By Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins, his hitting streak to 36 games, the longest in the majors since 1987, when the Brewers' Paul Molitor hit in 39 straight. Rollins (above), who went 2 for 4 in Philadelphia's season-ending 9-3 win over the Nationals on Sunday, batted .385 during the streak, which he can try to continue when the 2006 season begins. Joe DiMaggio's landmark 56-game streak and Pete Rose's National League standard (44 games) are safe, however, since baseball keeps separate records for single- and multiple-season streaks. Rollins's target next April will be Wee Willie Keeler, who hit in 45 consecutive games over the 1896 and '97 seasons. "I'm not worried about next year right now," Rollins said after the Phillies were eliminated from the NL wild-card race on Sunday. "I'm worried about getting my garage cleaned."
With operating a prostitution and cocaine ring in Monroeville, Pa., former NFL defensive lineman Bob Buczkowski. According to Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett, Buczkowski, 41, who retired in 1991 after stints with the Raiders, Cardinals and Browns, allegedly ran an escort service with his girlfriend, Amy Schifano, 29. They generated business with ads in a local weekly newspaper and made nearly $1 million through drug sales and prostitution between February 2003 and last June. Buczkowski was charged with conspiracy, possession and delivery of a controlled substance, and promoting prostitution; he was released on his own recognizance and faces up to 101 years in prison.
At the NecroComicon comic book convention in Northridge, Calif., last Saturday, O.J. Simpson. Two days before the 10th anniversary of his acquittal on double-murder charges, Simpson signed autographs (starting price: $95) and posed for pictures at the horror-themed event, which bills itself as a celebration of "horror, sleaze, cheese and more." He was supposed to be joined by friend and former teammate Al Cowlings-- Simpson's driver during the infamous low-speed police chase that preceded Simpson's arrest in connection with the deaths of his wife, Nicole Brown, and her friend Ron Goldman--but Cowlings was a no-show.
At Busch Stadium for the first time since testifying at the Congressional steroid hearings last March, Mark McGwire. The former home run king was one of dozens of ex-Cardinals who took part in goodbye ceremonies at Busch, which will close after this season, but aside from a brief pregame appearance in front of the crowd last Friday (he received boos and cheers), he kept a low profile. McGwire, who told Congress that he was willing to speak out against steroid use, declined to discuss the topic with reporters. "I've moved on from it, and I wish the media would," said McGwire, who added he hoped to get a job in baseball someday. "I've made my statement in Washington.... That's the last time I was ever going to talk about it."
In a closed-door team meeting, Marlins third baseman Miguel Cabrera (above). In a Sept. 28 story Cabrera, 22, who had the best season (33 home runs and 116 RBIs) of his three-year career, was asked by a Palm Beach Post reporter if he needed advice from more experienced teammates on how to get himself ready to play. ( Cabrera was benched on Sept. 26 because he arrived at the park 45 minutes before a game, and earlier this season he was scolded for refusing to shag flies before games.) "F--- the veterans," Cabrera said. "They haven't told me anything, and they better not come tell me anything, either." The remarks infuriated several Marlins, one of whom called a team meeting that day to confront Cabrera. "Guys got things off their chest," said centerfielder Juan Pierre. Cabrera, who didn't comment on the meeting, went 6 for 15 in the final four games of the season.
Raided By federal agents as part of the BALCO investigation, the Champaign, Ill., laboratory where the designer steroid THG is believed to have been created. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, IRS agents searched the offices of Proviant Technologies, a business run by chemist Patrick Arnold, who in 2003 was identified by BALCO owner Victor Conte as the source of the steroid known as "the clear." ( Conte, who pleaded guilty to steroid distribution charges, is scheduled to be sentenced next month.) Arnold is also believed to be the first person in this country to have produced androstenedione, the muscle-building steroid precursor that Mark McGwire acknowledged using when he broke Roger Maris's single-season home run record in 1998.
For allegedly selling cocaine to an undercover officer, former Redskins running back Timmy Smith (below), 41. As a rookie in 1988 Smith set the Super Bowl rushing record with 204 yards in Washington's 42--10 win over the Broncos, but he was out of the league two years later. Federal authorities say that last Friday, Smith sold about 20 ounces of cocaine (valued at $13,600) to an undercover DEA agent in a nightclub parking lot in Denver, where he settled after retiring. (His brother Chris was also arrested on drug charges the same day.) Smith had no record of previous drug arrests and had been working as a counselor at a youth detention center and as an instructor at youth football camps. Smith faces a maximum of 40 years in prison and a $2 million fine if convicted.
At age 60, playwright August Wilson, after a battle with liver cancer. Over the last two decades Wilson, who was nominated for seven best-play Tony awards, wrote a 10-play cycle exploring the African-American experience in the 20th century. Baseball was the prism in one of his most acclaimed works, Fences (1987), which tells the story of a bitter former Negro leaguer who was denied a chance to play in the major leagues. Wilson won a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony for Fences.
By Josh Herbert, a senior wrestler and a lineman at Madison High in Middletown, Ohio, a 450-pound American black bear named Buddy. The 5'4", 195-pound Herbert, 18, practices his wrestling moves on Buddy, an orphaned eight-year-old that the Herbert family has raised since he was a cub. (The bear's claws and incisors have been removed.) "He's never been too rough with me," said Herbert. "He's playful, but he knows when to stop."