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Open Discussion in Lieu of Hand Wringing: Best Sporst Moments

I have three posts on draft. All of them the rants of a raving right winger. Or maybe just a depressed and disheartened denizen of Doom. Which is the capital of Gloom. They'll stay on draft for now. Let's just do something mindless*, ok? Over at this post, we've been discussing the greatest moments in baseball history. So let's bring it up here and open it up a bit. The greatest moment (in your eyes, at least) in the history of all of sports. Discuss. * I say this knowing full well that this topic could start a flame war that will burn at levels higher and faster than any war/news topic could ever approach.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Open Discussion in Lieu of Hand Wringing: Best Sporst Moments:

» An open discussion from Sheila A-Stray's Redheaded Ramblings
on the greatest sports moments in history. My first thought is the Miracle on Ice ... but I know there are equally great and miraculous moments out there.... [Read More]

» Greatest Moments in Sports History from Leaning Towards the Dark Side
This is more of a personal favorite, Michele has an open discussion going. Sheila's choice of the Miracle on Ice has a lot of merit too.... [Read More]

» One Shining Moment from The New SteveSilver.net
Michele is running an "open discussion" of the greatest moments in sports history. People have chosen Game 6 of '86, various Michael Jordan stuff, and Randy Johnson killing the dove. But I vote for a more counterintuitive choice, one that... [Read More]

» The Greatest Moment In Sports History? from Off Wing Opinion
Michelle Catalano at A Small Victory is running an open discussion on the greatest moment in sports history. For me, [Read More]

» The Catch from JimSpot
Michele asks about "The greatest moment (in your eyes, at least) in the history of all of sports." To understand... [Read More]

» BASEBALL/OTHER SPORTS etc.: Great Sports Moments from Baseball Crank
Michele asks for greatest sports moments. I'll repost my thoughts here. I'll agree with some of the moments cited by her commenters - Jose Canseco getting hit in the head with a ball and turning it into a home run... [Read More]


Michael Jordan taking a flying leap from the foul stripe as one of his teammates was shooting a free throw. Free throw misses, Michael tips in for the rebound. The other team is just stunned, the officials can't even bring themselves to react.

Absolutely, positively amazing.

Frank Reich takes over for a wounded Jim Kelly, rallies the troops to overcome a 32 point deficit and brings about the greatest comeback in football history, an overtime victory that wins the AFC wildcard in the '93 playoffs.

Franco Harris and the 'Immaculate reception.'

Stage 10, 2001 Tour de France, at the base of the Alps d'Huez, Lance Armstrong looks back at his closest competitor(Jan Ullrich) and puts the hammer down.

Although I am (way) too young to remember it, I still am inclined to pick Bill Mazeroski's 9th inning, game winning home run in the 7th game of the 1960 World Series. It was just such a perfect dramatic moment: 7th game, 9th inning, score tied, the Pirates were the underdog, the home run ended the game. To make things even better, Mazeroski was one of, if not the, best fielding 2nd basemen in Major League history. He was rightfully elected to the Hall of Fame for his phenomenal fielding ability, yet he is perhaps most famous for this perfect dramatic home run, a hitting accomplishment.

Cliched, but for a reason.

The 1980 Olympic hockey "miracle".

It's kind of sad but all of the memorable moments that I'm coming up with are the outrageous moments (Don Denkinger in the '85 series, Colorado's 5th down play against Mizzou, etc.) Here's some good ones. Elway - "The Drive". Tiger Woods winning the Masters. Ray Bourque holding the Stanley Cup. USA hockey def. USSR in the 1980 Winter Olympics. Mostly Colorado sports, all post 1980, so probably not at all inclusive.

Roy Hobbs hits a HR that not only knocks out the lights and sends sparks flying down on him while running the bases, it also knocks the cover off the ball to the utter amazement of players, umps, and fans alike. All while an old gunshot wound has perforated and is bleeding through his uniform....so much for fiction....5/11/00....Glenallen Hill hits a HR at least 480' to the rooftop of an apartment building across the street from Wrigley Field. If that building had not been there, some say that would have went another 80'-100'. Even though the Cubs lost, hitting a little white, round thing that far has got to be great, if not just fantastic.

Clemmon's fans 20 for the Sox.

Willies Mays "greatest catch" in the '54 World Series (the throw was perfect, too.)

And...as much as I hate to admit it, it's one for you Yankee fans:

Don Larson's perfect game aginst the Brooklyn Dodgers in the '56 World Series

I'll skip the ones that I know will be mentioned and go for one that maybe forgotten:

Sid Bream loping home, sliding just under the tag in Game 7 of the 1991 NLCS. Setting up the "Worst-To_First" series (Sob, Braves lost in 7 games, in part because of that suck-ass stadium... The overhead speakers are "in play"??)

April 5-6, 2004.

UCONN sweeps both the NCAA men's and women's basketball titles.

This is College hoops nirvana, and will never be repeated again.

Lou Gherig setting the standard for humility and class with a farewell speech that should be required listening for today's athelete.

Not really a single moment, but Jesse Owens at the '36 Games has to be mentioned.

Likely double bounces off of Jose Canseco's head and is called a home run.

Coolest things by sport:

Baseball: Mo Rivera breaking like 13 bats in an inning to clinch against the Braves.

Football: Giants 1st Superbowl where the ball bounced off Bavaro's head and was caught by Phil McConkey followed close by Ingram's impossible 1st down in 90. A special mention for Bo Jackson's absurd 10.5 second 100 yard dash in full pads vs. the Seahawks.

Hockey: Richter stuffing Pavel on the penalty shot.

Basketball: Starks dunking on Jordan's head.

Nope, no bias here ;-)

Brandi Chastain's penalty kick in the 1999 Women's World Cup (and not for the obvious reasons). The whole drama turned a roomful of people who were ambivalent about 1) soccer, and 2) women's soccer into raving lunatics.

As a Pittsburgh fan i like Maz's homer and Franco's catch. But i have to mention Kirk Gibson's homer against the A's.

This "baseball" of which you speak...

It's some sort of Sporting Activity? Involving a ball or some variety, and perhaps a "base"?

Is it a variant of basketball, with a base instead of a basket?

Greatest? Maybe not, but it's my favorite sports story:

The setting is the 1912 Indianapolis 500. Ralph DePalma and riding mechanic Rupert Jeffkins (they had those back then) were leading second-place Joe Dawson by five laps with four laps to run, when DePalma's Mercedes Gray Ghost threw a connecting rod.

DePalma nursed the smoking car as far as it would run. The engine finally quit about a mile short of the finish line of the 2.5-mile track, on the last lap. DePalma was still ahead of Dawson, but not by much.

So DePalma and Jeffkins got out and pushed the car across the finish line as the crowd went wild (according to contemporary reports). Dawson passed them to win the race, and they were disqualified anyway, but by God it was magnificent.

I like it because "never say die" ranks near the top of the pantheon of virtues in my book. It'll never be replicated, because nowadays track officials would've black-flagged the Mercedes as soon as the rod went. Rightly so, too--at today's speed, all that smoke and oil would be a hazard to life and limb.

Coming close to that is the 1963 Rose Bowl, where Wisconsin, with Ron VanderKelen at quarterback, trailed USC 42-14 going into the fourth quarter. The final score was 42-37, and Wisconsin had the ball when the clock ran out.

I'm not old enough to have seen either (I was 16 months old at the time of the '63 Rose Bowl), but those are great stories.

Dec. 22 2003 - 311 yards 4 touchdowns in the first half. Brett Farve against the Raiders, on the day after he lost his father. It was an amazing night.

Or Gibson limping to the plate to crush a game winning HR off the best closer of his day.

Whoa now that is a loaded question.

I think this weekend you might see a contender if Michael Schumacher wins a unprecedented 6th straight race out of the gate in the F1 season.

Other than that let's break it down by sport:

MLB: Larsen's World Series Perfect Game is hard to argue with. I would go with that--although, I wasn't alive to see it. My lifetime I might go with Cal's record breaking Iron Man streak or Reggie Jackson's 3 Home Run World Series performance. Kirk Gibson gets consideration too for his miracle homerun for the Dodger in a Game 1 World Series classic against the A's. The Sosa/Big Mac homerun chase was great too.

NFL: As a Bronco game Elway's Drive and Super Bowl whirlybird play against the Pack were near and dear to my heart (I really think that Packers/Broncos SB was the best ever SB from start to finish), but I gotta give the ultimate nod to the undefeated Dolphins season of 72. I remember it (grew up in Orlando) and it might be a feat that stands unmatched forever. 

NHL: Wayne Gretzky aside, I liked Patrick Roy a lot. His third Con Smythe award which no other goalie has ever achieved was nice and it also helped Ray Borque get a cup. That was a real nice moment for two great players (along with Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg and the rest). Roy was highly underrated I always thought as an international star. When Patty was on in the Stanley Cup Finals and standing on his head basically to make stops it was over. 

NBA: Anything Jordan did obviously was a show stopper--his change of hands flip over his back reverse layup against the Lakers in the Finals was something you can watch over and over again. His game winner vs the Jazz was great too because everyone knew it was going in. I remember a picture of it in SI...it shows all these Jazz fans in the background with a horrified look on thier face as the ball was being released by Jordan. One kid though in the middle of the crowd just stood there confidently with his fists clutched on outstretched hands touchdown style in the air. Classic picture. Those classic Celtics Lakers Finals clashes were great too. Staples of my JHS days. But DR. J was the guy I grew up envying most and he probably had some of my most favorite plays ever, and just because we had never seen that kind of dunking and passing and flying in the air before. Havelcik stealing the ball was also probably pretty huge. As was Larry Bird. What a player, love him or hate him, white boy could play.

BOXING: Ali puts down Frazier. One of the most famous moments in all of sport as well as, unfortunately, Mike Tyson's ear biting performance.

NCCA MENS HOOPS: Villanova shocks Georgetown. What a great game Honorable mention: Jimmy V leads The Wolfpack to a stunning win over Houston (Phi Slamma Jamma is still fun to say). 

NCAA FOOTBALL: Kordel Stewart's Hail Mary vs Michigan was a thing of beauty as was Fluties heave against Miami. Also when Nebraska clobbered heavily favored and Steve Spurrier led Florida Gators in the Fiesta Bowl by a score of 62-24 that was pretty impressive.

PGA: Greg Normans classic meltdown at the masters was quite memorable. Tigers first win there was nice too. But Tigers win at Pebble Beach was out of this world. I have never seen a golfer just kick butt like that.

SUMMER OLYMPICS: Kerri Strug landing a vault on one foot en route to a gold medal for the American women's gymnastics team, that was pretty special, as was Jesse Owens classic performance with Hitler looking on in 36.

WINTER OLYMPICS; Simple. The Miracle on Ice. Nothing even comes close.

HORSE RACING: Secretariat's Triple Crown  (and maybe Smarty Jones in a couple of weeks)

Overall greatest moment: I would have to say in terms of impact it was that Miracle on Ice moment. Everyone knows about it, no matter who they are. Not sure you can say that about all the other moments no matter how great they were.

Nowthen, what did I miss?

Thurman, crippled, stands up and looks Reggie in the eye:
"Do something, straw. Or I cut the midget loose."
Three home runs ensue.

Well I'm biased but...

Willie Horton nailing Lou Brock at the plate from left field in game 5 of the '68 WS.

No not that Willie Horton...


peat -- I have to argue the NCAA football entry--us Gators were .not. "heavily favored" in that game, as #2 to NEbraska-led-by-the-abusive-RB #1...

..on a personal note, the last game I attended as a student at Florida Field, we lead FSU 14-9. Desperation fourth-down pass into the end zone..tip ball, and rather than try for some spectacular pick, the defender simply levelled the receiver as the ball goes clank. That ranks pretty high in the personal list.

Best in all sports? Miracle on Ice.

Randy Johnson throwing a pitch and accidentally obliterating a passing dove.

September 28, 1972. Paul Henderson scored the winning goal of the hockey 'Summit Series'. Canadian pros vs. the best of the USSR. The goal won the game and the series for Canada.

Secretariat winning the Belmont by 31 lengths, an all-time record, while running the 1-1/2 miles in 2:24, taking 2-3/5 seconds off the track record. Jockey Ron Turcotte looked over his shoulder at his competitors, far in the distance as he approached the finish line. It's a priceless image.

Secretariat won the Triple Crown that year, the first to do so in 25 years.

I'll agree with some of the above. The Canseco thing is still the funniest thing that's ever happened. Mazeroski's homer is tough to top for sheer instant drama and finality. And yes, I once had a poster on my wall of that Starks dunk.

My personal favorite, of course, is still the bottom of the tenth inning of Game Six, 1986 World Series, specifically Bob Stanley's game-tying wild pitch. Close behind are Robin Ventura's "grand slam single" in the rain in 1999 and virtually every minute of the 1991 Super Bowl.

Probably the most electric moment from a sport I don't follow or, ordinarily, even like that much was Sarah Hughes' gold medal winning figure skating performance, because she single-handedly did what I thought couldn't be done in figure skating: overcome the expectations and grab victory through the sheer brilliance of a single performance. In other words, for one night, she actually made figure skating a real sport.

The most memorable ones I've seen in person: (1) Game Six of the Knicks-Heat series in 1997, when half the team (including Patrick) was suspended and the MSG crowd just tried to will the skeleton roster to victory; (2) Brad Clontz' wild pitch in the last scheduled game of the regular season in 1999 to send the Mets to a 1-game playoff with the Reds.

Well, as a partisan of college hoops (and despite the fact that, as a Terps fan, I hate all things North Carolina), I have to hand it to Jimmy V. and the NC State Wolfpack - the ultimate Cinderella team, and Valvano was the archetype of the Ideal College Basketball Coach. As sweet and funny and worthy a guy as ever won the tournament.

If I were being objective, however, I might have to go (as many others here already have) with the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics' Miracle On Ice. USA! USA! USA!

"The most memorable ones I've seen in person: (1) Game Six of the Knicks-Heat series in 1997, when half the team (including Patrick) was suspended and the MSG crowd just tried to will the skeleton roster to victory;"

In a related Knick moment...in 99 when the MSG crowd chanted Van Gundy's name vs. the Hawks, what a way to love a coach.....how that team made it I just don't frigging know(okay, I know Larry's phantom 4 play)

I love baseball, I really do, but the Miracle on Ice is still the best moment sports has ever had. I was six when it happened, and I watched the game. It was beautiful.

The homer off of Canseco's head is awfully funny, and I love it, but watching George Brett go ballistic ranks up there, too.

Danny Manning picking up Kansas and carrying them to the NCAA title (88?)

TK sending Jack Morris out for the 10th inning in the 7th game of the 91 Series.

Joe Sakic scoring a goal and beating up Dougie Gilmour...(you had to hear the radio call, it was a classic).

September 21, 2001

Shea Stadium

Greatest moment: Miracle on Ice

Favorite Moment(s): Celtics in the 80s - all playoff victories against Pistons or Lakers.

Rick DeMent: Hey, what do you mean, biased? The 1968 World Series was the first sporting event to which I paid any attention. It was a good place to start. That series had an epic quality which is hard to describe. There were no close games, but the feeling of titanic struggle between two very good baseball teams was as strong as any Series I can remember. I watched the whole thing on television. One of my biggest impressions was at the beginning of Game 7 in St. Louis, when it became apparent that the stadium had thousands and thousands of Detriot Tigers fans in it ... people who had flown into St. Louis to see the game. In those days of more expensive air travel, this situation was just ... surreal. It was as if someone had told you that in 1968, the year of the pitcher, the pitching hero of the World Series would be, not Bob Gibson or Denny McClain but rather, Mickey Lolich!

While actually looking back at all of the years of Sports History I often cannot find any one moment that sticks out to me as being the "greatest" of all time. To each their own I'll say, but since were on the subject I'll highlight a few of the Proudest moments in Sports History:

1956; Don Larsen (at the time was a career 30 and 41 Pitcher) Throws a Perfect Game in Game 5 of the World Series.

1962; Wilt Chamberlain scores 100 Points in one game vs the New York Knicks.

1973; Billy Jean King destroys Bobby Riggs in a battle of the Sexes Tennis Match.

1977; World Series Reggie Jackson plants 3 Homers.

1980; The Miricle on Ice. Who will ever forget the words uttered by Al Michaels "Do you believe in Miricles?" USA 4 - USSR 3, A team of college nobodies led Herb Brooks by beats the Russian Machine of professional Hockey players in what wasn't even a medal game.

1983; Jimmy V takes an underdog NC State to the NCAA Finals, and wins.

1994; Wayne Gretzky scores #802 surpassing Gordie Howe's mark for most goals by an NHL player.

1994; Mark Messier lifts Lord Stanley's Cup in New York, no more "1940...1940" chants folks.

2002; Scotty Bowman lifts his 9th Stanley Cup breaking his Mentor Toe Blake's record of 8.

Just a few folks...

More a personal thing. I was in the stands for the Hayward Restoration Meet at the University of Oregon in 1974, when Steve Prefontaine and Frank Shorter battled it out in the last straightaway and Pre set the American record.

I wouldn't call it the greatest, but I have to give massive props to Kerri Strug when she made the brave vault in 1996 after tearing ligaments and straining her ankle, solidifying the first ever gold medal for the women's gymnastics team.

The greatest moment in sports ever:

Summer Olympics, Barcelona 1992

British runner Derek Redmond tears a hamstring and instead of quitting, he hobbles towards the finish line with tears on his face from the pain. He is finally helped to the end with the aid of his father, Jim. And the crowd stood to its feel cheering in support. I will never forget watching that.

Maybe I'm showing my age, but here's four sports moments that I'll never forget.

Hank Aaron's 715th home run.

Joe Namath and the NY Jets in Super Bowl III.

N.C. State defeating UCLA in 1974 NCAA basketball tournament semifinals, ending the UCLA championship streak.

Willis Reed limping on to the court for Game 7 of the 1970 NBA championship series vs. Wilt Chamberlain and the LA Lakers.

I agree with Jim all the way up at the top that the Bills comeback from 32 down at the half with their 2nd string QB is the greatest moment in sports.

I bet you were expecting me to say somethng involving Jackie Robinson.

Football: Joe Montana to Dwight Clark to beat the hated Cowboys and send the 49ers to the Super Bowl in my first year out West.

Baseball: So many to choose from. Mookie Wilson's amazing at bat in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, in which he fouled off several strike threes before Schiraldi uncorked the wild pitch to tie the game, followed by Mookie's little roller to Buckner. Either that, or the 9th inning homer by Duke Snider to win the first game I ever saw as a kid.

Basketball: I'll go with Villanova beating Georgetown in the NCAA finals in 1985 or so--the greatest game I ever saw.

Hockey: Miracle on Ice, no doubt about it.

Don't know if it's been mentioned, too tired to read all the comments, screw all who'd dare chide me: Ken Stabler's pass to Clarence Davis vs. Miami, playoffs, 1974. Today, it's in the grasp and it never happens. But then it wasn't, and it did. So.

One more for the ladies. Genuine Risk winning the Kentucky Derby--the first filly in 65 years to do it.

Lots of great moments in there. A couple Yankee-centric "recent" moments were the back to back 9th inning comebacks against Arizona in the 2001 WS.

And Ryman - UConn's dual championship is tremendous, but it will happen again, mark it down - 2006, UConn again.

The Miracle on Ice. It still brings tears to me eyes.

Best Moments (Flyover Country Edition)
Olympics: The Miracle/Rulon Gardner
Baseball: 2001 World Series
College Football: Kansas State defeating OU in the Big 12 Championship. (2004)
Super Bowl: Mike Jones of the Rams stopping Kevin Dyson on the one as time expired. Unassisted. (200)
March Madness: Lowly Wichita State beats the mighty Jayhawks 66-65 on a half court bomb as time ran out.(1981)

Olymipics: Miracle on Ice

NCAA Basketball: Jimmy V beating houston

MLB: So many to choose from. Gibson's game winning world series HR comes to mind

NCAA Football: As a University of Miami Alum, I hate to say this: BC's Doug Flutie Hail Mary play vs UM. (Nearly two decades after the play, a replay is shown EVERY UM football game. grrrrrr)

NFL: 1982 playoffs Dolphins v Chargers. Both teams left absolutly everything on the field.

NHL: Ray Bourque hoisting the cup.

NBA: Anything Bird vs Magic

MLB: 1988, Kirk Gibson hobbles up to the batter's box on injured knees...and hits a 3-2 pitch off of Oakland's Dennis Eckersley (oh look at that an ex-Cub) to win Game 1.

Rangers winning the Stanley Cup.

You mean there are others?

Oh - I'd also add Bob Beamon's 29' 2 1/2" long jump in the 1968 Olympics.

Secretariat crippling the Belmont field has to be up there, but my own personal favoirte moment is Jim Leyritz hitting the 15th inning HR that skunked Seattle in game 2 of the '95 ALDS. Too bad the series didn't end there, but it was my first moment of pure joy as a Yankee fan who grew up in the lean years.

The Ice Bowl

Joe Carter taking Mitch Williams over the fence in left to win the World Series in 93.

Ben Johnson winning the 100 meter dash in 1988.

Canada's Men's hockey team winning gold at Salt Lake City in 2002.

The reason that I can't help but say the Miracle on Ice: Is there any other moment in sports where victory meant so much to America?

Men's College Basketball: March 14, 1996. 6:18 to go in the game, and the UCLA Bruins have just taken a 41-34 lead over the Princeton Tigers. They never score again, even missing both shots on an intentional foul call. And with 3 seconds left, the Tigers score on the back door play they had been practicing for the last 29 years. 43-41 Tigers. The Force was strong with Coach Yoda that day.

Baseball: "One more fastball, and we fight," was Keith Hernandez's advice to Jesse Orosco in the bottom of the 16th inning of Game Six of the 1986 NLCS, the greatest baseball game ever played.

Ice Hockey: No choice. The Miracle.

Skiing: 1976 Winter Olympic Downhill. Franz Klammer throws himself down the mountain, nearly flying off the course twice, and wins.

Muhammad Ali lighting the Olympic flame in Atlanta.