October Classic Moments


"Classic Moments," the biggest sports news event of the day in the 20th century, is archived daily in this area.

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Oct. 1
Boxing
1975: Joe Frazier had won the first bout and Muhammad Ali the second. It's 10:45 a.m. in the Philippines when their rubber match, "The Thrilla in Manila," starts, and the fight lives up to the hype. The bout is really three fights in one: The first has Ali outboxing and outscoring Frazier, nailing him with clean, sharp shots. The second fight, from the fifth through the 11th rounds, has Frazier pounding the champion terribly. The third fight starts in the 12th and somehow Ali, with the will of a champion, tears into Frazier for the next three rounds.

When the bell rings for the 15th round, Frazier, with his eyes almost completely shut, stays in his corner as his trainer, Eddie Futch, throws in the towel. Later, Frazier says, "Man, I hit him with punches that'd bring down the walls of a city. Lawdy, lawdy, he's a great champion."

Ali says of the fight, "It was like death. Closest thing to dying that I know of."

Baseball
1903: When the Boston Pilgrims of the young American League accepted a challenge from owner Barney Dreyfuss, owner of the National League champion Pittsburgh Pirates, the modern World Series was born. Today in Boston, in the first inning of the first game, the Pirates jump on Cy Young, who had a 28-9 record in the regular season, for four runs, with three being unearned.

That's enough support for Pirates right-hander Deacon Phillippe, who went 25-9. He strikes out 10 and wins 7-3 before some 16,000 fans. Right fielder Jimmy Sebring leads the Pittsburgh offense with four runs batted in and hits the first-ever Series homer.

The New York Times' coverage of the game is one paragraph.

The upstart Pilgrims will rebound and win the best-of-nine Series in eight games, with Bill Dineen winning three games and Young two.

College football
1983: Playing in Division I-AA, players don't get much pub. Not even Jerry Rice. Not even for setting an NCAA record, for all divisions, by catching 24 passes, which is what the Mississippi Valley State junior wide receiver accomplishes today against Southern University. The catches account for 219 yards.

The next year, Rice will set Division I-AA season records in reception yardage with 1,682 (on 103 catches) and most yards per game with an average of 168.2. He will end his four-year college career with an average of 114.5 yards a game, accumulating 4,693 yards in 41 games.

He will be selected No. 16 in the first round by the San Francisco 49ers in the 1985 draft, the third wide receiver taken after Al Toon (by the Jets) and Eddie Brown (by the Bengals).

By the way, how did Rice fare in the NFL?
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Oct. 2
Baseball
1978: Coming from behind is nothing new for the New York Yankees. They trailed Boston by 14 games in mid-July, and here they are today in a one-game playoff against the Red Sox for the American League East title.

Yankees shortstop Bucky Dent, who has four homers and 37 RBI, faces right-hander Mike Torrez, a 16-game winner, with two runners on base and the Red Sox leading 2-0. Dent lifts a high fly ball to left field at Fenway Park, and when it goes over the Green Monster, the Yankees have a 3-2 lead. Dent becomes an unlikely star.

Carl Yastrzemski, who has been a star for the Red Sox for years, has a chance to be a hero again in the ninth inning when he bats with runners at the corners with two outs and Boston down 5-4. But Goose Gossage retires Yaz on a popup to third baseman Graig Nettles, nailing down Ron Guidry's 25th victory (against three defeats) and, more importantly, the division crown for the Yankees.

Baseball
Just call it K Day ...

1953: Brooklyn Dodgers right-hander Carl Erskine, who lasted just one inning in the World Series opener two days ago, sets a Series record by fanning 14 New York Yankees -- including Mickey Mantle and Joe Collins four times each -- and wins 3-2 in Game 3.

1963: Exactly 10 years later, another Dodgers pitcher (though the team is now located in Los Angeles), left-hander Sandy Koufax, breaks that record in Game 1 of the Series. Koufax, who struck out a then-National League record 306 this season, fans the first five Yankees and finishes with 15 strikeouts in a 5-2 victory.

1968: Koufax's record lasts exactly five years. St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Bob Gibson, the National League MVP and Cy Young Award winner with a 1.12 ERA, fans 17 Tigers in a five-hit, 4-0 whitewashing of Detroit in the Series opener. Gibson gets the record in the ninth inning when he strikes out the side -- Al Kaline, Norm Cash and Willie Horton.
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Oct. 3
Baseball
1951: The New York Giants had made an incredible run, coming from 13½ games behind Brooklyn on Aug. 11 to force a three-game playoff with the Dodgers. But it looks as if the Giants have run out of miracles when the Dodgers score three runs in the eighth inning to take a 4-1 lead in today's decisive third game.

But in the ninth the Giants get three hits off Don Newcombe, closing the deficit to 4-2 and putting runners on second and third with one out. Dodgers manager Charlie Dressen brings in Ralph Branca to pitch. They discuss whether to intentionally walk Bobby Thomson, who has 31 homers, with first base open and Willie Mays on deck, but decide not to put the winning run on base.

Branca's first pitch is a called strike. His second pitch is the climax of "The Miracle of Coogan's Bluff." Thomson sends it into the left-field stands in the Polo Grounds for possibly the most famous homer in baseball history, giving the Giants an amazing 5-4 victory and sending them into the World Series. When the long and lean Scot from Staten Island completes his journey around the bases, his jubilant teammates mob him at home plate. And in the broadcast booth, Russ Hodges is screaming, "The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!"

1920: George Sisler, one of the top fielding first basemen of all-time, caps his sensational season at the plate by going 3-for-5. It gives him 257 hits, a major-league record that still stands. The Hall of Famer hits .407 to win the first of his two batting titles.

He finishes with 137 runs, 122 runs batted in, and 19 homers, all career-best figures. He also steals 42 bases.

In today's 16-7 victory over the Chicago White Sox, Sisler moves from first base to the pitching mound in the ninth inning. In pitching a scoreless inning, the left-hander does not give up a hit and strikes out two.

1947: Bill Bevens, New York Yankees right-hander, is one out from pitching the first no-hitter in World Series history. But Brooklyn Dodgers pinch-hitter Cookie Lavagetto spoils not only Bevens' bid for immortality, but also his try for victory.

Trailing 2-1 with two outs in the ninth, and with Dodgers on first and second via walks, Dodgers manager Burt Shotton sends Lavagetto up to bat for leadoff hitter Eddie Stanky. It is only the second time all year Stanky is replaced by a pinch-hitter. Lavagetto raps Bevens' second pitch over Tommy Heinrich's head and off the right-field wall in Ebbets Field. The double scores two pinch-runners and gives the Dodgers a 3-2 victory and ties the Series at two games apiece.

While Bevens doesn't get into the record books as the first to throw a Series no-hitter, he gets into it another way today: His 10 walks are a Series record.

College football
1987: In a battle of unbeaten Florida powerhouses, Florida State leads 19-3 late in the third quarter before Miami quarterback Steve Walsh throws for three touchdown passes in the final 16 minutes. Walsh's 73-yard TD toss to Michael Irvin with 2:22 left gives Miami a 26-19 lead.

But Florida State charges back, and quarterback Danny McManus hits Ronald Lewis with an 18-yard touchdown pass with 42 seconds remaining, cutting the Seminoles' deficit to one. FSU coach Bobby Bowden goes for two points on the conversion, but Miami defensive back Bubba McDowell knocks down McManus' pass to preserve the stunning 26-25 win.

The victory extends Miami's regular-season streak to 24. The Hurricanes will win the national championship with a 12-0 record when they defeat No. 1 Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl on New Year's Day.
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Oct. 4
Baseball
1913: In a meaningless season finale, the second-place Senators' 10-9 victory over the fourth-place Boston Red Sox in Washington, D.C., is more farce than baseball. Players of both teams indulge in comedy and give their opponents an opportunity to fatten their batting averages. Catchers and pitchers turn into fielders on "Army Day," with about 3,000 soldiers attending.

Walter Johnson, the Senators' star pitcher with a 36-7 record, plays center field and goes 2-for-3 and scores two runs. He relieves in the ninth inning and allows two runs. These two runs will ultimately cost him a place in the record book. His earned-run average rises from 1.09 to 1.14. In 1968, St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Bob Gibson will register a 1.12 ERA, giving him the modern major-league record for lowest ERA for any pitcher with a minimum of 300 innings.

NFL
1987: It's Day 13 of the NFL strike. After 12 days of negotiations, demonstrations, accusations, union meetings, owner meetings, sponsor pullouts, picket lines, egg throwing, name calling and team restocking, the NFL resumes play today with some 1,000 non-union players joining almost 90 non-striking players.

There are sparse crowds and heavy picketing. Average attendance for the 13 games is 16,987, off significantly from the 90 percent of capacity of last season and the first two games this year. Fewer than 5,000 fans attend games in Philadelphia and in the Silverdome in Pontiac, Mich. In Philadelphia, a convoy of horn-honking trucks, driven by teamsters, circles Veterans Stadium in sympathy with the strikers.

Outside Los Angeles Coliseum, striking Raiders inflate hundreds of red helium balloons carrying the message: "Down with scab football. I support NFL players."
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Oct. 5
College football
1985: Here's to you, Mr. Robinson. The nation turns it eyes on Grambling's Eddie Robinson as he surpasses Bear Bryant as the winningest coach in college football history. No. 324 is a 27-7 victory over Prairie View A&M before 36,652 fans at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. As the game ends, his players surround Robinson and chant, "No mo' Bear!"

It is a crying day for the emotional coach. The 66-year-old Robinson sheds tears at an 11 a.m. team meeting, and weeps again in the locker room after the game as he thanks his current players as well as his former players.

Robinson, in his 43rd year at Grambling, has a 324-106-15 record, compared to Bryant's 323-85-17 in 38 seasons. Robinson will retire after the 1997 season with a record of 408-165-15 -- the most wins by a football coach in any college division -- and the pleasure of graduating about 85 percent of his players.

NFL
1990: Cincinnati Bengals coach Sam Wyche believes some of his players might be embarrassed by having women see them undressed. NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue believes the locker room should be open after games to all reporters, whether male or female.

Four days ago, Wyche barred USA Today sportswriter Denise Tom from the locker room after the Bengals' 31-16 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, the second time Wyche has violated league policy on this issue. Tagliabue responds today by fining Wyche one-seventeenth of his salary, reportedly $500,000. The fine of about $29,412 is the largest ever imposed on an NFL coach.

"No amount of fine will force me to change my conviction on this matter," Wyche says. "The commissioner feels like it's more important to fine me than to seek another solution."
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Oct. 6
NBA
1993: Michael Jordan, believing he has no more worlds left to conquer as a basketball player, retires, at age 30, from the NBA and from the spotlight that had become so uncomfortable for him. The 6-foot-6 guard, who played nine years, had led the Chicago Bulls to championships the past three seasons, winning the Finals MVP each year. He also has won the regular-season MVP three times, and for the past seven seasons he has won the scoring title and been All-NBA first-team.

"I have nothing more to prove in basketball," he says at the press conference. "I have no more challenges that I felt I could get motivated for. It doesn't have anything to do with my father's passing, or media pressure, or anything other than that I had achieved everything in basketball I could."

Jordan, though, would change his mind, realizing there was more he could achieve. After playing minor-league baseball in 1994, he returned to the Bulls late in the 1994-95 season. His incredible play was the major reason the Bulls pulled off another three-peat, in 1996, '97 and '98.
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Oct. 7
NFL
1984: The play is "Toss 28 Weak." The Chicago Bears have run it countless times, but today Walter Payton runs into history on it. Taking the pitchout to his left behind fullback Matt Suhey and left guard Mark Bortz, Payton rushes for sx yards and past Jim Brown in the record book. Brown had gained 12,312 yards in his nine-year career, but Payton passes him as the NFL's all-time rushing leader.

Payton, in his 10th season, runs for 154 yards in the Bears' 20-7 victory over the New Orleans Saints, finishing the day with 12,400 yards in his career. Payton also breaks a record he shared with Brown, as this is his 59th game of running for at least 100 yards. After the game, Payton receives a call from President Ronald Reagan, who offers his congratulations from aboard Air Force One, flying him to Louisville for tonight's debate with Walter Mondale.

Payton will retire after the 1987 season, having run for 16,726 yards, still the NFL's rushing record.

Baseball
1933: Carl Hubbell had provided the New York Giants with two victories against the Washington Senators in the World Series, not allowing an earned run in 20 innings. But with Hubbell resting today, the Giants rely on their hitting star to end the Series. Mel Ott, who had four hits and three RBI in the opener, wins Game 5 when his 10th-inning drive bounces off center fielder Fred Schulte's glove into the bleachers in left-center for the homer that gives the Giants a 4-3 victory at Washington, D.C.

Schulte, whose three-run homer in the sixth tied the game, gets his glove on Ott's blast just as it is about to drop into the low temporary stands that had been constructed in front of the regular pavilion. The ball and the player are lost from sight as Schulte topples over the fence into the laps of some fans.

When the second-base umpire signals that it's a double, the Giants argue the call. The home-plate and first-base umpires overrule their co-worker, and award Ott a homer, providing the Giants with the Series-winning run in Bill Terry's first complete season as manager.
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Oct. 8
Baseball
1956: Two years ago, Don Larsen had a 3-21 record with Baltimore. Today, he's the toast of the baseball world. The imperfect man pitches a perfect game -- in the World Series. The New York Yankees right-hander, known more for his partying than pitching, hurls the only perfect game (and only no-hitter as well) in Series history in beating the Brooklyn Dodgers 2-0.

Three days after blowing a 6-0 lead in Game 2, the no-windup pitcher winds up his classic performance in Game 5 by slipping a called third strike past pinch-hitter Dale Mitchell before 64,519 breathless fans at Yankee Stadium.

Larsen, who came to the Yankees in an 18-player trade, is helped by three outstanding fielding plays. In the second inning, Jackie Robinson's hard grounder goes off third baseman Andy Carey's glove. But shortstop Gil McDougald recovers the ball in time to throw out Robinson. In the fifth, center fielder Mickey Mantle, whose homer had given the Yankees a 1-0 lead, streaks into deep left-center to make a backhanded catch and rob Gil Hodges of an extra-base hit. In the eighth, it's Carey's turn to rob Hodges, as he lunges to catch Hodges' liner inches off the ground.

On a more negative note for Larsen, his estranged wife files a court action seeking to withhold his Series money because he is delinquent in his support payments.

Baseball
1973: With the Cincinnati Reds behind by seven runs in Game 3 of the playoffs, Pete Rose lets his frustration warp his judgment. Out at second base trying to break up a double play in the fifth inning, the 200-pound Rose angrily shoves New York Mets 146-pound shortstop Bud Harrelson to trigger a baseball brawl. Rose-Harrelson is the main event, with several other bouts also taking place.

When Rose goes out to left field in the bottom of the inning, fans at Shea Stadium pelt him with beer cans, cups and assorted debris. After ducking a whisky bottle, the fiery Rose throws beer cans back at the box-seat patrons. The Reds evacuate the field and the Mets are warned that the game will be forfeited unless order is restored.

Manager Yogi Berra heads a peace delegation of Willie Mays, Tom Seaver, Cleon Jones and Rusty Staub. The fans heed their plea for calm. After attendants clear the debris, the Mets complete their 9-2 victory.
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Oct. 9
Baseball
1934: The St. Louis Cardinals have a commanding lead in Game 7 of the World Series when Ducky Medwick slides hard into third base with a triple in the sixth inning and kicks out with his left foot at Detroit Tigers third baseman Marvin Owen. Medwick misses his mark, but players from both teams rush to third base. The umpires separate them and restore peace.

When Medwick goes out to left field in the bottom of the inning, Detroit fans in the wooden bleachers pelt him with pop bottles, oranges and apples. After attendants clear the debris, Medwick returns to his position, and the fans continue their barrage. Four times this goes on. Finally, after 20 minutes, commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis orders Medwick's removal from the game, with the Cardinals leading 9-0. When Chick Fullis replaces Medwick in left, the crowd of 40,902 cheers.

The Cardinals go on to win 11-0 behind Dizzy Dean's six-hitter, his second victory in the Series. His brother Daffy had won the other two games for the Cardinals.

1916: Before Babe Ruth became the greatest slugger in baseball, he was one of the game's top pitchers. The Boston Red Sox southpaw was 23-12 with an American League-leading 1.75 ERA in 323 2/3 innings during the 1916 season.

Today in Boston, in Game 2 of the World Series, Ruth pitches a Series record 14-inning complete game as he beats the Brooklyn Robins 2-1 in the longest game in Series history. Ruth allows six hits, walks three and strikes out four. The only run he allows comes in the first inning when Hy Myers, who had hit only three homers all season, wallops an inside-the-parker.

This is Ruth's only appearance in the Series, which will be won by Boston in five games. At the plate, he goes 0-for-5.
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Oct. 10
Baseball
1968: Bob Gibson, the MVP and Cy Young Award winner of the Cardinals, is known as one of the game's best big-game pitchers. Twice in the previous four years he has pitched St. Louis to victory in Game 7 of the World Series.

Today, though, he meets his match in another Game 7. Mickey Lolich, the Tigers' Avis to Denny McLain's Hertz, wins his third complete game of the Series, outdueling Gibson for a 4-1 victory in St. Louis and giving the Tigers their first world championship in 23 years, to the day. Pitching on two days' rest, the left-hander allows just five hits and doesn't give up a run until Mike Shannon's homer with two outs in the ninth.

"All my life, somebody has been a big star and Lolich was No. 2," he says later. "I figured my day would come, and this was it."

The game is scoreless going into the seventh, with Gibson pitching a one-hitter. But with two outs, he yields two singles and then Jim Northrup hits a long drive to center field. When the usually sure-footed Curt Flood misjudges the ball and slips on the grass, Northrup has a two-run triple. That's all Lolich needs.

1924: It appears as if the baseball gods want Washington and Walter Johnson to finally win a World Series. Thanks to two bad bounces and four scoreless innings of relief by Johnson in Game 7, the result is the Senators' first -- and only -- Series title.

The Senators trail the New York Giants 3-1 with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, when Bucky Harris hits a routine grounder to third. But the ball hits a pebble and bounces over rookie Freddie Lindstrom's head for a game-tying, two-run single. Johnson, who is 0-2 in the Series after going 23-7 in the season, enters in the ninth and gets into trouble when Frankie Frisch hits a one-out triple. But the 18-year veteran strands Frisch.

In the 12th, Giants catcher Hank Gowdy stumbles over his mask and drops Muddy Ruel's foul pop-up. Given another chance, Ruel doubles. Two batters later, Earl McNeely hits a grounder to third. But just like the one four innings before, this ball also, incredibly, takes a bad hop over Lindstrom's head. The hit scores Ruel to give Washington a 4-3 win.

"The good Lord just couldn't bear to see a fine fellow like Walter Johnson lose again," says losing pitcher Jack Bentley.

College football
1981: Marcus Allen is five-for-five after today's performance. Five games into the season, and the USC tailback has five 200-yard rushing performances, the first college player to ever do that. Against Arizona, he gains 211 yards on 26 carries at the Los Angeles Coliseum. It gives him 1,136 yards on the season. He scores on a 74-yard run when he breaks through the line of scrimmage, then cuts back on his way to paydirt as USC takes a 7-0 lead five minutes into the game.

Despite tacking on a field goal to boost the lead to 10-0, Allen and his No. 1-ranked Trojans can't hold off Arizona, which registers a 13-10 upset.

The 6-foot-2, 202-pound senior will finish the season with eight 200-yard games and 2,342 yards, becoming the first player to crack the 2,000-yard barrier. He will average 36.6 carries a game on his way to the Heisman Trophy.
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Oct. 11
Baseball
1927: Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs this season but didn't win the American League MVP. That's because he's ineligible, having won the award in 1923, and the junior circuit doesn't permit players to win it more than once.

Three days after the New York Yankees completed their World Series sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates, it's announced today that the MVP goes to the player who hits behind Ruth in the Yankees' lineup. Lou Gehrig wins the coveted honor with an awesome season: 47 home runs (only Ruth has ever hit more), .373 batting average (third best in the league), 218 hits (second) and a major-league-leading 175 runs batted in (11 more than Ruth), 447 total bases (30 more than the Babe) and 52 doubles.

1978: It's the duel baseball fans love: Fastball pitcher vs. fastball hitter. Bob Welch vs. Reggie Jackson. Ninth inning, game on the line. Second game of the World Series.

The Los Angeles Dodgers cling to a 4-3 lead when Welch, a 21-year-old rookie right-hander, enters with runners on first and second with one out. He retires Thurman Munson, setting up his confrontation with Mr. October, who has already knocked in all three Yankee runs. Jackson gets his cuts, but the best he can do is foul off four pitches as the count runs full in this six-minute at-bat.

Jackson adjusts his glasses. Welch stands motionless. The runners move on the pitch. Jackson swings at a high inside fastball. He misses. Game over.

Jackson angrily stomps away, and flings his bat, shattering it against the dugout wall. Manager Bob Lemon offers consolation, but Reggie nudges him aside. Later, Jackson praises Welch, "I got beat, that's all."

NHL
1984: Big things are expected from Mario Lemieux, the first selection in the 1984 NHL draft who had 133 goals and 149 assists for 282 points in junior hockey last season. The Pittsburgh Penguins center, who wears No. 66 (Wayne Gretzky's No. 99 turned upside down), doesn't disappoint.

Today, in his first game, on his first shift, on his first shot, he scores his first goal. It comes at 2:59 of the first period, past Boston goalie Pete Peeters, in a 4-3 loss to the Bruins. Lemieux will go on to be Rookie of the Year, scoring 100 points, with 43 goals.

In his 12-year career, Super Mario will score 613 goals, win six scoring titles, become the only player in NHL history to average more than two points a game and lead the Penguins to two Stanley Cups.

NFL
1981: No punt returner has ever had a more productive afternoon than the one LeRoy Irvin of the Los Angeles Rams has in Atlanta. In the first quarter he returns a punt 75 yards for a touchdown, and in the fourth quarter he takes one back 84 yards for another score in the Rams' 37-35 victory.

While the two touchdowns tie an NFL record, Irvin gets a line for himself in the record book with his total of 207 yards, on six returns. This breaks the mark of 205 set by Oakland's George Atkinson 13 years before. Irvin's performance enables the Rams and Falcons to set an NFL record for most combined yards on punt returns with 282 (219 for the Rams and 63 for Atlanta).
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Oct. 12
Baseball
1986: Donnie Moore enters the game knowing the California Angels are one out from reaching their first World Series in their 26-year history. But instead of sticking with his fastball, which Dave Henderson has been late on, the right-handed reliever throws a split-finger on a two-ball, two-strike count. Henderson rips it for a two-run homer to give the Boston Red Sox a 6-5 lead in the ninth inning of Game 5 of their American League playoff series in Anaheim.

The Angels tie the game in the bottom of the inning. Moore, who gets Jim Rice to hit into a double play with runners on the corners in the 10th, gives up a sacrifice fly to that man Henderson again in the 11th. After Boston's 7-6 win, Moore says, "I blew it. (On the homer) he (Henderson) hit an off-speed pitch that I shouldn't have even thought about throwing."

Boston will win the next two games as well to capture the pennant.

Three years later, the 35-year-old Moore will shoot and critically wound his wife, Tonya, with whom police say he had been arguing, and then shoot and kill himself. Friends will say that Moore was haunted by memories of the homer he gave up to Henderson.

NFL
1986: Walter Payton, the NFL's all-time leading rusher, reaches another milestone. The Chicago Bears' versatile running back becomes the first player to reach 20,000 all-purpose yards as he gains 106 total yards in a 20-7 victory over the Houston Oilers.

Payton, in his 12th year in the league, gains 76 yards on 22 carries and catches one pass for 30 yards to boost his career total to 20,045 yards rushing, receiving and returning kicks. He will retire after the 1987 season with 21,803 all-purpose yards (16,726 running, 4,538 receiving and 539 returning kickoffs), still the only player to ever crack the 20,000-yard barrier.
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Oct. 13
Baseball
1960: Danny Murtaugh, the Pittsburgh Pirates' manager, played Cupid when he introduced Bill Mazeroski, his bashful second baseman, to Mazeroski's future wife. Maz says thank you to Murtaugh today when he hits the only home run that ends a World Series Game 7.

It doesn't look as if the Pirates will need any heroics from Mazeroski when they score five runs in the eighth inning, the final three on Hal Smith's homer, to take a 9-7 lead over the Yankees. But New York rallies for two runs in the ninth, with some elusive base running by Mickey Mantle at first base allowing the tying run to score.

In the bottom of the inning, the leadoff batter is Mazeroski, who hit 11 homers during the season and whose two-run homer in the Series opener helped the Pirates to a 6-4 victory. Maz gains more than his 15 minutes of fame when he bashes a drive over the left-field wall off Ralph Terry. It gives the Pirates their first world championship in 35 years even though they are outscored 55-27 in the seven games.
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Oct. 14
Baseball
1905: During the season, Christy Mathewson had his third consecutive 30-win year, compiling a 31-8 record with a 1.27 ERA and eight shutouts. The New York Giants ace continued his impressive pitching in the second World Series, pitching a pair of four-hit shutouts against the Philadelphia Athletics. Does he have one more shutout in him going into today?

Yes. In recording his third shutout in six days, Mathewson holds the Athletics to six hits in a 2-0 Game 5 victory, much to the delight of the fans, who mob the field at the Polo Grounds after the Giants win the Series. In his three victories, the 27-year-old right-hander strikes out 18, walks one and does not permit a runner to reach third.

Mathewson -- and each of his teammates -- receives $1,141.41 for winning the Series.
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Oct. 15
Baseball
1988: It could only happen in Hollywood. Life imitates the movies (see "The Natural") when Kirk Gibson pulls a Roy Hobbs. For most of Game 1 of the World Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers' injured star is in the trainer's room, "sitting in a tub of ice like a broken-down racehorse," as Los Angeles Times columnist Jim Murray says.

It doesn't appear as if Gibson, who has a sprained ligament in his right knee and lingering soreness from a strained left hamstring, will play. Oakland relief ace Dennis Eckersley, protecting a 4-3 lead (courtesy of Jose Canseco's first career grand slam), retires the first two Dodgers in the bottom of the ninth. But Eckersley, who walked only 11 batters all season in compiling 45 saves, issues a pass to pinch-hitter Mike Davis.

Out of the dugout limps Gibson, batting for Alejandro Pena. The count runs full. Eckersley wants to throw a fastball, but acquiesces to catcher Ron Hassey, who signals for a slider. Gibson, using virtually one hand, turns on the pitch and bashes it over the right-field wall to give the Dodgers a stunning 5-4 victory. Gibson pumps his arms rounding the bases as Dodger Stadium explodes.

The Dodgers will win the Series in five games, during which Gibson will not bat again.

College football
1988: Kirk Gibson's home run pushes the Notre Dame-Miami game from today's lead sports story. Tensions are high at Notre Dame, and before the game even starts, a brawl in the tunnel leading to the field develops between players on the two undefeated teams.

Seven Miami turnovers, including a controversial one at the Notre Dame goal line with seven minutes left, help the No. 4-ranked Irish build leads of 21-7 and 31-21. Miami quarterback Steve Walsh's fourth touchdown pass of the game cuts the deficit to 31-30 with 45 seconds left. Jimmy Johnson, coach of the top-ranked Hurricanes, goes for the victory. But safety Pat Terrell bats away Walsh's pass on the two-point conversion attempt to end Miami's 36-game regular-season winning streak.

The Irish will go on to win the national championship with a 12-0 record, while Miami will finish No. 2 at 11-1.
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Oct. 16
Track and field
1968: At the Olympics in Mexico City, Americans Tommie Smith and John Carlos earn medals with their feet and make statements with their fists with a black power salute.

After Smith finishes first and Carlos third in the 200-meter race, they wear black scarves around their necks and black gloves (Smith on his right hand and Carlos on his left) at the victory ceremony. The two sprinters receive their medals, and then they raise their gloved hands with fists clenched and keep their heads deeply bowed during the national anthem and raising of the U.S. flag in their honor.

Two days later, the U.S. Olympic Committee will suspend Smith and Carlos for having used the ceremony as a vehicle for a demonstration and will tell the pair to leave the Olympic Village. The two will have their credentials taken away, which will make it mandatory for them to get out of Mexico within 48 hours.

Baseball
1969: In eight seasons the New York Mets have gone from the joke of the baseball world to the toast of the town. The Mets, who lost a modern major league record 120 games in their first season in 1962, put the final touches on their improbable season by defeating the supposedly superior Baltimore Orioles 5-3 in Game 5 of the World Series. A ninth-place team a year ago, the Mets are now world champions.

After the Mets fall behind 3-0 today, Series MVP Donn Clendenon belts a two-run homer, his third dinger of the Series, and then, amazingly, Al Weis (six four-baggers in 1,446 career at-bats) homers to tie the game. Ron Swoboda's tie-breaking double in the eighth makes a winner of Jerry Koosman. When Cleon Jones snatches the final out in left, Gil Hodges' Mets and their fans go bananas.

Thousands of deliriously happy fans tear up the turf at Shea Stadium. From the sleek skyscrapers of Wall Street comes a spontaneous tickertape blizzard greeting the triumph of the Miracle Mets.

NHL
1946: Fresh from the farmlands of Saskatchewan, 18-year-old Gordie Howe shows his potential for the Detroit Red Wings in his NHL debut. The big right wing scores a goal against Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Turk Broda, a future Hall of Famer, in the second period of a 3-3 season-opening tie.

This will be one of only seven goals Howe scores in his first season. But he will get better, much better, and will finish with 801 goals in 26 NHL seasons before retiring at the age of 52 in 1980. Counting the 174 goals Howe will score in six WHA seasons, he will conclude his legendary career with 975 regular-season goals, plus another 96 in the playoffs.
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Oct. 17
Baseball
1911: Frank Baker, the Philadelphia Athletics' 25-year-old third baseman who led the American League in home runs with 11, belted a two-run homer off the New York Giants' Rube Marquard yesterday to give the Athletics a 3-1 victory in Game 2 of the World Series.

In today's Game 3, Christy Mathewson has the Athletics shut out until the ninth inning when Baker delivers again. The left-handed hitter sends Mathewson's fastball into the rightfield grandstand at the Polo Grounds to tie the game 1-1. The Athletics score two runs in the 11th to win 3-2.

The two dingers earn Baker, a future Hall of Famer, the nickname "Home Run."

College football
1964: It's an early showdown for supremacy in the Southwest Conference between two undefeated teams, No. 8 Arkansas and No. 1 Texas, in Austin. The Razorbacks score on two big plays, an 81-yard punt return by Kenny Hatfield and a 34-yard pass from Freddie Marshall to Bobby Crockett to take a 14-0 lead.

But the defending national champion Longhorns aren't finished, as they score twice in the fourth quarter to cut their deficit to 14-13 with less than two minutes to play. Texas coach Darrell Royal goes for the two-point conversion and probable victory. But Arkansas bats down Marvin Kristynik's pass and ends Texas' 15-game winning streak.

On New Year's Day Texas will help the Razorbacks win the national championship. The Longhorns will beat No. 1 Alabama in the Orange Bowl, while Arkansas, with Jimmy Johnson and Jerry Jones aboard, will edge Nebraska in the Cotton Bowl to move up to No. 1.
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Oct. 18
Track and field
1968: Bob Beamon takes a leap for the ages in Mexico City. He doesn't merely break the world record for the long jump, he shatters it. Not only does he become the first 29-foot jumper in history, he becomes the first to pass 28 feet. In an event where records are snapped by inches, Beamon breaks one by almost two feet.

The slender 6-foot-3 Beamon speeds 19 strides down the runway and ascends to a height of six feet. He passes 27 feet, 28 feet and, incredibly, past 29 feet. His jump of 29-2 1/2 is 1-foot-9 3/4 farther than the world record shared by Ralph Boston and Igor Ter-Ovanesyan. It is 1-foot-10 1/2 farther than the 22-year-old Beamon had ever jumped before.

Some credit the thin air at Mexico City for the incredible jump, but nobody else comes close. The record will last for almost 23 years, until Mike Powell breaks it in 1991.

Football
1992: The Philadelphia Eagles' Randall Cunningham always has been known for his quickness afoot as well as his strong arm. His feet help him achieve a feat when he runs for 39 yards in Philadelphia's 16-12 loss to the Washington Redskins, enabling him to become the NFL's all-time rushing leader for quarterbacks. His 3,683 yards break Fran Tarkenton's mark of 3,674.

Cunningham, who will move on to the Minnesota Vikings, will keep adding to the record, accumulating more than 4,600 yards running the football.
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Oct. 19
College football
1985:Rob Houghtlin, the junior placekicker for No. 1 Iowa, didn't even have a scholarship until last spring. Today, with the Hawkeyes trailing by one point with time for one more play, the Miami of Ohio transfer is called upon to kick a 29-yard field goal -- with the rain coming down and the wind in his face -- to defeat No. 2 Michigan before a capacity crowd at Iowa City.

Houghtlin has accounted for all nine Iowa points, with three field goals, but a miss from 44 yards out 7 1/2 minutes earlier had snapped his streak of 10 consecutive field goals and kept Iowa behind, 10-9. Defensive back Mike Bolan, Houghtlin's friend since high school, attempts to calm the kicker by making him sing the Iowa fight song. "So I wouldn't think about the kick," Houghtlin says.

Houghtlin, who had not practiced for the last two weeks because of a strained muscle in his kicking leg, boots the ball through the uprights to give Iowa a dramatic 12-10 victory.

Pro football
1941: Violence in football has been a concern ever since Teddy Roosevelt threatened to abolish the college game in the early part of the century. Certainly it's no less dangerous in the pros, with players being carried off the field. But who would expect an umpire to suffer an injury?

C.W. Rupp fires his gun to signal the end of the first quarter of the Steelers-Giants game at the Polo Grounds. Gun in hand, he starts down the field, when the gun accidentally discharges, tearing a hole in the middle of his right hand. He goes to the hospital, where he will be kept overnight.

Rupp will recover and return to action this season.


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Oct. 20
Track and field
1968: Dick Fosbury goes about his business differently than other high jumpers. While his competitors swing their right foot up and over the bar, the 21-year-old from Oregon pivots his right leg back and slides over the crossbar with an unorthodox backward flip.

The Olympics marks the international debut of the celebrated "Fosbury Flop" and Fosbury delights the capacity crowd of 80,000 in Mexico City with his technique. He doesn't miss a jump through 7 feet, 3 1/4 inches and then wins the gold medal with a personal best of 7-4 1/4. With the then-Olympic record already in hand, Fosbury attempts to break Valery Brumel's world mark of 7-5 3/4, but he misses three times at 7-6 1/4.

Fosbury gives the United States its 15th and final gold medal in track and field.

By 1980, 13 of the 16 Olympic finalists will be using the "Fosbury Flop."
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Oct. 21
Baseball
1975: The sixth game of the World Series will eventually belong to Carlton Fisk, but even before his at-bat in the 12th inning, there's plenty of drama. The Cincinnati Reds rally from a 3-0 deficit and are four outs away from the world championship when Boston's Bernie Carbo pinch-hits a three-run homer into Fenway Park's centerfield bleachers to tie the game 6-6 in the eighth inning.

The Red Sox have a chance to win in the ninth, but blow a bases-loaded, nobody-out situation. When Pete Rose comes to bat in the 10th, he says to Fisk, Boston's catcher, "This is some kind of game, isn't it?" Fisk replies, "Some kind of game."

It gets even better. In the 11th, Boston's Dwight Evans robs Joe Morgan, preserving the tie with a sensational catch against the rightfield seats and starting a double play. Leading off the bottom of the 12th, Fisk launches a long drive down the leftfield line off Pat Darcy. Worried that the ball might go foul, he furiously waves his hands for the ball to stay fair. It does, ricocheting off the foul pole. Boston's 7-6 victory evens the Series at three games apiece.

"I made sure I touched every base," Fisk says. "Even if I had to straight-arm people or knock them down, I made sure I touched every bit of white I saw out there."
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Oct. 22
Chess
1975: World champion Gary Kasparov isn't concerned about playing Deep Thought, a computer that can scan 720,000 chess positions per second. While Deep Thought has been beating grandmasters, his rating is between 2,450 and 2,500, compared to Kasparov's 2,795. It's no surprise when Kasparov wins the two games handily.

"I can't visualize living with the knowledge that a computer is stronger than the human mind," Kasparov says. "I had to challenge Deep Thought for this match, to protect the human race."
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Oct. 23
Baseball
1993: A year ago, the World Series ended when Joe Carter caught the ball for the final out. Tonight, the World Series ends with a swing of Carter's bat.

Philadelphia leads Toronto 6-5 in Game 6 in the Skydome when Phillies closer Mitch Williams puts two runners on base with one out in the ninth inning, bringing up Carter. After the count goes to 2-2, Carter is just thinking base hit to tie the game. Instead, Carter, a low-ball hitter, gets a low slider and sends it over the left field fence to give the defending champion Blue Jays an electrifying 8-6 victory.

"They haven't made that word up yet to describe what the feeling is," says Carter, who is the second player -- Bill Mazeroski was the first -- to end a World Series with a home run.
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Oct. 24
Baseball
1972: Challenging the prevailing social tide, Jackie Robinson single-handedly changed the face of baseball -- and America. A Hall of Famer, family man, civil rights leader and national hero, Robinson dies today at 53 after suffering a heart attack in his home in Stamford, Conn.

For sociological impact, Robinson was perhaps America's most significant athlete. He made history in 1947 by becoming the first African-American to play in the major leagues in the 20th century, becoming a pioneer for a generation of African-Americans in major pro sports after World War II.

Robinson's appearance with the Brooklyn Dodgers prompted racial insults, both from opponents and teammates. He stood up with dignity to everything. The competitive infielder was the major league's Rookie of the Year and two years later was National League MVP. Pigeon-toed and muscular, his daring base running shook up opposing pitchers as he stole 197 bases and twice led the league in steals. He batted .311 in 10 seasons.

Robinson recovered from a heart attack in 1968, but then lost the sight of one eye and the partial sight of the other as a result of diabetes.
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Oct. 25
Baseball
1986: The Boston Red Sox are trying to rid themselves of the Curse of the Bambino. They have not won a World Series since trading Babe Ruth to the Yankees after the 1919 season, but it appears the curse is about to end tonight.

Boston is one out away from winning its first Series since 1918, holding a two-run lead with two outs and nobody on base in the 10th inning in Game 6. But the Mets get three consecutive singles to make it 5-4. Bob Stanley relieves and third-base coach Bud Harrelson tells Kevin Mitchell, the runner on third, "He might throw a wild pitch. Be ready." Stanley does, and the game is tied.

Mookie Wilson then hits a routine grounder to first base, but the ball goes under Bill Buckner's glove and into right field as Ray Knight scores to give the Mets an incredible 6-5 victory.

"I can't remember the last time I missed a ball like that," says the sore-legged Buckner, who usually is replaced for defensive purposes by manager John McNamara. "But I'll remember this one." So will all Boston fans.

Right fielder Dwight Evans says, "I don't believe in curses, or ghosts, or magic spells, but I'm beginning to." The Mets will win Game 7 two nights later.

NFL
1964: Of Jim Marshall's NFL record 29 recoveries of opponents' fumbles, this is one the Minnesota Vikings defensive end would prefer giving back. Marshall picks up a fumble by the San Francisco 49ers' Billy Kilmer and starts running, hoping to duplicate the performance of another defensive lineman, Carl Eller, who earlier in the fourth quarter had returned a fumble for a touchdown.

But Marshall runs in the wrong direction. He doesn't stop until crossing the goal line 66 yards away. For his effort, he doesn't get a touchdown, but a safety in Minnesota's 27-22 victory.

About the roar from the San Francisco fans as he was running, Marshall says, "I thought they were cheering me on." They were, Jim, they were.
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Oct. 26
Boxing
1951: Joe Louis had come out of retirement a year earlier because he needed the money to pay back taxes. But he is isn't the same fighter who held the heavyweight crown from 1937 until giving it up in 1949. Though an 8-5 favorite over up-and-coming Rocky Marciano tonight, the odds reflect Louis' reputation more than his present skills. Louis is 37 years old, and he looks his age. Though spotting Louis 25¾ pounds (212¾ to 187), "The Brockton Blockbuster" wears down "The Brown Bomber" with a barrage of punches to the head and body.

In the eighth round, the 28-year-old Marciano puts Louis down with a solid left hook. After Louis rises, Marciano sends him to the canvas for good with two stinging lefts and a vicious right to the jaw.

"He hits harder than Max Schmeling," says Louis, who will retire for good.

"I'm just lucky that I didn't have to fight Joe 10 years ago," says Marciano, who will go on to win the heavyweight title.

NFL
1989: Seven months after Pete Rozelle announces he's stepping down as NFL commissioner after 29 years, the owners elect a new boss. There have been search committees and more than 50 hours of debate on the subject before today's vote for the NFL's seventh commissioner.

Finally, on the 11th ballot, they select a man who grew up in Jersey City rooting for the Brooklyn Dodgers and dreaming of playing for the Boston Celtics. He's Paul Tagliabue, a 48-year-old Washington-based lawyer who gets the nod over Jim Finks, the choice of the longstanding owners. Tagliabue, a former Georgetown basketball player, has worked with Rozelle for two decades as an antitrust specialist.

"Do I think it's going to be a bed of roses?" Tagliabue asks rhetorically. "No."
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Oct. 27
Baseball
1954: The marriage of Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe was an amazing coupling of American celebrityhood: The country's most revered athlete hitched to its most adored actress. But their stay in paradise lasts a mere 9½ months. After 15 minutes of testimony today in a Santa Monica, Calif., courtroom, American's dream couple gets a divorce.

"It's an adult version of learning there is no Santa Claus," one writer says.

Reasons for the divorce include their different careers posing a problem as well as DiMaggio, the former New Yankees star, being tired of publicity while Monroe thrived on it. Despite their differences, the two national icons will remain friends. Monroe will commit suicide in 1963, and DiMaggio will have flowers laid at her grave three times a week for 20 years.
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Oct. 28
Horse racing
1973: Earlier in the year, Secretariat became horse racing's first Triple Crown winner in 25 years. Today, in Toronto, he closes out his glorious career by romping to a 6 -length victory in the mile and five-eighths Canadian International Championship at Woodbine race track.

Eddie Maple is aboard Secretariat as the horse's regular rider, Ron Turcotte, is sitting out a five-day suspension. Secretariat, trained by Lucien Laurin and owned by Penny Tweedy, pays a surprising $2.40 to win.

Secretariat wins 16 of his 21 starts and has lifetime earnings of $1,316,808. His racing career ends at the age of three because he's deemed more valuable as a father. He is going to stud, by agreement with the breeders who paid $6.08 million to buy his favors for their mares.
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Oct. 29
Boxing
1948: At the prefight weigh-in before the first of four classic meetings between Sandy Saddler and Willie Pep, New York State Athletic Commission chairman Eddie Eagon warns the two featherweights that he has heard rumors about a fix, but expects both men "to uphold the good name of boxing." Pep, the champion, tells reporters, "Don't worry about me. I'll be in there to win."

Saddler doesn't say anything. Instead, he lets his fists do the talking. While Pep lacks the quality from which he took his name, the spindly Saddler pounds away. The 3-1 underdog floors Pep twice in the third round and knocks him out with a smashing left hook to the jaw in the fourth to take his title.

The defeat is only the second and the first knockout suffered by Pep in 137 pro fights.

College football
1921: Little known Centre College of Danville, Ky., ventures into Cambridge, Mass., to face a Harvard team that is unbeaten in 25 games. The streak never reaches the expected 26, though, because of Centre's staunch defense and a remarkable 33-yard touchdown run by quarterback Bo McMillin.

The subhead in The New York Times reads: "Bo McMillin the Hero: Zigzags Through Whole Opposing Team for Only Touchdown of Game." While McMillan doesn't go through the "whole" Harvard team, he does go through a good portion of it on his scintillating run in the third period that gives Centre the stunning 6-0 upset. "I am the happiest man in the world," McMillin says.

In the game's final three minutes, a long pass play by Harvard moves the ball to Centre's three-yard line. But an offsides penalty moves the ball back five yards and Harvard fails to get the ball into the end zone.
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Oct. 30
Boxing
1974:In the predawn hours under a pale African moon in Zaire, the Rumble in the Jungle takes place. The crowd of close to 60,000 chants, "Ali, bomaye," meaning "Ali, kill him."

For most of eight rounds, Muhammad Ali lets George Foreman try to kill him. Ali disdains his usual butterfly tactics and relies on a new strategy, the rope-a-dope. Ali lays on the ropes and lets the unbeaten heavyweight champ flail away at him, secure in his knowledge that he can either avoid or block the punches.

By the eighth round, Foreman, 25, is running on empty and the 32-year-old Ali takes advantage to knock out his exhausted opponent with a crisp left-right combination with two seconds left in the round. In handing the 4-1 favorite his first defeat in 41 fights, Ali becomes the second man to regain the heavyweight title (Floyd Patterson was the first).

"I told you he (Foreman) was nothing," Ali says to the media, "but did you listen?"
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Oct. 31
Pro basketball
1950: Six months ago, Chuck Cooper became the first African-American drafted in the NBA, when Red Auerbach used the Boston Celtics' second-round pick to nab the second-team All-American from Duquesne. Then Sweetwater Clifton became the first African-American to sign an NBA contract, inked by the New York Knicks.

Because of the schedule, Earl Lloyd of the Washington Capitols becomes the first to break the color barrier in the NBA, playing today in a 78-70 season-opening loss to Rochester. Lloyd's appearance will beat by one day Cooper's debut with the Celtics.

College football
1959:
On Halloween night in Baton Rouge, La., Billy Cannon goes from All-American to legend in one play. To do it, the LSU running back breaks coach Paul Dietzel's rule: Don't field a punt inside the 15-yard line. But with top-ranked LSU trailing third-ranked Mississippi 3-0 and 10 minutes left, Cannon catches a 47-yard punt on the 11-yard line and begins one of the most breathtaking runs in college history.

Cannon shakes free of two early tacklers, runs through two more and wriggles away from three others on the 89-yard touchdown return that gives LSU a 7-3 victory, its 19th consecutive win.

"In a run that blended the rhythm of a chorus girl and the power of a steamroller, Cannon sped into LSU football immortality," one writer says.

The punt return will catapult Cannon to the Heisman Trophy.
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