National Sports Briefs: Dock Ellis dies
Dock Ellis, who infamously claimed he pitched a no-hitter for Pittsburgh under the influence of LSD and later fiercely spoke out against drug and alcohol addiction, died Friday. He was 63.
His wife, Hjordis, said he died at the USC Medical Center in Los Angeles.
“It’s a tremendous loss to the family,” she said. “He’s been struggling for about a year with the end stages of liver disease.”
Ellis’ death was first reported by ESPN.com.
“I’ve been in this business for 40 years and there was never a more standup guy,” former agent Tom Reich said.
Ellis went 138-119 with a 3.46 ERA from 1968-79, spending most of his career with the Pirates. He went 19-9 in 1971 when Pittsburgh won the World Series, and made his only All-Star appearance that summer ó and what a show it was. Ellis was tagged for one of the most memorable home runs in All-Star history, Reggie Jackson’s monster shot off the light tower at Tiger Stadium.
In 1970, Ellis overcame eight walks to pitch a no-hitter in the first game of a doubleheader at San Diego. Several years after he retired, the right-hander said he was high on LSD during the victory.
LOS ANGELES ó Shortstop Rafael Furcal finalized his three-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday, saying he always wanted to return to the team he played with the past three seasons.
Furcal, who missed most of last season with back problems, agreed to terms of a contract worth at least $30 million with the Dodgers on Wednesday, prompting the Atlanta Braves to claim the 31-year-old switch hitter reneged on a deal with them. He passed a physical Friday.
ZURICH, Switzerland ó Nikolai Valuev likely ended Evander Holyfield’s last chance at winning a fifth heavyweight title, narrowly defending his WBA title by majority decision on Saturday night.
The 46-year-old American, attempting to become the oldest heavyweight to win a major belt, started the fight by moving around the ring to neutralize Valuev’s long reach advantage.
The 7-foot Russian is the tallest and heaviest champion ever.
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. ó Anthony Kim matched the best score of the week with a 5-under 67, taking a one-shot lead when Jim Furyk found the water for double bogey on the 18th hole Saturday at the Chevron World Challenge.
MILAN, Italy ó David Beckham arrived in Milan on Saturday, awaiting the start of his three-month loan to AC Milan and bringing with him a healthy dose of celebrity buzz.
The former England captain took a physical in the morning and passed easily, according to Italian news agencies. He will be on loan from the Los Angeles Galaxy until March, when the Major League Soccer season resumes.
RCA GOES BOOM
INDIANAPOLIS ó The Indianapolis Colts’ former home is now a pile of rubble.
Crews imploded the RCA Dome just after 9:30 a.m. Saturday by setting off 800 charges to bring down the facility’s upper floors in about 25 seconds. The stadium was originally named the Hoosier Dome and had stood on the city’s skyline since the Colts moved to Indianapolis in 1984. It had become the NFL’s smallest stadium.
The Colts moved into the new Lucas Oil Stadium this season. The old dome is making way for an expanded convention center.
OMAHA, Neb. ó Megan Hodge had 16 kills and Penn State ended its perfect season with a second straight NCAA volleyball championship, sweeping Stanford 25-20, 26-24, 25-23 on Saturday night.
Penn State (38-0) won its NCAA-record 64th straight match since a September 2007 loss to Stanford.
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. ó Italee Lucas scored 10 of her 19 points in a second-half run that rallied No. 2 North Carolina past Illinois 68-59 at the Carolinas Challenge on Saturday.
Rashanda McCants had 20 points for the Tar Heels, who improved to 12-0 for the third time in four seasons.