After a 23-year career in which he won at least 13 games in 20 consecutive seasons, Greg Maddux (above). Relying on pinpoint control (he walked 20 hitters in 33 starts in 1997), Maddux, 42, had one of the most dominant stretches ever by a pitcher—and he did it in the early years of baseball's offensive explosion. He won his first Cy Young Award with the Cubs in 1992, then signed with the Braves and won the award again in each of the next three years. He leaves with a record of 355--227 and a 3.16 ERA. "I want to take a year off and spend time with my family and see how I like it. Baseball's all I know," said Maddux.
After 25 seasons, 48-year-old Morten Andersen, the NFL's alltime leading scorer. The left-footed kicker came to the U.S. from Copenhagen as an exchange student in 1977. He played at Michigan State and was picked in the fourth round by the Saints in 1982. He kicked for the Falcons—one of five teams he played for—last year but was without a contract this season. Andersen finally decided on Monday that his body was too worn down to continue. "I realized I no longer can train in an optimal way because of my knees," he said. Andersen scored 2,437 points in his career.
At age 64 when his snowmobile plunged into an icy lake in Quebec, Pit Martin (right), who made four All-Star teams during his 17-year NHL career. One of the first NHL players to regularly wear a helmet, Martin was a center who relied on finesse to score 324 goals in 1,101 games. "He was small, but he wasn't timid," said Hall of Fame linesman Matt Pavelich. "He'd go right into the corners."
At age 75, Ted Rogers, who bought the Blue Jays in 2000. The communications magnate started out as the owner of an FM radio station in Toronto and eventually built an empire that included TV stations and magazines and Canada's largest cellphone company. Rogers was the driving force behind an arrangement that will see the Buffalo Bills play eight games in Toronto over the next five years.
To 33 years in prison with the possibility of parole after nine, O.J. Simpson. The 1968 Heisman Trophy winner was convicted last month of armed robbery and kidnapping following an incident in which he and five other men stole mementos Simpson claimed were his. Simpson, 61, choked back tears in a Las Vegas courtroom as he asked Judge Jackie Glass for leniency, saying, "I didn't mean to steal anything from anybody." But Glass called the evidence against him "overwhelming." Among those present for Simpson's sentencing were the father and sister of Ronald Goldman, whom Simpson was acquitted of killing in 1995. "We are thrilled, and it's a bittersweet moment," Fred Goldman said. "It was satisfying seeing [Simpson] in shackles like he belongs."
In an ATV accident, former NBA player Rodney Rogers, 37. Dave Odom, who coached Rogers at Wake Forest when he was the 1993 ACC player of the year, told The News & Observer of Raleigh-Durham that Rogers was paralyzed from the shoulders down after falling off a vehicle in rural North Carolina on Dec. 1. Rogers, who played 12 years in the NBA, was a volunteer girls' basketball coach at a middle school in Durham.
By the North Carolina women's soccer team, its 19th NCAA championship. After Notre Dame scored 16 seconds into Sunday's title game, junior forward Casey Nogueira scored two second-half goals to give the Tar Heels a 2--1 victory. "The two balls that [Nogueira] struck today were world-class finishes," said Carolina coach Anson Dorrance. The win avenged the Heels' only loss of the season and kept the Irish from becoming the second team to compile a perfect season. North Carolina has done it four times.
They Said It
RANDY THOMAS 317-pound Redskins lineman, after a nutritionist posted tips for healthy eating during the holidays: "I don't live by that. I live to be happy. I eat fried chicken."
SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE
One hour after Lane Kiffin was introduced as Tennessee's new football coach, "Lane Kiffin's wife" was the most-searched term on Google.
HEINZ KLUETMEIER (MADDUX)
STEVE BABINEAU/NHLI/GETTY IMAGES (MARTIN)
CHRIS MCGRATH/GETTY IMAGES (THOMAS)
COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE (KIFFIN)