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   The most memorable image of the

century?  It may be this: Ali's fury as

he stands over Sonny Liston after their

second fight, on May 26, 1965, refusing to

let the referee begin the final count. The

first fight, on February 25, 1964, was the

classic (see Greatest Boxing Moments #1).

In their rematch, Ali  knocked Liston out in

114 seconds, and settled the debate over

who was the greatest fighter of his

time - unless you believe that he

threw a "phantom punch," as many do.

 

   As the century passes, we have compiled the most memorable, significant events in sports in the last 100 years.

 

   The history of the world is the biography of great individuals walking over the debris of nitwits and scoundrels - and there are plenty of great men, great women, and great teams in these pages.

     There are also plenty of nitwits and scoundrels, many of whom history doesn't usually remember.

 

     There are called shots by the greatest of athletes (Greatest Moment - #5), and moments that are the realizations of lifelong pursuits of excellence (see Michael Jordan winning his 6th NBA title in his final career basket - Greatest Moments #18).  There are moments and games that were so clearly classics that fans knew right away that they were witnessing history (see, for example, the "Miracle on Ice" - Greatest Game #3) - the spine-tingling buzzer beaters, stunning upsets, and last second goals we live for as sports fans.

   Some, like Billy Mills winning the 10,000-meter gold medal at the Tokyo Games in 1964 - Olympics Moment #5 - were the culmination of years of hard work and perseverance, where an athlete experienced a moment in his life that would go unduplicated.  Some, like the Bevens-Lavagetto game (Greatest Games #12), or Don Larsen's perfect-o (Greatest Games #11), were the product of underdogs rising to the occasion in unexpected situations.

   Other moments have needed the passage of time and the addition of context to be fully appreciated (for example, Williams hitting .400 - Baseball Moment #3, or Cassius Clay's drubbing of Sonny Liston - Boxing #1).

 

   I have tried to gather these events into three broad categories - the Greatest Games of the Century, which are my favorite contests of the past 100 years; the Greatest Moments of the Century, which are the memorable instants that have stood the test of time; and then Moments of Infamy and Heartbreak, which are events and moments more infamous than famous - some are funny and some sad, all are sports-related, and all tell us something about the darker side of sports. What didn't fit in the top 20 events in each of these categories has spilled over into different pages by sport.

 

   While my attempt to rank these moments and games might lead to controversy, my general criterion was to sift through the list and ask myself, "Which of these events would I have liked to have witnessed the most?"  Some of you will no doubt rank these moments differently, but however ordered, there's a lot of good stuff here.

   So sit back and enjoy the views from Fenway Park, Wimbledon's Centre Court, the Montreal Forum and others on this trip through the last 100 years.

 

 

Baseball | Boxing | Football | College Football | Golf

Ice Hockey | Pro Basketball | College Basketball | Tennis | Olympics

 

Greatest Dynasties | Favorite Venues | Greatest Coaches


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