After a 24-year career with nine teams, Jesse Orosco, 46, who pitched in more big league games (1,252) than anyone else. Finishing 87-80, with a 3.16 ERA and 144 saves, Orosco was an effective closer and thrived as a lefty-on-lefty specialist. (Barry Bonds was 4 for 28 against him.) Last spring Orosco told SI, "I feel the same way I did when I was in Little League. . . . The games are thrilling." But after a season in which he went 2-2 with a 7.68 ERA for three teams, Orosco decided that he no longer felt "that excitement in me to get going." Orosco, who made the Mets out of Rookie League in 79, will forever conjure the image of his striking out the Red Sox' Marty Barrett to win the '86 World Series for the Mets, then falling to his knees and flinging his glove skyward into the night.
The NCAA rule prohibiting athletes from accepting endorsements, by Olympic freestyle skier and Colorado receiver Jeremy Bloom. A moguls gold medalist in last year's freestyle world championships and a member of the 2002 U.S. Olympic ski team, Bloom said he'll begin accepting endorsement fees and that, in defiance of the NCAA, he intends to play football this fall for Colorado, where he's on scholarship. Bloom, a sophomore, says he needs endorsement funding to properly prepare for the 2006 Turin Games and "if they [the NCAA] want me out, they'll have to kick me out." An NCAA spokesman said the organization "remains open to finding a way to resolve this issue" but had yet to "come to a solution that works for both parties."
The editors of Trail, Britain's top hiking magazine, for inadvertently publishing directions that would lead climbers to plunge off Ben Nevis, Scotland's tallest peak. The current Trail includes instructions for descending the 4,406-foot summit of Ben Nevis, which has notoriously unpredictable weather and which has taken the lives of many climbers, but the route omits a crucial bearing. Guy Procter, Trail's editor in chief, said he was "gutted by this mistake." Scotland's Mountaineering Council printed an alert on its website, saying, "The descent bearing which was provided on Page 105 of Trail February 2004 is WRONG—it would take you over the north face."
Dutch track star Fanny Blankers-Koen, 85, who in 1999 was named the best female athlete of the 20th century by the International Association of Athletics Federation. Blankers-Koen didn't win a medal at the '36 Olympics, and because of World War II she didn't have another Olympic chance until the '48 Games in London. By then, she was 30, married, had two children and was pregnant with a third. Dubbed the Flying Housewife, she won four golds, a feat still unmatched in women's track. She was motivated by a British coach who said she was too old to win. "It was just the thing to rouse me," she said, "to make me go out and prove that... I could still be a champion."
By contractor Cody Mullennix (left) in Lake Texoma in north Texas, a 12½-pound blue catfish, which is awaiting certification as a world record. The 135-pound Mullennix, who used shad as bait, struggled for 20 minutes to reel in the 58-inch creature on his 20-pound line. Determined not to kill it—he says he felt respect for the fish, which may be 30 years old—Mullennix stood in the lake for an hour, holding the fish with his hands while waiting for a friend to arrive. Mullennix, 27, donated his catch to the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens, where it is swimming around and attracted 740 visitors last weekend.