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1977: Sports; social issues and crime; folkways; fashion; holidays.

With star player Pele in action with an American professional team, soccer became the fastest growing team sport in the U.S. Growth of soccer (some 350,000 persons under 18 years of age were playing the game) was enhanced further by availability of inexpensive equipment, low injury rate, and accessibility for women players. The price of a professional soccer franchise had risen tenfold since 1971, when the going price was $10,000. Baseball attendance leaped 24% over 1976 levels, and basketball attendance edged the 10,000,000 mark. In horse racing 17-year-old Steve Cauthen drew wide attention for his remarkable achievements as a jockey. In boxing, Muhammad Ali decided not to retire and defended his heavyweight crown twice. In golf the top money winners were Tom Watson, $310,653, and Judy Rankin, $122,890. Also this year, skateboards became a new activity for vast numbers of youngsters. Notables who died this year included Robert Calvin "Cal" Hubbard, the baseball umpire, Oct. 17, at 77; Bernard "Toots" Shor, the celebrated New York City barkeeper, Jan. 23, at 73; and Philip K. Wrigley, owner of the Chicago Cubs baseball team, Apr. 12, at 82.

Jan. 1

In college football bowl games, the results were Houston 30, Maryland 21 in the Cotton Bowl; Ohio State 27, Colorado 10 in the Orange Bowl; USC 14, Michigan 6 in the Rose Bowl; and Pittsburgh 27, Georgia 3 in the Sugar Bowl. This season the AP and UPI polls chose Pittsburgh the national college champions of 1976.

Jan. 9

Super Bowl XI was won by the Oakland Raiders (AFC), who defeated the Minnesota Vikings (NFC) 32-14. On Dec. 26, 1976, the Raiders had beaten the Pittsburgh Steelers 24-7 for the NFC championship, and the Vikings had beaten the Los Angeles Rams 24-13 for the AFC title.

Jan. 17

Convicted murderer Gary Gilmore was executed by a Utah firing squad, ending a ten-year halt on capital punishment in the U.S.

Feb. 1

Television rights to the 1980 Olympics in Moscow were secured by the National Broadcasting Company, which agreed to pay $35,000,000 for exclusive rights to the games and an additional $50,000,000 for production and equipment costs.

Feb. 3-5

U.S. figure skating championships were won in Hartford, Conn., by Charles Tickner, men's singles; Linda Fratianne, women's singles; Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner, pairs; Judi Genovesi and Kent Weigle, dance.

Mar. 3

At the world figure skating championships in Tokyo, Japan, Linda Fratianne won the women's singles title.

Mar. 9-11

A terrorist raid was staged in Washington, D.C., by 12 Hanafi Muslim gunmen. The terrorists seized three buildings and demanded custody of five Black Muslims who had been imprisoned for the 1973 murder of seven Hanafis and of three more Black Muslims who had been imprisoned for the 1965 murder of Malcolm X. One person was killed during the raid, and 139 were held prisoner for 39 hours before the terrorists surrendered.

Mar. 26

The AIAW basketball championship was won for the third consecutive year by Delta State, defeating Louisiana State 68-55.

Mar. 28

The NCAA basketball championship was won by Marquette University, defeating North Carolina 67-59.

Apr. 10

The Masters golf tournament was won by Tom Watson, who beat Jack Nicklaus by two strokes.

Apr. 18

The 81st Boston Marathon was won by Jerome Drayton of Canada, with a time of 2 hrs., 14 min., 46 sec. The first woman to finish was Miki Gorman of California, with a time of 2 hrs., 48 min., 44 sec.

May 7

The 103rd Kentucky Derby was won by Seattle Slew, with a time of 2:02 1/5. The jockey was Jean Cruguet.

May 7-14

The NHL Stanley Cup was won by the Montreal Canadiens, who swept the Boston Bruins in four games.

May 9

Patricia Hearst, serving a prison sentence for a 1974 robbery, was released on probation.

May 21

The 102nd Preakness Stakes was won by Seattle Slew, with a time of 1:54 2/5. The jockey was Jean Cruguet.

May 22-June 5

The NBA basketball championship was won by the Portland Trail Blazers, who beat the Philadelphia 76ers four games to two after losing the first two games of the series.

May 25

A furor over leniency in rape cases was unleashed when Wisconsin Judge Archie Simonson gave a light sentence to a rapist, suggesting that seductively clad women provoked assaults. He was removed on Sept. 7 by a recall vote.

May 26

One of the towers of the World Trade Center was scaled by George Willig, a toy designer, who climbed the south tower in three and a half hours. He was fined $1.10, one cent for each story of the building.

May 29

The 61st Indianapolis 500 auto race was won by A.J. Foyt, completing the 500-mile course in 3 hrs., 5 min., 57.7 sec., with an average speed of 161.331 mph. Janet Guthrie became the first woman to compete in the racing classic.

June 11

The 109th annual Belmont Stakes was won by Seattle Slew, finishing in 2:29 3/5 to take the race and become the tenth horse to win racing's Triple Crown. The jockey was Jean Cruguet.

June 12

The LPGA golf tournament was won by Chako Higuchi of Japan.

June 19

The U.S. Open golf tournament was won by Hubert Green, beating Lou Graham by one stroke.

June 29

Capital punishment for rape was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

July 2

At the Wimbledon tennis championships in England, the only U.S. player to win in finals play was Joanne Russell, who teamed with Helen Gourlay Cawley of Australia to win the women's doubles championship.

July 19

The baseball All-Star Game was won for the sixth time running by the National League, beating the American League 7-5.

July 24

The U.S. Women's Open golf tournament was won by Hollis Stacy, who beat Nancy Lopez by two strokes.

Aug. 1

A return to bell-bottom trousers, white caps, and jumpers for sailors' uniforms was announced by the Navy after an experiment with coat-and-shirt uniforms.

Aug. 8

The Baseball Hall of Fame inducted six new members: Ernie Banks, infielder; Martin Dihigo, pitcher for the old Negro league; John Henry "Pop" Lloyd, shortstop in the Negro league; Al Lopez, manager; Amos Rustie, pitcher, known as the "Hoosier Thunderbolt"; and Joe Sewell, infielder.

Aug. 10

The so-called Son of Sam serial murder case in New York City culminated in the arrest of David Berkowitz, 24, suspected of murdering six people and wounding seven more over a 13-month period.

Aug. 14

The PGA golf tournament was won by Lanny Wadkins, who beat Gene Littler on the third hole of a sudden-death playoff.

Aug. 15

A new U.S. soccer attendance record of 77,961 was established in a playoff game between the New York Cosmos and the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in East Rutherford, N.J.

Aug. 28

The North American Soccer League championship was won by the New York Cosmos, who beat the Seattle Sounders 2-1.

Sept. 10

The Miss America title was won by Susan Yvonne Perkins, 23, from Ohio, at the annual pageant in Atlantic City, N.J.

Sept. 10-11

The U.S. Open tennis singles championships were won by Chris Evert Lloyd, for the third straight time, in the women's division and Guillermo Vilas of Argentina in the men's division.

Sept. 13-18

The America's Cup was successfully defended by the U.S. yacht Courageous, which beat the challenger Australia in four straight races.

Oct. 11-18

The World Series was won by the New York Yankees (AL), defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers (NL) four games to two. On Oct. 8 the Dodgers had won the National League pennant over the Philadelphia Phillies, three games to one, and the following day the Yankees had clinched the American League pennant from the Kansas City Royals, three games to two.

Oct. 23

The eighth annual New York City Marathon was won by Bill Rodgers with a time of 2 hrs., 11 min., 28.2 sec. The first woman to finish was Miki Gorman of California, with a time of 2 hrs., 43 min., 10 sec.

Dec. 2

A prominent veterinarian, Mark J. Gerard, was indicted in a horse-switching scandal. A purportedly dead four-year-old champion colt, Cinzano, had apparently won a Sept. 23 race at Belmont Park disguised as Lebon, a 57-1 longshot.

Dec. 10

Steve Cauthen became the first jockey to win more than $5,000,000 in purse money in one year. Cauthen ended 1977 with 488 wins.
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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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