News, notes and follow-ups

Category: Games

One year ago: Toni Sailer

Sailer In 1956, Toni Sailer of Austria became the first skier to win three Alpine gold medals at a Winter Olympics. It wasn't easy.

After having finished first in the slalom and giant slalom at Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, Sailer broke the strap connecting his boot to his ski just before he was to race in the downhill event. It was Hansl Senger, the trainer for the Italian ski team, who came to the rescue and lent Sailer the strap from his bindings. With his equipment in order, Sailer was able to race and complete the course 3.5 seconds faster than the silver medalist.

He was far superior to the other skiers in the previous races too, having won the slalom by four seconds and the giant slalom by 6.2 seconds.

French skier Jean-Claude Killy was the next skier to win all three Alpine gold medals, in the 1968 Winter Games in Grenoble, France.

Sailer, who died one year ago at 73, was named Austria's sportsman of the century in 1999.

Read more in the Toni Sailer obituary that ran in The Times.

-- Claire Noland

Photo: Toni Sailer during his gold-medal run in the men's downhill race at the 1956 Winter Olympics in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy. Credit: Associated Press

John Wooden memorial service set for June 26


A celebration of the life of UCLA basketball coach John Wooden is planned for Saturday, June 26, at 11 a.m. at Pauley Pavilion, the university announced Thursday. The ceremony is open to the public. The Wooden family, UCLA basketball players and coaches and other guests will attend.

The 90-minute memorial service for Wooden, who died June 4 at 99,will be televised live on Prime Ticket and streamed online at The event will also be shown on video boards in Drake Stadium.

About 6,000 seats at the on-campus basketball arena will be open to the public. The arena will open at 9 a.m.; no overnight camping will be allowed and no lines allowed to form before 5 a.m.

Those interested in attending may enter the UCLA campus through the Intramural Field, from the east at Wilson Plaza between the John Wooden Center and the North Athletic Field.

No cameras will be allowed inside Pauley Pavilion, and those in attendance will be asked not to use portable devices to shoot photographs for video.

-- Claire Noland

Photo: A wreath was placed last weekend near John Wooden's regular seat behind the Bruins bench at Pauley Pavilion. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Chris Haney, co-creator of Trivial Pursuit board game, dies at 59

Trivial Chris Haney, co-creator of the popular Trivial Pursuit board game, died Monday in a Toronto hospital after a long illness, said Scott Abbott, who created the game with Haney. He was 59.

Haney worked for the Canadian Press and the Montreal Gazette newspaper as a photo editor before going into the board game business.

He teamed up with Abbott, a Canadian Press sports reporter, in 1979 to invent Trivial Pursuit.

"He was one of the most knowledgeable, widely read people I've encountered," Abbott said of his friend, who was a voracious newspaper reader. "You could always discuss the affairs of the day."

Abbott said he and Haney always had a "blind faith" that the game would be successful if it got to market, but they had no idea just how wildly successful it would become. Released in 1982, it took off after a slow start and the duo sold the rights to toy giant Hasbro in 2008 for $80 million.

"We didn't realize it would transcend games players and become, with the Cabbage Patch Kids, what Time magazine in 1984 called an American social phenomenon," Abbott said.

Haney is survived by his wife and three children from his first marriage.

Click here to read the Times' obituary.

-- Associated Press

Photo: Chris Haney, left, and Scott Abbott playing the game they created together, Trivial Pursuit. Credit: Canadian Press

Robin Roberts and the living members of the Baseball Hall of Fame


Robin Roberts, the tireless right-handed pitcher from the 1950 Philadelphia Phillies "Whiz Kids" team who died Thursday at 83, had been No. 10 on David Carson's list of oldest living members of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Lee MacPhail, a longtime baseball executive who was elected by the Hall of Fame's veterans committee, is No. 1 on the list, at age 92. Bobby Doerr, a second baseman for the Boston Red Sox who was also elected by the veterans committee, is a few months younger than MacPhail.

Can you guess who is the oldest living member of the Hall of Fame, as selected by the Baseball Writers' Assn. of America?

Find out who that player is and see the whole list after the jump.

-- Claire Noland

Photo: A plaque at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia honors the late Phillies pitcher Robin Roberts. Credit: EPA / Christopher Barth

Continue reading »

Honoring Tigers announcer Ernie Harwell


The Detroit Tigers plan to honor late radio play-by-play announcer Ernie Harwell at their next home game, Monday versus the New York Yankees at Comerica Park.

A flag with Harwell's initials will be raised behind center field at the park, and it will fly through the rest of the season. The Tigers will also wear a patch on their uniforms in remembrance of him.

Harwell, who called games for the Tigers for 42 seasons, died Tuesday at his home in Novi, Mich. He was 92. (Click here to read the full obituary.)

Fans in Detroit will be able to pay their respects to Harwell at a public viewing Wednesdday at the ballpark. His family plans a private memorial service.

Donations may be made to the Ernie Harwell Collection at the Detroit Public Library or to the Ernie Harwell Foundation, which funds college scholarship, c/o S. Gary Spicer, 16845 Kercheval Ave., Grosse Pointe, Mich. 48230.

Click here to see more tributes at the Tigers website.

-- Claire Noland

Photo: Ernie Harwell in 2002, standing next to a statue bearing his likeness at Comerica Park in Detroit. Credit: Associated Press

Frisbee inventor Fred Morrison dies at 90

Walter Fredrick Morrison, the man credited with inventing the Frisbee, has died. He was 90.

Utah state Rep. Kay McIff, an attorney who once represented Morrison in a royalties case, said Morrison died Tuesday at his home in Monroe, Utah.

Morrison sold the production and manufacturing rights to his Pluto Platter in 1957. The plastic flying disk was later renamed the Frisbee, with sales surpassing 200 million disks. It is now a staple at beaches and college campuses across the country and spawned such activities as Frisbee golf and the team sport Ultimate.

A full obituary will appear later at

-- Associated Press

Dan Naddor's puzzling 'Star Search'

Rich Norris, editor of the Los Angeles Times crossword puzzle, said one of his favorite puzzles by regular contributor Dan Naddor  — who died Dec. 28 at 53  — was titled “Star Search.” Naddor had combined a crossword with a word search by asking for the titles of movies with Oscar-winning stars then hiding the winning actors’ names word-search style in the grid. It ran, appropriately enough, last year on the day of the Academy Awards ceremony.

“Despite the limitations that the word-search answers place on the constructor, the overall fill is remarkably smooth,” pronounced Diary of a Crossword Fiend.

"Star Search" makes a return appearance here. Print it out, pick up a pencil -- and let us know what you think.

-- Valerie J. Nelson

Eunice Shriver: A neighbor remembers


When Eunice Kennedy Shriver died Aug. 11, the Obits staff was prepared with an obituary written in advance on the founder of the Special Olympics and the sister of JFK, RFK and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who would die two weeks later of brain cancer.

Readers often want to share their connection with those we write about, famous or not, as this e-mail I received from Michael Monagan of Culver City illustrates:


Nice article on a person who made a huge impact on our world.

Our family spent from 1964 to 1975 as neighbors of the Shrivers on Edson Lane in Rockville, MD. I have been teaching special education for 25 years and sometime wonder if my attraction to the kids I work with wasn’t fostered by helping out with those early events that were to become the Special Olympics. The Shrivers were always very generous with their tennis court, swimming pool, and trampoline although in fact they didn’t own Timberlawn. The property belonged to other friends of ours the Brewers who rented it to the Shrivers for the (at the time) mind-boggling price of $1,000 per month!

Another commitment that the Shrivers made was the Christ Child Institute which was a facility adjacent to Timberlawn that treated children with emotional disabilities. My family and I spent time there working with the kids usually through music.

Thanks for drawing attention to someone whose amazing accomplishments are often overlooked.

-- Valerie J. Nelson

Photo: Eunice Shriver swims with developmentally disabled children in 1964 at a Philadelphia camp. Credit: Associated Press


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