Al Kaline, who spent his entire 22-season Hall of Fame career with the Detroit Tigers and was known affectionately as “Mr. Tiger,” has died. He was 85. John Morad, a friend of Kaline’s, confirmed to The Associated Press that Kaline died Monday at his home in Michigan. Kaline became the youngest player to win the American League batting title in 1955 at age 20 with a .340 average. The right fielder was a 15-time All-Star, won 10 Gold Gloves, and was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1980 in his first year of eligibility. He later sat behind a microphone as a Tigers broadcaster from 1976 to 2001 and was also a special assistant to the general manager.
UFC 249 main event is on
The UFC said Tony Ferguson (25-3) will fight Justin Gaethje (20-2) for the interim lightweight title in the main event of UFC 249 on April 18. Gaethje replaces lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov, who is apparently unable to leave Russia during the coronavirus pandemic. Although UFC president Dana White still hasn’t even announced a venue for UFC 249, he remains determined to hold a pay-per-view show this month. Most US states have restrictions in place that would make it impossible to stage a show, even without an audience. UFC 249 initially was slated for Brooklyn, but a venue change became necessary several weeks ago. ESPN, the UFC’s broadcast partner, has said White is attempting to secure an unnamed venue on the West Coast for the show.
South Carolina C Boston honored
South Carolina freshman Aliyah Boston, a former Worcester Academy standout and three-time Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year (2017, 2018, 2019), has been named the Lisa Leslie Award winner, a honor presented to women’s basketball’s s top center. The 6-foot-5 Boston was the second South Carolina player in three seasons to capture the award from the Basketball Hall of Fame and Women’s Basketball Association, joining 2018 winner A’ja Wilson. Boston was the Southeastern Conference freshman and defensive player of the year, averaging 12.5 points and 9.4 rebounds while setting a South Carolina freshman mark with 86 blocked shots.
Louisville’s Nwora entering draft
Louisville’s 6-foot-7 junior forward Jordan Nwora, a first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection who who averaged 18 points and 7.7 rebounds for the Cardinals, announced on his Twitter account he will enter the NBA draft. His decision to turn pro was expected after limited participation in last year’s NBA combine because of a knee injury. The native of Buffalo, N.Y., said on Twitter the abrupt end to the season was “heartbreaking and awful” because he believed No. 14 Louisville (24-7) was ready to win the NCAA championship . . . Kentucky guard Tyrese Maxey will enter the NBA draft, becoming the second Wildcats starter in as many days to turn pro and forego his remaining collegiate eligibility. Sophomore point guard Ashton Hagans announced Sunday he was entering the draft. The 6-foot-3 freshman shot nearly 43 percent with 33 3-pointers and also averaged 4.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists while starting 28 of 31 games for the Southeastern Conference champions . . . North Carolina State signee Josh Hall , a 6-9 forward from Moravian Prep, said he’ll go through the NBA draft process while maintaining his college eligibility . . . Seattle University graduate transfer guard Terrell Brown has committed to Arizona, bolstering the Wildcats’ backcourt for next season. The 6-foot-1 guard averaged 20.7 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4.9 assists to earn first-team all-Western Athletic Conference honors . . . Purdue center Matt Haarms entered the transfer portal and intends to play his final college season at another school, coach Matt Painter announced. The slim, 7-foot-3 Haarms was one of the Big Ten’s top defenders and played a key role during the Boilermakers’ 2019 NCAA Tournament run, when he replaced injured center Isaac Haas in the starting lineup. But Haarms lost the starting job following a hip injury in December and wound up averaging 8.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2 blocks per game.
Ex-Fox execs charged in FIFA bribery scandal
Hernan Lopez and Carlos Martinez, a pair of former sports marketing executives of 21st Century Fox, were indicted on charges in US District Court in Brooklyn they paid millions of dollars in bribes to soccer officials to obtain confidential bidding information during FIFA’s sale of US television rights to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Lopez and Martinez were accused of making payments to officials of the CONMEBOL, South American soccer’s governing body. ESPN had US English-language television rights to the World Cup from 1994-2014, but Fox in 2011 gained the rights for 2018 and 2022 tournaments. After the 2022 tournament in Qatar was shifted from summer to late autumn, a time when it is likely to get less attention in the US, FIFA awarded Fox rights for 2026 without competitive bidding.