NINETEEN HUNDRED AND NINETY is over and you tell me, wouldn't you like it to be 1991?
This will not be a hard act to follow. An encore won't be a problem.For some reason, 1990 was a yearlong answer to the question: Why did they invent Prozac? Who wrote this script anyway, Stephen King?
The top stories of the year dealt with tragic deaths Hank Gathers more tragic deaths (the Breeders' Cup), bans from baseball (George Steinbrenner), racism (Shoal Creek), sexual harassment (Lisa Olson), labor disputes (the baseball strike) and prison sentences (Pete Rose).
Even the good stories had their dark side. The 49ers won the Super Bowl but the city of Denver turned on the Super Bowl losers, the Broncos, and sent them screaming to a 5-11 season. The Reds and Pistons won the World Series and NBA championship, respectively, but did it in blowout fashion with clinching victories, in both cases, in front of the other team's fans. UNLV, the NCAA basketball champion, got handed the trophy one day, and probation the next.
It was a year of slaughters. Add it up. The 49ers beat the Broncos 55-10 in the Super Bowl - the most lopsided Super Bowl ever. The Reds swept the A's in four games in the World Series - the first 4-0 sweep since 1976. The Pistons lost the first game to Portland in the NBA finals and then swept the Trail Blazers - winning the last three straight in Portland. UNLV beat Duke 103-73 in the NCAA final - the biggest winning margin ever in a final game.
The No. 1 sports story of the year was Buster Douglas's heroic knockdown of Mike Tyson in Tokyo. The greatest upset in boxing history. Then Buster eats chocolate eclairs for six straight months and loses his first, and probably only, title defense to Evander Holyfield in a one-punch fight.
Nolan Ryan was a nice story, getting his sixth career no-hitter at age 43. But his team, the Texas Rangers, was an also-ran, and the season's record number of no-hitters - nine - not only diluted what Ryan accomplished but pointed out that nobody was in a hitting mood, anyway.
This was the year that Henry Marsh, of all people, got busted for drugs.
James Worthy got busted for soliciting and so did Zeke Mowatt, in a manner of speaking, and Sam Wyche got fined $25,000 for not allowing women in the locker room. Illinois almost got the death penalty and Jerry Tarkanian didn't get anything. John McEnroe got suspended and so did Andre Aggassi.
This was the year that Houston beat Eastern Washington 84-21. This was the year that Atlanta got the 1996 Centennial Olympic bid over Athens, which is like Tokyo getting the Super Bowl bid over Miami. This was the year Notre Dame had a scandal. This was the year Colorado had its fifth-down play.
The local scene in Utah was more of the same. Lee Trevino came to the Showdown Classic at Jeremy Ranch and complained all the way to and from the airport. An outsider won the Utah Open when local favorite Milan Swilor's would-have-won-it putt jumped out of the hole.
The highlight of the local college basketball season was a brawl - a UNLV player punched Utah State coach Kohn Smith harder than Douglas would ever punch Holyfield. Utah's basketball coach had heart surgery; BYU's basketball coach had hip replacements.
The Jazz and BYU football had similar seasons - terrific until the last chapter. The Jazz came within one game of winning the Midwest Division, and within one second of winning their first-round playoff against Phoenix. Their two All-Stars, Karl Malone and John Stockton, had to call in sick for the All-Star game.
BYU beat Miami in the second game of the season and was within sight of a national championship and a Heisman Trophy. Quarterback Ty Detmer won the Heisman Trophy, but the Cougars lost by a combined 124-42 in their final two games against Hawaii and Texas A&M as Detmer separated both shoulders.
It was that kind of year. Who needs another one like it? Not Hall Thompson, for one. Thompson was the president of the Shoal Creek Country Club, site of the 1990 PGA Championship, who said his club wouldn't be pressured into accepting black members, a statement that ignited a nationwide protest and turned Thompson into 1990's version of Al Campanis. Thompson turned in his resignation this week.
He's outta there. So is 1990.
In the words of Lisa Olson, "Let's put all this behind us. Please."