The sports figures we've lost in 2021

The sports figures we've lost in 2021

Illustration for article titled The sports figures weve lost in 2021
Image: AP

Here’s a look at the athletes and sports figures we’ve lost in 2021.

Managing editor. Former N.Y. Daily Newser. Former broke poker player.

Sorry to all the other Jesse Spectors for ruining your Google results.

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Don Sutton - January 18

Don Sutton - January 18

Illustration for article titled The sports figures weve lost in 2021
Image: AP/Getty

Baseball Hall of Famer Don Sutton died on Monday night, the Atlanta journal Constitution reported. He was 75.

Sutton won 324 games, 14th in history, in a 23-year career that started in 1966 with the Dodgers. His death comes a little more than three weeks after fellow 300-game winner Phil Niekro died, and 10 days after his former manager Tommy Lasorda. Sutton pitched 16 seasons for the Dodgers and is the franchise’s all-time leader in wins, innings pitched, starts, strikeouts and shutouts, ahead of such superstar pitchers as Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Orel Hershiser, Fernando Valenzuela and Clayton Kershaw. He also pitched for the Astros, Brewers, Angels and A’s.

After his playing career, Sutton worked in broadcasting for almost 30 years, most of them with the Atlanta Braves, his calls broadcast to the nation on Ted Turner’s TBS.

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Tommy Lasorda - January 7

Tommy Lasorda - January 7

Illustration for article titled The sports figures weve lost in 2021
Image: AP

Tommy Lasorda, a Hall of Fame manager and one of baseball’s legendary characters who bled Dodger blue through and through, died at age 93.

The Dodgers, whom Lasorda pitched for in Brooklyn and managed to World Series wins in 1981 and 1988, announced the icon’s death on Friday. Lasorda died on Thursday night of a sudden heart attack. His record as Dodgers manager: 1599-1439 and won his division eight times.

Beyond his triumphs on the field, Lasorda will be remembered for a lot of comedy in baseball, some stemming from his own anger, like his protest of a non-call of interference on Reggie Jackson in the 1978 World Series.

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Paul Westphal - January 2

Paul Westphal - January 2

Illustration for article titled The sports figures weve lost in 2021
Image: AP

Paul Westphal won an NBA title as a player for the Celtics in 1974 and an NAIA championship as coach of the Grand Canyon Antelopes in 1988. But he will be forever known for what he did with the Suns.

It was in Phoenix that Westphal helped the Suns reach their first NBA Finals in 1976, then was a three-time first team All-NBA guard, over the next four seasons, as well as winning the first All-Star HORSE contest in 1978.

A college All-American at USC, Westphal’s pro career also included stops with the SuperSonics and Knicks. After retiring as a player, Westphal started coaching at Southwestern Baptist Bible College, then went to Grand Canyon before returning to the Suns as an assistant and eventually their head coach, winning the 1993 Western Conference title.

Westphal also coached the SuperSonics and Kings, as well as Pepperdine University and stints as an assistant with the Mavericks and, from 2014-16, the Nets. Westphal was inducted to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2019.

Diagnosed with brain cancer in August 2020, Westphal died on January 2. He was 70.

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Floyd Little - January 1

Floyd Little - January 1

Illustration for article titled The sports figures weve lost in 2021
Image: AP

Floyd Little was the first real star the Denver Broncos ever had, joining a downtrodden AFL franchise after being a three-time All-American at Syracuse, and making five Pro Bowls during his Hall of Fame career in the NFL from 1967-75.

Little had the honor of wearing the storied No. 44 at Syracuse, following in the footsteps of Jim Brown and Ernie Davis. He kept the number in Denver, where it’s retired for him alone. He received honorary doctorates from both Syracuse and the University of Denver, giving the commencement speech at the latter in 2019.

Sadly, Little was diagnosed with cancer, and after going public with that last May, he went into hospice care in November.

Little died on New Year’s Day. He was 78.

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Managing editor. Former N.Y. Daily Newser. Former broke poker player.

Sorry to all the other Jesse Spectors for ruining your Google results.