At age 78, Stanley Dancer, harness racing's most successful driver, trainer and owner, of complications from prostate cancer. Dancer, who began driving in 1945, was the face of harness racing during the sport's golden era in the 1960s and '70s. He won 3,781 races and more than $28 million in purses, taking the trotting Triple Crown twice (in 1968 with Nevele Pride and in '72 with Super Bowl) and the Triple Crown for pacers once (in '70 with Most Happy Fella) before retiring 10 years ago. Dancer's aggressive style and indestructibility--he survived 32 spills on the track, plus four auto accidents and a helicopter and a plane crash--brought him fame beyond racing: He made SI's cover in 1968, was friends with Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford, appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and was name-checked by Paul Simon in the song Groundhog. "It breaks my heart that harness racing is not as popular as it once was," he said in 1995.
By a bloc of NHL veterans, that new Players' Association executive director Ted Saskin step down. The union's former senior vice president of business affairs, who was hired when ex-chief Bob Goodenow resigned in July, was offered a $2 million a year contract by the association's 37-member executive board. But several members of the rank and file are upset that a search committee wasn't formed to find other candidates, and that Saskin's hiring was not put to a secret ballot. Said Minnesota Wild goalie Dwayne Roloson to the Toronto Star, "This is supposed to be a democratic union and it's become communist."
By the Court of Arbitration for Sport, marathoner Vanderlei de Lima's appeal for a duplicate gold medal from the 2004 Olympics. The Brazilian was leading with two miles to go when a spectator leaped out of the crowd and pushed him off the course. It took De Lima about 15 seconds to recover, and he finished third, 1:16 behind winner Stefano Baldini of Italy. The man who interfered with him, Neil Horan of Ireland, was defrocked as a Catholic priest last January. Horan received a 12-month suspended sentence and a $3,600 fine.
By the Yankees, a coin toss for the right to host a one-game playoff should they finish in a tie with the Red Sox for first in the AL East. The last time the teams had a one-game playoff, in 1978, home field advantage meant little, as Bucky Dent's home run beat Boston 5-4. The Bombers, who on Monday were three games behind Boston, finish the season with a three-game set at Fenway Park.
By a Sunni Muslim cleric, a religious decree, or fatwa, against teenage tennis star Sania Mirza demanding that she stop wearing short skirts and sleeveless shirts on the court. Mirza (above), an 18-year-old Muslim, is the first player from India to crack the WTA top 50. (She advanced to the fourth round of the U.S. Open.) She is a celebrity in her homeland, where approximately 130 million of the country's 1 billion people are Muslim. Several websites are devoted to her, and she has been profiled in newspapers and magazines. "The dress she wears on the tennis court not only doesn't cover large parts of her body but leaves nothing to the imagination," Maulana Hasheeb-ul-Hasan Siddiqui, the cleric who issued the edict, told the Hindustan Times. "She will undoubtedly be a corrupting influence on these young women, which we want to prevent." Mirza dismissed the fatwa, telling the Times, "I have no comment to offer."