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BRIEFLY : WOODS NAMED AP'S MALE ATHLETE OF YEAR.

Although Tiger Woods has a long way to go to break all the records set by Jack Nicklaus, he already has one honor never achieved by Nicklaus, or Arnold Palmer - Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year.

Woods, whose record-setting victory in the Masters in April pushed golf from the sports pages to the front pages and triggered a financial explosion in the game, easily won over Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders in balloting by AP print and broadcast members.

Woods finished with 231 points in the voting to 100 for Sanders. Evander Holyfield was third with 98 points.

BASEBALL: Two star Cuban baseball players, including the brother of World Series MVP Livan Hernandez of the Florida Marlins, made their escape from Cuba and were being held at a refugee camp in the Bahamas.

Pitcher Orlando Hernandez, 28, his 20-year-old wife Noris, and catcher Alberto Hernandez, were among eight Cubans picked up by Bahamian authorities.

MARKETING: Nike has changed its advertising slogan from ``Just Do It'' to ``I Can.''

HORSE RACING: Jockey Goncalino Almeida suffered four fractured ribs in a spill during the second race at Santa Anita. Almeida's mount, Siyah Dance, suffered a complete dislocation of his left front cannon bone during the stretch run.

Two other horses and jockeys fell over the horse, but all escaped serious injury. Siyah Dance, a 2-year-old gelding, had to be euthanized.

BOXING: Mike Tyson's ban from boxing isn't scaring away the World Wrestling Federation.

The professional wrestling organization said it is negotiating with boxing promoter Don King and the former heavyweight champion with aims of getting Tyson to participate in some capacity in ``Wrestlemania XIV,'' an annual pay-per-view event.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: A Phoenix investment banker, Joseph Gagliano Jr., has pleaded guilty to being part of a plot to fix games in 1994 with two former Arizona State basketball players and will be sentenced June 1, according to a published report.

AWARDS: Dr. Keith S. Richman, chair of CSUN's Task Force on Intercollegiate Athletics, will receive the American Baseball Coaches Association Collegiate Alumnus Award on Sunday.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:SPORTS
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Dec 31, 1997
Words:344
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