Sports Briefs

Posted: Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Former Orioles pitcher McNally dead at 60

Dave McNally, who pitched the Baltimore Orioles to their first World Series championship and later posted the landmark legal win that led to baseball's free-agent era and multimillion-dollar salaries, has died of cancer. He was 60.

McNally died late Sunday in his hometown of Billings, Mont., said John Michelotti of Michelotti Sawyers & Nordquist Funeral Home.

A three-time All-Star and four-time 20-game winner, McNally beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 1-0 to complete the Orioles' surprise sweep for the 1966 title.

McNally's 1-0, 11-inning win over Minnesota in the 1969 AL championship series still stands as the longest complete-game shutout in postseason history. And he remains the only pitcher to hit a grand slam in the World Series.

Yet McNally's most significant victory came off the field. In 1975, he teamed with Andy Messersmith in the grievance that toppled the sport's century-old reserve clause, giving veteran players the right to choose their team.

With Hall of Famer Jim Palmer and Mike Cuellar, McNally gave the Orioles one of the most formidable rotations in history during the 1960s and '70s.

''We all understood what the McNally-Messersmith case meant. But let's not forget that Dave was a heck of a pitcher,'' Palmer said Monday.

McNally was 184-119 lifetime with a 3.24 ERA. In his major league debut in 1962, the smooth left-hander pitched a two-hit shutout against the Kansas City Athletics. And in 1968-69, he tied the AL record with 17 straight wins.

Thome agrees to sign with Phillies

PHILADELPHIA -- Jim Thome hit a lot of home runs and helped the Cleveland Indians sell out Jacobs Field for several years. The Philadelphia Phillies hope he does the same at their new stadium.

Thome, the most coveted hitter in the free-agent market, agreed Monday to a six-year contract with the Phillies, two baseball officials said. He accepted a deal worth about $87.5 million, one of the officials said on the condition of anonymity.

For the deal to become final, the 32-year-old first baseman must pass a physical.

The Phillies are aggressively trying to improve as they prepare to move into their new ballpark in 2004.

Philadelphia agreed to a $17 million, four-year contract with third baseman David Bell on Nov. 24. The Phillies also have a $30 million, three-year offer out to free agent left-hander Tom Glavine, a two-time NL Cy Young award winner.

Warner's forgettable season worsens

ST. LOUIS -- Kurt Warner's forgettable season got worse Monday when X-rays showed he has a broken right hand. Warner will miss at least the St. Louis Rams' next two games.

Warner has a hairline fracture that won't require surgery. Although he could play at Kansas City, coach Mike Martz said Warner's pain is too intense.

The two-time NFL MVP had trouble gripping the ball in Sunday's 10-3 loss to the Eagles that dropped St. Louis to 5-7, 0-6 with Warner at quarterback. He fumbled trying to tuck the ball in, and also lost control of the ball trying to pass.

Warner threw two interceptions and lost his third fumble of the season in Philadelphia. He has three touchdown passes and 11 interceptions.

Panthers expect to lose Peppers

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Coach John Fox expects the Carolina Panthers to be without rookie defensive end Julius Peppers for the rest of the season.

Peppers' appeal of a four-game suspension handed down by the league last month will be heard Tuesday in New York.

Peppers was suspended Nov. 14 for using a banned substance. If the suspension is upheld, it will be a huge blow to the Panthers' sixth-ranked defense.

Bears' Thomas out for season

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears running back Anthony Thomas probably is out for the rest of the season after breaking his left index finger.

Thomas, last year's NFL offensive rookie of the year, was injured in the first half of Sunday's 30-20 loss to the Green Bay Packers and did not play in the second half.

Thomas, who has struggled in his second season behind an injury-plagued offensive line, gained 26 yards on four carries Sunday, all 26 coming on his first carry of the game.

He was replaced by Leon Johnson.

Tight end Dustin Lyman, who caught two TD passes Sunday, one off a fake field goal, injured his left knee and needs an MRI exam. Lyman had the best day of his three-year NFL career with seven receptions for 58 yards. Before Sunday, he had eight career catches for 67 yards.

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Dolphins

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) -- Quarterback Jay Fiedler will start for Miami next Monday night against the Chicago Bears after sitting out six weeks with a broken right thumb.

Fiedler played in the second half of Sunday's 38-21 loss at snowy Buffalo after Ray Lucas hurt his shoulder and neck. He reported no lingering problems with the thumb.

''He told our doctors he felt great as far as his hand,'' coach Dave Wannstedt said. ''He was really happy he was able to get some snaps and run around a little bit.''

Lucas was 6-for-11 for 40 yards and one touchdown against the Bills, and Fiedler went 5-for-9 for 15 yards and one interception. The Dolphins are 2-4 in games Lucas has started after beginning the season 5-1 under Fiedler, who broke his right thumb against Denver on Oct. 13.

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Eagles

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Eagles punter Sean Landeta, quarterback Koy Detmer and safety Blaine Bishop are doubtful for Sunday's game at Seattle.

Landeta strained his right calf on his final punt of Philadelphia's 10-3 win over St. Louis. Bishop strained his groin in the first half. Detmer, who didn't play against the Rams, dislocated his left elbow in a 38-17 victory at San Francisco last Monday.

Eagles coach Andy Reid said he's uncertain how long Landeta will be out, and the team probably will add another punter this week. Bishop would be replaced in the starting lineup by rookie Michael Lewis.

Detmer took some snaps in pregame warmups Sunday, but he probably won't return until the Eagles' game against Washington on Dec. 16. A.J. Feeley will start against the Seahawks.

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Ravens

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) -- Michael McCrary's NFL career could be over after he was placed on injured reserve by the Baltimore Ravens.

McCrary participated in only five games this season because of a nagging knee injury. Chronic knee problems limited him to just 10 games last year, leading Ravens coach Brian Billick to believe McCrary's career is done.

''He's been a great warrior and a great player,'' Billick said. ''I'm pleased he gets to go out as a Baltimore Raven. I think that's important to him, and that he can leave with a Super Bowl ring in tow.''

McCrary's knees are in such bad shape he could endanger his ability to walk by attempting to extend his career.

''I think that's the bottom line here. The doctors collectively have told him, 'Mike, you're just too much at risk. At some point, you need to think more long term,''' Billick said.

McCrary was a first alternate to the Pro Bowl in 1997 after setting a team record with 14 1/2 sacks, then made the Pro Bowl in 1998 and 1999. The following year, McCrary had six sacks in the playoffs in helping Baltimore win the Super Bowl.

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Browns

BEREA, Ohio (AP) -- The Cleveland Browns will likely be without Dennis Northcutt (sprained knee) for at least a week. The team's leading kick returner and a key third-down receiver was hurt in Sunday's loss to Carolina.

Coach Butch Davis said Monday that Northcutt had no swelling in his knee that would suggest a more serious injury. But Davis said ''it is highly unlikely that he will play this week'' against Jacksonville.

Northcutt leads the team with eight touchdowns: five receiving, one rushing and two on punt returns.

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Broncos

DENVER (AP) -- Broncos right guard Dan Neil had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Monday, but coach Mike Shanahan was hopeful he could return Sunday against the New York Jets.

Neil had loose cartilage removed from his knee after being injured in the third quarter of Denver's 30-27 overtime loss to San Diego.

Shanahan also wasn't sure of the status of defensive end Reggie Hayward, who broke his right hand against the Chargers.

But kick returner Scottie Montgomery, carried off the field in the fourth quarter against the Chargers, was sore but doing much better Monday after feeling numbness in his neck the previous day. Montgomery has sprained ligaments in his neck.



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