Day in sports: Unbeaten boxing legend Rocky Marciano retires

Rocky Marciano celebrates after defeating Ezzard Charles in a heavyweight title bout at Yankee Stadium in June 1954.
(Associated Press)

Rocky Marciano said goodbye to the ring on this date in 1956 when he retired at age 31 as the undefeated heavyweight champion. He finished his boxing career with a 49-0 record that included six title defenses and 43 knockouts.

Marciano, the son of a Brockton, Mass., shoe cobbler, won the title in September 1952 when he knocked out “Jersey Joe” Walcott 43 seconds into the 13th round in Philadelphia.

Sports columnist Red Smith said Marciano was “the toughest, strongest, most completely dedicated fighter who ever wore gloves. Fear wasn’t in his vocabulary, and pain had no meaning.”

Here is a look at memorable games and outstanding sports performances on this date:


1960 — In a decision approved by the NBA’s board of governors, owner Bob Short announces that the Minneapolis Lakers will move to Los Angeles and play in the city’s Sports Arena. The team, which can’t work out an agreement to build a new arena in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, wants a venue with the seating capacity close to Boston Garden and New York’s Madison Square Garden.

1968 — Jimmy Ellis wins the world heavyweight title with a tedious 15-round decision over Jerry Quarry at Oakland. This is the final bout of an eight-man elimination tournament to fill Muhammad Ali’s vacated title. Ali was stripped of his championship and boxing license a year earlier for refusing to enter the draft.

1994 — Scott Erickson, who allowed the most hits in the big leagues the previous season, pitches the Minnesota Twins’ first no-hitter since 1967, a 6-0 shutout of the Milwaukee Brewers at the Metrodome. Erickson strikes out five and issues four walks.

2001 — Jamal Mashburn of the Charlotte Hornets sets an NBA playoff record by making all 25 of his free throws during a three-game sweep of the Miami Heat. Mashburn is 10 for 10 at the line in the clinching 94-79 win at Charlotte Coliseum.

2007 — Kirk Radomski, 37, a former New York Mets bat boy and clubhouse attendant, pleads guilty in federal district court to distributing performance-enhancing drugs to dozens of current and former players for 10 years, and in a plea agrees to help baseball’s steroids investigators.

2008 — Ashley Force, 25, is the first woman to win a national Funny Car race when she beats her father, icon John Force, in the finals of the NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta. Her winning run in a Ford Mustang is clocked at 4.837 seconds and 320.36 mph.

2013 — The Detroit Red Wings make the playoffs for a 22nd consecutive season, the longest streak in major professional sports, after Henrik Zetterberg scores two goals and adds an assist in a 3-0 win over the Dallas Stars. The Red Wings secure the seventh spot in the Western Conference, their lowest seeding since the NHL moved to the 1 vs. 8 format in 1993.


2014 — Three-time Olympic champion Kerri Walsh wins a record 47th FIVB beach volleyball world tour title, combining with U.S. teammate April Ross to beat Brazil’s Juliana Felisberta Silva and Maria Antonelli 21-11, 21-18 in China’s Fuzhou Open.

2014 — Lydia Ko, 17, birdies the final hole for her third LPGA victory and first as a professional as she holds off Stacy Lewis and Jenny Shin in the inaugural Swinging Skirts Classic at Lake Merced Golf Club in Daly City, Calif. Ko fires a three-under-par 69 in the final round to claim the $270,000 winner’s share of the purse.

Sources: The Times, Associated Press