Died at age 93, former Giants catcher Harry (the Horse) Danning, who made the National League AllStar team every year from 1938 to '41. Danning--whose nose earned him the nickname Schnozz before sportscaster Ted Husing dubbed him Harry the Horse, after a Damon Runyon character, in 1936--hit over .300 three times but was known more for his handling of pitchers. "A catcher has to be a psychologist as well as a receiver," he said. "You have to be harsh with some pitchers, coax some and kid the rest." When he was breaking in with the Giants in the early '30s, Hall of Famer Carl Hubbell said, "That's the man I'd like to work with me." Danning joined the Army after the 1942 season and didn't resume his career after the war.
Ruled by a New Jersey judge, that former Nets star Jayson Williams can be retried for a fatal shooting at his mansion in 2002. Last April, Williams, 36, who was accused of shooting limousine driver Costas Christofi while playing with a loaded shotgun, was acquitted of one count of aggravated manslaughter. The jury deadlocked on a lesser count of reckless manslaughter, which can carry a sentence of 10 years; Williams's lawyers argued that forcing their client to stand trial again for that crime would amount to double jeopardy. Last Thursday that claim was rejected, and Williams, who is considering an NBA comeback, is scheduled to stand trial in March.
Acquitted by a jury in Houston of sexually abusing five of his daughters, NBA Hall of Famer Calvin Murphy. The former Rockets guard--who was a broadcaster for the team for 14 years before being placed on a leave of absence following his arrest last March--could have been sentenced to life in prison if convicted of the alleged abuse, which was said to have taken place more than 10 years ago. Murphy, who has 14 children by nine women, took the stand in his own defense at the end of the monthlong trial and tearfully denied the allegations, which he said were based on a dispute over money. The jury deliberated for two hours before acquitting him of all charges. "To hear that people believe in me and found me innocent of those charges, my heart just swelled up," Murphy said. "I cannot say enough for what they have done to give me my life back."
Sentenced to 10 days in jail for violating his probation, wouldbe Diamondbacks manager Wally Backman. Backman was fired by Arizona on Nov. 5--four days after he was hired--after it was revealed that he had been arrested twice in the past five years. Last Friday a judge in Washington ruled that his 2002 conviction for harassing his wife was a violation of the probation he was sentenced to after his 1999 DUI arrest. Backman, 45, also had his probation extended to 2008 and was ordered to pay a $250 fine and report to jail on Jan. 3.
Killed when they were struck by a shot off the bat of Australian batsman Justin Langer during a cricket match against New Zealand in North Adelaide, Australia, a pair of seagulls. They aren't the first birds to be killed during a sporting event: Dave Winfield was arrested in Toronto in 1983 for killing a gull with a throw, and a Randy Johnson pitch killed a dove during a spring training game in 2001. Said Langer, "Unfortunately it's the first time I have killed two birds with one stone."
Withheld by the U.S. Army, details about the death of former Arizona Cardinals defensive back Pat Tillman in Afghanistan last April, according to The Washington Post. On Sunday the Post printed a graphic account of the firefight in which Tillman, 27, was killed by friendly fire, and reported that Tillman's family has been told little about the circumstances of his death. Said his mother, Mary, to the Los Angeles Times, "I'm disgusted by things that have happened with the Pentagon since my son's death."
NATIONAL BASEBALL HALL OF FAME LIBRARY (DANNING)
MIKE HASKEY/COLUMBUS LEDGER ENQUIRER (TILLMAN)