Today in Sports History: April 3rd

4/03/1985 - Kings move to Sacramento

A special NBA committee grants the Kansas City Kings the right to move to Sacramento, California. Kings owner Joe Axelson cited poor ticket sales, attendance, and "generally weak support over the years" as the reason for the move. Kings owner Gregg Lukenbill claimed that the team lost $1 million in 1984 and was projected to lose $1.8 million in 1985. As a part of the deal, the Kings were later forced to pay the Golden State Warriors a stipend for encroaching on their territory.

The Kings, who joined the NBA in 1948, were no strangers to changing locations. They started out as the Rochester Royals and moved to Cincinnati in 1957. In 1972, the team moved out of Cincinnati and split time between Omaha, Nebraska and Kansas City, Missouri. Since Kansas City already had a sports team known as the "Royals," the team changed its name to the Kings. The team was known as the "Kansas City-Omaha Kings" for three seasons before they dropped the Omaha market and began playing full-time in Kansas City.

4/03/2005 - Sanchez earns first 'roids suspension

Tampa Bay outfielder Alex Sanchez is the first MLB player to get suspended under the league's newly-adopted anti-dug policy. After years of looking the other way on steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs, baseball decided to impose a ten-game suspension for first time violators. First time offenses were later raised to 50 games, with 100 games enforced on repeat offenders, and a lifetime ban on third-time offenders.

Sanchez, who claimed that he somehow purchased , was not the type of player you would think was on any type of muscle-building drugs. Through the first four years of his career, Sanchez had hit a grand total of four home runs. In fact, no baseball player had hit fewer home runs in as many at-bats as him over that four-year period.

There was, however, a sizable boost in his productivity as a lead-off man. In his rookie season in 2001, he batted .206 and collected 6 stolen bases in 30 games with the Brewers. In 2002 he stole 37 bases, then up to 53 stolen bases in 2003. In 2004, Sanchez batted .322 with 19 stolen bases in an injury-shortened season. In only 62 games in 2005, Sanchez would bat .324 but would produce only 5 stolen bases. It was his last year in the major leagues.

Over the course of the next fourteen months, a dozen other major league ballplayers and nearly one hundred minor leaguers were suspended for using performance-enhancing drugs. The most notable of these offenders was Rafael Palmeiro, who prior to his ten game suspension was a sure-fire Hall of Famer.

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