Crushing deaths in sports in 2021


Photo Credit: Photo via Dylan DaCunha

Pictured are several sports legends that passed away in 2021. Included are Rod Gilbert, Don Sutton, Hank Aaron, Tommy Lasorda, and John Madden.

By: Dylan DaCunha, Editor-in-Chief

2021 has been a year filled with many joys and hardships. The world of sports especially felt this. Here are the top crushing deaths in sports in 2021.  

John Madden

Madden was a hall of fame professional football coach. He paved his way to fame when coaching the Oakland Raiders for a decade. They made it to seven American Football Conference title games and won the Super Bowl in 1976. He retired from coaching at the early age of 42. Madden truly became a household name during his broadcasting career. He entertained millions with his odd but effective use of onomatopoeia, such as “boom!” and “doink!” In fact, he was so popular he became the face of Madden NFL Football. This is one of the most successful sports video games to date. He called games for three decades and 16 Emmy Awards. He covered 11 Super Bowls from 1979-to 2009. 

Hank Aaron

Aaron was a hall of fame outfielder for the Atlanta Braves baseball organization. He was given the nickname “Hammerin’ Hank” for his ability to consistently make hard contact at-bat. On April 8, 1974, he surpassed Babe Ruth’s home run record of 714 career home runs. This was the most at the time. Aaron ended his career with 755 home runs. Many in the South were in disbelief that a black man was going to break a record held by a white man; a record that no one thought would ever be broken. He broke the barrier that would encourage and empower other black athletes to this day with his sheer talent and perseverance. Hank Aaron was a hero to many throughout and long after his star-studded career. 

Don Sutton

Another hall of fame baseball player who passed this year was Don Sutton. Sutton was a pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers and had an overall 324-256 record with an ERA of 3.26. He pitched one 20 win season but earned ten or more wins every season except 1983 and 1988. Sutton recorded 209 strikeouts in his rookie season, which was the most by a rookie since 1911. He was a master of changing speeds and location while pitching. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998. The Dodgers retired his number, 20, later that same year. 

Tommy Lasorda

Another Dodgers great is Tommy Lasorda. Lasorda is most known for being a fiery manager of the Los Angeles baseball team. He holds a 1,599-1,439 total record, even leading the Dodgers to two World Series titles, four National League pennants, and eight division titles. This helped in leading him to the hall of fame as a manager. He could often be heard proclaiming, “I bleed Dodgers blue,” which shows his devout passion for the organization. He was also known for keeping a bronze plaque on his desk that reads “Dodger Stadium is my address, but every ballpark is my home.” Lasorda had a brief Major League Baseball career during the fifties but is famous for his managing career. 

Rod Gilbert

Last but certainly not least is Rod Gilbert. He is known for playing hockey with the New York Rangers. Scoring 406 goals in his career, earning himself the nickname “Mr. Ranger” in New York. Wearing number seven, his number was retired by the Rangers in 1979. He is a hall of fame right-wing, he holds a Rangers’ record for goals and points. He appeared in eight all-star games during his 18-year National Hockey League career. 

These are a handful of the most devastating and crushing deaths in sports in 2021.