By George B. Eichorn – SPORTS STORIES of 2016

LOCAL TOP TEN:

  1. Death of Gordie Howe stuns Detroit and the hockey world; he lies in state at Joe Louis Arena.
  2. Pistons announce they will move downtown into the new Little Caesars Arena when completed.
  3. Lions tied for NFC North lead as 2016 ends and vie for post-season playoffs heading into showdown against Green Bay. Calvin Johnson retires prior to the season.
  4. Coach Jim Harbaugh leads U-M to New Year’s Citrus Bowl win and ends year with Orange Bowl date in Miami after flirting with National Championship hopes.
  5. Western Michigan goes undefeated in college football and earns a 2017 Cotton Bowl date against Wisconsin.
  6. Flint boxer Claressa Shields and Detroit swimmer Katie Ledecky lead Michigan’s Summer Olympics Gold Medal rush in Rio.
  7. Tigers fall flat and miss the post-season for another season despite a luxury-tax payroll. Matt Fulmer wins AL Rookie of the Year.
  8. MSU Spartans go bust in football with a 3-9 season under Coach Mark Dantonio.
  9. Pistons qualify for the playoffs yet are bounced in four straight first-round games by Cleveland.
  10. Red Wings make it 25 straight playoff seasons but lose in five games to Tampa Bay in round one.

LOCAL DEATHS: Al Ackerman, Johnny Bach, Ralph Branca, Terry Cabell, Paul Carey, Gail Cogdill, Toby Cunningham, Bill Dineen, Chico Fernandez, Bill Gadsby, Harry Gilmer, Mylan Hicks, Gordie Howe, Don Kremer, Vito LoPiccolo, Ted Marchibroda, Leo Martin, Ron Mason, Dick McAuliffe, Milt Pappas, Tony Phillips, Mike Sadler, Norbert Schemansky, Drew Sharp, John Young.

NATIONAL TOP TEN:

  1. Chicago Cubs shock the baseball world by winning first World Series since 1908 – defeating Cleveland in seven games.
  2. Sports world mourns loss of iconic stars Muhammad Ali, Gordie Howe and Arnold Palmer.
  3. Simone Biles, Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps gain fame and gold at the Summer Olympic Games in Rio. Ryan Lochte and three other Team USA male swimmers are charged with filing false police reports following a drinking incident.
  4. Cleveland Cavaliers win first-ever NBA Title and the city’s first major sports championship since 1964.
  5. Denver Broncos defeat Carolina 24-10 in Super Bowl 50 as Peyton Manning wins his career finale as quarterback.
  6. USA men’s golf wins first Ryder Cup in eight years at the National Golf Club in Minnesota.
  7. Pittsburgh Penguins win the Stanley Cup for first time in seven seasons, defeating the San Jose Sharks, 4 games to 2.
  8. Villanova men win what was called the best NCAA title game, downing No. 1-seed North Carolina 77-74 on Kris Jenkins’ three-pointer at the buzzer.
  9. Alabama and Coach Nick Saban win another National College Football Championship (its fourth in 7 seasons) defeating Clemson 45-40 in Glendale, AZ.
  10. Nyquist is forced out of horse racing’s Triple Crown due to an injury (missing the Belmont Stakes).

DEATHS: Tony Adamowicz, Muhammad Ali, Bud Collins, Chapecoense soccer team, Dawn Coe-Jones, Bill Dooley, LaVell Edwards, Eddie Einhorn, Jose Fernandez, Dan Grable, Dennis Green, Barney Hall, Jim Ray Hart, Monte Irvin, Mark Johnson, Tom Lysiak, Rick MacLeish, Aaron Pryor, Nate Thurmond, Spec Richardson, Jack Riley, Craig Sagar, Rashaan Salaam, John Saunders, Jim Simpson, Bill Stanfill, Ron Wicks.

Reach George Eichorn at geichorn@yahoo.com