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.

Anthony Joshua was among the bidders after Jos Buttler put the shirt he was wearing when he sealed England's historic Cricket World Cup final win over New Zealand up for auction.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Buttler drew bids in excess of £60,000 on eBay, having put his shirt up for sale to raise funds to help those affected by the coronavirus crisis on Tuesday.

The highest bidder will provide much-needed funds for the Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals Charity, which last week launched an emergency appeal to provide life-saving equipment for people suffering from COVID-19.

World heavyweight boxing champion Joshua responded to Buttler's social media promotion of the auction – which ends next Tuesday – by vowing to make a bid.

Buttler was wearing the shirt, which has been signed by his team-mates, when he ran Martin Guptill out off the final ball of a dramatic Super Over at Lord's last July to secure a first World Cup triumph for the hosts.

March 23 should forever be etched in the memories of Australian cricket fans, but Javier Mascherano will not remember the date so fondly.

Poor India were on the wrong end of a hammering in the 2003 Cricket World Cup final in Johannesburg, even with a star-studded batting line-up at their disposal.

Mascherano and his Liverpool team-mates also suffered a heavy defeat at Old Trafford, though the midfielder did not stick around to hear the final whistle.

Meanwhile, in golf, there was a lesser-spotted Monday finish on the PGA Tour.

We look back at the major events that happened on this day in sport.

 

1981: Floyd reigns at Sawgrass after thunderstorms

The eighth edition of the Players Championship was forced into a Monday finish after bad weather wiped out the scheduled final day at Sawgrass.

Heavy thunderstorms led to a Monday finish, with three players – Raymond Floyd, Barry Jaeckel and Curtis Strange – tied at the top after 72 holes were completed.

A play-off between the trio lasted just the one extra hole; Floyd was the only player to par the 15th to secure the tournament.

It was his second successive win during the PGA Tour's Florida swing, the American having also prevailed at Doral near Miami the previous week.  

 

2003 - Skipper Ponting shines as Australia rule the world again

There was simply no stopping Australia in South Africa, Ricky Ponting's squad successfully retaining the trophy with a thumping victory over India to make sure they went through the 2003 tournament unbeaten.

The captain led from the front too, Ponting blasting a superb 140 not out as he shared in an unbroken stand worth 234 with Damien Martyn, who finished up unbeaten on 88.

Replying to a mammoth total of 359-2, India simply never recovered from losing Sachin Tendulkar - who was named player of the tournament - in the first over of their reply, caught and bowled by Glenn McGrath.

Virender Sehwag did make 82, but Australia bowled their opponents out inside 40 overs to win by 125 runs, in the process sealing their third World Cup crown.

 

2008: Ronaldo on target as Mascherano loses his cool

Manchester United remained on the path to retaining their Premier League title with a 3-0 victory over 10-man Liverpool.

Defender Wes Brown was the unlikely scorer of the opener, while Portuguese duo Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani added further goals in a comfortable win for the table-topping Red Devils.

They were aided by the dismissal of Mascherano, who was sent off for dissent before half-time. The Argentina international did not go quietly, however, as he needed to be escorted off the field.

United went on to be crowned champions again, a 17th top-flight title putting them just one behind their arch-rivals' tally at the time.

March 22 is probably not a date that is circled in the calendars for South Africa cricket fans and Steven Gerrard.

Those of a Proteas persuasion will remember it as the day their rotten luck at Cricket World Cups began.

Whereas for Liverpool legend Gerrard it was the afternoon the red mist descended in one of the biggest club rivalries.

We take a look at the major events that happened on this day in sport.

 

1906 - The first rugby union international between France and England

The Parc des Prince hosted the inaugural Le Crunch as England defeated France 35-8, beginning a 16-game winless run in the fixture for Les Bleus.

A 24-17 victory for France in the Six Nations last month gave them their 41st win in the 106 meetings between the two nations.

England have beaten Les Bleus on 58 occasions, including in the Rugby World Cup semi-finals in 2003 and 2007. 

1992 - Proteas eliminated from Cricket World Cup in farcical fashion

No one does Cricket World Cup semi-final heartache quite like South Africa.

There was the dramatic 1999 tie against Australia that resulted in the Proteas being eliminated due to an inferior net run rate at the Super Six stage. Then, six years ago, Grant Elliott's heroics helped New Zealand reach the final.

But perhaps nothing compares to the farce of 1992, when South Africa fell foul of new rain rules.

When the heavens opened and play was stopped, South Africa needed 22 runs from 13 balls to beat England.

However, when they returned, the implementation of some bizarre rules meant they required an insurmountable 21 off one delivery. The rules were soon scrapped, but that was no shred of comfort to South Africa.

 

2015 - Steven Gerrard sent off 38 seconds after coming on against Manchester United

It was a case of 'Gone in 38 seconds' for Liverpool captain Gerrard five years ago as he made an unforgettable immediate impact.

Shortly after coming on as a half-time substitute in the Premier League match at Anfield, Gerrard stamped on Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera, prompting referee Martin Atkinson to send him off the field moments after he had arrived.

"I need to accept it; the decision was right," Gerrard told Sky Sports after. "I've let down my team-mates and the fans."

United, who were leading 1-0 at the time, claimed a 2-1 victory thanks to Juan Mata's brace.

Jofra Archer wants the issue of online racism to be "addressed properly" after highlighting instances of abuse he has received.

England fast bowler Archer posted screenshots of racist messages to his Instagram story on Monday.

He wrote: "I [have] given a lot of thought about reacting to this and I hope that no one else has to deal with stuff like this on a regular basis, it isn't ever acceptable and should be addressed properly in my opinion.

"I will never understand how people feel so freely to say these things to another human being. It baffles me."

Archer made a sensational breakthrough in international cricket last year, claiming 55 wickets for England across all formats as he starred in their World Cup triumph and 2-2 Ashes series draw with Australia.

This week is not the first time the 24-year-old has spoken out against racism, after he was abused during England's Test match against New Zealand in Mount Maunganui last November.

"A bit disturbing hearing racial insults today while battling to help save my team," Archer wrote on Twitter, having heard the slurs on his way back to the pavilion.

"The crowd has been amazing this week except for that one guy. The Barmy Army was good as usual also."

New Zealand Cricket announced a two-year ban from attending all cricket matches in the country for a 28-year-old man who admitted the offence.

West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell has expressed regret with not paying more attention to the health of his knees after experiencing serious issues with the joint in recent years.

The 31-year-old T20 star was forced to have surgery on his left knee after being out of the ICC World Cup with the injury.  Despite having a successful T20 career the issue has kept the player out of the longer formats of the game.

In retrospect, the big hitter believes things could have been dealt with differently by taking better care of the issue and has warned developing players not to follow his example.

  Russell is expected to undergo an injury assessment to determine his level of fitness as the team steps up its plans for this year’s T20 World Cup.

“Those who want to be another Russell should never do what happened to me.  When I was 23 or 24 I began to get knee pain,” Russell told Gulf News.

“If I had someone tell me: ‘Look Russ, you should get your knee stronger by keep doing these simple exercises, I would have been pain-free from my knees and hopefully I wouldn’t have to have had surgery. Unfortunately, at 23 you are fearless, and I used to ignore that pain and I always gave it a quick fix by taking pain killers and kept running,” he added.

“By the time I reached my late twenties I started feeling the pain like I never felt before. The wear and tear began to show up. If I was doing those strengthening exercises like training of the legs and doing the right things, I would have been fitter.”

“I want the youngsters to know that guys should not just think about the upper body alone,” he explained.

“I used to go to gym and just work only on my abs and my shoulders because I wanted to look sexy for the girls. At the end of the day being sexy and then your legs being weak, don’t work. So it is very important to have a complete work out of the body. I could have done more wonders had I worked on my legs too.”

MS Dhoni is set to play on for Indian Premier League side Chennai Super Kings in 2021.

The pledge came from Narayanaswami Srinivasan, the former ICC chairman and BCCI president who is managing director of India Cements, the team's owners.

Dhoni has not played for India since last year's Cricket World Cup, with the 38-year-old having occasionally made himself unavailable for selection at times since the tournament.

Speculation has since been rife over Dhoni's future ahead of the Twenty20 World Cup, which takes place later this year.

However, Srinivasan has moved to end any doubt over Dhoni's place with IPL side Super Kings, insisting the wicketkeeper-batsman will be retained next season.

"People keep saying when will he... how long will he play, etc," Srinivasan told reporters when asked about Dhoni, who has been left off the BCCI's list of centrally contracted players.

Srinivasan, speaking at an Entrepreneurs' Organization event in Chennai, added: "He will play. I can assure you. He will play this year. Next year he will go the auction; he will be retained there. So there is no doubt in anybody's mind."

Dhoni previously led India to two world titles – the 2007 T20 World Cup and the 2011 World Cup – making 90 Test appearances, featuring in 350 ODIs and playing 98 T20 internationals.

Ben Stokes has been named ICC Player of the Year after inspiring England to Cricket World Cup glory and playing one of the great Test innings to seal an Ashes victory at Headingley.

Stokes made a magnificent unbeaten 84 as England beat New Zealand in the most dramatic World Cup final at Lord's in July.

The all-rounder went on to guide England to a stunning one-wicket victory with an astonishing 135 not out in the third Test against Australia in Leeds, having also crafted a hundred in the previous match at Lord's.

Stokes scored 821 runs and took 22 wickets in 11 Tests last year, as well as 719 runs and 12 wickets in 20 ODIs to land the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy.

The England vice-captain said: "It is quite flattering to win the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for the ICC Men's Cricketer of the Year. The past 12 months have been incredible for England cricket and to lift the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup for the first time was our greatest achievement.

"This award is testament to my team-mates and the support staff that have been there every step of the way. Fundamentally, without the support of these individuals, we would never have achieved our objective of lifting a major trophy.

"There is an incredible bond between team-mates and to savour our achievements, whether that's winning the World Cup final at Lord's or digging deep to win a Test match against Australia at Headingley. It is satisfying you can accomplish these superb highs together.

"The last 12 months have been the best in my career, and I believe what we attained will be the catalyst to achieve further success over the next few years."

Australia paceman Pat Cummins was named Test player of 2019, while India batsman Rohit Sharma was named the best ODI player in the world.

Cummins' team-mate Marnus Labuschagne is the ICC Men's Emerging Cricketer of 2019 after averaging 64.94 with the bat in the longest format last year.

Windies star Chris Gayle insists he hopes to play for another five years or at least as long as possible.

The left-handed batting talisman turned 40 earlier this year and had initially speculated about retiring after the ICC World Cup.  Gayle, however, had a complete change of heart regarding that possibility and now insists that he believes he still has a lot to offer to the sport.

The West Indian already has a long list of accomplishments which includes being the highest ODI runs scorer for the West Indies, and having the most centuries with 25.  Gayle is also the first batsman to score a triple century in Test cricket, a double century in ODI cricket and a century in T20 internationals.

Despite his long list of accomplishments, however, Gayle believes he still has plenty to give to fans of the sport and league's around the world.

“A lot of people still want (to) see Chris Gayle out there in the middle. I still have that love for the game and that passion for the game as well. And I would love to carry on as long as possible,” Gayle said in a recent interview.

“Forty-five is a good number. Yeah, we can target 45. Let’s target 45, that’s a good number,” he added.

“Even in franchise cricket, I am still playing a few games here and there around the globe because I still feel I have a lot to offer.  The body is feeling good. And I am sure I am getting younger as days go on.”

 

Indian cult hero Irfan Pathan has announced his retirement from all forms of cricket.

The 35-year-old starred in India's 2007 ICC World Twenty20 final against Pakistan, taking 3-16 to help steer his country to victory in South Africa. 

All-rounder Irfan first shot to stardom back in 2003 when he claimed figures of 9-16 for India Under-19s against Bangladesh, earning him a spot in the senior squad for a tour of Australia.

He confirmed his decision to call it quits in an interview on Star Sports on Saturday.

"I am announcing retirement from all forms of cricket," said Irfan. "I have been fortunate to share the dressing room with greats of the game like [Sourav] Ganguly, [Rahul] Dravid and [VVS] Laxman. I am calling time on my career.

"I would like to thank my family for providing much-needed support. I would like to thank my fans. They have always hoped for my comeback. Their support has kept me going."

Irfan, who last played on the international stage in 2012, featured in 29 Tests, 120 ODIs and 24 T20s for his country.

Virat Kohli played a key innings as India signed off for 2019 with an ODI series triumph over West Indies - and then he rued the fact it was not a year of global conquest.

A four-wicket win in Cuttack on Sunday came on the back of 85 from captain Kohli after openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul weighed in with 63 and 77 to put the home side in control in their chase of 315-5.

Still, amid the celebrations, thoughts turned back to India's hopes of Cricket World Cup glory being shattered at the semi-final stage in England in July.

On that occasion, a wretched start in their reply to New Zealand's 239-8 at Old Trafford saw India's top three - Rahul, Sharma and Kohli - dismissed for one run each.

Kohli said: "2019 has been one of the best years for Indian cricket.

"Apart from the 30 minutes [against New Zealand] in the World Cup, it's been a great year. We'll keep chasing that ICC trophy, this group deserves it for the amount of hard work we have put in. We have a vision in place."

Speaking to reporters at a news conference following Sunday's match, Ravindra Jadeja expressed his satisfaction at getting India over the winning line to secure their 2-1 series success.

His unbeaten 39, paired with a guns-blazing unbeaten 17 from six balls by Shardul Thakur, shut the door on West Indies' hopes of clinging to victory.

Jadeja said: "It was a decider game today so when I went to bat I was just looking to play with Virat because the wicket was so good to bat on.

"Me and Virat were talking in the middle out there, about how the wicket was so good.

"He told me, 'Just continue trying to keep playing your shots, I'll try and finish the game', but unfortunately he got out and he told me to keep playing just normal cricket, don't try and do something silly."

The pep talk paid off as Jadeja received post-match praise from former captain Sourav Ganguly, who tweeted to say the 31-year-old's upturn in batting form was "so important" to India.

"I need to prove to myself I'm still capable of playing limited-overs cricket," Jadeja said. "So I don't need to prove to anybody else in the world, I need to prove to myself."

Jos Buttler is feeling refreshed after the emotional grind of a Cricket World Cup and Ashes series and revealed he has been working with Marcus Trescothick to improve his red-ball game.

Buttler scored a century in England's drawn tour match against New Zealand A and heads into the Test series against the Black Caps as first-choice wicketkeeper.

The 29-year-old's touch with the bat and neat work with the gloves were among the plusses for England in the three-day contest.

After taking a five-week break to recover from a busy English summer, which resulted in World Cup glory and a drawn Ashes, Buttler is taking an open-minded approach into the two-Test series, for which he has been preparing with former Somerset team-mate and England opener Trescothick. 

"I've nothing to lose with the bat or the gloves," Buttler said. "It's a great time to be involved with a new head coach [Chris Silverwood]. It's a new challenge and I'm going to throw myself into it.

"It was a tough summer - physically and emotionally - great fun, a huge challenge and one you look back on with real fondness. But it took a lot out of most of us. The time we have had off has been invaluable.

"I had a couple of net sessions at Somerset with Marcus Trescothick during this time. I really enjoyed that and got a lot out of it. It gave some building blocks to come here feeling in good touch."

England may have fallen short of victory but skipper Joe Root was encouraged by his side's batting in Whangarei.

During the Ashes, England's highest first-innings score was 374 in the lost Edgbaston Test but they posted 405 all out here and Root wants to see his team making big numbers.

"We want to bat long, especially in the first innings - get ourselves into the game and give us an opportunity of making really big scores. Four-hundred-plus, as generally you can dictate terms from there," Root told Sky Sports.

"It is something we have struggled with over the last couple of years, granted that at home, in particular, we have played on some very challenging surfaces.

"On flatter surfaces, like here, I think it's really important that we get into that mindset.

"I think we have done that really well so far in the two games that we have played, with a couple of guys looking in really good order. I feel we are in pretty good shape going into two big Test matches."

Legendary West Indies all-rounder Gary Sobers does not believe the regional cricket team did enough to hold on to Barbadian-born fast bowler Jofra Archer and must be a little ‘sad’ to have missed out on such a top prospect.

The 24-year-old was born in Barbados and played youth cricket for the Windies but failed to secure a spot on the youth World Cup team.  The player later moved to England before deciding to switch allegiance and represent the country of his father’s birth.

Archer made his debut for England at the World Cup earlier this year, after a change in the country’s eligibility rules allowed the player to represent England earlier than originally stipulated.  The bowler went on to make a major impact at the tournament as England claimed a maiden title.  Archer then went on to make his impact felt during the Ashes series.

“We have lost a good one, there's no doubt about that," Sobers told the DailyMail.

“Jofra is an amazing bowler. For him to jump to where he is in the England team already is tremendous. I believe there was an argument as to whether they should play him in the World Cup but eventually they got over that and they must be very happy they did because he has been great for them,” he added.

“The West Indies must be very sad when they see what he has done because we don't seem to have given him the opportunities we should have done," said Sobers. 

"He started in Barbados and wanted to get in the West Indies team but he didn't get the chance to do that so he went to the best place he could.”

Newly appointed Windies chairman of selectors Roger Harper confirmed veteran batsman Chris Gayle was unavailable for the upcoming series against Afghanistan but suggested the panel would focus on younger talent going forward.

Speculation has continued to surround the future of the star batsman after he announced plans to retire, following the ICC World Cup earlier this year.  The 40-year-old, however, appeared to have a change of heart and went on to claim that the team's series again India, following the cricketing showpiece, would instead be his final. 

Controversy, however, erupted with many suggesting the batsman should hang up his tips and allow for the development of younger players.  Following the series against India, Gayle was again quick to insist that he was in no hurry to retire.  With young openers like Evin Lewis and Brandon King included in the squad, Harper suggested it was time to give younger players an opportunity to showcase their skills.

“Gayle told us he is unavailable for Afghanistan Series, but we all know Chris, he is a world-class player with a tremendous record and of course it’s difficult to replace Chris Gayle,” Harper explained.

"But I think going forward it is in a way an opportunity for young players to showcase their skills and make a name for themselves as we look ahead to the next two T20 World Cups in 2020 and 2021 and the future.”

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