On this day in sport: Ayrton Senna dies, Messi's 600th Barcelona goal

By Sports Desk May 01, 2020

The death of Ayrton Senna on this day 26 years ago was a chilling moment in sporting history.

Already a motorsport great by the time of the crash that ended his life, Senna is remembered as one of the most accomplished and toughest drivers to have ever got behind the wheel.

Boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard landed a punch for the ages to become middleweight world champion on May 1, way back in 1957.

And only last year, Lionel Messi struck a wonder-goal against Liverpool that at the time looked to have sunk Jurgen Klopp's side's hopes of reaching the Champions League final.

It was his 600th goal for Barcelona, but there was a twist left in the tie.

1994 - Ayrton Senna dies after Imola crash

The weekend of the San Marino Grand Prix had already been one of the most devastating in Formula One history, with Austrian driver Roland Ratzenberger dying after crashing into a wall during Saturday's qualifying session.

Tragically, there was another death to come, and the world was stunned when three-time world champion Senna lost his life in Sunday's race.

Senna was just 34 years old. His Williams car was travelling at 192mph when it ran off course on the seventh lap and collided with a concrete barrier.

The Brazilian was airlifted to hospital but could not be saved and his death was announced that evening.

His funeral took place four days later in Sao Paulo, Senna's home city, with a reported three million people taking to the streets to mourn.

1957 - Sugar Ray Robinson throws the perfect punch

Many rate Robinson as the greatest fighter there has ever been, and aside from a 1943 defeat to Jake LaMotta, he lost to nobody in his first 131 completed professional bouts.

After losing two of his next five fights, Robinson retired in 1952 and pursued a show business career, but he was drawn back to boxing and became a middleweight world champion for the third time in December 1955.

Robinson was increasingly vulnerable later in his career, but he landed a fourth middleweight crown in Chicago on May 1, 1957, avenging a defeat to Gene Fullmer four months earlier.

Fullmer only lost one fight by knockout through his own storied career, and it was this one, Robinson landing a stunning left hook to the jaw in the fifth round that sent his opponent sprawling.

It has been widely described since as a 'perfect punch', and Fullmer had no comeback.

Robinson lost and later regained the middleweight title, retiring at the age of 44 in November 1965.

2019 - Messi puts Barca on the brink with 600th goal

Messi's 600th goal for Barcelona should have left no doubt about the Blaugrana's place in last year's Champions League final; after all, it put them 3-0 up against Liverpool in the first leg.

His raking free-kick flew into the top-left corner, with a small deflection on the way, to bring up another century of goals from Messi for the Camp Nou giants.

It was Messi's second goal of the game, as Barcelona left Liverpool, who played well but went unrewarded, with a mountain to climb at Anfield in the second leg.

Famously, of course, Liverpool turned the tie around with a 4-0 home triumph, leaving Barcelona, and the mercurial Messi, to wonder how they managed to squander such a position.

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     “I'm excited for the upcoming season.”

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    The 22-year-old Detroit Tigers outfielder is already the first player in modern MLB history (dating back to 1901) to hit a grand slam, another home run and a walk-off hit in his first three career games.

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    If sitting out the 2019 campaign was not bad enough, he missed last season when the minor leagues were shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    During the winter's Rule five draft in December, Baddoo was taken by the Tigers, having initially been drafted out of high school by the Minnesota Twins in 2016.

    The Rule 5 draft aims at preventing franchises from stockpiling too many young players on their minor league affiliate teams when other clubs would be prepared to play them in the major leagues. If chosen, a player must be kept on the selecting team's major league active roster for the entire season.

    "If you think about it, he's gone through so much," Baddoo's mother Akilah said. "And then this opportunity came, and it was like, 'This can't be a joke. There's a plan for you. You got to know that'."

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    Baddoo had 233 career minor leagues games to his name, but none above Class A as he earned a place on the Opening Day roster after hitting .325 in Spring Training with five home runs. However, the Maryland native looked like a man for the big stage.

    In his opening at-bat on April 4, Baddoo homered in a memorable maiden outing for the Tigers, driving to left field in the bottom of the third inning against the Cleveland Indians.

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    His game-winning hit saw him become the first Detroit player with a walk-off shot within his first three MLB games since 1998.

    Baddoo is yet to drop off, his history-making season continuing with a homer against the Houston Astros on Tuesday. Through eight games, he took his tally to four home runs, a double and a triple. According to Stats Perform, his slugging percentage at the time – 1.043 – was the highest in American League (AL) history after eight games.

    After his RBI double against the Astros on Wednesday, Baddoo has now driven in at least one run in seven of his first nine career games, the second Tiger in franchise history to do so, following Dale Alexander in 1929.

    Since 1920, only George Shuba (eight) managed more RBIs in his first nine career games across MLB, according to Stats Perform.

    As it stands, Baddoo's slugging percentage stands at .963 (which ranks eighth all-time through first nine career games since 1901) with 11 RBI. If you combine his RBI and SLG percentage, he is one of four players to have 11-plus RBI and a 900-plus SLG over his first nine career games, after Trevor Story (13/.974 – 38/39 in 2016), Taylor Teagarden (12/1.000 – 29/29 in 2008) and Dave Kingman (11/1.105 – 21/19 in 1971).

    Baddoo was rated as Detroit's fifth outfielder before the start of the season, so how does he compare to his team-mates?

    Counting only plate appearances while playing outfielder, Baddoo's .370 average, .379 on-base percentage, .963 SLG, 1.342 OPS, four homers and 11 RBI are more than the team's other outfielders combined –.190 AVG, .277 OBP, .330 SLG, .607 OPS, three home runs and nine RBI.

    As for the team who left their prospect unprotected, Minnesota's outfielders have tallied a .263 AVG, .331 OBS and .474 SLG so far this season – numbers surpassed by Baddoo.

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    Following an 18-season career, Clemente – who died in a plane crash at the age of 38 in 1972 – was a 15-time All-Star, two-time World Series champion, 1966 National League (NL) MVP, World Series MVP and 12-time Gold Glove winner.

    Is Baddoo destined for a Hall of Fame career?

    At the same stage of their careers, Baddoo trumps Clemente in all categories: AVG (.370 to .316), OBP (.379 to .325), SLG (.963 to .500), OPS (1.342 to .825), home runs (four to one), RBI (11 to six) and runs (five to three).

    "Obviously he has the talent to do a lot of different things, I knew he'd give me everything he's got," Tigers manager AJ Hinch has said previously. "That was evident from the beginning."

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    The 22-year-old midfielder talked to United players during last month's international break as England won their opening three World Cup qualifiers.

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    ROUND-UP

    - Barcelona have made prolific Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland their primary transfer target, according to Marca. Barca are willing to wait until the end of next season to get their man.

    - Brest defender Romain Perraud has the attention of Leeds United and Lyon, according to the Daily Mail. Perraud would shore up the defence of either club while serving as a potential asset going forward; he has three goals and six assists this season.

    - Goal reports Jesse Lingard is yet to decide whether he wants to make West Ham his permanent home as he continues to enjoy a stunning spell on loan from Manchester United.

    - Lyon center back and Danish international Joachim Andersen, currently on loan to Fulham, is drawing interest from Tottenham and Manchester United, B.T. reports, with Chelsea, Leicester City and Crystal Palace also potential destinations.

    Charles De Ketelaere may be on the move from Bruges, with Milan and Atalanta both potential landing spots, according to Calciomercato. 

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