with what is suspected To be a brain Tumor, plucky ex-reliever Tug McGraw, who helped The Mets and The Phillies To championships in his 19-year career. The 58-year-old lefty was in Clearwater, Fla., working as a pitching instructor at Philadelphia's spring Training complex when, on March 12, he suddenly became ill. McGraw was Taken To a hospital, and surgery was scheduled for early this week. As a key member of the 1973 Mets, I McGraw coined the slogan Ya gotta believe! As a Phillie he got the last out when the team won its only World Series, in 1980. McGraw retained his trademark exuberance as a coach. Three weeks ago he was on a practice field trying to catch baseballs dropped by team owner Bill Giles from a helicopter hovering about 75 feet above, a rehearsal for an Opening Day stunt. Last weekend Phillies coach John Vukovich, who has survived a brain tumor, visited McGraw in the hospital and told him, "I beat this. And you can, too."
For $92 million, the bankrupt Buffalo Sabres by former New York gubernatorial candidate Tom Golisano. The Rochester billionaire, who drew 14% of the vote as an independent last November, pledged not to relocate the team. "People should stop worrying about the Sabres in Buffalo," said NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. "Our knight on a white horse came riding in."
The feud between Alex Popov, 38, who caught and briefly held Barry Bonds's 73rd home run ball on Oct. 7, 2001, at San Francisco's Pac Bell Park, and Patrick Hayashi, 37, who wound up with the ball brief melee. After 17 months of legal wrangling, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Kevin McCarthy ruled that the two must sell the ball and split the proceeds. The two chose Barnes Sports Group of St. Louis, the agency that sold Mark McGwire's 70th home run ball for $3 million in 1999, to sell their ball, which is expected to bring about $1 million. Hayashi says the settlement was reached when he and Popov abandoned legal counsel and spoke directly. "Not agreeing would have damaged not only our image but the image of baseball itself," Hayashi says.
Of complications from kidney disease, Naftali Temu, 58, who launched a Kenyan Olympic dynasty by winning the country's first gold medal, in the 10,000 meters at the 1968 Games. Temu, who as a child ran 12 miles back and forth to school each day, raced barefoot until '62. Six years later—and properly shod—he outran the favorite, Ethiopia's Mamo Wolde, in Mexico City. Since then, Kenyan men have won 13 Olympic medals in middle-distance events.
Of head injuries sustained after falling off his bicycle during last week's Paris-Nice race, Kazakh cyclist Andrei Kivilev, who finished fourth in the 2001 Tour de France. Kivilev, 29, removed his helmet to cool off, then crashed after brushing another bike. He fractured his skull, immediately became comatose and died the next day. The International Cycling Union will now reconsider a proposal to make helmets mandatory for pro riders, who rejected a similar proposal in 1991.
Atop the men's world sabre standings, Keeth Smart, the first U.S. fencer to reach No. 1. Smart, 24, moved into the top spot after finishing second at the Coupe Akropolis world cup in Athens on March 8. He grew up in Brooklyn and in 1991 enrolled in a program run by 1984 Olympic bronze medalist Peter Westbrook that teaches fencing to inner-city kids. Smart was on the 2000 Olympic team and led St. John's to an NCAA title in 2001. "This is truly surreal," he says of his ranking. "I never dreamed I would accomplish something this monumental."