On this day in sport: Mets boss dies, Red Rum hat-trick, MLS strike over, India glory

By Sports Desk April 02, 2020

Today marks 25 years since Major League Baseball stars called off their strike, which had resulted in the previous year's World Series being scrapped.

It is also 38 years to the day since the New York Mets were left stunned by the death of one of the biggest names in baseball.

History was made on this day in England at Aintree in 1977, while India's cricketers and Manchester United's Wayne Rooney were both celebrating nine years ago.

Let's take a look back at April 2 in sporting history.

1972 - Baseball in shock as Mets manager Hodges dies

Gil Hodges had been a superstar with the Brooklyn Dodgers and Los Angeles Dodgers, and rounded off his playing career with the just-founded New York Mets. An eight-time All-Star, as a coach he added to the two World Series with the Dodgers, Hodges famously reviving the Mets and leading them to a shock 1969 title triumph over the Baltimore Orioles. But Hodges died on April 2, 1972, at the age of just 47, when he suffered a heart attack following a round of golf in West Palm Beach, Florida. It was his second heart attack: a first came in Atlanta in September 1968, early in his career as manager of the Mets.

1977 - Red Rum wins third Grand National

Tommy Stack rode Red Rum to Aintree glory, as the Ireland-bred steeplechaser followed up 1973 and 1974 triumphs at the Liverpool course with an unprecedented third Grand National victory. The feat has never been matched, with Red Rum triumphing against the odds after second-placed finishes in 1975 and 1976. At the age of 12, Red Rum's third success went down as one of racing's most famous wins.

1995 - Baseball stars go back to work

From August 12 1994 until April 2 1995, there was no top-tier baseball in the United States, with MLB stars going on strike in a labour dispute that stemmed from salary-cap proposals that got players riled. The 1994-95 season was abandoned in September, and the strike lasted for 232 days until judge Sonia Sotomayor's injunction against team owners persuaded the players to go back to work.

2011 - India triumph, Rooney treble

India landed Cricket World Cup glory in front of their home fans in Mumbai when the hosts landed a six-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the final. Mahela Jayawardene made a century in Sri Lanka's 274-6 before India reached their target with 10 balls to spare, helped by 97 from Gautam Gambhir and 91 not out from MS Dhoni.

In London, on the same day, Wayne Rooney scored a hat-trick as Manchester United came from 2-0 behind to defeat West Ham 4-2 at Upton Park in the Premier League, an important result as Alex Ferguson's team went on to win the title weeks later.

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    Four footballers from Brazilian club Palmas were among six people who died in a plane crash on Sunday.

    The tragedy happened as the players from the Serie D club headed to a Copa Verde match against Vila Nova in Goiania.

    Palmas announced the deaths of the players and club president Lucas Meira, as well as the pilot of the aircraft.

    The Copa Verde game had been due to be played on Monday, with Palmas having won through to the last-16 stage by beating Real Noroeste on Wednesday.

    Palmas said in a statement posted on their Twitter page: "Palmas Futebol e Regatas is hereby informing that at around 8:15am on this Sunday, the 24th, there was an air accident involving the president of the club Lucas Meira, when he was leaving for Goiania, for the Copa Verde match between Vila Nova and Palmas on Monday 25.

    "The plane on which Lucas was with [pilot] Commander Wagner and athletes Lucas Praxedes, Guilherme Noe, Ranule and Marcus Molinari, took off and fell at the end of the runway of the Tocantins Association of Aviation.

    "We are sorry to inform you that there are no survivors. In this moment of pain and dismay, the club asks for prayers for the relatives to whom it will provide the necessary support."

    The club said it was an "inestimable loss", adding: "We appreciate the expressions of support and affection in this moment of pain."

    Chapecoense, the club left devastated by a November 2016 plane crash that caused the deaths of many of their players and staff, were quick to offer support.

    They said in a statement: "It is with deep sadness that we received the news of the crash of the plane that took the athletes and the president of Palmas.

    "Unfortunately, we know what this moment of insurmountable pain from irreparable losses is like and we would like no other team to have to feel the same.

    "In the face of this, however, we express our feeling of strength and our total solidarity with family members, friends, team-mates and fans. You will not go through this alone."

    The Brazilian Football Confederation [CBF] expressed its sorrow at the news.

    It said: "Deeply dismayed, CBF sympathises with the families of the victims of the plane crash. Our feelings also go to all the members of the club and to the fans of Palmas."

    The CBF said a minute's silence would take place before all matches in Brazil on Sunday, adding that the Copa Verde match involving Palmas would be rescheduled for a later date.

  • Manchester United 3-2 Liverpool: Fernandes free-kick settles superb cup tie Manchester United 3-2 Liverpool: Fernandes free-kick settles superb cup tie

    Bruno Fernandes came off the bench to settle a thrilling FA Cup fourth-round encounter as Manchester United overcame Liverpool 3-2 at Old Trafford.

    Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford turned the game in United's favour after Mohamed Salah had put Liverpool ahead in the 18th minute.

    Salah's second of a pulsating contest levelled matters once more with Liverpool looking the more likely to prevail thereafter.

    However, the introduction of talisman Fernandes proved a masterstroke as he arrowed a low free-kick into the bottom-right corner from the edge of the area to set up a fifth-round tie with West Ham.

     

  • De Jong 'not sure' if Barcelona can still win LaLiga De Jong 'not sure' if Barcelona can still win LaLiga

    Frenkie de Jong is unsure of Barcelona's title credentials despite their improving LaLiga form.

    De Jong scored the opener and created a late second for substitute Riqui Puig during Sunday's 2-0 win at Elche.

    That made it four wins out of four for Barca in Spain's top flight since the turn of the year, although they will be 10 points behind Atletico Madrid having played a game more if the leaders are able to beat Valencia in Sunday's late kick-off.

    "I'm not sure," he told LaLiga TV when asked whether Ronald Koeman's side are back in the title race.

    "We have to win our games and we'll see where we end up towards the end of the season."

    Nevertheless, the Netherlands midfielder has no doubt Barca are an improved side after a tough start to life under his former national team boss Koeman.

    "Since the new year we're a lot better and we've played most of the games away from home and won all of them in LaLiga. We're in a better moment," De Jong said.

    "I think [beating Elche] will do us good, we've worked hard, especially now in the new year. We're growing and improving as a team and hopefully we can keep improving."

    De Jong's tally of five goals across his season-and-a-half with Barca has already bettered his total of Eredivisie strikes for Ajax (four) across five campaigns, and the 23-year-old also feels that the imperative to improve applies to him personally, even after a man-of-the-match display.

    "Yes, I do think I can play better but it’s not only about goals and assists," he added. "Of course I'm happy but there's more to come."

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