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Tony Gwynn
Associated Press/Photo by Kent C. Horner
Tony Gwynn

Human Race

News

Issue: "Fighting fatalism," July 12, 2014

Died

Tony Gwynn, 54, one of the best hitters in Major League Baseball history, died of mouth cancer on June 16. Gwynn starred at San Diego State University in baseball and basketball and had returned to the school as head baseball coach after his 20-year, Hall of Fame career ended in 2001. Gwynn collected eight batting titles, 15 All-Star Game appearances, five Gold Glove Awards, and retired with a .338 batting average. Years of smokeless tobacco use likely caused Gwynn’s cancer.

Encountered

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s book tour included a recent Costco Wholesale stop near Washington, D.C., where former campaign workers, friends, and even her niece and nephew made appearances. Less expected was a surprised Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who happened upon the book signing while pushing her cart through the store. “I don’t believe this!” exclaimed Clinton, who prodded Sotomayor to read her new book, Hard Choices. Sotomayor, dressed in sandals, striped shirt, and black pants, took a book and pledged to read it. 

Released

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Seven-time racing champion Michael Schumacher, 45, has left a French hospital after emerging from a months-long coma. Schumacher, whose Formula One (F1) career ended in 2012, suffered a severe head injury while skiing in the French Alps on Dec. 29. Investigators believe a rock hidden beneath the snow catapulted Schumacher face-first into another rock and his helmet likely saved his life. Schumacher, who has 90 career wins, is statistically the greatest Formula One driver in history and once went an entire season without finishing below third place.

Finished

One of the biggest players in this year’s NBA draft was removed from team draft boards four days before the event started. Baylor University basketball star Isaiah Austin on June 22 announced his career is finished after doctors diagnosed him with Marfan syndrome, a rare genetic disease. Draft experts had expected Austin, who stands over 7 feet tall and has a 7-foot-4½-inch wingspan, to be a second round pick. “Toughest days of my life,” said Austin via Twitter. “But not the last! Life goes on. GOD IS STILL GREAT!”

Convicted

An Egyptian court on June 23 convicted three Al Jazeera journalists of aiding the Muslim Brotherhood, spreading false news, and endangering national security. Peter Greste, a former BBC correspondent, and Mohamed Fahmy, formerly of CNN, both received seven-year sentences, while Baher Mohamed will serve 10 years. All three men, who have been jailed in Cairo since December, deny the charges. Courtroom observers say prosecutors presented no substantial evidence.

Died  

Middle East scholar Fouad Ajami, 68, died of cancer on June 22. Ajami was previously the director of Middle East Studies at Johns Hopkins and spent his last 27 years writing commentary for The Wall Street Journal. Like few others, Ajami, born in Lebanon to a Shiite Muslim family, understood the roots and stakes of Islamist terror—including how the Iraq War’s importance hinged on more than finding weapons of mass destruction. In his last column, dated June 13, he wrote: “Two men bear direct responsibility for the mayhem engulfing Iraq: Barack Obama and Nouri al-Maliki.”

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