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1978: Sports; social issues and crime; folkways; fashion; holidays.

Professional sports prospered this year. Major league baseball drew a record 40,000,000 fans, and the Los Angeles Dodgers (NL) drew 3,347,776 customers to become the first team to break the 3,000,000 mark. In basketball, David Thompson of the Denver Nuggets negotiated an $800,000 contract for the year, highest to date for any professional athlete. Pro football increased its regular season from 14 to 16 games. In golf the top money winners were Tom Watson, $362,429, and Nancy Lopez, $153,097. The boom in jogging and physical fitness activities was good news for sportswear manufacturers, and even the fashion world began paying attention to Americans' interest in fitness and health. Americans also burned up the calories on the dance floors of discotheques, which became enormously popular in the wake of the hit film Saturday Night Fever. Notables who died this year included Ford C. Frick, former president of the National League (1934-1951), Apr. 8, at 83; Joseph V. McCarthy, who managed the New York Yankees to eight American League championships and seven World Series victories between 1931 and 1946, Jan. 13, at 90; and James Joseph "Gene" Tunney, undefeated heavyweight champion of the world from 1926 to 1928, Nov. 17, at 80.

Jan. 2

In college football bowl games, the results were Notre Dame 38, Texas 10 in the Cotton Bowl; Arkansas 31, Oklahoma 6 in the Orange Bowl; Washington 27, Michigan 20 in the Rose Bowl; and Alabama 35, Ohio State 6 in the Sugar Bowl. This season the AP and UPI polls chose Notre Dame the national collegiate champions of 1977.

Jan. 9

In a major ruling on coeducational sports, a federal judge in Dayton, Ohio, ruled against preventing high-school girls from playing on the same sports teams as boys.

Jan. 15

Super Bowl XII was won by the Dallas Cowboys (NFC), defeating the Denver Broncos (AFC) 27-10. On Jan. 1 the Cowboys had beaten the Minnesota Vikings 23-6 for the NFC championship and the Broncos had defeated the Oakland Raiders 20-17 to take the AFC title.

Feb. 12

U.S. figure skating championships were won in Portland, Oreg., by Charles Tickner, men's singles; Linda Fratianne, women's singles; Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner, pairs; Stacey Smith and John Summers, dance.

Feb. 15

The world heavyweight boxing championship was won by Leon Spinks in a 15-round decision over Muhammad Ali at Las Vegas, Nev.

Mar. 9

At the world figure skating championships in Ottawa, Canada, Charles Tickner won the men's singles title.

Mar. 25

The AIAW basketball championship was won by UCLA, beating the University of Maryland 90-74.

Mar. 27

The NCAA basketball championship was won by the University of Kentucky, beating Duke University 94-88.

Apr. 9

The Masters golf tournament was won by Gary Player.

Apr. 17

The 82nd Boston Marathon was won by Bill Rodgers, with a time of 2 hrs., 10 min., 13 sec. The first woman to finish was Gayle Barron of Georgia, with a time of 2 hrs., 44 min., 52 sec.

May 6

The 104th Kentucky Derby was won by Affirmed, with a time of 2:01 1/5. The jockey was Steve Cauthen.

May 13-25

The NHL Stanley Cup was won by the Montreal Canadiens, defeating the Boston Bruins four games to two.

May 20

The 103rd Preakness Stakes was won by Affirmed, with a time of 1:54 2/5. The jockey was Steve Cauthen.

May 21-June 7

The NBA basketball championship was won by the Washington Bullets, who beat the Seattle Supersonics four games to three.

May 26

The first legal casino in the U.S. outside Nevada was opened in Atlantic City, N.J., by Resorts International Hotel Casino.

May 28

The 62nd Indianapolis 500 auto race was won by Al Unser, completing the 500-mile course in 3 hrs., 5 min., 54.99 sec., with an average speed of 161.363 mph.

June 9

The World Boxing Council heavyweight boxing championship was won by Larry Holmes, in a 15-round decision over Ken Norton.

June 10

The 110th Belmont Stakes was won by Affirmed, with a time of 2:26 4/5 to become the 11th horse to win racing's Triple Crown. The jockey, once again, was Steve Cauthen. As in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, Alydar finished second--the only horse ever to be runner-up in all three events. This was the first time there were Triple Crown winners in consecutive years, Seattle Slew having won in 1977.

June 11

The LPGA golf tournament was won by Nancy Lopez with a tournament record 13 under par.

June 18

The U.S. Open golf tournament was won by Andy North, beating J. C. Snead and Dave Stockton on the last hole after seeing a substantial lead vanish.

July 11

The baseball All-Star Game was won for the seventh consecutive year by the National League, beating the American League 7-3.

July 23

The U.S. Women's Open golf tournament was won by Hollis Stacy.

Aug. 6

The PGA golf tournament was won by John Mahaffey, beating Tom Watson and Jerry Pate on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff.

Aug. 8

The Baseball Hall of Fame inducted three new members: Adrian Joss, pitcher; Larry MacPhail, baseball executive; and Eddie Matthews, third baseman for 17 years with the Braves.

Aug. 11-17

The first successful transatlantic balloon crossing was made by Max Anderson, Ben Abruzzo, and Larry Newman, who flew from Presque Isle, Maine, to Paris, France, in 137 hrs., 18 min.

Aug. 27

The North American Soccer League championship was won by the New York Cosmos, who beat the Tampa Bay Rowdies 3-1.

Sept. 9

The Miss America title was won by Kylene Barker, 22, from Galax, Va., at the annual pageant in Atlantic City, N.J.

Sept. 10

The U.S. Open tennis singles championships were won by Chris Evert in the women's division and Jimmy Connors in the men's division.

Sept. 15

The World Boxing Association heavyweight boxing championship was won by Muhammad Ali, who beat Leon Spinks in 15 rounds to regain the title for an unprecedented third time.

Oct. 10-17

The World Series was won by the New York Yankees (AL), defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers (NL) four games to two. On Oct. 7 the Yankees had won the American League pennant, beating the Kansas City Royals three games to one, and the Dodgers had taken the National League title, downing the Philadelphia Phillies three games to one.

Oct. 22

The ninth New York City Marathon was won by Bill Rodgers, with a time of 2 hrs., 12 min., 12 sec. The first woman to finish was Grete Waitz of Norway, with a time of 2 hrs., 32 min., 30 sec.

Dec. 8-10

The Davis Cup international tennis challenge round was won by the U.S., defeating Great Britain four matches to one.
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Author:Carruth, Gorton
Publication:Encyclopedia of American Facts & Dates, 9th ed.
Article Type:Reference Source
Date:Jan 1, 1993
Words:1141
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