Early deaths of sports figures of the 80s and 90s – News Block

In professional sports there have been many tragedies, from serious injuries to even death. Some athletes who lost their lives too young died from disease, some from being killed, some from drugs. There was even a case of a soccer player who lost his life right there on the gridiron.

From the 1960s to the 1980s, here are 10 athletes who died early.

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thurman munson

This catcher for the New York Yankees was one of the best not only for the Yankees but also in Major League history. Munson, an avid pilot, tragically crashed his plane on August 2, 1979, before the season ended. Before his death, he had played in 97 games during the 1979 season with a .288 batting average. His career average in 11 seasons was .292. In 1976 he was named the American League Most Valuable Player, as he hit .302 with 105 RBI while striking out just 38 times in 616 at-bats. Thurman Munson won three Gold Glove Awards, was the 1970 AL Rookie of the Year, was a member of two World Series championship teams and made the All-Star Game seven times. He was only 32 years old at the time of his death.

len bias

This athlete who died very young may be the most meaningless death on this list. Len Bias was a star basketball player for the University of Maryland and became a star there. By the time the 1986 draft came around, Bias was considered a definitive top-10 pick, and in fact, the Boston Celtics selected him with the second overall pick. Before he could take the court for the Celtics, Bias was preparing for his NBA future by negotiating a deal with Reebok for an endorsement deal that would have been worth $1.6 million. On June 19, 1986, Bias and a good friend, Brian Tribble, were hanging out in a bedroom shared by Bias and others and made the unfortunate decision to snort some cocaine. While chatting with his basketball teammate Terry Long, Bias collapsed after suffering a seizure. Tribble called 911, the paramedics couldn’t get his heart to respond and the same thing happened at the hospital. He was pronounced dead at 8:55 am and the cause of death was cardiac arrhythmia due to cocaine ingestion.

steve prefontaine

In this athlete, you had one of the best long-distance runners in history. Steve Prefontaine’s accomplishments are many. At the 1968 and 1969 Corvallis Invitationals held in Oregon, Prefontaine finished first in the two-mile race first setting an Oregon high school record and then in 1969 breaking the United States high school record with a time of 8:41.5. Between his events from 1971 to 1975, he earned 21 first places. At the 1972 Olympics, Prefontaine finished fourth in the 5,000 metres. He was training for the 1976 Olympics when he tragically crashed his car and died in the accident on May 30, 1975.

roberto clemente

If you’re a Pittsburgh Pirates fan like me, you were alive in 1972, then you remember New Year’s Eve of that year as tragic. That is the night that Roberto Clemente boarded a plane headed for Nicaragua to help earthquake victims, but his plane crashed into the ocean and the wreckage and bodies of those on board were never recovered. Clemente was one of the greatest players of all time, perhaps the best defensive right fielder to ever play the game. He was subsequently inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame and his final hit total was exactly 3,000.

ernie davis

The 1961 Heisman Trophy was awarded to Ernie Davis of Syracuse University. That season, Davis rushed for 823 yards averaging 5.5 yards per carry. He scored 12 times on the ground and twice more from passes. In 16 receptions he had 157 yards. Two years earlier, in 1959, Syracuse won the national title behind Davis’ average of seven yards per carry. In the 1962 NFL draft, Davis was the first overall pick by the Washington Redskins, who turned around and traded the first pick to the Cleveland Browns. Unfortunately, Ernie Davis was never able to play in an NFL game. During the summer of 1962, after suffering from a swollen neck, Davis was found to have developed acute monocytic leukemia. He had no cure and sadly, at the age of 23, Davis passed away on May 18, 1963.

Salvador Sanchez

As a huge boxing fan growing up, I vividly remember watching Salvador Sanchez fight. He was an incredible boxer. With a record of 44-1-1 with 32 knockouts and Steve Prefontaine before him, Sánchez was driving his sports car (a Porsche 928) on August 12, 1982, when it crashed on a highway in Mexico, killing him instantly. Sanchez was just 23 years old and the reigning WBC and featherweight champion. He was on a 25 match win streak and during that streak he had defeated many notable wrestlers. He scored a TKO on Danny Lopez and defeated Juan Laporte. My most memorable fight involving Sanchez was his matchup with Wilfredo Gomez. He completely dominated Gomez and hit him foolishly by finishing off the challenger via eighth-round TKO. Sanchez also knocked out Felix Trinidad, and in his last fight he knocked out the great Axumah Nelson by TKO in the 15th and final round at Madison Square Garden. To this day, Salvador Sanchez is one of the best boxers I have ever witnessed.

Brian Piccolo

If you enjoy tearjerker movies and choke easily, watching “Brian’s Song” (the original) will make you feel this. The true story of Chicago Bears running back Brian Piccolo is very sad. A promising young running back who was part of a tandem with Hall of Famer Gayle Sayers. Piccolo made it through three seasons from 1966 to 1968 and then cancer struck him and cut his season short in 1969. When cancer took his life, Piccolo was just 26 years old. His number 41 jersey was retired by the Bears.

chuck hughes

Throughout the history of the National Football League, there has only been a single death that took place on the field. Chuck Hughes was a wide receiver who played college baseball at the formerly known Texas Western College, now renamed the University of Texas at El Paso. There he set the record for most all-purpose yards in a game with 401 set in 1965. An NCAA record 34.9 receiving yards for a game was also in 1965. That season he set the college mark for average all-purpose yards per game. with 204. Hughes is a member of the UTEP Track and Field Hall of Fame. Drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1967, he played two seasons in Philadelphia before being traded to the Detroit Lions. On October 24, 1971, Hughes collapsed on the grass in the fourth quarter and was convulsing with the great Dick Butkus standing over him pleading for help. Despite efforts to revive him and an ambulance arriving to rescue him, Chuck Hughes died at 5:34 a.m. that day and an autopsy on him revealed that he suffered from advanced arteriosclerosis and one of his coronary arteries was blocked at a 75%

lyman bostock

Lyman Bostock played in Major League Baseball for two teams, the Minnesota Twins and the California Angels. In four seasons he hit .311 and had 102 doubles. He also stole 45 bases and drove in 250 runs. Baseball was in Bostock’s blood as his father, Lyman Senior, was a professional player in the Negro Leagues from 1938 to 1954. After divorcing as a young man, Lyman Junior grew up with his mother and never established a relationship. renewed with his father. On September 23, 1978, Bostock was in a car with a woman named Joan Hawkins, someone Bostock had tutored when he was younger. His ex-husband, Leonard Smith, who had followed the two, believed that Bostock was having an affair with his ex-wife. Smith pulled up next to Bostock’s vehicle and fired a shot into the back seat where Bostock and Hawkins were sitting. The bullet hit Bostock in the right temple and he died two hours later at the hospital. He was only 27 years old.

benny wall

There have been deaths in the sport of boxing as a result of blows received, but none of them can match the brutality of what happened to Benny Paret. The Cuban-born welterweight was a solid fighter but never won a world title with his final record of 35-12 with 10 knockouts and three draws. On March 24, 1962, he was challenging Emile Griffith for the NYSAC, NBA, and Ring welterweight titles. The fight went 12 rounds, but in the final round, Griffith gave Paret a horrible beating and watching the replay leaves you wondering why Paret’s corner didn’t throw in the towel or why the referee didn’t step in and stop the attack. . The beating he received put Paret in the hospital and 10 days later, after being in a coma, Benny Paret succumbed to his injuries and died of a massive brain hemorrhage at the age of 25.

harv aronson

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