Rozelle 'Most Powerful'Sports Figure of Century
Former NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle, who spearheaded the growth of
professional football in the last 30 years, was named the most powerful sports
figure of the 20th Century yesterday by The Sporting News.
The influential Rozelle, who engineered the AFL-NFL merger and brokered the
first major television contracts for the league, was selected by the magazine's
editors and writers to lead its Top 100 sports figures. The list is dominated
by commissioners, owners, agents, labor leaders and TV executives.
The highest-ranked athlete on the list-at No. 10-is Muhammad Ali. The next
The four current commissioners of the major sports leagues, who appeared at a
Manahattan luncheon announcing the awards, made the list: the NBA's David
Stern, (6) the NFL's Paul Tagliabue (34), the NHL's Gary Bettman (67) and
major-league baseball's Bud Selig (84). Two women made the list: Billie Jean
King (33) and University of Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt (86).
Among the movers and shakers were three owners of New York franchises: the
late Jets founder Sonny Werblin (96).
The rest of the top 10: Kenesaw Mountain Landis (2); former ABC Network
executive Roone Arledge (3); Branch Rickey, who signed Jackie Robinson (4);
baseball union leader Marvin Miller (5); Fox' Rupert Murdoch (7); former IOC
chairman Avery Brundage (8), and American League founder Ban Johnson (9). About
the only questionable inclusion was No. 100: The San Diego Chicken.-Steve Zipay
TENNIS: Budge Injured in Accident. Tennis great Don Budge broke his leg and was
injured critically yesterday when his car hit trees after skidding off a wet
road in the Pocono Mountains at 9:30 a.m. near his home in Milford, Pa. Budge,
84, had to be cut from the wreckage by rescue crews. He may have suffered
internal injuries. He was airlifted to St. Francis Hospital in Poughkeepsie. In
1938, Budge was the first player to win all four of the Grand Slam
tournaments. He was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 1964 and also was
selected as one of Tennis Magazine's 20 greatest players of the century.
BASEBALL: Cordero Signs With Pirates. The Pittsburgh Pirates signed free-agent
outfielder Wil Cordero to a three-year, $ 9-million contract a day after
acquiring outfielder Bruce Aven from the Florida Marlins. Cordero batted .299
with eight home runs and 32 RBI during 52 games with Cleveland last season.
Brian Johnson Joins Royals. Free-agent catcher Brian Johnson signed a one-year
contract with the Kansas City Royals. Terms weren't released. The Royals hold
an option for the 2001 season. Johnson hit .231 in 45 games for the Cincinnati
Reds last year.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Auburn Coasts. Tasha Hamilton scored 18 points to help the
eighth-ranked Auburn Tigers rebound from their first loss of the season with a
96-71 victory over UAB. The Tigers (6-1), who lost, 77-65, at No. 9 Penn State
on Saturday, shot a season-high 60 percent last night as five players scored in
Auburn shot 65 percent in the first half while opening a 55-27 halftime lead.
"Our first half of basketball was the type of basketball we need to play,"
Auburn coach Joe Ciampi said. "We did all the things we need to win games."
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Ex-Jet O'Brien Resigns. USC assistant coaches Ken O'Brien and
Mike Wilson have resigned, the school said. O'Brien had been relieved of his
duties as quarterbacks coach, a position he held the last two years, and opted
not to accept the position of tight ends coach. O'Brien, 39, was an NFL
quarterback from 1983-93 with the Jets and Philadelphia Eagles. Wilson, a
receiver with the San Francisco 49ers from 1981-90, left after three years as
receivers coach to pursue an opportunity in private business.
BOXING: Moorer Sued by Grandfather. Michael Moorer's grandfather is suing the
former heavyweight champ for up to $6.9 million, claiming he didn't get what he
deserved for guiding the boxer's amateur career as a trainer. At issue at the
trial in federal court in Pittsburgh are contracts signed in 1986 and 1988.
Under the first contract, Moorer was to give Henry Smith a quarter of his
lifetime earnings; the second called for 10 percent while Smith worked for
Moorer. Smith was fired in 1992. Moorer beat Evander Holyfield for the IBF and
WBA titles in 1994 but was knocked out by George Foreman later that year. He
has not fought since 1997.
POLICE BLOTTER: Brown's Motion Rejected. Former football great Jim Brown was
rebuffed in an attempt to disqualify the judge who sentenced him to domestic
violence counseling as punishment for misdemeanor vandalism of his wife's car.
Brown had filed a motion accusing Hollywood Municipal Court Judge Dale S.
Fischer of bias against black men because she was chief executive officer of
the Los Angeles chapter of American Inns of Court, which he termed extremist.