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Today In Sports History

Posted: December 31, 2013 - 1:04am
Jockey Kent Desormeaux looks back as he crosses the finish line of the 2008 Preakness Stakes.
Jockey Kent Desormeaux looks back as he crosses the finish line of the 2008 Preakness Stakes.

DECEMBER 31

1974 — Catfish Hunter, baseball’s first free agent, signs with the New York Yankees.

1982 — Jockey Pat Day edges Angel Cordero Jr. by two races to capture leading rider honors. Day rides Dana’s Woof and Miltons Magic to victory during the evening program at Delta Downs for 399 wins for the year.

1988 — A dense fog rolls in during the second quarter of the Chicago Bears’ 20-12 NFC semifinal victory over the Philadelphia Eagles at Soldier Field in Chicago. The fog obscures the game from most of the 65,534 fans present and a national television audience that could watch only ground-level shots.

1989 — Jockey Kent Desormeaux sets the world record for most wins in a single season. His 598th win is aboard 2-year-old East Royalty in the Inner Harbor Stakes at Laurel Racecourse.

2003 — Englishman Rhys Lloyd kicks a 42-yard field goal with 23 seconds left to give Minnesota a 31-30 victory over Oregon in the Sun Bowl. The Golden Gophers finish the year 10-3, their first 10-win season since 1905.

2004 — Louisville snaps Boise State’s 22-game winning streak in the highest-scoring Liberty Bowl ever. The Cardinals (11-1) hold off the Broncos 44-40 to match a school record for victories in a season.

2005 — Harness drivers Catello Manzi and Brian Spears each set single-season records. Manzi, 55, becomes the oldest harness driver to lead North America in victories (727), even without a win on the last day. Sears becomes the first driver to surpass $15 million ($15,085,991) in pursue earnings.

2006 — San Diego coach Marty Schottenheimer wins his 200th regular-season game, joining Don Shula, George Halas, Tom Landry and Curly Lambeau in that exclusive club.

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