Michael Vick entered the NFL 19 years ago on Tuesday, a quarterback considered to be so talented that the Atlanta Falcons traded up to land him in the 2001 NFL Draft.

Future Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson was also drafted on April 21, 2001 and record-breaking quarterback Drew Brees became his team-mate at the San Diego Chargers.

Bayern Munich delivered one of the most devastating first-half displays in Champions League history, while Philip Humber pitched the third perfect game in Chicago White Sox history.

We take a look back at the major events that occurred on this day in previous years.

 

2001 - Vick becomes new Falcons quarterback

Vick only played 20 games in college at Virginia Tech, but the Falcons had seen enough to send second and third-round selections, and wide receiver Tim Dwight, to take the top pick off the Chargers' hands.

In six seasons with Atlanta, Vick was named to the Pro Bowl three times, twice taking the Falcons to the playoffs. However, in 2007, Vick admitted to financing a dogfighting ring and was jailed for 23 months. Upon his release, he played for the Philadelphia Eagles, retiring in 2017 after spells with the New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Chargers spent their first pick - the fifth overall - on running back Tomlinson, while they grabbed Brees in the second round, though it was with the New Orleans Saints where he would emerge as a truly elite quarterback.

 

2012 - Humber's perfect game

White Sox pitcher Humber had an MLB record of just 16-23 and was yet to complete a game when he came to the mound against the Seattle Mariners.

What followed was the 21st perfect game in MLB history across 96 pitches as Humber joined the likes of Cy Young, Sandy Koufax and Roy Halladay.

Humber, who received a congratulatory call from noted White Sox fan US President Barack Obama, finished with nine strikeouts, while the other batters were retired with five groundouts and 13 flyouts.

2015 - Bayern batter Porto

Pep Guardiola's Bayern Munich were on the brink of being eliminated from the 2014-15 Champions League at the quarter-final stage when they lost 3-1 to Porto in the first leg.

However, back in Bavaria, they soon turned the tie on its head by scoring five times in the opening 40 minutes, eventually cruising to a 6-1 success - and a 7-4 aggregate victory - to reach the last four.

Guardiola's old side Barcelona would beat Bayern in the semi-finals, though, going on to lift the trophy by defeating Juventus in the final.

Few players have had an impact on Premier League football like Alan Shearer, the greatest goalscorer the competition has seen.

The former England striker started out at Southampton in the old First Division, before going on to enjoy goal-laden spells with Blackburn Rovers and the club he supported as a boy, Newcastle United.

His impact was significant at all three, but his legacy is arguably felt the most at St. James' Park, where he spent the final 10 seasons of his career.

His goalscoring feats began on this day in 1988, but April 8 has also proven momentous in baseball, as we examine below.

1974 - Hank Aaron overtakes Babe Ruth

For many years after Babe Ruth's retirement in 1935, his record of 714 home runs looked unbeatable until 'Hammerin' Hank' Aarons became the first to surpass Ruth on April 8 ,1974. He might have done so earlier were it not for racially motivated death threats so prolific that his team – the Atlanta Braves – had to hire him a secretary to sift through it. The US Postal Service believe he received more than 930,000 pieces – positive and negative – in 1973. He broke Ruth's record against the Los Angeles Dodgers and later retired on 755, a record which stood for 33 years until Barry Bonds went beyond it in August 2007.

1988 - Alan Shearer makes his mark

Over 400 goals in professional football at international and club level,  it all started for Shearer on April 8, 1988. Then at Southampton, a 17-year-old Shearer had already made some substitute appearances, but with Arsenal visiting The Dell, he was afforded a first league start. In a 4-2 win, Shearer scored a hat-trick, becoming the youngest player to do so in top-flight history at 17 years and 240 days old. He went on to make a habit of setting new records over the following 18 years.

1989 - One-handed pitcher Jim Abbott debuts

There aren't many sports where manual dexterity is more crucial than in baseball. That said, Jim Abbott enjoyed a successful career in MLB despite only being born with his left hand. He pitched for the California Angels, New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox and Milwaukee Brewers, starting out for the former, where he made his debut 31 years ago.

Former Chicago White Sox pitcher and long-time broadcaster Ed Farmer died at the age of 70 on Wednesday after battling kidney disease.

Farmer was born in Evergreen Park, Illinois and attended Chicago State University before beginning his MLB career with the Cleveland Indians in 1971.

He joined the White Sox in June 1979 after being acquired in a trade with the Texas Rangers and went on to post 54 of his 75 career saves with his hometown team before signing with the Philadelphia Phillies as a free agent following the 1981 season.

Farmer's only All-Star season came in 1980 with Chicago, when he had a career-best 30 saves. His last MLB campaign was in 1983.

Farmer became a radio broadcaster with the White Sox in 1992 and served as the play-by-play commentator for the past 14 seasons.

"Ed Farmer was the radio voice of the Chicago White Sox for three decades, and he called no-hitters, perfect games and of course, a World Series championship," said White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf.

"His experience as a major league All-Star pitcher, his wry sense of clubhouse humour, his love of baseball and his passion for the White Sox combined to make White Sox radio broadcasts the sound of summer for millions of fans.

"Ed grew up a Sox fan on the south side of Chicago and his allegiance showed every single night on the radio as he welcomed his 'friends' to the broadcast. I am truly devastated by the loss of my friend."

The Chicago White Sox have optioned pitcher Michael Kopech to Triple-A Charlotte as the former top prospect continues his recovery from reconstructive elbow surgery.

Kopech missed the entire 2019 season after going under the knife in September 2018.

The hard-throwing right-hander made one appearance – a scoreless inning of work – this term before Cactus League games were suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Acquired from the Red Sox in December 2016 as a key piece of the blockbuster trade that sent All-Star hurler Chris Sale to Boston, Kopech emerged as one of the majors' premier pitching prospects by posting a 3.70 ERA and striking out 170 batters in 126 1/3 innings for Charlotte in 2018.

He made his major league debut in August of that year and went 1-1 with a 5.02 ERA in four starts before tearing the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.

The White Sox added experience in the form of 2015 American League Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel and left-hander Gio Gonzalez this offseason to a rotation also expected to include holdovers Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dylan Cease.

With precious few sporting events taking place due to the coronavirus, we looked back through sporting history to identify key and major events to take place on this day.

March 18 has proven a busy day down the years, but we have highlighted five particularly memorable or notable occasions.

From the formation of a world-renowned football club, to the suspicious death of a former cricketer, below we have everything you need for a little education, or a trip down memory lane.

 

1900 – Ajax are formed

March 18 is a momentous day not only for Dutch football, but for the entire sport globally. On this day in 1900, Ajax were formed by Floris Stempel (their first chairman), Hen Dade (sports director) and Carel Reeser. Named after the mythological Greek war hero Ajax, most known for fighting against Troy in the Trojan War, the club has since gone on to dominate much of Dutch football history and influenced many of the most famous ideologies and philosophies in the world game.

1942 – Two black players try out for Chicago White Sox

Jackie Robinson is remembered as an iconic baseball player, in more ways than one. Regarded a great for his exploits with the Brooklyn Dodgers, he was also the first black player to break the colour barrier in Major League Baseball in 1947. However, he could have made the move from the 'Negro Leagues' five years earlier, as on March 18, 1942, Robinson and Nate Moreland – who was also black – had a trial with the Chicago White Sox. Manager Jimmy Dykes acknowledged their abilities, but he did not sign either, doubtful the White Sox would allow black players to join.

2000 – England win inaugural Six Nations

The Six Nations has had many forms through the years, initially starting off as a tournament between the British 'Home Nations' and then becoming the Five Nations. It was further expanded to its current guise in 2000 as Italy joined the fold. England won the inaugural Six Nations, thrashing the newcomers 57-12 in Rome – Jonny Wilkinson's kicking and Austin Healey's hat-trick of tries doing the damage.

2007 – Former cricketer and coach Bob Woolmer found dead

On March 18, 2007, one day after his Pakistan team were knocked out of the Cricket World Cup, coach Bob Woolmer was found dead in his hotel room. Initially he was thought to have had a heart attack, only for another pathologist's report to suggest he had been murdered. Further reports proposed health problems contributed to his passing, but a jury later returned an open verdict, unable to rule out the theory Woolmer was strangled. Other prominent former cricketers have since claimed Woolmer did not die of natural causes.

2012 – Panathinaikos v Olympiacos leads to chaos

Those familiar with Greek football – and specifically the rivalries involved – will not be unaware of the problems often seen when Olympiacos and Panathinaikos face each other. In March 2012, the disturbances were particularly serious, as Panathinaikos were losing 1-0 at home to their bitter rivals. The second half was initially delayed by 45 minutes due to fans throwing flares and Molotov cocktails at police, and the contest was eventually abandoned. Twenty police officers were hurt, 50 fans were arrested, three fire engines were required to tackle blazes, and Pana were docked five points on top of having to play four games behind closed doors.

Pitcher Dallas Keuchel has agreed a three-year, $55.5million contract with the Chicago White Sox, the team announced on Monday.

Former Cy Young Award winner Keuchel entered free agency after a stint with the Atlanta Braves, who the left-hander joined in June and went 8-8 with a 3.75 ERA and 91 strikeouts over 19 starts.

The two-time American League All-Star will receive $18m each season from 2020 until 2022, though the White Sox hold a $20m option for 2023 with a $1.5m buyout.

"We viewed Dallas as one of the premier free agent pitchers available this winter and so are thrilled to add him to this team and to our starting rotation," said White Sox senior vice president/general manager Rich Hahn.

"Dallas is a great competitor who we foresee throwing valuable innings in meaningful games for us over the next several years and leading our entire pitching staff through his example day in and day out."

Keuchel, who turns 32 in January, is a four-time Gold Glove Award winner, recording a sub-3.00 ERA three times in his career.

All-Star first baseman Jose Abreu has signed a new three-year, $50million deal with the Chicago White Sox.

Abreu last week agreed an initial $17.8m one-year contract extension, but that was expected to be extended.

The White Sox on Friday announced that the 32-year-old has committed to a deal that will earn him $11m next year, $16m in 2021 and $18m 2022.

Abreu will also receive a $5m signing bonus and $4m in deferred payments.

The Cuban led the American League with 123 RBIs this year, batting .284 with 38 doubles, 33 homers and 85 runs over 159 matches.

"I have to give a special thank you to [White Sox owner] Jerry Reinsdorf and all the people involved with the White Sox who made this possible," said Abreu."This is a dream come true for me and my family.

"To the fans, I told you I would come back. I never doubted it. Everybody knows the group of talented players that we have, and I want to help guide them and together make the Chicago White Sox a championship team."

Abreu's new contract was confirmed a day after the White Sox signed free-agent catcher Yasmani Grandal to a four-year contract.

The Chicago White Sox have signed free-agent All-Star catcher Yasmani Grandal.

Chicago and Grandal agreed on a four-year, $73million contract – the MLB franchise announced on Thursday.

Grandal, 31, signed a one-year deal with the Milwaukee Brewers for the 2019 season and starred en route to the wild-card game.

The two-time All-Star – who started his career with the San Diego Padres before joining the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2015 – posted career highs in homers (28) and RBIs (77) last season.

Grandal also led all catchers in games played (153) and was second in extra-base hits (56) and total bases (240).

"There's a lot of young talent,'' Grandal, who will receive $18.25m per year from 2020-2023, said of the White Sox. "The way I looked at it, this team could be a dark horse in the next year or so.''

"He's such a quality guy," White Sox president Ken Williams said of Grandal. "And for him to understand our messaging, our goals, our path, and to say, 'I want to be a part of that and I'm going to commit to it early so we can move on to the next thing heading into the winter meetings,' [it] just shows what kind of character we're talking about."

White Sox general manager Rick Hahn added: "Yasmani was absolutely toward the top of our list in terms of offseason priorities. Obviously he was someone we acted on quickly."

Colorado Rockies star Nolan Arenado and Boston Red Sox sensation Mookie Betts highlighted the 2019 Gold Glove Award winners.

MLB announced the winners on Sunday and there were several first-time winners, including Lorenzo Cain of the Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers star Cody Bellinger.

The list of winners features the St Louis Cardinals' Kolten Wong, Cleveland Indians star Francisco Lindor, JT Realmuto of the Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago Cubs' Anthony Rizzo.

Cleveland and the Oakland Athletics lead the American League with two winners each, while the Arizona Diamondbacks boast three winners in the National League.

Houston Astros ace Zack Greinke and Arizona's Mike Leake each won the award at their respective positions despite being traded to the AL and NL at the deadline in July.

The awards are determined by a vote among managers and coaches, and since 2013, a 25 per cent calculation is based on defensive metrics. 

 

MLB 2019 Gold Glove Winners

American League

1B Matt Olson, Athletics
2B Yolmer Sanchez, White Sox
3B Matt Chapman, Athletics
SS Francisco Lindor, Indians
LF Alex Gordon, Royals
CF Kevin Kiermaier, Rays
RF Mookie Bett, Red Sox
C Roberto Perez, Indians
P Mike Leake, Mariners/Diamondbacks

National League

1B Anthony Rizzo, Cubs
2B Kolten Wong, Cardinals
3B Nolan Arenado, Rockies
SS Nick Ahmed, Diamondbacks
LF David Peralta, Diamondbacks
CF Lorenzo Cain, Brewers
RF Cody Bellinger, Dodgers
C JT Realmuto, Phillies
P Zack Greinke, Diamondbacks

The Nationals now have a crucial advantage in the National League wild-card game following their 10-7 win over the Cleveland Indians.

Saturday's victory against the already-eliminated Indians, the Nationals will host the MLB playoff contest at the beginning of October.

Gerardo Parra hit a grand slam in a whopping nine-run second inning to highlight the triumph, which is Washington's seventh consecutive win.

"I don't have to go home and pack," manager Dave Martinez said after the game, via ESPN. "Nice to stay at home. The boys wanted to stay at home, so they came out and swung the bats."

Nationals star Parra finished two of four for the night, along with Ryan Zimmerman, while Daniel Hudson earned the win after pitching one hitless inning.

 

Mets rookie Alonso sets record

Pete Alonso hit his 53rd home run on Saturday, which is more than any rookie in MLB history – surpassing Aaron Judge's record set in 2017. The New York Mets beat the Atlanta Braves 3-0.

Houston Astros star Justin Verlander struck out his 3,000th batter to become just the 18th pitcher to reach the milestone.

Hyun-jin Ryu pitched seven solid innings as the Los Angeles Dodgers claimed their 105th win. He allowed five hits while striking out seven in the 2-0 victory over the San Francisco Giants.

 

Rays struggle against Jays

The Tampa Bay Rays recorded only three hits in a 4-1 loss against the Toronto Blue Jays. The Rays had seven starters lay goose eggs, including Austin Meadows, Jesus Aguilar and Nate Lowe, who all went 0 for four.

Edwin Jackson gave up three runs on four hits in just three innings of work in the Detroit Tigers' 7-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox. Detroit split the doubleheader after a 4-3 victory.

 

Soler homers… again

What else do you expect from Kansas City Royals outfielder Jorge Soler? (P.S. This was his second home run of the game.)

Baltimore Orioles second baseman Jonathan Villar has power and speed.

 

Saturday's results

Baltimore Orioles 9-4 Boston Red Sox
Minnesota Twins 4-3 Kansas City Royals
Toronto Blue Jays 4-1 Tampa Bay Rays
Chicago White Sox 7-1 Detroit Tigers
Detroit Tigers 4-3 Chicago White Sox
Washington Nationals 10-7 Cleveland Indians
Los Angeles Dodgers 2-0 San Francisco Giants
Philadelphia Phillies 9-3 Miami Marlins
New York Mets 3-0 Atlanta Braves
Chicago Cubs 8-6 St Louis Cardinals
Texas Rangers 9-4 New York Yankees
Arizona Diamondbacks 6-5 San Diego Padres
Colorado Rockies 3-2 Milwaukee Brewers
Houston Astros 6-3 Los Angeles Angels
Oakland Athletics 1-0 Seattle Mariners
Cincinnati Reds 4-2 Pittsburgh Pirates

 

Brewers at Rockies

Sunday marks the last day of the regular season and there is a lot at stake. One of the biggest games will be a must-win contest for the Brewers. They trail the Cardinals by one game after losing on Saturday. A Brewers win along with a Cardinals loss will put the two teams in a tie for first place in the NL Central, which would force Game 163. That is not all. The Rays are hoping for a win of their own, and an A's loss, to force a tie-breaker to decide who gets home-field advantage for the American League wild-card game.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.