Few players have had an impact on Premier League football like Alan Shearer, the greatest goalscorer the competition has seen.

The former England striker started out at Southampton in the old First Division, before going on to enjoy goal-laden spells with Blackburn Rovers and the club he supported as a boy, Newcastle United.

His impact was significant at all three, but his legacy is arguably felt the most at St. James' Park, where he spent the final 10 seasons of his career.

His goalscoring feats began on this day in 1988, but April 8 has also proven momentous in baseball, as we examine below.

1974 - Hank Aaron overtakes Babe Ruth

For many years after Babe Ruth's retirement in 1935, his record of 714 home runs looked unbeatable until 'Hammerin' Hank' Aarons became the first to surpass Ruth on April 8 ,1974. He might have done so earlier were it not for racially motivated death threats so prolific that his team – the Atlanta Braves – had to hire him a secretary to sift through it. The US Postal Service believe he received more than 930,000 pieces – positive and negative – in 1973. He broke Ruth's record against the Los Angeles Dodgers and later retired on 755, a record which stood for 33 years until Barry Bonds went beyond it in August 2007.

1988 - Alan Shearer makes his mark

Over 400 goals in professional football at international and club level,  it all started for Shearer on April 8, 1988. Then at Southampton, a 17-year-old Shearer had already made some substitute appearances, but with Arsenal visiting The Dell, he was afforded a first league start. In a 4-2 win, Shearer scored a hat-trick, becoming the youngest player to do so in top-flight history at 17 years and 240 days old. He went on to make a habit of setting new records over the following 18 years.

1989 - One-handed pitcher Jim Abbott debuts

There aren't many sports where manual dexterity is more crucial than in baseball. That said, Jim Abbott enjoyed a successful career in MLB despite only being born with his left hand. He pitched for the California Angels, New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox and Milwaukee Brewers, starting out for the former, where he made his debut 31 years ago.

Major League Baseball insists it has not settled on any plans for how to begin the 2020 season, amid reports the league had set its sights on starting in May with all 30 teams playing games in Arizona in empty stadiums.

ESPN reported that games would be held in the greater Phoenix area and take place at Chase Field, the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, as well as 10 spring training facilities and possibly other nearby fields.

Players, coaches and other team officials would be isolated in local hotels and only travel to and from the stadium sites in an effort to avoid spreading coronavirus.

Federal officials reportedly support the plan that would allow MLB to become the first professional sport in the United States to return, but the league issued a statement on Tuesday saying nothing has been decided.

"MLB has been actively considering numerous contingency plans that would allow play to commence once the public health situation has improved to the point that it is safe to do so," the statement said.

"While we have discussed the idea of staging games at one location as one potential option, we have not settled on that option or developed a detailed plan.

"While we continue to interact regularly with governmental and public health officials, we have not sought or received approval of any plan from federal, state and local officials, or the Players' Association.

"We are not ready at this time to endorse any particular format for staging games in light of the rapidly changing public health situation caused by the coronavirus."

MLB pushed back the start of the season from March 26 until at least mid-May and suspended spring training games on March 12 following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendation not to conduct events of 50 or more people for a minimum of eight weeks.

Major League Baseball Hall of Famer and Detroit Tigers legend Al Kaline has died at the age of 85.

The cause of death was not immediately available.

Kaline spent his entire 22-year major league career with the Tigers, retiring after the 1974 season, and is the franchise’s all-time leader in home runs with 399 and games played with 2,834.

He was an 18-time All-Star and helped lead the Tigers to the 1968 World Series championship.

Born in Baltimore, Maryland on December 19, 1934, he made his Tigers debut as an 18-year-old in 1953. Two years later, he hit .340 to become the youngest player to win an American League batting title. He finished his career with 3,007 hits and a .297 batting average, hitting .300 or better in nine seasons.

In addition to being one of the top hitters of his time, Kaline was also considered one of baseball's top fielders, winning 10 Gold Glove Awards as a right fielder.

He never won a Most Valuable Player Award, finishing second in voting twice and third once, but was a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 1980, garnering 88 percent of the votes.

After his retirement, he worked as a Tigers broadcaster from 1976-2001, and he is one of six Tigers to be immortalised with a statue at Comerica Park.

United States president Donald Trump is unsure when sport can resume in the country, but hopes it is "sooner rather than later".

With the coronavirus pandemic having brought sport to a standstill around the world, Trump spoke with leaders of the USA's leagues and organisations via a call on Saturday.

The NBA, NHL, MLS, PGA Tour and NASCAR seasons were among those suspended, while the start of the MLB campaign was pushed back and there are concerns over the NFL.

Trump hopes to see sport resume shortly, telling a media conference: "I want fans back in the arenas.

"Whenever we're ready, as soon as we can obviously and the fans want to be back too, they want to see basketball and baseball and football and hockey, they want to see their sports.

"They want to go out onto the golf courses and breathe nice, clean, beautiful fresh air."

Asked about a possible resumption, Trump said: "I can't tell you a date.

"But I think it's going to be sooner rather than later. We're not going to have to have separation for the rest of our times on the planet.

"We need it for this period of time, but eventually people are going to be able to occupy those seats in arenas next to each other, like we have for all of my life and all of your life."

More than 64,000 people have died from coronavirus worldwide, with the death toll in the USA exceeding 8,400.

Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander will be donating the paycheques he receives from the MLB during the coronavirus pandemic to charity.

According to reports, Verlander will receive $33,411 per week until the season starts following an agreement between MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association.

The 2020 campaign was scheduled to start on March 26 but has been suspended due to the spread of COVID-19 and is now not expected to get under way until at least May.

Verlander announced on social media that he and his wife Kate Upton will be donating the money they receive each week to a different charitable cause.

In a statement posted on Instagram, the two-time American League Cy Young Award winner said: "Recently the @mlb announced they will be continuing to send paycheques to players while the season is suspended.

"@kateupton and I have decided to donate those funds to a different organisation each week so that we can support their efforts and highlight the great work they're doing during the COVID-19 crisis.

"Everyone around the world is affected by this virus, and we hope to contribute to the families and jobs affected, the healthcare workers and first responders on the front lines and the many others in need of basic necessities, medical supplies and support at home.

"As soon as the first paycheque is received we will be highlighting the first organisation.

"We know everyone is impacted by this crisis, but for those who are able, we encourage you to stay home to help flatten the curve and look to those around you who need a helping hand."

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Miles Mikolas is on track to be ready for the team's delayed season opener as he continues his recovery from a forearm injury he sustained during spring training, general manager John Mozeliak has said.

Mozeliak, speaking at a teleconference with reporters on Thursday, said Mikolas has progressed to playing catch up to 120 feet and is close to being cleared for throwing a light bullpen session. 

The 2018 All-Star was briefly shut down during spring training after being diagnosed with a flexor tendon strain in his right forearm in February.

Mikolas had been slated to miss the start of the 2020 season prior to Major League Baseball's shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The 31-year-old made 32 starts in each of his first two seasons with St. Louis after returning to the majors following a successful three-year stint in Japan, though he slipped to a 9-14 record and a 4.16 ERA in 2019 after going 18-4 with a 2.83 ERA the previous season.

Mozeliak also gave a positive report on reliever Andrew Miller, who made just one Grapefruit League appearance before games were suspended as he dealt with a lack of feel for his pitches. The veteran left-hander has been working out at his home in Tampa and barring any setbacks, figures to be ready if and when the season resumes.

Fellow reliever Brett Cecil, who strained his right hamstring during a Grapefruit League game on March 11, is expected to return to rehabilitation activities next week after taking some time off for personal reasons, according to Mozeliak.

Mozeliak added that the Cardinals' spring facility in Jupiter, Florida remains "basically closed" as the team complies with social distancing guidelines intended to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

"We do have a couple of players that are in the Jupiter area that are coming in for their medical rehab treatment," he said. "It's not business as usual. It's very quiet."

Former All-Star outfielder Jim Edmonds says he has tested positive for coronavirus and is symptom-free.

Edmonds posted an Instagram story this past Saturday saying he had been diagnosed with pneumonia and was awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test.

He posted another message on Thursday, saying he is no longer showing signs of the virus.

"I am completely symptom-free now and doing really well, and so I must have had it for a while," he said in the video.

"I appreciate everyone who has said well-wishes and wished me the best."

Edmonds was a four-time All-Star and an eight-time Gold Glove Award winner in an MLB career that spanned 1993-2010.

He hit .284 with 393 home runs and 1,199 RBIs in 2011 games.

Edmonds won the World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2006.

The Los Angeles Angels have cleared starting pitcher Griffin Canning to resume throwing as he continues his rehabilitation after an elbow injury.

The right-hander was diagnosed with "chronic changes" to the ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing arm in late February and has not pitched since.

He will begin by throwing from flat ground but Angels general manager Billy Eppler said on Wednesday he expects Canning to work from a mound by the end of April.

The hope is that the 23-year-old can avoid having surgery after an injury-marred debut campaign in 2019. Canning had two separate stints on the 10-day injured list last season with right elbow inflammation, with the latter period extending to a season-ending trip on the 60-day injured list.

One factor in Canning's course of rehabilitation may be that renowned surgeon James Andrews has indefinitely suspended all Tommy John surgeries while the United States' attention and medical supplies are being directed toward fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Canning, a California native and UCLA product, made his major league debut on April 30 last season and was 5-6 in 17 starts, registering a 4.58 ERA over 90 1/3 innings of work.

Former Chicago White Sox pitcher and long-time broadcaster Ed Farmer died at the age of 70 on Wednesday after battling kidney disease.

Farmer was born in Evergreen Park, Illinois and attended Chicago State University before beginning his MLB career with the Cleveland Indians in 1971.

He joined the White Sox in June 1979 after being acquired in a trade with the Texas Rangers and went on to post 54 of his 75 career saves with his hometown team before signing with the Philadelphia Phillies as a free agent following the 1981 season.

Farmer's only All-Star season came in 1980 with Chicago, when he had a career-best 30 saves. His last MLB campaign was in 1983.

Farmer became a radio broadcaster with the White Sox in 1992 and served as the play-by-play commentator for the past 14 seasons.

"Ed Farmer was the radio voice of the Chicago White Sox for three decades, and he called no-hitters, perfect games and of course, a World Series championship," said White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf.

"His experience as a major league All-Star pitcher, his wry sense of clubhouse humour, his love of baseball and his passion for the White Sox combined to make White Sox radio broadcasts the sound of summer for millions of fans.

"Ed grew up a Sox fan on the south side of Chicago and his allegiance showed every single night on the radio as he welcomed his 'friends' to the broadcast. I am truly devastated by the loss of my friend."

Today marks 25 years since Major League Baseball stars called off their strike, which had resulted in the previous year's World Series being scrapped.

It is also 38 years to the day since the New York Mets were left stunned by the death of one of the biggest names in baseball.

History was made on this day in England at Aintree in 1977, while India's cricketers and Manchester United's Wayne Rooney were both celebrating nine years ago.

Let's take a look back at April 2 in sporting history.

1972 - Baseball in shock as Mets manager Hodges dies

Gil Hodges had been a superstar with the Brooklyn Dodgers and Los Angeles Dodgers, and rounded off his playing career with the just-founded New York Mets. An eight-time All-Star, as a coach he added to the two World Series with the Dodgers, Hodges famously reviving the Mets and leading them to a shock 1969 title triumph over the Baltimore Orioles. But Hodges died on April 2, 1972, at the age of just 47, when he suffered a heart attack following a round of golf in West Palm Beach, Florida. It was his second heart attack: a first came in Atlanta in September 1968, early in his career as manager of the Mets.

1977 - Red Rum wins third Grand National

Tommy Stack rode Red Rum to Aintree glory, as the Ireland-bred steeplechaser followed up 1973 and 1974 triumphs at the Liverpool course with an unprecedented third Grand National victory. The feat has never been matched, with Red Rum triumphing against the odds after second-placed finishes in 1975 and 1976. At the age of 12, Red Rum's third success went down as one of racing's most famous wins.

1995 - Baseball stars go back to work

From August 12 1994 until April 2 1995, there was no top-tier baseball in the United States, with MLB stars going on strike in a labour dispute that stemmed from salary-cap proposals that got players riled. The 1994-95 season was abandoned in September, and the strike lasted for 232 days until judge Sonia Sotomayor's injunction against team owners persuaded the players to go back to work.

2011 - India triumph, Rooney treble

India landed Cricket World Cup glory in front of their home fans in Mumbai when the hosts landed a six-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the final. Mahela Jayawardene made a century in Sri Lanka's 274-6 before India reached their target with 10 balls to spare, helped by 97 from Gautam Gambhir and 91 not out from MS Dhoni.

In London, on the same day, Wayne Rooney scored a hat-trick as Manchester United came from 2-0 behind to defeat West Ham 4-2 at Upton Park in the Premier League, an important result as Alex Ferguson's team went on to win the title weeks later.

With the 2020 MLB season in flux amid the coronavirus pandemic, veteran Choo Shin-soo is putting some cash in the pockets of the minor leaguers in the Texas Rangers system, giving $1,000 each to 191 of them.

Choo's gift comes a day after MLB announced it would be giving minor leaguers $400 a week through at least May 31 with the season on hold.

A 15-year major-league veteran who spent parts of seven seasons in the minors, Choo said on Wednesday he knows money can be tight for minor leaguers, especially without a regular pay cheque with no games.

"I will never forget the minor leagues," he said in a conference call.

"I will never forget having to make that decision. Every day, I had to make a schedule of meals. I had to plan things out. I don't want players to have to do the same thing. I don't want them to have to worry about these kinds of things.

"People are really having a tough time. I can help. I can help people because of baseball and I want to give back."

Choo is entering the final year of a seven-year, $130million deal, and is set to be Texas' highest-paid player this season at $21m.

His professional career started in 2001 when he was 18 years old and left South Korea to join the Seattle Mariners.

"Think about 20 years ago, first time I came from Korea, I've got nothing," he said.

"Now a lot of things I have is because of baseball ... So I want to pay back to other people, especially this hard situation in the whole world. I can still help other people, that’s a good thing."

Choo also made a $200,000 donation to the city of Daegu, South Korea, which has been hit hard by coronavirus and is about an hour from where his parents still live.

Major League Baseball announced on Wednesday that the London Series scheduled for June 13-14 between the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals has been cancelled
due to the coronavirus pandemic.

MLB played its first regular season games in Europe last season when the New York Yankees swept the Boston Red Sox in a two-game series from June 29-30 at London Stadium, the home of Premier League club West Ham United.

"We made the decision because it was unlikely the events would go forward, and timely cancellation allowed us to preserve important financial resources," Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a memorandum sent to MLB employees.

The league had already cancelled two other series scheduled to be played outside of the United States.

The Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres were set to play the first MLB regular season games in Mexico City from April 18-19, while the New York Mets and Miami
Marlins had a three-game series in Puerto Rico scheduled for April 28-30.

MLB opening day was due to be on March 26, but the league has said the earliest play could begin was mid-May.

Baltimore Orioles slugger Chris Davis said he is "ready to roll right now", with the MLB postponed due to coronavirus.

The MLB season was scheduled to get underway on March 26, but it has been pushed back amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed more than 42,100 lives.

Davis has struggled for form since winning his second home run title in 2015 but the former All-Star and Silver Slugger is raring to go.

"I honestly feel like I'm still ready to roll right now," Davis said in a conference call on Tuesday.

"Baseball is obviously a huge part of my life, a huge part of a lot of people's lives, but right now the most important thing is to deal with this virus and put it past us," Davis said.

"I'm looking forward to getting things rolling, but right now we're just in that idle waiting period."

Last season, Davis appeared in 105 games, tallying 12 home runs, 26 runs and 55 hits for the Orioles.

He was batting .467 in spring training, with three home runs in nine games.

"It was nice to see some results and to have a little bit of peace of mind that what I was doing this offseason really worked," the 34-year-old said. "For me, that was a positive – confirmation to know that I could come back home and continue what I was doing and not make any adjustments.

"I feel like I'm still swinging the bat just as well as I was when the games ended, and I look forward whenever we can start back up."

It is exactly 35 years since Wrestlemania I took place and never has the mantra 'the show must go on' been more apt than in the world of WWE.

While the globe has been ground to a halt by the coronavirus pandemic, Vince McMahon's global sports entertainment behemoth has continued with its weekly television shows Raw and Smackdown filmed in the absence of live audiences at the company's performance center.

Indeed, WWE's flagship event Wrestlemania is going ahead in the same fashion despite the breakout of COVID-19, which curtailed hosting the show at the original location of the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Florida.

Fan favourites including John Cena, Becky Lynch, Bray Wyatt, Charlotte Flair, Edge, Randy Orton and Bill Goldberg are scheduled to appear on a bumper card shown over Saturday and Sunday this weekend.

But there will also be the presence of former NFL star Rob Gronkowski, who is slated to serve as host of Wrestlemania 36.

The ex-New England Patriots tight end – who helped his buddy Mojo Rawley win the 'Andre the Giant Battle Royal' during the Wrestlemania 33 pre-show – is not the first athlete to show up in WWE. Here we take a look at some others.

WAYNE ROONEY

England and Manchester United's record goalscorer had a run-in with Wade Barrett during a November 2015 edition of Monday Night Raw.

Preston fan Barrett, incensed by what he felt was a dive by Rooney in an FA Cup tie between his team and United nine months prior, said the now Derby County midfielder embarrasses his son "every time you step on a football pitch". Rooney retaliated with a slap.

RONDA ROUSEY

"Ronda's gonna kill ya..." was the chant emanating around Levi's Stadium as the fearsome Ronda Rousey stepped between the ropes at Wrestlemania 31.

Accompanied by WWE great Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, now a worldwide movie star, UFC icon Rousey was involved in a spat with the legendary Triple H and his wife Stephanie McMahon.

Three years later, Rousey partnered Olympic gold medallist Kurt Angle to defeat 'The Game' and 'The Billion Dollar Princess'. In January 2018, she became an in-ring regular and won Raw's women's title, which she dropped to Lynch a year ago.

SHAQUILLE O'NEAL

Better known for slam dunks, former Los Angeles Lakers star Shaquille O'Neal got in a choke slam at Wrestlemania 32.

The four-time NBA champion had a stare down with the Big Show, before the two combined to slam the 'Big Red Machine' Kane.

RICKY HATTON

Ricky Hatton earned hordes of fans throughout a brilliant boxing career.

In November 2009, 'The Hitman' stepped into a different kind of ring to host an episode of Raw from Sheffield Arena.

Hatton even donned the gloves to land a knockout punch on Chavo Guerrero Jr., with whom he had feuded on the evening.

FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. has beaten them all in the boxing ring, as his 50-0 record proves.

But it was a true case of David vs Goliath when Mayweather, approximately 5'7" and 150lbs, came up against the 7'2", 500lb giant The Big Show at Wrestlemania 24.

Despite the notable size advantage, Big Show was distracted by a member of Mayweather's entourage hitting him with a chair and 'Money' delivered a telling blow, albeit while wearing brass knuckles, to knock out his huge opponent.

PETE ROSE

Pete Rose is a legend of the baseball world, holding MLB's all-time hits record and winning the World Series on three occasions.

Rose was part of the 1970s Cincinnati Reds team that earned the nickname 'The Big Red Machine'.

But his run in with WWE's own 'Big Red Machine' Kane during the late 1990s and 2000 have become the thing of wrestling folklore.

On one such occasion at Wrestlemania 15, Rose was disguised as a chicken and earned a beatdown from Kane, including his devastating tombstone finishing manoeuvre.

MIKE TYSON

'Iron' Mike Tyson is no stranger to a WWE ring.

'The Baddest Man on the Planet' had an infamous showdown with 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin, one of the all-time greats in WWE, on an episode of Raw and had seemingly sided with one of the company's most famous stables D-Generation X before one of its members Shawn Michaels faced Austin at Wrestlemania 14.

However, during the event Tyson showed his true allegiance, counting the pin for Austin and clocking Michaels. Some 12 years later, Tyson buried the hatchet with his DX foes, unveiling a shirt with their logo on and knocking out Chris Jericho during a Raw segment.

MUHAMMAD ALI

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee - did you know this boxing legend starred in WWE?

Okay, sure, back then it was known as WWF when Ali was one of the guest referees at the first Wrestlemania at New York's Madison Square Garden for the main event between 'Hollywood' Hulk Hogan and A-Team star Mr. T versus 'Mr. Wonderful' Paul Orndorff and 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper.

BROCK LESNAR

Few men strike fear in their opponents quite like Brock Lesnar, who is as well known for his two stints in WWE as he is for being a former UFC heavyweight champion.

Lesnar is a multi-time champion in the organisation and will defend his WWE title against Drew McIntyre this weekend.

TYSON FURY

'The Gypsy King' recently crowned his own personal road to recovery by knocking out Deontay Wilder to become the WBC heavyweight champion.

The big-talking Briton warmed up for that bout by enjoying a short run in WWE, feuding with 'The Monster Among Men' Braun Strowman, which resulted in Fury in earning a count-out win over his huge opponent at WWE's Crown Jewel pay-per-view last October.

The longest strike in baseball history came to an end on this day in 1995.

A walkout that lasted for 232 days concluded on March 31, 25 years ago.

That is not the only significant sporting moment to unfold on this date.

Let's take a look back on this day in history...

 

1995 – MLB strike ends

The strike started in August of the previous year following wrangling over pay, with the rest of the season cancelled as a result.

That meant, for the first time since 1904, the World Series was not played.

It was on this day in 1995 that MLB commissioner Bud Selig announced an agreement had been reached to end the dispute.

1997 – Captain Lara leads Windies to victory

The legendary Brian Lara fist captained West Indies in a 1997 Test match against India.

It was a thriller, with the hosts securing victory in Bridgetown after India failed to chase down 120.

Lara top-scored for his team in the second innings, contributing 45 runs, while he also claimed a catch off the dangerous Sachin Tendulkar as the tourists were skittled for 81.

2001 – Schumacher brothers' Canadian GP one-two

The 2001 Canadian Grand Prix proved to be a special occasion in the Schumacher household.

Brothers Ralf and Michael enjoyed a respective one-two finish, sharing the podium with Mika Hakkinen.

Ferrari star Michael went on to win the title with 123 points, 58 clear of nearest rival David Coulthard.

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