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Professional

Sport Shorts for Thursday, July 11, 2019

SOCCER

U.S. team honored with parade

For the second time in 4 years, the Canyon of Heroes in New York City belonged to the U.S. women’s soccer team as Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, and their victorious teammates rolled through Lower Manhattan to celebrate their latest World Cup championship.

Air horns echoed along Broadway and the crowd chanted “USA! USA!” when the team members, in sunglasses and matching black championship T-shirts, rolled past aboard floats. Confetti wafted down from the skyscrapers above as the players waved to the adoring audience.

All 23 players, along with coach Jill Ellis, received keys to the city from Mayor Bill de Blasio.

NBA

Jordan jersey to be auctioned off

On Sept. 12, 1984, the day Michael Jordan signed a 7-year, $6 million contract to play for the Bulls, the newly minted rookie held up his No. 23 jersey for photographers.

For all anyone knows, that might have been the last time Jordan held that jersey. What is known is the jersey ended up in the possession of a Bulls front-office executive, who later sold or gave it to a private collector.

Now that anonymous owner has put Jordan’s jersey up for bid through Goldin Auctions.

The opening bid requires a minimum of $15,000, and the auction will run online up to and during a live auction Aug. 1 at the National Sports Collectors Convention at Rosemont’s Donald E. Stephens Convention Center.

NHL

Ex-Blackhawk
Johnson dies

Former Chicago Blackhawk Greg Johnson has died. He was 48.

Tom Laidlaw, his former agent, told USA Today Johnson died Monday at his home in Michigan. No other details were provided.

Johnson also played for Detroit, Pittsburgh and Nashville during his 12 years in the NHL, finishing with 145 goals and 224 assists in 785 games.

Penguins’ Cullen retires after 21 years

A career that began in 1997 has come to an end after 21 seasons, 1,516 NHL games, and three Stanley Cup titles. On Wednesday, Matt Cullen announced his retirement at the age of 42.

In a story he wrote for the Pittsburgh Penguins website, Cullen said that he knew entering the 2018-19 season it would be his final one in hockey.

Cullen won his first Stanley Cup in 2004 with the Hurricanes, then played on the Penguins’ back-to-back Cup winners in 2016 and ’17.

MLB

Former Yankee
Bouton dies

Jim Bouton, the former
Yankees pitcher who shocked and angered the conservative baseball world with the tell-all book “Ball Four,” has died. He was 80.

Bouton’s family said he died Wednesday at the Great Barrington, Mass. home he shared with wife Paula Kurman. He fought a brain disease linked to dementia and was in hospice care. Bouton also had two strokes in 2012.

Published in 1970, “Ball Four” detailed Yankees great Mickey Mantle’s carousing, and the use of stimulants in the major leagues. Bouton’s revealing look at baseball off the field made for eye-opening and entertaining reading, but he paid a big price for the best-seller when former teammates and players and executives across baseball ostracized him for exposing their secrets. He wasn’t invited to the Yankees’ Old-Timers’ Day until 1998.

Throwing so hard that his cap often flew off his head, Bouton was 21-8 with six shutouts in 1963 — his second season in the majors and his only year as an All-Star — and went 18-13 with four more shutouts in 1964. The Yankees lost the World Series both years, with Bouton losing his lone start in 1963 in New York’s loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and winning twice the following year in the Yankees’ loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Bouton injured his right arm in 1965, going 4-15 that season, and saw limited action the next three seasons with New York. He worked on “Ball Four” in 1969, a season spent with the expansion Seattle Pilots and Houston Astros, his fastball replaced by a knuckleball as he tried to prolong his career.

Nicknamed Bulldog, Bouton also pitched for Houston in 1970. He returned to the majors with the Atlanta Braves in 1978, going 1-3 at age 39. He finished his 10-year career with a 62-63 record and 3.57 ERA.

Bouton was a television sportscaster in New York City with WABC and WCBS, wrote other books, appeared in the 1973 movie “The Long Goodbye” and starred in a 1976 CBS sitcom based on “Ball Four” that lasted only five episodes. He and a former teammate developed Big League Chew, a bubble gum alternative to tobacco.

Born in Newark, New Jersey, Bouton was raised in New Jersey and the Chicago area. He pitched at Western Michigan University before signing with the Yankees in 1958. He made it to the majors in 1962, going 7-7, but didn’t appear in the Yankees’ World Series victory over the San Francisco Giants.

NBA

Leonard inks deal with Clippers

Kawhi Leonard has chosen a shorter contract with the Los Angeles Clippers that lines up with new teammate Paul George’s and sets up the two to be part of the 2021 free-agent class.

Leonard signed a three-year, $103.1 million deal that includes a player option for the 2021-22 season, the source said. He will make $32.74 million next season, $34.37 million in 2020-21 and $36.01 million in the player-option season.

George’s four-year, $136.9 million contract, signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2018 offseason, also includes a player option for 2021-22.

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