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slides: 12 Biggest Sports Stories of 2012 in Central Mass

Thursday, December 27, 2012


2012 was a memorable year for Central Mass sports, but not always for the right reasons. While the state title game runs of the Algonquin boys and girls lacrosse teams were certainly positive, the business dealings of the Worcester Tornadoes and their "star" Jose Canseco certainly were not. So now, let's take a look back at the 12 biggest sports stories of 2012.

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12.Tornadoes Sign Canseco

The Worcester Tornadoes signed controversial slugger Jose Canseco in March, and introduced him to a media horde at Ritual on Main St. two weeks later. It would be the beginning of a tumultuous season for the franchise.

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11. Edwin Rodriguez

Worcester native Edwin "La Bomba" Rodriguez had a heck of a year tearing up the super middleweight boxing scene. First, Rodriguez defeated Donovan George in Madison Square Garden on March 18th, pushing his record to 21-0 as a pro. Then, the Doherty Memorial graduate handed Jason Escalera his first defeat, and retained his USBA Super Middleweight title in the main event of HBO’s Boxing After Dark from Foxwoods Casino.

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10.Carl Beane Passes Away

Beloved Red Sox public address announcer Carl Beane tragically died in a car accident on May 9th. Beane's car crosses over double-solid lines, left the road and struck a tree and wall at 233 Holland Road in Sturbridge around 12:30 p.m. that day. Shortly thereafter, GoLocalWorcester Sports Contributor Bob Lobel wrote a column remembering his old friend.

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9. The Greatest Athletes

GoLocalWorcester took on the tall task of naming the best athletes in the history of each town in Central Massachusetts. Legendary defensive lineman Howie Long (pictured) made the list from Milford, but there were many other legends, including Connie Mack and Bob Cousy, on our list.

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8. Top Bball Prospects

Central Massachusetts produced some high-profile basketball prospects last season, led by Notre Dame Prep's Steven Adams (pictured) and St. Mark's Kaleb Tarczewski. But, those two are not the only ones making headlines in college basketball this year, as fellow St. Mark's grad Nik Stauskas is currently starting and averaging double figures for nationally ranked Michigan.

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7. ND's NCAA Troubles

Also on our top prospect list was a pair of Notre Dame Prep stars, but they made the headlines in a different way when they were both ruled ineligible to play college basketball by the NCAA. Sam Cassell Jr., son of the former NBA star of the same name, and classmate Myles Davis were set to play at Maryland and Xavier respectively, until the NCAA put Notre Dame Prep on its "watch list," and red-lined classes the pair had taken. What makes the saga even more interesting is the fact that there are eight current full NCAA qualifiers playing college basketball that, not only took the same courses, but actually sat in the same classes as Cassell and Davis.

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6. T-Hawk Lax Dominates

During the spring sports season it was good to be an Algonquin Tomahawk. While the baseball team made a surprise run to the state championship, the boys and girls lacrosse teams dominated Central Mass and made runs at state titles themselves. With All Americans Conor Healy and Carly O'Connell leading the way, the boys and girls T-Hawks each scored impressive victories at East Longmeadow High to advance to the state championship games.

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5. LaHair Stars for Cubs

Before he became an All Star, GoLocalWorcester caught up with those closest to Worcester native Bryan LaHair to discuss his new starting gig with the Chicago Cubs. Following his highly successful 2012 season, the then-29-year-old rookie signed a two-year $4.5 million deal to play with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks in Japan.

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4. Canseco's Bankruptcy

It was a rough year for the Tornadoes, but also for Canseco. The 1988 AL MVP filed for bankruptcy, just days before leaving the Tornadoes for a minor league team in Texas.

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3. Auburn's Historic Win

On a snowy night at Worcester State, Auburn rolled to its fifth consecutive Super Bowl victory, defeating Tantasqua 33-7. The Rockets completed one of the most dominant seasons in recent memory, and coach Jeff Cormier's group will most likely go down as one of the best teams in Central Mass history.

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2. Magic Hire Hennigan

Worcester native and St. John's grad Rob Hennigan entered 2012 as one of the hottest assistant executives and scouts in the NBA, and will exit it as the league's youngest general manager. GoLocalWorcester first featured Hennigan when he was running the scouting department for the NBA finalist Oklahoma City Thunder, and was cited by the Orlando Magic when the club hired Hennigan to be its new GM.

As a follow up, GoLocalWorcester sat down with Hennigan's old high school mentor, legendary St. John's basketball coach Bob Foley, to hear what the coach saw in Hennigan in his younger days.

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1. Tornadoes Locked Out

The season wasn't even over for Worcester's minor league ball club, but that didn't stop lawyer Margaret M. Melican from sending movers to clean out the team's corporate offices on behalf of her clients. Melican represented several vendors throughout the city in a suit against the franchise, claiming that the Tornadoes had simply not paid their bills on everything from hotel stays to printing costs.

There will be no baseball in Worcester in 2013, though then-owner Todd Breighner insisted there would be that day, and the future doesn't look bright for a team to play in the city any time soon.


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