming the lives of 16 –- including 10 players.
Longtime Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke died at 84 in 1997. “It’s true that not everybody liked Jack Kent Cooke,” Tony Kornheiser wrote. “But Jack Kent Cooke sure liked being Jack Kent Cooke. Folks came by and paid their respects to 'The Squire' as if curtseying to royalty, which, in a way, he was, given the thing that America respects most: money and power.”
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Player had to finish his college career at Duke to be eligible. UD indicates player went undrafted.