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1973: Sports; social issues and crime; folkways; fashion; holidays.

Salaries increased and attendance declined for football, basketball, and baseball, to the benefit of other sports, notably hockey, soccer, and tennis. In September the ban on local television coverage of football games was lifted for events sold out in advance, and many ticket-holders stayed home to watch the games. In baseball the American League adopted the designated hitter rule--which provided for a tenth player in the lineup to hit for the pitcher without forcing the pitcher to leave the game--in the hope of increasing scoring and boosting attendance. In hockey the NHL drew 9,299,028 fans for the 1972-1973 season, an increase of more than 1,000,000 over the previous year. In golf the top money winners were Jack Nicklaus, $308,362, and Kathy Whitworth, $82,864. As professional sports were changing and growing, so was the national passion for physical fitness. Some 60,000,000 Americans were involved in sports for exercise, including some 18,000,000 cyclists. Another carefully observed trend was the national crime rate. On Mar. 28 a preliminary report showed the 1972 crime rate was down 2%, but an FBI report released on Dec. 27 showed the rate for the first nine months of 1973 to be up 1%, and violent crime up 3%. Among those who died this year were Frank Costello, a leading underworld figure, Feb. 18, at 82; Walt Kelly, creator of the comic strip Pogo, Oct. 18, at 60; Edward V. "Eddie" Rickenbacker, World War I flying ace, July 23, at 82; and Murat B. "Chic" Young, creator of the comic strip Blondie, Mar. 14, at 72.

Jan. 1

In college football bowl games, the results were Texas 17, Alabama 13 in the Cotton Bowl; Nebraska 40, Notre Dame 6 in the Orange Bowl; Southern California 42, Ohio State 17 in the Rose Bowl; and Oklahoma 14, Penn State 0 in the Sugar Bowl (Dec. 31, 1972). This season the AP and UPI polls chose Southern California the national college football champions of 1972.

Jan. 7

A sniper attack at a New Orleans, La., motel ended when police shot the sniper, Mark Essex, who had killed six persons and wounded 15 others.

Jan. 14

Super Bowl VII was won by the Miami Dolphins (AFC), defeating the Washington Redskins (NFC) 14-7. On Dec. 31, 1972, the Dolphins had defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 21-17 for the AFC championship and the Redskins had beaten the Dallas Cowboys 26-3 for the NFC title.

Jan. 22

The world heavyweight boxing championship was won by George Foreman, who defeated Joe Frazier in a second-round knockout. On Sept. 1 he defended the title with a one-round knockout of Joe Roman in Tokyo, Japan.

Jan. 24-27

U.S. figure skating championships were won in Bloomington, Minn., by Gordon McKellen, Jr., men's singles; Janet Lynn, women's singles; Melissa and Mark Militano, pairs; and Mary Karen Campbell and Johnny Johns, dance.

Feb. 25

Juan Corona was sentenced to 25 consecutive life terms after being convicted for the 1971 murders of 25 migrant workers in California. In 1978 his conviction was overturned, on the grounds his lawyer did not defend him competently, and a new trial was ordered. He was convicted again on Sept. 23, 1982.

Mar. 1

Robyn Smith became the first woman jockey to win a stakes race when she rode North Sea to victory in the Paumonok Handicap at Aqueduct Raceway.

Mar. 1

The birthrate for the last six months of 1972 was reported at 1.98 children per couple, below the 2.1 rate for zero population growth.

Mar. 5

Terms of the first comprehensive basketball contract between the NBA and the Players Association were announced. They included the highest minimum salary in professional sports ($20,000), and pension benefits of $720 for each season played.

Mar. 24

The second AIAW basketball championship was won by Immaculata College, beating Queens College 59-52 for their second women's college championship.

Mar. 26

The NCAA basketball championship was won for the seventh consecutive year by UCLA, defeating Memphis State 87-66.

Apr. 9

The Masters golf tournament was won by Tommy Aaron.

Apr. 17

The Boston Marathon was won by Jon Anderson of Oregon, with a time of 2 hrs., 16 min., 3 sec. He was the first U.S. winner in four years. The first woman to cross the finish line was Jacqueline Hansen of California, with a time of 3 hrs., 5 min., 59 sec.

Apr. 28-May 12

The ABA basketball championship was won by the Indiana Pacers, who defeated the Kentucky Colonels four games to three.

Apr. 29-May 10

The NHL Stanley Cup was won by the Montreal Canadiens, who defeated the Chicago Black Hawks four games to two.

May 5

The 99th annual Kentucky Derby was won by Secretariat, with a record time of 1:59 2/5. The jockey was Ron Turcotte.

May 6

The first World Hockey Association championship was won by the New England Whalers, defeating the Winnipeg Jets four games to one.

May 10

The NBA basketball championship was won by the New York Knicks, who beat the Los Angeles Lakers four games to one.

May 19

The 98th annual Preakness Stakes was won by Secretariat, with a time of 1:55. The jockey was Ron Turcotte.

May 21

The first athletic scholarship awarded to a woman was given to Lynn Genesko, a swimmer from Woodbridge, N.J., by the University of Miami (Fla.).

May 27

A new track record for the 880-yd. run was set by Rick Wohlhuter, who ran the distance in 1:44.6 at the AAU meet in Los Angeles, Calif.

May 30

The 57th Indianapolis 500 auto race was won by Gordon Johncock, who completed the course (332.5 mi.) in 2 hrs., 5 min., 26.59 sec. for an average speed of 159.014 mph.

June 9

The 105th annual Belmont Stakes was won by Secretariat, with a record time of 2:24, thus becoming the ninth horse to win racing's Triple Crown. Secretariat won by 31 lengths in a performance often called the best ever by a thoroughbred. The jockey was Ron Turcotte.

June 10

The LPGA golf tournament was won by Mary Mills.

June 17

The U.S. Open golf tournament was won by Johnny Miller.

June 19

Janet Lynn, five-time U.S. figure skating champion, signed a three-year, $1,455,000 contract with the Ice Follies.

July 7-8

At the Wimbledon tennis championships in England, Billie Jean King won the women's singles title for the second straight year. King teamed with Rosemary Casals to win the women's doubles, and with Owen Davidson of Australia to win the mixed doubles. Jimmy Connors teamed with Ilie Nastase of Rumania to take the men's doubles. Many tennis professionals boycotted the championship because of the International Lawn Tennis Federation's suspension of Yugoslavian player Nikki Pilic for refusing to play on the Yugoslavian Davis Cup team.

July 22

The U.S. Women's Open golf tournament was won by Sue Berning.

July 24

The baseball All-Star Game was won by the National League, beating the American League 7-1.

Aug. 6

The Baseball Hall of Fame inducted five new members: Roberto Clemente, William G. "Billy" Evans, Monte Irvin, George Kelly, and Warren Spahn.

Aug. 12

The PGA golf tournament was won by Jack Nicklaus.

Aug. 14

In a serial murder case in Texas, two Houston teenagers were indicated for the homosexual abuse and killings of 27 persons over a three-year period.

Aug. 25

The North American Soccer League championship was won by the Philadelphia Atoms, who defeated the Dallas Tornado 2-0.

Aug. 29-Sept. 9

The U.S. Open tennis singles championships were won by John Newcombe of Australia in the men's division and Margaret Smith Court of Australia, for the fifth time, in the women's division.

Sept. 8

The Miss America title was won by Rebecca Ann King, 23, of Colorado, at the annual pageant in Atlantic City, N.J.

Sept. 20

In a nationally televised tennis mismatch billed as the "Battle of the Sexes," Billie Jean King beat Bobby Riggs in three straight sets and went home $100,000 richer.

Sept. 25

Willie Mays of the New York Mets, retiring at season's end after 22 years in the majors, was honored in a ceremony at Shea Stadium in New York City. In his career Mays hit a total of 660 home runs.

Sept. 30

The fourth annual New York City Marathon was won by Tom Fleming of Bloomfield, N.J., with a course record time of 2 hrs., 21 min., 54.2 sec. Of the 12 women entrants, the first to finish was Nina Kuscsik of Long Island, N.Y., with a time of 2 hrs., 57 min., 7 sec.

Oct. 13-21

The World Series was won for the second year in a row by the Oakland Athletics (AL), defeating the New York Mets (NL) four games to three. The Mets had won the National League pennant on Oct. 10 by beating the Cincinnati Reds three games to two. The Athletics had won the American League title Oct. 11, beating the Baltimore Orioles three games to two.

Nov. 30-Dec. 2

The Davis Cup tennis championship was won in Cleveland, Ohio, by Australia, beating the U.S. in five straight matches.

Dec. 1

Jack Nicklaus won the Disney World Open, becoming the first professional golfer to hit a career total of $2,000,000.

Dec. 16

A new NFL rushing record was set by O.J. Simpson, running back for the Buffalo Bills, who broke Jim Brown's 1963 total of 1863 yds. Simpson later set a new pro record of 2003 yds.
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Author:Carruth, Gorton
Publication:Encyclopedia of American Facts & Dates, 9th ed.
Article Type:Reference Source
Date:Jan 1, 1993
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