Sports Update

Nov. 12, 2001 at 7:53 PM
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In Sports from United Press International

Vikings to retire Stringer's jersey

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn., Nov. 12 (UPI) -- The Minnesota Vikings will retire the late Korey Stinger's No. 77 jersey during a halftime ceremony in the Monday, November 19 game against the New York Giants.

The announcement comes four days after the family of Stringer revealed plans to file a $100 million wrongful-death lawsuit against the Vikings, claiming the team was negligent in the events that led to the death of the Pro Bowl tackle.

Calling the conduct of Vikings owner Red McCombs "unconscionable," family attorney Stanley M. Chesley said at a news conference last Thursday that the suit would be filed at the conclusion of the Vikings' season.

Stringer died August 1 in training camp due to complications from heat stroke. He was 27.

The Minnnesota Occupational Safety and Health Division cleared the Vikings of any wrongdoing.

Nebraska, Miami 1-2 in BCS

MORRISTOWN, N.J., Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Despite a close call against Boston College, Miami remains on course to play in college football's national title game.

The Hurricanes remained second in the latest Bowl Championship Series ratings released Monday, although its lead over defending national champion Oklahoma narrowed from 1.22 to 0.58 points.

Nebraska (10-0) remained first in the ratings for the third straight week with a mark of 2.20 points. Miami (8-0), which escaped with an 18-7 win over Boston College on Saturday, is second with a 7.31 mark.

The top two teams in the final BCS poll, released December 9, will play for the national title in the Rose Bowl on January 3.

Nebraska remains in the driver's seat to play in the national championship game, although the Cornhuskers could be challenged in their regular-season finale at Colorado as well as in a possible date in the Big 12 Conference title game, possibly against Oklahoma (9-1).

Suzuki AL rookie of year

NEW YORK, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Japanese sensation Ichiro Suzuki, who ignited the Seattle Mariners offense, was named the winner of the American League Rookie of the Year award Monday, as expected.

The first Japanese position player to earn a spot on a major league roster, Suzuki put together one of the greatest seasons ever by a rookie and is a solid candidate for Most Valuable Player honors.

The last player to win both the AL Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player honors was outfielder Fred Lynn of the Boston Red Sox in 1975.

A seven-time batting champion in Japan, the 28-year-old Suzuki led the AL in batting average (.350), hits (242), stolen bases (56) and was second in runs scored (127) as he helped the Mariners to the most wins (116) in the history of the game.

The Cleveland Indians' 21-year-old lefthander C.C. Sabathia finished second.

Pujois unanimous NL rookie of year

NEW YORK, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- The National League Rookie of the Year award went unanimously Monday to Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals.

One of the biggest surprises in baseball this year, Pujois forced his way onto the Cardinals with a stellar spring training and never stopped there.

Pujols received 32 first-place votes, two from each NL city, in the balloting of the Baseball Writers Association of America. He is the ninth unanimous selection and the first since Scott Rolen of Philadelphia in 1997.

Not much more than an afterthought entering training camp, the 21-year-old Pujols spent most of the 2000 season in Class A but earned a job when the club broke camp by displaying versatility and a potent bat.

The production and versatility carried over into the season as Pujols batted .329 with 37 homers and 130 RBI while playing games at first and third base, left and right field. The RBI were a NL rookie record while Pujols led the wild card champions in average, homers, runs (112), hits (194) and doubles (47).

In addition to the RBI record, Pujols also set league rookie records for extra-base hits (88) and total bases (360). He is just the fourth rookie in major league history to hit .300 with 30 homers, 100 RBI and 100 runs.

Houston Astros righthander Roy Oswalt was second and Philadelphia shortstop Jimmy Rollins was third in the voting, which took place at the end of the regular season.

Broncos RB to undergo knee surgery

ENGLEWOD, Colo., Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Two games after returning from right knee surgery, Denver Broncos running back Terrell Davis will undergo a surgical procedure on his left knee.

Broncos coach Mike Shanahan announced at an afternoon news conference that Davis would undergo surgery later Monday for a torn meniscus and be sidelined for seven to 10 days. He added that the oft-injured back, who has missed 30 of the club's last 42 games, would "probably be sidelined for two games."

The latest injury comes just one day after Davis carried 33 times for 83 yards in a 26-16 victory over the San Diego Chargers.

In September, Davis underwent right knee surgery and missed six games before returning on November 5 at Oakland. He rushed for 70 yards on 17 attempts against the Raiders and looked to be regaining his old form.

Davis rushed for more than 2,000 yards in 1998 but has been hampered by injuries since. He tore his right anterior cruciate ligament in the fourth game of the 1999 season, sidelining him for the rest of the year. In 2000, he missed 11 games, including a playoff loss at Baltimore, due to ankle and calf problems and a stress reaction in his lower left leg.

This season, Shanahan selected Davis as the starter over Olandis Gary and Mike Anderson, who each have had 1,000-yard seasons as rookies filling in for their injured teammate.

Davis had 101 yards on 21 carries in Denver's season-opening 31-20 win over the New York Giants on September 10 before undergoing surgery three days later to repair a small cartilage tear in his right knee.

McGwire calls it a career

ST. LOUIS, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- For a man who made a lot of noise with his big bat, Mark McGwire left baseball quietly Monday.

The St. Louis Cardinals acknowledged receipt of word from the famed slugger, expressing his desire to retire. McGwire issued a statement late Sunday, saying he did not feel his physical condition would allow him to play his best anymore.

Cardinals spokesman Brian Bartow said the team plans no formal announcement. Bartow added that general manager Walt Jocketty is trying to contact McGwire, who is vacationing in Mexico.

McGwire, who has been bothered by a sore right knee for the past two years and back problems, hit just .187 in an injury-plagued season this year but Manager Tony La Russa said recently he thought McGwire had some playing time left.

In 1998, McGwire broke Roger Maris' single-season home-run record, hitting a record 70 roundtrippers in a slugging duel with Chicago Cub Sammy Sosa. That new mark was broken this year by San Francisco's Barry Bonds, who hit 73.

He is fifth among all-time home run hitters with 583.

Hewitt, Agassi win

SYDNEY, Australia, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Australian Lleyton Hewitt and American Andre Agassi began their bid for the year-end No. 1 ranking in striking fashion Monday.

Hewitt and Agassi posted round-robin victories in the first day of action at the $3.65 million Tennis Masters Cup, the final ATP tournament of the season.

The second-seed and the U.S. Open champion, Hewitt woke up after a sluggish first set to handle No. 7 Sebastien Grosjean of France, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, to move just 28 points behind top-seeded Gustavo Kuerten of Brazil in the ATP Tour Champions Race 2001 standings.

The third-seeded Agassi needed just 73 minutes to dispatch No. 6 Patrick Rafter of Australia, 6-2, 6-4

Retired receiver changes mind

DENVER, Nov. 12 (UP) -- Denver wide receiver Eddie Kennison, who suddenly told Coach Mike Shanahan he wanted to retire and then apparently changed his mind, hoped Monday to meet with Shanahan about possibly rejoining the Broncos.

But, the Denver Post quoted the coach as saying Kennison's career as a Bronco is over.

Kennison had moved into the starting lineup after the injury to Ed McCaffrey and his sudden decision to leave stunned players and coaches, including Stranahan who commented, "I've never had a guy retire the night before a game."

The Post said that shortly before Saturday night's team meeting and less than 24 hours before the game with San Diego, Kennison pulled Shanahan aside and told him, according to the Broncos' coach, he wanted to retire, that "his heart was not in it." On Shanahan's instructions, he left the club quarters a short time later.

Kennison was in his sixth year in the NFL and had played previously for St. Louis, New Orleans and Chicago. After replacing McCaffrey, he caught 15 passes for 169 yards and one touchdown.

Five enter hockey hall of fame

TORONTO, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- The Hockey Hall of Fame went global Monday with the induction of Jari Kurri, Viacheslav Fetisov, Mike Gartner, Dale Hawerchuk and Craig Patrick.

The members of the Hall's Class of 2001 represent four countries, 1,935 NHL goals, eight Stanley Cup championships andthree Olympic gold medals.

Kurri, of Finland, is the highest-scoring European-born player in NHL history with 601 goals and 797 assists in 1,251 games with five teams.

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