Every few weeks, the contributors to The Writers, as well as some special guests, will submit a Top 5
list on a given topic. We kick the series off with a topic that every sports fan has thought about.
Top 5 Games or Moments I Have Seen in Person
Special Guests: Kenny Albert (FOX Sports), Joe Beninati (Play-by-play Announcer,
Washington Capitals TV), Elliott Price (Host of The Price is Right, Team 990
Montreal), Steve Serby (Columnist, New York Post), Dave Starman (Hockey Analyst,
1. David Volek's goal (May 14, 1993) - Game Seven, Patrick Division Finals. I was in my second
season in the Islanders Media Relations Department and was in Pittsburgh for this one. The Isles
were heavy series underdogs against the two-time defending Stanley Cup Champs, and that was
before leading scorer Pierre Turgeon was injured in the previous series against the Washington
Capitals by a Dale Hunter cheap shot. The win sent us to Montreal immediately after the game for
Game One of the Conference Finals around 36 hours later. To this day, the greatest night of my
2. Argentina defeats USA in Olympic basketball (August 27, 2004) - The historical impact of this game
will not be seen for quite some time. The emotional impact was felt immediately, though. The USA
was a heavy favorite in the tournament, despite losing two exhibition games and two preliminary
round games. After knocking off Spain in the Quarter-Finals, Argentina, featuring Manu Ginobili, was
waiting in the Semis, as was history. The 89-81 loss was the first in the Olympics for USA teams
featuring NBA players. Only time will show this games' repercussions.
3. "The Dunk" (May 25, 1993) - I've never heard the Garden erupt like this. It was Game Two of the
Eastern Conference Finals, in the middle of the annual Knicks-Bulls playoff series. When John Starks
dunked over Horace Grant and Michael Jordan, MSG was possibly the loudest it has ever been. "The
Dunk" has been immortalized in pictures and posters and remains one of the defining moments in
4. Michael Jordan's double nickel (March 28, 1995) - A legend returns and puts on a show. I
remember working this game for MSG and, as Michael was on his way to 20 points in the first quarter
(and 35 in the first half), saying into my headset, "Does anyone have that feeling we are seeing
something special tonight?" We definitely were. It was his fifth game back after his first retirement and
he was wearing number 45, but it was the old Michael. I've worked hundreds of NBA games, but have
saved just one of my stat sheets. This one.
5. "Matteau, Matteau, Matteau!!!!" (May 27, 1994) - I'm not a Ranger fan and was actually working for
the Islanders at the time, but I can still recognize a great moment when I see it. Double overtime,
Game Seven, Eastern Conference Finals, Rangers versus Devils, Madison Square Garden. This win
sent the Rangers to the Stanley Cup Finals, where they finally won a Stanley Cup. It inspired Howie
Rose's call - one of the most famous radio calls in New York sports history. And it sent the Garden
into a frenzy rarely matched in New York.
Islanders defeat Rangers in overtime on Pierre Turgeon's 50th goal (April 2, 1993)
Mark Messier's guaranteed win and hat trick (May 25, 1994)
New Jersey Devils win their first Stanley Cup (June 24, 1995)
Yankees set World Series record by scoring seven runs in an inning (October 17, 1998)
San Antonio Spurs win their first NBA title (June 25, 1999)
Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez in a pitcher's duel for the ages (May 28, 2000)
Jets vs. Giants goes to the final play of overtime (November 2, 2003)
1. Game Six, 1986 World Series. "Gets by Buckner!!!"
2. Pat LaFontaine scores in the 4th Overtime, Isles beat Capitals 3-2 in Game Seven of opening
round of playoffs.
3. 50-year-old George Foreman knocks out Michael Moorer.
4. Virginia beats Florida State for Seminoles first ACC football loss ever. Game ends on direct snap to
Warrick Dunn who fumbles on goal line on last play.
5 (tie). Manhattan beats Florida, 2004 NCAA first round, and Manhattan beats Oklahoma, 1995 NCAA
1. Rangers break 54-year drought (June 14, 1994) - I had the fortune of calling the series for NHL
Radio. Rangers led the Canucks 3 games to 1, lost games 5 and 6, then clinched the Stanley Cup
in a 3-2 nail-biter.
2. Game 7, ALCS, Yankees vs. Red Sox (October 16, 2003 and October 20, 2004) - I could feel the
tension in the ballpark throughout my entire body. I will always cherish the opportunity to handle the
post-series interviews on the podium in the winning clubhouse both years as Jackie Autry handed the
hardware to the Yankees in '03 and the Red Sox in '04.
3. Super Bowl XXIII (January 22, 1989) - I was in the stands, approximately 20 rows up on the 50-yard
line, when Joe Montana hit John Taylor with the game-winning touchdown with 34 seconds
remaining to defeat the Bengals, 20-16.
4. The original "Dream Team" (Summer 1992) - I had a front row seat at the Chamsil Students
Gymnasium in Barcelona, Spain as Magic, Michael and Larry rolled through the Olympics...starting
with the victory over Angola (think Charles Barkley).
5. Ron Guidry 18-strikeout game (June 17, 1978) - As a 10-year-old, I was in the stands at Yankee
Stadium when The Gator struck out 18 Angels. I still have my scorecard.
Michael Vick's 45-yard scramble in overtime to defeat Vikings in Dec. 2002
Game 7 1986 World Series, Mets beat Red Sox
Wayne Gretzky scores four goals in 3rd period of 1983 NHL All-Star Game at Nassau Coliseum
Any of the 200-plus games I called that Wayne Gretzky played in
NJ Devils win 1995 Stanley Cup
Montreal Canadiens win 1977 Stanley Cup on Jacques Lemaire's overtime goal at Boston Garden
Giants beat Jets in overtime thriller, November 2003
Terrell Owens stomps on the Cowboys' star on the 50-yard line, Sept. 2000
Canada defeats USA to win women's ice hockey gold medal in Salt Lake City, February 2002
First NFL game I called - Arizona Cardinals at LA Rams - Sept. 1994
NY Rangers raise their 1994 Stanley Cup banner - January 1995
Cal Ripken breaks Lou Gehrig's record - Sept. 6, 1995 - consecutive game # 2,131
Last game at Memorial Stadium (1991), First game at Camden Yards (1992)
Reggie Jackson steps into a thrown ball, 1978 World Series, Yankees vs. Dodgers
The "Jeffrey Maier Game" at Yankee Stadium, October 1996
Super Bowl XXXI - Packers over Patriots - Brett Favre wins his only Super Bowl, January 1997
Super Bowl XXXIV - Rams over Titans - Kevin Dyson tackled on the 1-yard line, January 2000
SuperSkate VI -- January 2004 -- NY Rangers charity event at Madison Square Garden to benefit the
Christoper Reeve Foundation -- I started the game at left wing on a line with Mark Messier (C) and
Amani Toomer (RW)
1. Yankees 6, Expos 0 (7/18/99) - My friend Mike and I decided at the last minute to go to the Stadium
on Yogi Berra Day. We took the ferry, getting us to the ticket window about 20 minutes before the
game. Usually, asking for the two best tickets in the house 20 minutes before the game yields one
seat on each foul pole, but in this case, two right behind home plate (and i mean RIGHT behind
home plate -- seven rows back on field level) somehow materialized. I can say that Cone's pitches
were really moving because, for one of the few times in my life, i could actually SEE them moving.
Twenty seven outs later, I was there as David Cone made history.
2. Fordham 69, Seton Hall 68 (11/29/90) - The history of Fordham basketball is long but unfortunately
not as storied as this graduate would hope. But maybe the biggest shot in school history came in my
senior year, when Jean Prioleau swished a right-angle three at the buzzer to beat the Hall, sending
the Rose Hill Gymnasium into pandemonium. Prioleau's buzzer-beating trey a few months later
knocked off Holy Cross to give the Rams the Patriot League championship, but, alas, a loss at St.
Francis (Pa.) in the ill-conceived NCAA Play-In game kept Fordham out of the Big Dance for the 20th
3. Yankees 4, Diamondbacks 3 (10/31/01) - The Yankees had shaved their 2-0 World Series deficit to
2-1 with a win the night before, but were headed for a 3-1 defeat when, with two out in the bottom of
the ninth, Paul O'Neill singled and Tino Martinez tied it with a two-run blast. Just past the stroke of
midnight, Derek Jeter became “Mr. November” with an opposite-field home run in the 10th. I gave up
my seats the next night to attend a post-work birthday gathering for a friend, a maneuver I painfully
regretted a few hours later when Scott Brosius matched Martinez's game-tying blast en route to
another extra-inning victory (see my other near-misses below).
4. Fordham 9, Maine 7 (5/1990) - Fordham's baseballers have had the most success of any Ram
teams, and this was one of the two most memorable games during my time there, which was spent
as the Baseball SID. Stephen King was on hand, along with what seemed like the entire state of
Maine rooting against us, sometimes, as I recall, with quite salty language. But the Fordham catcher,
Billy Champi, broke the Black Bears' hearts with a grand slam in the seventh inning to put the Rams
up by a run. Maine battled back to tie on a two-out solo homer in the ninth, but three runs in the tenth
salted it away and sent the Rams into the NCAA Baseball Regional.
5. North Rockland 37, Scarsdale 34 (11/87) - Nothing, as my social life would attest, was more
important to me during my high school years than North Rockland sports. NRHS has been a state
football power for years, and this 1987 Section 1 Championship Game was the best football game
I've ever seen. An equally strong Scarsdale squad gave the Red Raiders all they could handle,
leading by 8 late in the fourth quarter. But a touchdown and two-point conversion with seconds left
tied the score, and NRHS won it on a field goal in overtime.
Yankees 5, Orioles 4 (10/9/96) - This might have made the top five, as it's the Jeter/Jeffrey Maier
home run game. But from where I was sitting -- high in the right field porch -- I couldn't see the Maier
play and had to settle for TV replays later.
Orioles 14, Athletics 5 (9/12/93) - Now what could be so great about a mid-September game between
two teams going nowhere? The debut of my college friend Miguel Jimenez, that's what. And it was
chronicled by USA Today Baseball Weekly thusly: http://home.comcast.net/~atcjerry/bweekly.htm
Yankees 4, Athletics 1 (5/29/2000) - When is the rarest of baseball moments barely recognized as
such? When it's an unassisted triple play by the visiting team. I remember a slight buzz in the crowd
about the triple play but no one really getting the significance of what they saw when Randy Velarde
snagged Shane Spencer's liner, touched up at second and tagged the oncoming runner. It's rarer
even than a perfect game or four home run game, and everyone knows when one of those is going
Missed it by that much--
I have had a history of missing watershed Yankee games by a single day. Remember Ron Guidry's
18-strikeout performance in 1978 against the Angels? It's replayed on Yankees Classics all the
time. Well I was at the next game, a 3-2 loss which featured Cliff Johnson's ill-fated bunt into a
double play in the ninth inning. Brilliant stuff. Oh, and Dave Righetti's July 4, 1983 no-hitter? Also
seen regularly on YES Network? Sure you remember it. But what about the day before, when Jim
Rice rocketed two balls into the monuments off Shane Rawley in a 7-3 Sox win? That was my game...
1. Giants 20, Bills 19 in Super Bowl XXV
2. Villanova shocks Georgetown to win 1985 NCAA crown.
3. Bobby Nystrom's overtime goal beats Flyers for Islanders' first Stanley Cup.
4. Michael Jordan hits last-minute J to give Dean Smith his first North Carolina national
5. Giants 39, Broncos 20 in Super Bowl XXI
Chris Chambliss walkoff HR off Royals closer Mark Littell sends Yanks to Series.
Ali-Frazier II. It wasn't Ali-Frazier I or The Thrilla in Manila, but it was Ali-Frazier nevertheless.
1. Game Seven of the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals - As a lifelong Rangers fan and a season ticket holder
since 1983, there is nothing I wanted more than a Stanley Cup for the Rangers. Especially since
some of my friends were Islanders fans who were rubbing “1940” in my face for years. A lot of
Rangers fans sold there soul to the Devil for that cup and we might have to wait another 54 years for
another one but it was well worth it. What made it even sweeter was the fact that we had to beat the
Islanders and the Devils along the way.
2. Game Five of the 1976 American League Championship Series - My father came up with some
great seats for the last game of this five-game series that was tied at two games apiece. The Royals
had Mark Littell on the mound with the score tied at six and Chris Chambliss stepping up to lead of
the ninth. Chambliss launched the ball into the rightfield bleachers sending the Yankees to the World
Series for the first time since 1964. I really don’t remember what happened in the World Series that
followed. The only negative was that my father would let me run on the field after the ball cleared the
fence. I was 14 years old at the time and I think this event made me the sports fan I am today.
3. Game Six of the 1986 World Series - Mookie Wilson’s ground ball goes through Bill Buckner’s legs
for one of the most famous plays in World Series history. Even without that play, this was a great
game to attend.
4. The 2000 World Series - This was better known as the “Subway Series”. It’s not often that you get
to attend every game of the World Series. There were some memorable moments in this series.
Timo Perez getting thrown out at home in Game One. Paul O’Neill’s great at-bat against Armando
Benitez in the same game and Jose Vizcaino’s game-winning hit in the 12th inning. Game Two had
the Roger Clemens/Mike Piazza bat throwing incident and the Mets scoring five runs in the ninth but
coming up short in a 6-5 loss. Derek Jeter’s leadoff homer in Game Four. Luis Sojo’s two-run single
in the ninth-inning of Game Five to clinch it. It was fun. Mike Piazza sending Bernie Williams to the
warning track to end it.
5. Super Bowl XXIII - San Francisco beat Cincinnati 20-16. At the time it was one of the best games in
Super Bowl history. Jim Breech kicked a 40-yard field goal with 3:20 left in the game to give the
Bengals a 16-13 lead. Joe Montana led an 11 play, 92-yard drive to win it, capped by 10-yard pass to
John Taylor with 34 seconds left. Of course it didn’t hurt that I was 26 years old, single and in Miami
for five days leading up to this event. And to top it off, I had seats 20 rows from the field on the 40-yard
1. Dennis Martinez pitches a perfect game, July 1991 - On Friday night in Los Angeles, Expos
righthander Mark Gardner carried a no-hitter to the 9th inning. He got the three outs, but not the no-
hitter. His teammates forgot to score for him and he lost it in the tenth on an infield chopper.
Interestingly, Gardner would finish his career with 99 wins. I was the radio play by play announcer. So
instead of yelling: "MARK GARDNER HAS PITCHED A NO HITTER!!!!!", I got to meekly say "And now
we go to the tenth." For two nights and a day, I wallowed in my bad fortune since I only called about
forty games a year. When would I ever come that close again? Less than two days later, that's when.
Sunday afternoon, Dennis Martinez pitched a perfect game. The Expos finally got some runs, as Mike
Morgan entered the sixth inning of that one with a no-hitter. Incidentally, I also got to call David Cone's
perfecto against the Expos. Plus, one of only prefectos in history lost in extra innings (Pedro Martinez).
By the way, only Vin Scully has called more radio no-hitters. How's that for trivia?
2. Pete Rose runs over Ray Fosse, July 1970 - Yes I was there, wide eyed and thirteen years old. And
thank goodness I made it to that one, since I missed the '71 All-Star Game in Detroit, when Reggie hit
the light tower, because I had to go to summer school for English of all things. We had travelled
seven hours in a car from Montreal to Cincinnati. The Reds hadn't done much that night, including
starting pitcher Wayne Simpson (do you remember he was 14-3 at the break before blowing out his
arm?). I remember a crush of media and fans on the field before the game and only being able to see
Frank Howard's head above everyone else. It all happened so fast after a long hot night, Jim
Hickman's hit, Amos Otis' throw and Ray Fosse's career. The Cleveland catcher was never the same
but maybe it helped him get traded to Oakland, helping him to a pair of World Series rings.
3. Patrick Roy shuts down Rangers in overtime at Madison Square Garden in 1986 Stanley Cup Semi-
Finals - Really, the Patrick Roy Show was a daily affair en route to becoming the youngest player to
ever win the Conne Smythe trophy as Stanley Cup MVP. It's hard to believe it was ever a question who
the Canadiens would go with down the stretch and into the playoffs. Veterans Doug Soetaert or Steve
Penney or the kid who played just 20 minutes in the NHL before that season? If the Canadiens lose
that game in New York, they probably don't win the series, but he wouldn't let go. Wave after Ranger
wave turned aside by the phenom. On and on, save after save. As much as that performance, where
he stopped everything flung at him as the Canadiens held on for dear life, it was his performance
after the game. Sitting on a bar stool outside the Canadiens dressing room fielding questions from
hundreds of assembled media members like he's been around for a hundred years. You knew then
he was going to be something special and that the Canadiens were about to win a Stanley cup.
4. University of Moncton wins Canadian University Hockey Championship, 1981 - I have covered or
been to more than a 1000 NHL games. I have seen the Stanley Cup won on a number of occasions.
Few, however, have stood in my mind like this little known Canadian college championship. The
coaches are better known than any of the players. The fact that the game was played in Moncton and
that the home team won their first ever college championship of any kind had a lot to do with it. It didn't
hurt that the game was decided in the final minute. When the winner ended an incredibly tense affair
between Moncton and the University of Saskatchewan, the Moncton Coliseum shook like no other
building I've ever been in except one. The coaches? Jean Perron and Dave King. Perron, of course,
was also the winner when that Roy kid stood on his head in 1986
5. Blackhawks and St Louis Blues playoff opener, April 1983 - I had grown up a Chicago Blackhawk
fan in Montreal. I don't think I have to explain my childhood torture to you. I went every Saturday night to
the Montreal Forum and cheered for whichever team was visiting. The Blackhawks usually lost and
my hero Bobby Hull was almost always blanketed by Claude Provost. Somehow, Kenny Wharrem
would score the Chicago goals. Sunday nights meant the radio under the pillow to listen to Chicago
home games when they played the Canadiens. The loudest venue in sports, Chicago Stadium,
sounded like magic on radio. As a radio sports reporter in 1983, I was to go to Chicago to cover the
Expos season opener at Wrigley Field. Safe to say my first visit THERE was something special, but
the day was one of the best ever. The Hawks had gone through a few rough years, but they were
back. A first place finish and a playoff opener against St. Louis. When they took the ice and the place
erupted, the hair stood on my neck and arms, my eyes welled with tears. I was 10 years old again...
and yes they lost again. But I didn't have to go to school the next day and face the music.
1. Washington at Detroit, NHL (December 26, 1996) - 5-4 Red Wings in OT; Sergei Fedorov scores all
5 Detroit goals.
2. Edmonton 3, Boston 2 in 3OT, NHL Stanley Cup Finals (May 15, 1990) - Peter Klima scores at 55:
13 of overtime in what was then the longest game ever played in Stanley Cup Finals.
3. Pittsburgh 3 at Washington 2 in 4OT, NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs (April 24, 1996) - Peter Nedved
breaks hearts just after 1:30 AM.
4. Belarus 4, Sweden 3, Salt Lake City Winter Olympics Ice Hockey (February 20, 2002) - Vladimir
Kopat gives tiny Belarus its own "Miracle on Ice".
5. New York Islanders 5, Philadelphia Flyers 4 in OT, NHL Stanley Cup Finals Game 6 (May 24 ,
1980) - Bobby Nystrom, offsides or not, makes the Isles champs and the Coliseum shake.
1. March 4, 2000, Memphis RiverKings at Topeka Scarecrows - This was my first professional game
coached as a full time head coach at the professional level (Central Hockey League). At the ripe old
age of 31, I became the youngest head coach in Central Hockey League History. The team I took over
in Memphis was awful, they had been really poorly coached. There was some talent there, and two of
those guys made it up to the IHL. It was obvious in our first game, a 9-2 loss. It got better from there.
However, that was a special game for me, and will always rank #1 no matter what games I'm at from
here on in. Not many people born in Brooklyn, NY coach a game in pro hockey, which is why this
game is so special. It was a long climb up. Frank Anzalone would understand!
2. June 14, 1994, Vancouver Canucks at New York Rangers Game 7 - Not a Ranger fan, not even
close. Working as the hockey analyst at WFAN in New York at the time, I actually predicted on air that
the Canucks would win the series in seven games, and still believe they would have if not for the extra
day off between game 6 and 7 (Canucks coach Pat Quinn would concur). However, it was more than
a game; it was an event, and pretty exciting.
3. April 1999, Macon Whoopee at Huntsville Channel Cats Game 1, Eastern Conference Finals - I
was the associate coach in Macon at the time in the Central Hockey League, and we were a bit of an
underdog against what were our arch rivals in the league. We had a 2-1 lead on the road with just
under a minute to play when they won an offensive zone draw back to the point, and their defenseman
Igor Bondarev fired a shot "that had eyes." It found its way through about six players into the net to tie
the game. The game went three OT's before Huntsville's Josh Erdman (who played for me in
Memphis the next season) scored the game winner in the last two minutes of the period. The total
shots were close to 75 apiece, it was a wild game. Two good skating teams, two good goalies
(there's was Derek Puppa, Darren's younger brother. Another offspring of an NHL player played in
that game, Greg Lakovic of Huntsville had an older brother Sasha playing for the Devils). We were
sunk after that, losing the series 3-0. That game was the longest ever played at the time in the CHL.
4. May 1994, New York Ranger at New Jersey Devils - Did stats during the game for Rangers
broadcast team of Howie Rose and Sal Messina, and covered the game for WFAN. This was the
Messier game, where he told the media the day before that the Rangers would win and force a game
seven, or something to that effect. As usual, the New York print media blew the entire thing totally out
of proportion, yet in doing so, helped Messier cement his NY legend. Messier scored three goals in a
4-2 win to force Game 7. Mike Richter was also somewhat awesome, perhaps playing a bigger role
than Messier in the win, which Messier alluded to in the post game. It was just an awesome game in
light of the stakes for which it was played.
5. April 1986, Washington Capitals at New York Rangers Game 6, Patrick Division Finals - This is the
only one of the five that I was just a fan in attendance. It still ranks as the loudest the Garden ever
sounded to me. The underdog Rangers had eliminated the first place Flyers in the first round in a
deciding game in their best of five (ah, remember the good old days of the best of five - it should
come back in the first round if the morons at the NHL office and NHLPA ever get a deal done). They
led the Caps 3-2 in the series (I remember Brian MacClellan having a big OT goal somewhere in the
series). Anyway, the Rangers took a 1-0 lead on a great 2 on 1 by Mike Ridley and Pierre Larouche
which Larouche finished. I don't remember the rest, other than a few great saves by John
Vanbiesbrouck. The Rangers won the game 2-1, advancing to the Wales Conference Finals and
losing in five to Montreal, who went on to won the Cup behind a rookie goalie named Patrick Roy.
The Jets 41-0 blowout of the Colts in the AFC playoffs a few years ago. The Whalers dramatic OT win
in game one of the 1987 Adams Division semi-finals. The Islanders game six win over Pittsburgh to
stave off elimination in the 1993 Patrick Division Finals. The Islanders win in OT over the Rangers in
a deciding game three of the 1975 playoffs (the J.P.Parise game). Tom Barrasso was awesome for
Pittsburgh in game seven of the 1992 Patrick Division semi-finals against the Caps in Landover,
eliminating the Caps who had help a 3-1 series lead. The Mike Scioscia game, Dodgers-Mets game
four of the 1988 National League Finals.
1. Not even close...The 1980 Gold Medal win of the U.S. Olympic team, both the win over the Soviet
Union on Friday February 22, 1980 and the gold medal win over Finland on Sunday February 24, 1980
- As the Commissioner of the NY Metropolitan Junior Hockey Association, I was invited to nominate
25 players and got 24 of them right, omitting Mike Eruzione. A great captain, Eruzione couldn't skate
and never played again after the gold medal win. Coming at a key point in the Cold War between the
States and Soviet Union, the win forced NHL general managers to give legitimate chances to
American and European players.
2. Bobby Thomson's Home Run, October 3, 1951, NY Giants 5, Brooklyn Dodgers 4 - The Giants
started 2-11, were swept July 4 by Brooklyn and still were 13 1/2 games back in mid August. They
then won 16 in a row, six of them from the Dodgers, but with nine left, trailed by six. New York swept
the nine, Brooklyn went 3-6 setting up a best of three playoff. The Giants, with Thomson hitting two
home runs, won in Brooklyn, but the Dodgers tied it at the Polo Grounds in game two. With Don
Newcombe on the mound they led 4-1 going to the ninth of game three. Newcombe had struck out
the side in the eighth, but faltered in the ninth. When Whitey Lockman doubled home the Giants
second run, and put runners on second and third with one out Dodger manager Chuck Dressen
pulled Newcombe and brought on the ill fated Ralph Branca. Branca's first pitch was a high fast ball,
but Thomson let it go, then tomahawked another fast ball into the lower left stands for a three run
pennant winning home run. The only time the Giants were in first place in 1951 was when
Thomson's shot hit the seats. As a hard core Giant fan, Russ Hodges clarion call, "The Giants win
the pennnant, the Giants win the pennant, Bobby Thomson hits into the lower left field stands, Horace
Stoneham has a winner. Ohh, they are going crazy at the Polo Grounds, " still creates serious goose
3. The Greatest NFL Game Ever Played, Baltimore 23, NY Giants 17 in Overtime for the NFL title
December 28, 1958 - This was the game that made the TV era NFL, the first ever overtime game
seen nationwide. At one point the Giants led, by Charley Conerly and Frank Gifford, trailed 14-3, but
they stopped Baltimore on the one yard line and roared back for a 17-14 lead. New York needed a
first down on third down to eat the clock for the win. Baltimore's Gino Marchetti tackled Gifford, and
broke his ankle in the process. With his good leg Marchetti moved the ball and the official didn't
notice, as New York came up short and had to punt. Unitas drove the length of the field for a game
tying field goal, then sent Alan Ameche into the end zone for the winning TD in Overtime. To this day
Gifford is irate and claims, "We won the game, they robbed us."
4. "Here comes Willis" - Willis Reed, the Knicks' captain hobbled onto the Madison Square Garden
court minutes before the seventh game May 8, 1970 between the Lakers and Knicks for the NBA title.
Badly injured in game five and unable to play in six as Los Angles tied the series, Reed's presence
mentally affected Wilt Chamberlain who played poorly. Reed hit his first two shots and finished with
only four points in 22 minutes, but hobbled around and controlled Chamberlain. Walt Frazier led the
blow out, hitting for 36 points and 19 assists in the Knicks greatest game.
5. The Earthquake 1989 World Series - After Oakland had won games one and two on October 14-15,
the Giants were hosting game three at Candlestick Park . Three and a half hours before game time
there was a loud noise like thunder and the light towers began to shake as if doing a hula dance.
Word spread immediately about the epic center of the earth quake and that the bridges in Oakland
were out. Players and media on the field hovered in center field. I happened to be on the telephone
dictating an advance and I stayed on that phone for four hours despite a couple of physical attempts
to remove me. The Bay Area was a disaster and the Series was not resumed until October 27. I will
never forget this experience - it was similar to a war zone.
1. Super Bowl III 1969 New York Jets 16 Baltimore Colts 7 - This was easy. Joe Namath
"guaranteed" the win the night before and then "rested" with Suzie Storm. A huge underdog the Jets
didn't belong on
the field with the high flying NFL champion Colts. With ball control via Matt Snell and a solid defense
Namath pulled it off and actually won easily in the fourth quarter. After the game it seemed that
everyone who had ever played in or worked for the AFL called the Jets dressing room in high glee
over proving that the AFL was for real and equal to the NFL.
2. Joe Frazier-Muhammed Ali I at Madison Square Garden 1971, the Fight of the Century - A huge
event between two unbeaten fighters with the world as their prize. Ali, coming back from his legal
could run, and still sting, and Frazier was a really great fighter.
3. May 8, 1970, Knicks 113, Lakers 99 - Walt Frazier had 36 points and 19 assists, but Willis Reed's
mere presence as he hobbled onto the court at tip off time after spending four hours in the training
room with Danny Whelan, freaked out the Lakers and Wilt Chamberlain. Reed had missed six with a
serious leg injury, and was asked over and over again by his teammates if he was going to play.
Finally coach Red Holzman stepped in and said, "Leave him alone. He'll do the best he can." Game
Seven is the most famous Knick game in history and their first ever NBA title. Reed got just four
points, but was the most important figure on the court.
4. June 14, 1994, New York Rangers 3, Vancouver Canucks 2 - After 54 years the Rangers had
drowned out the always sarcastic Islander and Devils fans shouts of "1940" referring to New York's
Stanley Cup win in the primitive days of the seven team NHL. Ahead three games to one and with the
Mayor planning the victory parade up Broadway, New York lost game five at the Garden and six back
in British Columbia. But Mark Messier came through along with goalie Mike Richter in game seven,
enabling Ranger fans to hang up signs such as , "Now I can die in peace."
5. The 2000 Subway Series - The Series between the New York Yankees and the New York Mets was
the first such series since the Yankees played the Giants in 1936-37 and 1951 and the Dodgers in
41, 47, 52, 53, 55 and 1956. It marked the Yankees fourth World Series triumph in five years, and was
their astounding 12th straight playoff series win. New York was spellbound during the five games, as
the Yankees won four games to one, with the spill over from the Roger Clemens-Mike Piazza bat
still very alive today.
1. 1989 Iron Bowl. Auburn vs. Alabama - I can't fathom an event of the magnitude anywhere on the
face of the planet. After years of being "little brother" in the state, Auburn finally brought the Crimson
Tide to The Plains. Alabama came in that day ranked second in the nation and undefeated, but they
lost that game from the time Auburn made the walk to Jordan Hare Stadium, during a little tradition
known as "Tiger Walk." The atmosphere that day will not be equaled in the history of sports, it is just
not possible. Auburn won the game 30-20 and would be on equal footing with the Tide forever.
2. Game 7 of the 1992 NLCS, Braves vs. Pirates - I'm sure any sports fan is aware of this game.
Francisco Cabrera, Atlanta's third-string catcher, rips a single to score David Justice and Sid Bream
to send the Braves to the World Series. Barry Bonds throw home wasn't in time to get Bream, who
had summoned the gods to find one more gear in those old knees to make it home just in time.
3. 2001 Auburn defeats #1 Florida in football - A weird night at Auburn got even stranger as Auburn
just hung around all evening with the top-ranked Gators as the windy conditions proved to be the
great equalizer for Rex Grossman and Steve Spurrier's passing attack. Damon Duval hit a field goal
as time expired and for one bizarre moment, the wind stood still. Auburn won the game 23-20.
4. 2002 Iron Bowl Auburn at #9 Alabama - Here is another game where Auburn was not given a
chance coming in. Auburn was down to a fourth-string tailback (freshman Tre Smith) and had a third-
string tight end (freshman Cooper Wallace) forced into duty as the fullback. Smith went on to run for
125 yards against the nation's top defense and the Alabama crowd left stunned as Auburn won the
game 17-7 behind two touchdown passes from sophomore Jason Campbell.
5. 2001 Auburn defeats Alabama in hoops - Alabama took the early lead and Auburn fought back to tie
the game by the end of regulation. It looked as if we were headed to another overtime, when little
Reggie Sharpe drilled a shot from half-court to give Auburn the victory. This was when I was a student
and it was great rushing the court after such a memorable shot. The legend of Reggie Sharpe was
forever born that night.
1. Giants 5, Cubs 3, NLCS Game 5, Candlestick Park (October 10, 1989) - Game #2 on my list is
much more historically significant, but the fact the Giants won this one puts it at #1. A friend of my
Mother’s had two extra tickets to Game 5. My brother and I got to go. Little did we know when we got
the tickets what Game 5 had in store. Will Clark capped off an absurdly good NLCS by taking one
back up the middle off Mitch Williams. Two runs scored, Giants up 3-1 in the bottom of the 8th. Steve
Bedrosian comes on for the 9th and Ryan Sandberg grounds out to Robby Thompson at second to
clinch the Giants first trip to the World Series in 27 years.
2. Angels 6, Giants 5, World Series Game 6, The Big A (October 26, 2002) - One of the most
memorable games in World Series history. Again I lucked into a ticket at the last minute through a
friend. I was the only Giants fan in my section. The only black shirt in a sea of red. What made the
ending so much more difficult was the way the game unfolded perfectly for the Giants. Russ Ortiz was
dealing. Shawn Dunston (SHAWN DUNSTON!) yanked a two run homer down the left field line to give
San Francisco a 2-0 lead. Bonds’ monster HR off K-Rod, the darling of the post season, made me
feel like this was the Giants night. I had a strange feeling when Ortiz relieved by Felix Rodriguez but I
talked myself into liking the move since the Giants were 8 OUTS AWAY FROM WINNING THE WORLD
SERIES! I remember the sinking feeling as Scott Spiezio’s at-bat got longer and longer. How the
stadium felt like it was going to fall on my head when he hit his home run. The tidal wave of noise
crushing me as Troy Glaus doubled the Halos into the lead. I was depressed for the next week. Even
now, the memories of that game come flooding back at the slightest thought as I feel a charge of
emotion through my body. I still can hear the thousands of thundersticks and can see Spiezio’s home
run drift, in slow motion, into the right field stands.
3. USA 5, Australia 1, Gold Medal Game, Athens, Greece (August 23, 2004) - Being the statistician for
NBC’s Olympic Softball coverage was an exercise in extremes. Extreme numbers and extreme ways
to convey just how dominant Team USA was during the 2004 Games. Team USA entered the gold
medal game not having allowed a run all tournament, outscoring their opponents 46-0. Still, the Gold
Medal game was winner take all so there was excitement at the Helliniko Complex. Team USA roared
out of the gate with three runs in the first inning including a two run homer by Crystl Bustos. Another
two runs in the third and Team USA was crusing. In the top of the sixth, they allowed their only run of
the tournament but it didn’t matter. Team USA took home the gold. Seeing the stars and stripes go up
the flagpole as the Star Spangled Banner played is something I’ll never forget.
4. Tony Gwynn’s last game/Rickey Henderson’s 3000th hit, Qualcomm Stadium (October 7, 2001,
Rockies 14, Padres 5) - This game was supposed to be played in September but 9/11 pushed the
game back into October. This opened up some seats and a friend of mine who worked in the Padres
ticket office found us two tickets. Rickey Henderson was sitting on 2,999 hits but that drama didn’t last
long as Rickey got his 3,000th in the bottom of the first. A blooper to right was good enough as the
farewell to a San Diego legend began with a milestone for another. The game went downhill for the
Padres after that as Juan Uribe had 2 HR’s and 7 RBI’s for the Rockies. Still, no one left and Tony
Gwynn pinch hit for Jeremy Fikac in the bottom of the ninth. The ovation was loud and long as Gwynn
looked like he might never be able to step in and hit. Gwynn grounded to Uribe in his last at-bat. The
crowd cheered him just the same. Thanking him for all he gave to them over his 20 seasons in San
Diego. Thanking him for staying in San Diego when he could have left for more money. After the
game, there were ceremonies for Gwynn but the most memorable moment was his last at-bat,
despite the result.
5. 49ers 27, Bills 17, Candlestick Park (December 3, 1995) - A game that is remembered by Niners
fans for a single play. Buffalo was at the Niners 1-yard line in the 3rd quarter. A touchdown would put
the Bills up 17-10. The Bills gave the ball to running back Darick Holmes who left his feet to go over
the pile. He was met in mid-air by Niners linebacker Gary Plummer who sent Holmes backward with
his hit. Holmes fumbled and the ball was picked up by linebacker Lee Woodall. 96 yards later,
Woodall had run the Niners to a 16-10 lead and into the franchise record books for the longest
fumble return. The stadium went berserk. I looked over at my friend who took me to the game and
both our mouths were hanging wide open. We couldn’t believe what we had just seen. We watched
the replay over and over again on the Jumbotron, watching the ball fly out with the hit and Woodall
take off the other way. Momentum had completely swung and the Niners went on to win the game 27-
17. Other than the World Series, I’ve never seen one single play change the whole complexion and
feel of a game like that one.