I’m sure there are a lot that I’m forgetting, but here are the Top 10 Sports Moments that I remember.
These don’t include things like “The Tyree Catch”, which may have been incredible, but didn’t affect my ‘sports rooting’ and the teams that I follow (more life it infuriated me as a Cowboys fan). These are things from teams (or sports) I follow and were big moments.
Notable missing: 2009 World Series. Sure the Yankees won, but it was in my waning fandom years (for baseball as a whole), and I didn’t care as much as if they’d win today.
10. Malice At The Palace – 2004 was the year that Ron Artest spilled into the stands and went after a fan during a fight between the Pacers and Pistons.
9. 2003-2004 New York Yankees – The 2003 ALCS went to Game 7 and beyond between the Yankees and Boston Red Sox, and in the bottom of the 11th inning Aaron Boone jacked a ball to left, with no doubt that the game was over.
But one year later, the Yankees were up 3-0 in the Championship rematch, but the Red Sox weren’t done, completing the first such comeback in baseball history, and followed it up by breaking a 86-year curse.
8. 2001 New York Yankees – First the ALDS, where Derek Jeter went into the stands to make the catch in Game 5.
This was after making “The Flip” in Game 3, that went down into his legacy.
Then in the World Series, the Yankees just couldn’t win in Arizona. Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling were lights out, but the magic came in Games 4 and 5 against closer Byung-Hyun Kim: In Game 4 Tino Martinez tied it in the 9th, and Derek Jeter hit a walk-off in the 10th…the next night in Game 5, it was deja vu…Scott Brosius took Kim long to tie it in the 9th, and then in the 12th it was Alfonso Soriano who brought home the winning run.
But at the end of the day…it was Arizona winning it all in 7.
7. 1998 NBA Championship – The Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls won their 6th (and final) Championship of the 1990s, this time against the Utah Jazz.
One of my earlier childhood sports memories, laying in bed listening to it on the radio as the Mailman, Karl Malone, tried his hardest to break the streak of the Bulls.
6. 2014 New York Rangers – The Rangers went all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals, after struggling two years earlier and losing to the Devils in the Eastern Conference Finals.
But their high-speed attack just fizzled out against the Los Angeles Kings in the Finals, and they couldn’t lift the cup on their 20-year anniversary of 1994 (see moment number 2). The final blow came in 2OT of Game 5.
5. 1998 Major League Baseball – What a year basball had. All summer the focus was on the race for the Home Run Record. 1961 had had 61 Homeruns for Roger Maris, and that record stayed for 37 years. But 1998 saw two players in Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa racing for that magic number.
I remember sitting in my basement, helping my father build metal shelving, and WCBS880 News channel would cut in every time McGuire came to the plate…until this:
And then there were the New York Yankees. Set a record with 114 wins, David Wells threw a Perfect Game, and they won the World Series over the San Diego Padres (again a record with 125 total Wins).
The season is perfectly summed up in George King’s book: Unbeatable.
4. 2001 Daytona 500 – Michael Waltrip won the race in his first race in the #15, driving for Dale Earnhardt Inc., with Dale Earnhardt Jr. finishing in second, but none of that is memorable compared to the big moment of the day.
On the final lap, The Intimidator, #3, Dale Earnhardt got spun, d ended up hitting the wall head-on. When Dale Jr. got whisked away shortly after, and the ambulance was shown going to the hospital, you knew it was serious.
The sport changed a lot on that day, with a lot more focus on safety, turning the sport into what it is today.
3. 2000 World Series – New York Yankees vs. New York Mets…The first Subway Series World Series since 1956 (before the Dodgers headed to LA), and the Yankees’ 4th World Series in five years, solidifying the Dynasty.
The moment I remember best was the last one, with John Sterlings call of:
Bernie back, a way back. Bernie’s there, heeeee makes the catch. Ball game over. World Series over. The Yankees win. THHHEEEEE YANKEES WIN!
2. 1994 New York Rangers – One of the earliest memories that I have is when the Rangers won the Stanley Cup in 1994.
It all started with this Matteau Matteau Matteau in Game 7 over the Devils.
And then came the actual Stanley Cup Finals:
Messier’s guarantee and the subsequent hat trick. Game 7 in the Garden. Mike Richter stopping the Russian Rocket, Pavel Bure, on a penalty shot. Brian Leetch becoming the first American to win the Conn Smyth Trophy (and thinking Dana Carvey was tricking him when President Clinton called).
1. Tony Stewart 2011 – NASCAR has always been a dark horse favorite for me, and Tony Stewart was my driver of choice. While 2002 and 2005 Championships were nice (and I barely remember them), 2011 was the first Championship of my adult life.
First time that an owner/driver won, and it came in amazing fashion, as Stewart and Carl Edwards ended up in a tie after the final race, but Tony held the tie-breaker, having won five races throughout the year.