Oct. 12, 1989
In the third-worst trade in history, behind beads-for- Manhattan and Ruth-for-cash, the Super Bowl--contending Minnesota Vikings exchange five players and eight draft choices for one man with two bad wheels and a penchant for speaking in the third person. Herschel Walker, newly acquired from the Dallas Cowboys, runs 47 yards on his first play as a Viking. Unbeknownst to delirious fans, though, that'll be his typical output for entire games. Dallas and Dynasty were famous soaps in the '80s. But the words were synonymous in the '90s, thanks to the Vikings.
Jan. 30, 1999
The night before Super Bowl XXXIII, Atlanta Falcons free safety Eugene Robinson leaves his wife and two children in a Miami hotel and propositions an undercover cop posing as a prostitute. He does so 100 yards from a police sub-station. With 5,000 sportswriters in town. Hours after accepting the Bart Starr Award from Athletes in Action for exhibiting "high moral character." The next day he gets torched on an 80-yard John Elway-to- Rod Smith touchdown pass in Atlanta's 34-19 loss to the Broncos. Coo-coo-ca-choo, Mr. Robinson.
June 4, 1974
By holding a 10-Cent Beer Night, the Cleveland Indians give new meaning to bad hops. Some 25,000 fans come and--to be fair--they don't all streak across the diamond or sprint into centerfield to moon the bleacherites. But many do. With the game tied 5-5 and the Indians at bat in the ninth, the bases weren't loaded but the crowd was. Umpire Nestor Chylak and Cleveland reliever Tom Hilgendorf are both hit over the head with chairs by fans. When order proves impossible to restore, the Indians, having forfeited their dignity, also forfeit the game.
Let's see--The Indianapolis 500 is a beloved institution run damn near every Memorial Day since 1911. So in 1996, open-wheel racing splits into two factions, CART and IRL. As a result the best drivers leave for a race no one cares about, and the race people care about is left with no drivers. Gentlemen, start your angina. For no good reason you've ceded motor-racing supremacy in this country to NASCAR. True, CART and IRL appear to have patched things up, but that's a bit like Hall patching things up with Oates. Will anyone still care?
June 28, 1997
In a third-round clinch with Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson bites off a chunk of the Real Deal's right ear, which he then spits onto the canvas at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas. Referee Mills Lane urges Iron Mike not to bite Holyfield again, but Tyson promptly does just that, launching a thousand Sportsman of the Ear puns.