Weekend Sports In Brief
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (AP) Frank Thomas choked back tears, Joe Torre apologized for leaving people out of his speech and Tony La Russa said he felt uneasy.
Being enshrined in the Hall of Fame can have those effects, even on the greats.
Thomas, pitchers Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux, and managers Bobby Cox, Torre and La Russa were inducted into the baseball shrine Sunday, and all paid special tribute to their families before an adoring crowd of nearly 50,000.
The 46-year old Thomas, the first player elected to the Hall who spent more than half of his time as a designated hitter, batted .301 with 521 home runs and 1,704 RBIs in a 19-year career mostly with the Chicago White Sox. He’s the only player in major league history to log seven straight seasons with a .300 average, 20 homers, 100 RBIs and 100 walks.
Ever the diplomat as a manager, Torre somehow managed to assuage the most demanding of owners in George Steinbrenner, maintaining his coolness amid all the Bronx craziness while keeping all those egos in check after taking over in 1996. The result: 10 division titles, six AL pennants and four World Series triumphs in 12 years as he helped restore the luster to baseball’s most successful franchise and resurrected his own career after three firings.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – With a tinge of gray hair at his temples, his hat on backward and his two young children by his side, Jeff Gordon celebrated as if he was 23 years old again.
Gordon won a NASCAR-record fifth Brickyard 400 on Sunday, eight days before his 43rd birthday and on the weekend Indianapolis Motor Speedway celebrated the 20th anniversary of his first Brickyard victory.
Gordon’s first win came before the celebratory kissing of the Yard of Bricks was en vogue, before he became a household name, while Sprint Cup Series rookies Kyle Larson and Austin Dillon were still in diapers. Now a family man with an aching back, Gordon showed he’s still at the top of his game.
The win moved Gordon into a tie with Michael Schumacher, whose five Formula One victories at Indy had been the gold standard.
PARIS (AP) – Vincenzo Nibali put his lungs and legs to work one last time, marching up to the winner’s podium of the Tour de France and sighing deeply before the Italian anthem echoed over the Champs-Elysees.
Chants of ”Vin-cen-zo!” rang across the famed avenue for the Sicilian, who dominated the race nearly from the start three weeks ago and on Sunday became the first Italian to win cycling’s greatest race since Marco Pantani in 1998.
Marcel Kittel of Germany won Stage 21 in a sprint, his fourth victory this year. Nibali cruised in 24 seconds later, easily retaining a lead of more than seven minutes on his closest rival. He received pats on the back, kissed his wife and infant daughter and was mobbed by cameras.
Nibali, likened by some as the emperor of the pack, conquered where others did not: notably Chris Froome of Britain, the 2013 Tour winner, and two-time champion Alberto Contador of Spain. Both crashed out with injuries before the halfway mark.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Kyle Rudolph hasn’t put up the biggest numbers over the first three years of his career, which is due as much to the Minnesota Vikings’ revolving door at quarterback as anything else.
The Vikings have known all along what they have in Rudolph, a big, field-stretching tight end who can be a difference-maker in the right offense with the right quarterback. So now they’re paying him like one.
Rudolph signed a five-year contract extension with the Vikings on Sunday night, a sign that the team has big plans for Rudolph in new offensive coordinator Norv Turner’s offense. The deal, which was first reported by Fox Sports, is worth $36.5 million with $19.4 million guaranteed. Incentives can push the deal to $40 million.
MONTREAL (AP) – Tim Clark rallied to win the Canadian Open on Sunday, birdieing five of the last eight holes for a one-stroke victory over Jim Furyk.
Clark closed with a 5-under 65 at rainy Royal Montreal for his second PGA Tour victory. The 38-year-old South African player also won the 2010 Players Championship.
Furyk, the two-time Canadian Open champion who took a three-stroke lead into the final round, finished with a 69. The 44-year-old American matched Clark, who moved into contention Saturday with a 64, with a birdie on the par-3 17th and a par on the par-4 18th.
On No. 18, Clark left a 45-foot birdie putt about 6 feet short, and Furyk missed left on a 12-footer. Clark sealed the win by holing the 6-footer for par.
Furyk is 0 for 7 with the 54-hole lead since winning the 2010 Tour Championship for the last of his 16 PGA Tour titles.
OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) – Carlota Ciganda breezed to an early victory to set the tone and Spain won all four of its singles matches to capture the inaugural International Crown.
Sweden finished second in the eight-team tournament. The top-seeded United States was among three teams eliminated Saturday, leaving five countries and 20 players to compete for the trophy.
Fifth-seeded Spain began the final round tied for second behind Japan, but Ciganda immediately gave the Spaniards a boost by beating Na Yeon Choi of South Korea 8 and 6. Beatriz Recari followed with a 3-and-2 victory over Mikaela Parmlid of Sweden, and Belen Mozo clinched the tournament title with a 3-and-2 win over Moriya Jutanugarn of Thailand.
That set off an impromptu celebration on the 16th hole that began with a jubilant Recari jumping into the arms of Ciganda.
Azahara Munoz completed the sweep by beating Ai Miyazato of Japan 2 and 1.
BRIDGEND, Wales (AP) – Bernhard Langer ran away with the Senior British Open for his fourth senior major title, finishing a Champions Tour-record 13 strokes ahead of Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie.
The 56-year-old German closed with a 4-under 67 at sunny Royal Porthcawl to finish at 18-under 266. He opened with rounds of 65, 66 and 68.
Langer broke the Champions Tour record for margin of victory of 12 set by Hale Irwin in the 1997 Senior PGA, and matched the tournament record for relation to par set by Tom Watson at Turnberry in 2003.
The victory was Langer’s fourth of the season and 22nd overall on the 50-and-over tour. He also won the 2010 tournament at Carnoustie.
Montgomerie, the winner of the previous two senior majors, finished with a 69.