Sun coverage: Notable sports deaths in 2009

November 25, 2009

Pioneer moved Bullets: Wizards owner Abe Pollin dead at 85

Abe Pollin, a pioneer in area sports and the first man to move a major league sports franchise out of Baltimore in the modern era, died Tuesday. He was 85.

July 16, 2009

Former Colts defensive back Munsey dies at 61

Nelson Munsey, who played six seasons for the Colts in the 1970s, has died of heart disease. He was 61.

June 6, 2009

Randy Smith, MVP of 1978 All-Star Game, dead at 60

Randy Smith, an All-Star guard with the Buffalo Braves in the 1970s who once held the NBA record for consecutive games played, died of a heart attack suffered while working out on a treadmill at Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut, where he worked. He was 60. Smith was Most Valuable Player of the 1978 All-Star Game, scoring 27 points as a representative of the Buffalo Braves. He played 13 seasons in the NBA, averaging 16.7 points, 4.6 assists and 3.7 rebounds, and appeared in 906 consecutive games from 1972 to 1983; his mark was broken by A.C. Green in 1997.

June 3, 2009

'He had a spirit that would not give up'

Mike Woods' death last week was much like his abbreviated NFL career with the Baltimore Colts: It went largely unnoticed.

June 3, 2009

Jerry Martin, retired track and field coach, dies Monday

Jerry Martin coached high school track and field in Baltimore County for more than 30 years before retiring in 1999. But Martin loved the sport so much that he couldn't stay away. It's why, in recent years, he even began volunteering to help the growing Hereford track program.

6:36 AM PDT, May 7, 2009

Former NASCAR driver Kevin Grubb found dead

Henrico County police are investigating the death of ex-NASCAR driver Kevin Grubb, who was found dead in an area motel room.

Jack Kemp, former quarterback and VP nominee, dies

Jack Kemp, the ex-quarterback, congressman, one-time vice-presidential nominee and self-described "bleeding-heart conservative," died Saturday. He was 73.

1:16 PM PDT, April 20, 2009

Former Heisman winner Doc Blanchard dies at 84

Felix "Doc" Blanchard was a college football superhero, the powerful Mr. Inside to Glenn Davis' Mr. Outside in Army's famous Heisman Trophy winning backfield of the 1940s.

April 14, 2009

Voice of Phils, 73, dies in D.C.

Radio and TV broadcaster Harry Kalas, whose signature "Outta here!" home run calls provided the soundtrack to Philadelphia baseball since 1971, died Monday after collapsing in the broadcast booth before the Phillies' game against the Washington Nationals. He was 73.

April 14, 2009

Former pitcher Mark Fidrych dies at 54

Mark Fidrych, an eccentric All-Star pitcher nicknamed "The Bird" whose career was shortened by injuries, was found dead Monday in an apparent accident at his farm in Northborough, Mass. He was 54.

6:44 PM PDT, April 13, 2009

Ex-Arizona State coach Bruce Snyder dies

Bruce Snyder, whose 20-year career as a college football coach included an unbeaten regular season at Arizona State, has died after a 10-month fight against cancer.

April 10, 2009

Angels' Nick Adenhart killed in car accident

Even as a youth, Los Angeles Angels rookie pitcher Nick Adenhart stood out among his peers.

April 9, 2009

Marvin Webster dead at 56

Marvin Webster lived the good life at Morgan State University in the early 1970s. He was the "Human Eraser," a 7-foot-1 shot blocker who intimidated opponents on the basketball court and who charmed friends and teammates off it with his caring, selfless personality.

April 9, 2009

David Steele: Webster is gone, but 'Eraser' lives on

Thirty years and six months ago, Marvin Webster was on the cover of Sports Illustrated, in hook-shot pose, wearing the uniform of the NBA team that had signed him to a then-shocking $3 million contract, next to a question asking whether he could "turn the Knicks around."

4:14 PM PDT, March 29, 2009

Former Maryland football coach Lou Saban dies at 87

He was a star football player in college, a champion pro football coach, a baseball president, a man with a short temper and very long resume, never averse to tackling something new.

March 25, 2009

Kell, O's All-Star, Hall of Famer, dies

George Kell, the Hall of Fame third baseman who edged Ted Williams for the 1949 American League batting title before putting the finishing touches on his 15-year career with the Orioles, died Tuesday. He was 86.

March 24, 2009

Sports Digest: Lil E. Tee, winner of '92 Derby, dead

Lil E. Tee, who upset heavily favored Arazi to win the 1992 Kentucky Derby, has died. He was 20. The horse was euthanized Wednesday at Old Frankfort Stud in Lexington, Ky. Farm owner Jim Plemmons said the horse fell ill last month after an operation to repair an obstructed bowel and struggled to recover. Under jockey Pat Day, Lil E. Tee, at 17-1, roared past the front-runners at Churchill Downs, including European star Arazi, to win the Derby by a length. It marked the only Derby victory of Day's Hall of Fame career. But Lil E. Tee's winning time of 2minutes, 3seconds over a fast track was considered slow, and most of the aftermath was spent wondering what went wrong with Arazi, who faded to eighth. Lil E. Tee's bid for a Triple Crown ended when he took fifth at the Preakness Stakes. He skipped the Belmont Stakes because of a lung infection. He retired with seven wins in 13 career starts.

2:58 PM PDT, March 15, 2009

Detroit Pistons owner Bill Davidson dies at age 86

Bill Davidson, the Detroit Pistons' Hall of Fame owner and noted philanthropist, died on Friday. He was 86.

7:58 AM PDT, March 12, 2009

Mixed martial arts figure Charles Lewis dies in Ferrari crash

He was a former lawman who called himself "Mask" and advocated a hold-nothing-back lifestyle that helped transform mixed martial arts fighting into a craze and turned his own fighting apparel company into a multimillion-dollar business.

4:49 PM PST, February 26, 2009

Ex-Bulls player, commentator Norm Van Lier dies

Norm Van Lier, one of the most popular players in Chicago Bulls history and one of the NBA's top defensive players in the 1970s, was found dead in his home just blocks away from the Bulls arena Thursday, authorities said. He was 61.

9:15 AM PST, February 19, 2009

Former Olympic hammer throw champ dead at 26

Kamila Skolimowska, a former Olympic hammer throw champion from Poland, died suddenly after collapsing in training. She was 26.

9:11 AM PST, February 19, 2009

Ex-Giants linebacker Van Pelt dies of apparent heart attack

Brad Van Pelt, a five-time Pro Bowl player with the New York Giants who helped form one of the NFL's best linebacking corps in the early 1980s, has died. He was 57.

9:12 AM PST, February 19, 2009

Mike Whitmarsh, former beach volleyball Olympian, dies at 46

Mike Whitmarsh, a 1996 Olympic silver medalist in beach volleyball, killed himself through carbon monoxide poisoning in the garage of a friend's home, officials said on Wednesday. He was 46.

7:07 PM PST, February 10, 2009

Motocross racer Jeremy Lusk dies after suffering head injuries in crash

Jeremy Lusk, an American freestyle motocross rider, died of head injuries Tuesday after crashing while trying to land a backflip in competition. He was 24.

2:58 PM PST, January 31, 2009

Ex-NFL lineman, union chief Gordy dies at 73

John Gordy, a former offensive lineman for the Detroit Lions and University of Tennessee who helped form the NFL Players' Association, died Friday. He was 73.

7:50 AM PST, January 31, 2009

Former heavyweight champion Ingemar Johansson dies at 76

Ingemar Johansson, the Swede who stunned the boxing world by knocking out Floyd Patterson to win the heavyweight title in 1959, has died, his daughter said Saturday. He was 76.

5:16 PM PST, January 22, 2009

Oldest ex-major leaguer Werber dies at 100

Bill Werber, who was the oldest living ex-major leaguer and a teammate of Babe Ruth, died Thursday. He was 100.

6:06 PM PST, January 21, 2009

Former Falcons DT Dronett dies at 38

Shane Dronett, who played 10 years in the NFL and started every game for the Atlanta Falcons' 1998 Super Bowl team, was found dead at his home on Wednesday. He was 38.

8:55 AM PST, January 21, 2009

Cleveland Browns Hall of Famer Lavelli dies at 85

Hall of Famer Dante "Gluefingers" Lavelli, a sure-handed receiver who helped the Cleveland Browns build a dynasty in the 1940s and 50s, has died. He was 85.

7:30 PM PST, January 13, 2009

Former NL manager Preston Gomez dies at 85

Preston Gomez, who managed the expansion San Diego Padres and later guided the Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs during a six-decade career in baseball, died Tuesday. He was 85.

5:10 PM PST, January 8, 2009

'Prince' Joe Henry of Negro Leagues dies at 78

Family, friends and baseball fans mourned the death of former Negro Leagues player "Prince" Joe Henry, known for his skills at entertaining crowds while he was a player.

January 8, 2009

Sports Digest: Vaughan, track coach at Mervo, dies at 41

Mervo track coach William Vaughan died Tuesday after complications from pneumonia. He was 41. Vaughan had been suffering from kidney failure in recent months and was awaiting a donor. Vaughan, a former Mervo runner, also worked with the cross country and girls badminton teams. In addition, he coached with the Ed Waters and Freddie Hendricks track clubs. A viewing and a memorial service are scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday in Mervo's auditorium.

January 6, 2009

Sports Digest: Twins owner Pohlad is dead at age 93

Carl Pohlad, a billionaire banker whose Minnesota Twins won two World Series titles during nearly his nearly quarter-century as owner, died yesterday. He was 93. When Pohlad paid Calvin Griffith $38 million for the Twins in 1984, he was widely credited for saving baseball in Minnesota. With the purchase, he inherited a promising group of young players, including Gary Gaetti, Kent Hrbek and future Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett. Minnesota won World Series championships in 1987 and 1991.

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