Some have excelled on the playing field or made a difference with words of wisdom in the locker room. Others have made us cheer in victory, groan with defeat and somewhere in between, might have fed us or entertained us.
Each Tuesday, Oklahoma Sports Milestones will salute players, coaches, support staff and fans — all of the essential people who have made game days special.
BORN: Wednesday, Dec. 21, at 8:43 p.m., Ryder Isaac Danis, the son of Oklahoma City Barons goaltender Yann Danis. Ryder weighed 7 pounds, 8 ounces. Tip the cap to Barons coach Todd Nelson, who granted Ryder's daddy — the American Hockey League team's No. 1 netminder — time off so he could be present for the birth.
AWARDED: The Harold Leep Trophy and a $5,000 grand prize, sprint car driver Sean McClelland. The Tulsa resident won his third career Oil Capital Racing Series points championship, this year by 98 points over Whit Gastineau of Oklahoma City. McClelland won eight A features and had 16 top-10 finishes. McClelland also won OCRS titles in 2002 and 2003.
DIED: At age 98, Bruce Johnson. The Oklahoma City resident was a distinguished attorney who played a mean round of golf. A member of either the Oklahoma City Golf and Country Club or the Quail Creek Golf and Country Club, Johnson had a hole-in-one eight times during his life.
CANDIDATES: For the 2013 Baseball Hall of Fame class, former Oklahoma City 89ers Juan Gonzalez, Ruben Sierra, Rick Helling and Sammy Sosa. Gonzalez will be on the ballot for the third time, Sierra for the second. Helling and Sosa will be in their first year of eligibility.
DIED: At age 60, former University of Central Oklahoma running back James Hooks. The Jones High School graduate collected 3,190 yards over the 1969-72 seasons while helping UCO to a 33-7-2 record. He remains the school's single-season leader in rushing touchdowns (22) and points (132). Hooks is also the school's career leader in rushing TDs (50) and points (300). The Detroit Lions selected Hooks in the fourth round of the 1973 NFL Draft, and he played in 32 games through four professional seasons. Hooks was inducted into the UCO Athletics Hall of Fame in 1997. The father of seven children was a postal worker in the Detroit area after retiring from football.
DIED: At age 80, Oklahoma Criminal Court of Appeals Judge James F. Lane. The Oklahoma City resident lived in Beaver early in his career. He served the Panhandle community as an attorney, volunteer fireman and as an assistant in the establishment and construction of the Beaver Municipal Golf Course.
DIED: At age 33, Stewart Mason, a counselor for the community after-school program in Norman. The Norman High and University of Oklahoma graduate often traveled with his stepfather, Roger Neufeldt, to many prestigious sports card and memorabila shows around the country. Mason and Neufeldt hunted, purchased and sold some of the most unique and rare items — particularly baseball items — ever made.
1: Number of goals in 22 games for Justin Sawyer, a former Oklahoma City Blazers defenseman who is in his first season with the Wichita Thunder of the Central Hockey League. Sawyer played 121 games over two seasons for the Blazers and scored one goal.