Smelling The Roses
Their racing careers have been filled with glorious triumphs and fraught with the stinging setbacks that haunt all great horsemen. But owner-breeder Paul Mellon, 85, and trainer MacKenzie Miller, 71, had never enjoyed a bigger triumph than their first Kentucky Derby victory, on May 1. Their homebred colt, Sea Hero, ran down Personal Hope in the top of the stretch and bounded off to a 2½-length win, giving Mellon a rare triple crown—victories in the Epsom Derby, the Kentucky Derby and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
Hard Hittin' Mark Whiten
Some ballplayers have big days, others big years. On Sept. 7, Mark Whiten had a year in a day. The St. Louis Cardinal outfielder, who hadn't hit a homer since Aug. 11, smashed four in the second game of a doubleheader against the Cincinnati Reds. Whiten's record-tying 12 RBIs in that game raised his season's total to 87. "I'm not going to stop there," he said of his pursuit of 100 RBIs. Alas, he had only 12 more RBIs the rest of the season, finishing with 99.
Losing Isn't Everything
Despite taking a national-record 80-game losing streak into its matchup with 0-8 Houston Wheatley High on Oct. 23, Houston's Davis High football team was favored to win the game. And win Davis did, 19-18, for its first victory since Oct. 11,1985. Just how bad were those winless Wheatley Wildcats? So bad that they had lost to a junior varsity team at a school that just opened last fall. The Davis Panthers set the alltime losing mark of 73 straight losses in their final game of the 1992 season. The high school they supplanted, Iberia (Mo.), has little chance of reclaiming the record. Iberia gave up football in 1989.
The world's most meddlesome tennis father was at the top of his game this year. Jim Pierce, whose daughter, Mary, has struggled in her attempt to become one of the elite women players, was finally banned from the women's tour in June for his violent behavior at the French Open in May. Mary later filed restraining orders against her father in three states, claiming that Jim—a convicted felon who once did time in a psychiatric prison ward—had made "terroristic threats" against her. Six months after the French Open, Mary played the tournament of her life, beating sixth-ranked Gabriela Sabatini and No. 3 Martina Navratilova in back-to-back matches to reach the semifinals of the Virginia Slims Championships.
Another Day At the Races
Chico: "Sun-Up is the worst horse on the track. "Groucho: "I notice he wins all the time." Chico: "Aw, that's just because he comes in first." Arcangues, the worst horse on the track in the bettors' eyes, won the $3 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita in what horsemen called the biggest upset in memory. The French 5-year-old (above) with a name even his jockey, Jerry Bailey, couldn't pronounce was the longest of long shots: a 133-1 underhorse.
An unidentified 14-year-old New York Yankee fan made life unpleasant for the Boston Red Sox in a Sept. 18 game at Yankee Stadium. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, the Yanks trailing by two and Boston's Greg Harris winding up to pitch to Mike Stanley, the lad vaulted the railing near third base and charged onto the field. Third-base umpire Tim Welke called time, nullifying Stanley's apparent game-ending fly out. After the youngster was hustled out of the ballpark. Stanley singled, New York rallied and the Red Sox never did get that final out, losing 4-3. It was the Yankees' second fan-assisted home win of the season. On Aug. 15, New York beat the Baltimore Orioles after a spectator reached over the rightfield wall and snagged a Don Mattingly drive. Mattingly's sure double was ruled a homer, and the Yankees won 1-0.
This Must Be Toto, Kansas
Kansas became the first university ever to have its football team go to a bowl, its basketball team reach the Final Four and its baseball team advance to the College World Series all in the same school year. The Jayhawk hoopsters even developed a ritual that brought them good luck: Before each game in the NCAA tournament, they spit in whatever river was near the game site. It worked until they got to the Final Four in New Orleans, where the Mississippi came up empty for them, and they lost to North Carolina in the semifinals.
Not Parity Animals
The only school ever to beat the North Carolina women's soccer team in NCAA postseason play was George Mason, in 1985. But when the two teams met again in the national-championship game, on Nov. 21, the Patriots took their playoff lumps at the feet of the Tar Heels, who won their eighth straight title, 6-0. The victory extended North Carolina's winning streak to 81 games. Perhaps the Heels' most worthy opponent would be the Virginia men's team, which has a much more modest streak of three NCAA titles in a row. In the men's Final Four on Dec. 3 and 5, forward Nate Friends scored all five of Virginia's goals in a 3-1 semifinal win over Princeton and a 2-0 championship victory over South Carolina.
A Real Airhead
Mississippi State coach Jackie Sherrill accused Auburn of filling footballs with helium after Tiger punter Terry Daniel booted twice for a combined 113 yards during Auburn's 31-17 victory over Mississippi State. Balls used in the Oct. 9 game at Jordan-Hare Stadium were confiscated by game officials and later deflated at Southeastern Conference headquarters. SEC officials concluded that it was Sherrill who was full of hot air.
When Norway refused to abide by an international ban on commercial whaling, organizers of the fourth World Rafting Championships moved the competition from that country to Turkey.