The man who stabbed a former MLB player to death has been convicted of 2nd degree murder in a L.A. courtroom ... TMZ Sports has learned.
Rod Craig -- who played 4 seasons in the league back in the early '80s -- was living on the streets back in 2013 ... when he tried to stay at a homeless encampment but was turned away by other transients.
According to investigators, 55-year-old Craig tried to kick a dog as he left the encampment ... infuriating several people who chased after him and attacked ... with one of attackers stabbing Craig in the chest.
The man who wielded the knife, 33-year-old Billy Morales, was convicted of 2nd degree murder and now faces 16 years to life in state prison.
Red Sox Owner
I'M NOT MAD AT JOHNNY DAMON
... 'Nothing But Respect'
1/13/2015 12:47 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Boston Red Sox owner John Henry tells TMZ Sports ... he's got NO GRUDGE against Johnny Damon for leaving the team for the Yanks back in 2005 ... despite Johnny suggesting there was lingering beef between the two.
As we previously reported, Damon told Donald Trump he didn't hit up Henry for a donation during a fundraising task on this week's "Celebrity Apprentice" because they weren't exactly on speaking terms after the whole contract situation from '05.
But Henry tells us he has absolutely NO ill will toward Damon -- saying, "I have nothing but respect personally for Johnny."
Henry continued, "He accomplished a great deal in Boston and will always be welcome at Fenway."
So, seems Trump was right ... maybe Johnny shoulda hit Henry up for a donation after all.
I'm Not On Speaking Terms
with Red Sox Owner
1/13/2015 7:53 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
It's been nearly a decade since the break-up, but it seems like still some bad blood between Johnny Damon and Boston Red Sox owner John Henry ... with Johnny saying they're still not on speaking terms.
Damon shed some light on the situation on last night's "Celebrity Apprentice" -- when Donald Trump asked why Damon didn't try to ask Henry for money during a fundraising competition.
Long story short ... Damon says he's not sure they still "love" him out in Beantown and says he hasn't spoken with Henry in a while.
Then there was this exchange ...
Trump: "I think you'd be able to call John Henry. He'd give you whatever you want."
Damon: "He did not do that back in 2005. So ..."
MLB Star Justin Upton
With Celeb Wedding Singer!
1/11/2015 11:12 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
San Diego Padres superstar Justin Upton is officially a married man -- and the party was INSANE ... TMZ Sports has learned.
The 27-year-old superstar (who's finishing up a $50 million contract) tied the knot to longtime GF Ashley Borror Saturday night at a fancy L.A. hotel and spared no expense.
The bar? Top shelf booze ... the well scotch was Macallan 18!
The smokes? Guy had a box of Cubans for anyone who wanted to puff away.
The entertainment? BRIAN MCKNIGHT ... and we're told he KILLED IT!
Tons of famous people were at the event ... including Justin's baseball star brother BJ Upton and Justin's ex-teammate Dan Uggla.
My Jheri Curl Was 'Amazing'
Hope It's On My Hall-Of-Fame Plaque
1/7/2015 12:09 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
It was one of the most famous jheri curls in the history of sports ... which is why Pedro Martinez tells TMZ Sports he HOPES his luscious locks will be enshrined on his Hall of Fame plaque.
The 3-time Cy Young winner was at the Waldorf Astoria in NYC when asked about the all-important image that will be on display in Cooperstown when he's inducted later this year.
Martinez says his hair defined him -- and he was damn proud of it.
He also gave us some H.O.F. advice about to keep your jehri curl as wondrous as his ... you gotta watch this clip, it'll make your soul glow!
1870s Baseball Cards Found In NYC
... Worth $1 Million!
1/7/2015 8:06 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Screw your 1989 Ken Griffey Jr. Upper Deck rookie card ... an old woman from Boston just learned her family's been sitting on a MILLION DOLLAR baseball card stash for more than 100 years!
The woman -- who has not revealed her name -- went on PBS' "Antiques Roadshow" with a bunch of cards and memorabilia she inherited from her great-great-grandmother.
Turns out, the booty was a collection of ultra-rare baseball cards featuring the 1871 Boston Red Stockings. The woman also had autographs from some of the players.
One of the cards featured George Wright -- the biggest superstar in the sport at the time. He was ultimately inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
"Roadshow" appraisers valued the collection at $1 million.
The woman says she found the collection just sitting in a desk drawer ... "I ran across it one day and decided I'd like to have it, not realizing at all what it was worth."
FYI -- your Griffey rookie's worth about ten bucks. Sorry.
Gunshot Finger Making Incredible Recovery
... Says Ex
12/28/2014 9:48 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
The finger Jose Canseco SHOT OFF HIS HAND is almost as good as new ... so says the MLB star's ex-wife who just showed TMZ Sports some pretty gnarly never-before-seen pics of Jose's progress.
Jessica Canseco was leaving 1 Oak in Hollywood when she admitted she told Jose to have the finger amputated after he put a bullet through the digit back in October.
But fortunately Jose didn't take her advice ... and now Jessica says he's on his way to one of the most miraculous recoveries she's ever seen -- thanks to an insane surgical procedure involving a piece of Jose's hip bone!!!
Check out the clip -- Jessica not only gives the medical update ... but shows off graphic pics of Jose's hand just weeks after the accident.
Better put your food down for this one ...
Get Ready MLB Players ...
Cubans Are Gonna Takeover
12/19/2014 12:45 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Major League Baseball's about to be just like kick-ass cigars and Ricky Ricardo -- as in super Cuban ... at least that's what former pitcher John Rocker is predicting.
The ex-closer tells TMZ Sports ... the new warm and friendly relations between the U.S. and Cuba will open up the majors to throngs of badass ball players from the island.
As Rocker puts it ... it's just a matter of time until baseball is full of Yasiel Puigs -- which, c'mon ... would be awesome!
Two bonuses in this clip: 1. Rocker talks "Eastbound & Down" (he's the rumored inspiration for Kenny Powers) and 2. Rocker's smoke show GF Julie McGee ... who he met on "Survivor."
Screw what the tribe said ... he definitely WON.
Uber Says Sorry, Bro ...
You Get Screwed by Price Boost Too
12/18/2014 1:15 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Hey, Justin Verlander ... SUCK IT UP -- that's what Uber is telling the Detroit Tigers ace after he bitched to the world about holiday price surges -- and threatened to jump to the competition.
Verlander fired the first salvo with his Instagram post ... "@Uber I used to love you and now your ridiculous surge charges are causing me to take my talents elsewhere. #lyft."
Now, Uber is responding, telling Verlander ... "Surge pricing encourages drivers to get on the road when demand is high. As soon as things even out, pricing will lower." In other words: too bad, so sad.
They didn't even mention the fact JV is it he middle of a 7-year, $180 million contract -- and is probably the last person who should be complaining about a little extra coinage.
AND he gets to ride Kate Upton -- and therefore wins ... no matter what.
SIX-FIGURES for Ultra-Rare Cap ...
Original Jordans Auctioned Too
12/18/2014 6:20 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Babe Ruth's game-worn baseball cap from a 1934 barnstorming trip to Japan just hauled in an amazing $303,277 in an auction ... TMZ Sports has learned.
No, it's not gold-leafed or anything, but it did sit on the Babe's skull while he did some diplomatic work for the U.S. He was part of an American all-star team sent to Japan in 1934 to play 18 exhibition games.
The games were supposed to ease rising tensions between the U.S. and Japan, but failed. See WWII.
We're told the ball cap remained with the Ruth family until 30 years ago ... then changed hands twice ... before landing on the block this morning at Grey Flannel Auctions.
Another sports legend fetched big dollars too -- an original pair of Jordan's ... just not Air Jordans.
The CONVERSE shoes MJ wore during his '81-'82 season at UNC went to the top bidder for $33,378!
We're told the winning bidders on both items want to remain anonymous.
Ex-MLB Star Brad Halsey
NO BOOZE or DRUGS
At Time of Mysterious Death
12/17/2014 4:30 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Former baseball star Brad Halsey was clean and sober when he fell more than 100 feet to his death in a remote area of Texas ... TMZ Sports has learned.
Halsey died on Halloween from blunt force trauma ... according to the docs we obtained. Sheriff's deputies in Halsey's hometown of New Braunsfels, TX say he either jumped or fell off the cliff which was on private property.
The autopsy report says Halsey's body was screened for a slew of drugs, including ... opiates, cocaine, oxycodone, barbiturates, amphetamines, marijuana, benzodiazepines ... and many more -- but pathologists found nothing. Same result for alcohol.
Halsey had pitched for the Yankees, Diamondbacks, and A's. In 2006, he famously gave up Barry Bonds' 714th career home run ... tying Babe Ruth for #2 on the all-time list
Cards Fan Giving Up Memorabilia Stash
To Help Oscar's Family
12/17/2014 12:45 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
The family of late Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras has some cash headed their way ... all thanks to a longtime fan who's auctioning off his treasured souvenirs.
Taveras got his first taste of the majors this season, but he made a huge impression on a Cards fan. TMZ Sports has learned the guy -- who wants to remain anonymous -- bought a bunch of Taveras memorabilia ... just one day before the 22-year-old died in a car accident.
We're told the items include -- Oscar's first home run ball, cleats from his first big league game, and a game worn post-season jersey ... all autographed and going up for auction.
We're told the fan decided to unload the merch through Goldin Auctions -- so he can donate all the profits to Oscar's family in the Dominican Republic. The auction will open on January 12th.
There's a reason Cardinals fans are known as the best in baseball.
Kerry Collins Had a Cannon
... Threw 'Scary' Hard
12/15/2014 12:35 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Kerry Collins couldn't just sling a football ... the former NFL quarterback had a GUN as a pitcher too ... so says Mike Piazza.
Mike was out in NYC when we asked if there were any athletes who impressed him with during the ceremonial first pitch over the years.
That's when Mike brought up the ex-Carolina Panthers QB -- who said he fired the ball so hard back in the day, it actually scared him when he was behind the plate.
FYI -- Collins was drafted by the Detroit Tigers the 26th round of the 1990 MLB draft ... but decided to go to Penn St. instead where he excelled on the football field.