Bob Ferry was out and John Nash was in as the team's general manager after the Washington Bullets finished the 1989-90 season with a 31-51 record. Nash put his stamp on the team, sending Jeff Malone and a 1991 second-round draft pick to the Utah Jazz as part of a three-way trade that brought the Sacramento Kings' Pervis Ellison to Washington. As the Bullets enter 1991, they are being carried by the scoring magic of Bernard King, 34, while waiting for former contract holdout Ledell Eackles to round into shape and John Williams to recover from a 1989 knee injury.
The Baltimore Blast kept pace in a changing Major Soccer League, weathering the losses of veterans Kai Haaskivi, Mike Sweeney, Desmond Armstrong and Ken Fogarty to the expansion Cleveland Crunch. After securing the league's best record for the second straight season, the Blast and coach Kenny Cooper ran into a familiar object in the final -- the San Diego Sockers. The Blast lost the best-of-seven series, 4-2, marking the fourth time it has been beaten by the Sockers in the championship round.
Maryland's Joe Krivak spent the fall trying to refashion his football team and save his job. He installed a one-back offense and unleashed the throwing talent of quarterback Scott Zolak. After compiling a 6-5 record during the regular season, including a 35-30 win over then-No. 8 Virginia, Krivak was rewarded with a new, four-year deal by new athletic director Andy Geiger. The Terps ended their first winning season since 1985 with a 34-34 tie against Louisiana Tech in the Poulan-Weed Eater Independence Bowl.
Maryland's basketball team continued to make headlines for its off-court troubles. The Terps were placed on National Collegiate Athletic Association probation for three years -- two seasons out of the NCAA tournament and one season off live television -- for violations under former coach Bob Wade. During the 1989-90 season, Tony Massenburg and Jerrod Mustaf led the Terrapins to a 19-14 record (6-8 in the Atlantic Coast Conference) and an appearance in the National Invitation Tournament.
Palmer's rainy day
Jim Palmer's journey from the Baltimore Orioles to enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., ended in a high school auditorium. Palmer, the winningest pitcher in Orioles history, was inducted into the Hall with Cincinnati Reds star Joe Morgan on Aug. 6. The ceremony, delayed a day by rain, was witnessed by 700 family members, invited guests and members of the media who crammed into Cooperstown High School. Palmer lauded his family, teammates and coaches, and even gave a Hall of Fame plug to his longtime manager-adversary, Earl Weaver.
There was no near-miracle finish for the Baltimore Orioles in 1990. Instead, the team was forced to face down injuries and a 76-85 record. During one 15-day stretch that turned the month of August into a 9-18 disaster, they lost their leading hitter (Bill Ripken), top home-run hitter (Randy Milligan), winningest pitcher (Dave Johnson) and most active reliever (Mark Williamson). Despite the setbacks, the Orioles added three young arms (Ben McDonald, Jose Mesa and Anthony Telford) to the starting rotation while winning 16 of their last 26. Cal Ripken extended his consecutive-game streak to 1,411 and his string of 20-homer seasons to nine. He also played 95 straight errorless games at shortstop, but again failed to win a Gold Glove Award.
Capitals advance, retreat
The Washington Capitals enjoyed the worst and best of times in 1990. On Jan. 15, after eight consecutive losses, they fired their coach, Bryan Murray, and hired his brother, Terry. They finished in third place in the Patrick Division, but made their furthest playoff advance, beating the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers before losing to the Boston Bruins in four straight in the Wales Conference finals. No more than 50 hours after they finished their season, four Caps players, including star scorer Dino Ciccarelli, were picked up for allegedly accosting a young woman after a party. No charges were filed, but the case turned into a daily soap opera. Adding to the Capitals' woes was the loss of Scott Stevens, who signed as a free agent with the St. Louis Blues.
Summer Squall, a scrawny colt with a bleeding problem, won the 115th Preakness on May 19. It took a tough ride by jockey Pat Day and a dose of Lasix to guide the horse to the second-fastest Preakness, 1:53 3/5, 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Kentucky Derby champ Unbridled. The syndicate that owns Summer Squall decided not to gamble any further, keeping the horse out of the Belmont Stakes in New York, where Lasix -- a diuretic that controls bleeding -- is prohibited.
Greyhounds' big run