Scores on Own Net
Haddix Loses 1-hitter
Olympics - Basketball
Johnson Loses Gold
Pine-Tar Home Run
6, 1947 Series
Hits the Board
Rumble in the
Epic in Miami
Game 6 - 1975
The Ice Bowl
Super Bowl XXIII
Game 4, '47
Game 5, '76
Game 7 - 1960
'Round the World
The Called Shot
Owens - 4 world
7, '70 NBA Finals
Ben Hogan - 1950
7, 1969 NBA Finals
and the Sea
Game 6, '98
25, 1986 Mets
6, Red Sox 5
The history of baseball is littered with misplays and
blunders. Some, like Fred Merkle's Boner (Baseball
overlooked in their time but have grown in importance with the
passage of time. (Few remember that the Giants had six weeks
to make up for Merkle's gaffe.) Others, like Ruth getting
caught trying to steal second to end the 1926 World Series,
were clearly mortal wounds to their teams chances, with no
chance for redemption.
But none brought quite so much grief, nor seemed so
pre-ordained by the fates, as Buckner's error.
Boston was leading
the World Series 3-2, and led 5-3 in Game 6. Two
outs, bottom of the 10th. The words flashed briefly across
Shea Stadium's message board - CONGRATULATIONS, RED SOX - and then they were gone. Minutes later, so were the Red Sox.
Boston led 5-3 and was within one out of its first Series crown since 1918.
ace Calvin Schiraldi was on the mound. Gary Carter and
Kevin Mitchell singled, then Ray Knight made it 5-4 with a 0-2
single to center. Bob Stanley took over for Schiraldi, and
his seventh pitch to Mookie Wilson went wild, allowing Mitchell
to score the tying run and moving Knight to second. Finally,
Wilson (having hit four fouls off Stanley while being one
strike away from losing the Series) slapped a slow full-count
grounder to first baseman Bill Buckner ... who let it roll
through his legs.
Knight scored from second base to win it, 6-5.
The Red Sox predictably dropped Game 7 in New York.
Since 1918, when the Sox sold off a left-handed pitcher named
George Herman Ruth, they have lost a World Series Game 7 four
times - in 1946, 1967, 1975 and 1986.
Amid rumors that the
World Series was fixed, the Chicago White Sox lost the eighth
and deciding game to the Cincinnati Reds, 10-5, on the 48-year
anniversary of Mrs. O'Leary's cow causing the worst fire in
Chicago history. The Reds won the best-of-nine Series 5-3.
Chicago starter Lefty Williams, who was 23-11 during the
season, lost his first two Series starts and was removed with
one out in the first after allowing two singles followed by
two doubles. The Reds scored four runs in the first on the way
to a 10-1 lead in Chicago. Hod Eller picked up his second complete
game victory as Cincinnati won its first Series. Two years
later, Williams was one of eight "Black Sox" banned
from baseball by Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis for
throwing the Series, despite being acquitted by a jury.
Chicago's Shoeless Joe Jackson, who was also suspended, led
all hitters (with at least eight at-bats) with a .375 batting
average and his six RBI topped the White Sox. He committed no
errors in the field. The seven Chicago players who were
acquitted and banned were Shoeless Joe Jackson, Eddie Cicotte,
Buck Weaver, Swede Risberg, Chick Gandil, Hap Felsch and
Lefty Williams. The eighth man out was Fred McMullin, whose
case didn't go to trial.
Smith Scores On His Own Net
The Edmonton Oilers had won
two straight Stanley Cups and were well on their way to
establishing themselves as one of the great dynasties of hockey
history. During the regular season, they were runaway winners of
the President's Trophy (the award given to the first place
finishing team) for the third straight year. Wayne Gretzky
established lofty new assist and total point awards, while Paul
Coffey was named the best defenceman in the League after
breaking Bobby Orr's goal scoring standard.
But the playoffs were a different story. After sidelining the
Vancouver Canucks with ease, the Oilers encountered their provincial
rivals from Calgary. The Flames, smarting from the many losses
they had suffered at the hands of the Oilers, played the series
of their lives and won the seventh and deciding game of what
many hockey observers called the most intense and exciting
series in National Hockey League history. The Flames won the
opener in Edmonton, and led the series 2-1 and 3-2 before the
Oilers bounced back and evened the series at 3-3.
Game 7 was
played in Edmonton's legendary Northlands Coliseum, where the
Oilers were sure they would prevail. But midway through the
second period, with the score 2-2, Oiler
defenceman Steve Smith tried to clear the puck from behind his own
net, and accidentally shot it off of goaltender Grant Fuhr's skate and into his own net.
His miscue gave the Flames a 3-2 lead, which held up for almost
30 agonizing minutes while the Oilers futilely tried to beat
26, 1959 Harvey
Haddix Loses No-Hitter
In the single greatest one-game pitching performance of all
time, the Pittsburgh Pirates' Harvey Haddix lost 1-0 after
throwing 12 innings of a perfect game. Haddix is still the only pitcher to throw a no-hitter (not to
mention a perfect game) for 12 innings - in 1995, Pedro
Martinez of the Montreal Expos had a no-no broken up in the
On this day, the Pirate southpaw, nicknamed "the Kitten," used his
fastball and curve to retire the first 36 Milwaukee Braves he
saw, setting down 8 by strikeout. The closest the Braves got
to a hit in the first 12 innings was a Johnny Logan drive in
the third, that shortstop Dick Schofield speared with a leap.
But the Braves' Lew Burdette was also magnificent, battling
through 12 innings, allowing 12 hits. Haddix
lost his perfect game in the 13th, when
third baseman Don Hoak's throwing error allowed Felix Mantilla
to reach. Big
Eddie Mathews sacrificed, moving the runner to second, and
Hank Aaron was then intentionally walked.
Then Joe Adcock
snapped Haddix's no-hitter with a drive over the
right-center-field fence for a home run - except that Adcock
called out for passing Aaron on the basepaths, because Aaron had
inexplicably cut across the diamond without touching third
base. The hit was ruled a double; Mantilla scored and the
Braves won it 1-0.
The umpires initially said that the score was 2-0, but the
mistake was subsequently corrected.
2, 1949 Williams
Misses Batting Title
How hard is it to win the Triple Crown? Put it this
way: the last player to do it was Carl Yastrzemski, in 1967. The
feat has only been accomplished 15 times in over 115 recorded
years of baseball history - by comparison, it is as
statistically rare as a perfect game.
So in 1947, when Ted
Williams became only the second man to win two Triple Crowns (he
won his first in 1942 - Rogers Hornsby accomplished the feat in
1922 and 1925), he established himself as the best all-around
hitter in baseball history next to Babe Ruth. Well, going into
the final game of the season in 1949, it appeared that Williams
was going to win his unimaginable third Triple Crown of
the decade. Could lightning really strike three times for the
No; the fates conspired against Williams. The
Yankees gave him nothing good to hit, and he went 0-for-2 with a
walk in his first three plate appearances. In the ninth, he drew a pass again with the game (and the AL pennant) on the
line. Had he hit safely, he would have won the batting title and
the Triple Crown. Detroit's George Kell went 2-for-3 to improve
his average to .3429, while Williams fell to .34275. As if that
wasn't bad enough for Boston fans, the Red Sox lost to the
Yankees, 5-3, and lost the pennant by a single game.
The struggle between a set purpose and an utterly exhausted
frame, said Arthur Conan Doyle, can be horrible yet
He was describing the scene at the London Olympics in 1908. A
crowd of 100,000 roared when Italy's Dorando Pietri entered the
Olympic Stadium, ahead of American John J. Hayes by more than
a minute. Pietri had only one lap to go, but the 22-year-old
candy maker from Carpi was evidently exhausted.
He made a wrong turn on the track, then staggered back,
corrected himself, and began lurching towards the finish line.
"The man was practically delirious," wrote one
reporter. "He staggered along the cinder path like a man
in a dream, his gait neither a walk nor a run, but simply
aflounder, with arms shaking and legs tottering."
Around the track, Pietri collapsed three times. Officials
helped him to his feet, guiding him to the finish line, and
finally helping him to stumble across the tape 34 seconds
ahead of Hayes. But the Americans protested, and the Italian
was disqualified for failing to finish under his own power. It
may have been the most heart-rending finish to a foot race
since the original marathon in ancient Greece, when the victor
fell at the goal and, with a final wave of triumph, died.
10, 1972 Munich
Olympics - Basketball
WE WUZ ROBBED!
States basketball team had good reason to feel that way after
losing 51-50 to the Soviet Union in the gold medal game: The U. S. led,
50-49, with three seconds to play, thanks to two foul shots
from Doug Collins. Inbounding the ball from
under their own basket, the Soviets fired it the length of the
court, but the pass was deflected at mid-court - a crowd
rushed the court, thinking that the U.S. had won ... but the
clock still showed one second left and the Soviets got another
When the second
inbounds pass came up short, the U.S. celebrated its
"victory." But a high-ranking international
basketball official said the clock had not been reset and
ordered three seconds - not one - be put on the clock.
Soviets went the length of the court, and this time Alesander
Belov outmuscled two Americans to catch the full-court
inbounds pass and scored a layup to give the Soviets their
The U.S. appealed the decision but
lost, and the team unanimously voted not to accept the silver
medal. The Americans' streak of winning every game and every
gold medal since basketball joined the Olympics in 1936 ended
in bitter controversy.
The US had totally dominated Olympic basketball
since 1932, when it became an Olympic sport, but by 1968 they
were no longer favored to win since most college stars were
passing up the Olympics to go pro instead. But the US beat he
favored Yugoslavian team in 1968, 65-50, to win the gold, and
by 1972 their Olympic winning streak had run to 71 games.
Legendary jockey Willie Shoemaker, aboard English-bred Gallant
Man, mistook the 16th pole for the finish line and momentarily
stood up in his saddle. As he did, Willie Hartack continued to
drive 8-1 longshot Iron Liege. Shoemaker quickly resumed driving his
mount as Iron Liege caught him, but it was too late: Gallant Man
was unable to catch Iron Liege, losing by
the thinnest of noses in one of the most controversial derbies
2, 1988 Ben
Johnson Loses Gold
left no doubt as to who the world's fastest man was - Canadian
sprinter Ben Johnson obliterated the field and dashed 100
meters in a stunning 9.79 seconds at the Seoul Olympic Games.
The runner-up was American Carl Lewis, and in third was
Britain's Linford Christie.
But two days after the much-anticipated race, shock waves ran
through the track and field community when it was announced
that Johnson had tested positive for a banned substance called
stanozolol. It was the biggest scandal in Olympic history, and
left an entire nation in disgrace.
1, 1929 Wrong-Way
Each New Year's Day, the world focuses its attention on
Pasadena, California, U.S.A., home of the Tournament of Roses
Parade and Rose Bowl Game. It's a celebration that's more than
a century old - a festival of flowers, music and sports
unequaled anywhere in the world. Often, a national title is
decided here. It is a rich tradition of excellence in
Or so the story goes. But in 1929, the Rose Bowl became more
famous for a gaffe than for excellence. The University of
California was playing Georgia Tech; late in the second
quarter of a scoreless game, Georgia Tech had the ball on their own 36
Georgia Tech fumbled, and the ball squirted loose to Cal
center Roy Regals at the 40. Regals began to head
for the Georgia Tech end zone; he got to about the
36, and a Georgia Tech player hit him. Regals
spun off of him, and as he spun he seemed to lose his sense of
direction - he then began to head the opposite way.
He ran for sixty yards trailed by one of the University California
defensive backs. Finally, the Cal defensive back caught up with
Regals at the five
yard line, and grabbed onto him and turned him around and
said, "You've been running the wrong way!" But it
was too late - suddenly Georgia Tech players smothered them and
Roy Regals was downed on his own one yard-line.
Not only did Cal lose a chance to begin a series from inside
the Georgia Tech 40, but they now had to start from their own
1. Georgia Tech held them; California tried to punt, but
the punt was blocked, and a California player recovered the ball in his own
end zone, for a 2-point safety. That gave Georgia Tech a
2-point lead, and - as it turned out - provided the margin of
Georgia Tech beat the University of California 8-7.
Roy Regals would forever more be known as "Wrong Way Roy
17, 1968 The
The football war waged by the Oakland Raiders and New York
Jets on the afternoon of Nov. 17, 1968, was the equivalent of
a blood feud. The Jets and Raiders were the class of the AFL;
each was 7-2 coming into this showdown at the Oakland
Coliseum. More than that, their games had blossomed into
hatefests, full of late hits and bloody noses.
This one was not a disappointment. The "Heidi" Game
featured five lead changes and a dizzying show of aerial
acrobatics. Joe Namath passed for 381 yards and a touchdown,
Daryle Lamonica for 311 yards and four touchdowns. Don Maynard caught 10
passes for 228 yards. The game also included 19 penalties for
But what makes this game one of the most memorable of all time
is the fact that most of the nation was not allowed to see the
conclusion. After the Jets' Jim Turner kicked a field
goal to give his team a 32-29 lead with 1:05 to play, NBC went
to a commercial. When the network returned, it was not to a
taut battle of American Football League heavyweights. It was
to "Heidi," that pig-tailed Alpine goat-herder, as
played by Jennifer Edwards in a made-for-TV premiere movie.
was the penalties, in part, that caused the game to overflow
its three-hour time slot. It was due to end at 7 p.m. Eastern
time. When it didn't, NBC switched to Heidi in the Eastern and
A torrent of angry calls from East Coast flooded the
switchboard at Manhattan's Rockefeller Plaza and crashed the
phone exchange. As it happened, they missed a fairly exciting
65 seconds. Lamonica threw a 43-yard touchdown pass to
halfback Charlie Smith with 42 seconds to play, giving Oakland
a 36-32 lead. The ensuing kickoff spurted free and Preston
the Raiders' little-known reserve fullback, picked it up and ran into the
NBC president Julian Goodman issued a formal apology the next
day. It turns out that the problem was one of policy: NBC had
sold the Heidi advertising to Timex, and was obligated to show
the movie from 7 to 9 P.M. The game's surreal finish altered
that practice. Evermore, TV networks would stay with football
games until their conclusion. The program to follow would then
"slide," rather than being joined in progress.
24, 1983 The
Pine Tar Home Run
the first time in major league history, a player hit a game-losing
home run ... apparently.
The Kansas City
Royals were trailing the New York Yankees, 4-3, with two outs
in the ninth, when George Brett tagged the legendary Goose
Gossage for a dramatic two-run shot.
But as Brett rounded
the bases, Yankees manager Billy Martin protested, claiming
that Brett used an illegal bat - he argued that the bat had
too much pine tar (the sticky substance that hitters use to
give themselves a better grip).
Home-plate umpire Tim McClelland upheld Martin's protest and
called Brett out, giving the Yankees an apparent 4-3 victory.
An enraged Brett charged out of the dugout, and had to be
restrained by umpire Joe Brinkman to keep from running over
Four days later,
American League president Lee MacPhail overturned the umpire's
decision, saying that Brett's homer counts because the bat was
not "altered to improve the distance factor." The
game was resumed on August 18 and the Royals completed the 5-4
27, 1991 Super
Bowl XXV: Giants 20, Bills 19
This was a splendid game, featuring the Bills quick strike
offense against the Giants' punishing, clock-killing length of
the field drives. With the Bills ahead 12-10 at the
half, the Giants came back in the third quarter with a
8-minute-plus drive, covering 75 yards and featuring a
superhuman third-and-thirteen effort by Mark Ingram to keep it
alive. The Bills' Thurman Thomas (who had 190 total
yards that day) struck back to put the Bills ahead 19-17,
eight seconds into the fourth quarter. The Giants
grinded out another touchdown drive, and pushed ahead 20-19.
Trailing by one
point, the Bills started their final drive on their 10 with 2:16
left. Quarterback Jim Kelly moved them 61 yards to the Giants'
29. Scott Norwood had a chance to be a hero. Instead, he
became the goat: his 47-yard field goal attempt went ... wide right ...
giving the NY Giants a 20-19 victory, and giving the Bills
their first of four straight Super Bowl losses.
Norwood now? Probably washing cars someplace. And what of the
Bills? They never recovered - they went to three consecutive
Super Bowls in the next three years, and were outscored
14, 1973 Yepremian's
Imperfect Field Goal
There are only a handful of plays in professional sports that
so eclipse the stature of the players that they virtually
define the careers of the individuals involved. Bill
Buckner's missed ground ball is the most conspicuous example,
but Garo Yepremian is another name that will forever be
synonymous with a miscue.
The perfect Dolphins steamrolled a soft schedule in 1972, and
had only to beat the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl VII to
complete a perfect season - something never done before (or
They played virtually perfect football in the first half as
their defense permitted the Redskins to cross midfield only
once and their offense turned good field position into 2
With 2:07 left, Washington notched it's only touchdown when
Miami kicker Garo Yepremian came onto the field for a field
goal attempt. The snap went awry, and the ball skidded away to
Yepremian's right. Yepremian clumsily picked up the ball, and
rolled right, looking for an open man, instead of just
smothering the football.
As his hand went
back to attempt a pass, the ball squirted loose, and the
Redskins' Mike Bass picked it out of the air and raced 49
yards for the score.
The fumble by the Dolphins kicker, leading to the lone Redskin
score, was an odd blemish in the dying minutes of an otherwise
perfect game at the end of a perfect season.
18, 1985 Theismann's
The tragedy of Gehrig's departure was mitigated by the fact
that fans didn't really know that his career was over until
much later. But on Monday Night Football, it was painfully
obvious to an entire nation that the career of the one of the
game's great passers was over. It remains the most memorable
injury in sports television: Giants LB Lawrence
Taylor sacked Redskins QB Joe Theismann and effectively ended the
career of the Washington signal-caller.
The only other injury that even comes to close is the broken
leg of Cincinnati's legendary NT Tim Krumrie during the Super
With his batting average an unhealthy .143 (4-for-28)
after eight games, Lou Gehrig, suffering from an unexplained
weakness and sluggishness, removed himself from the Yankees'
lineup before a game in Detroit. The 35-year-old Iron
Horse told manager Joe McCarthy that he thought it would be best
for the team if somebody else played first base. Babe Dahlgren
replaced Gehrig at first base and contributed a homer and double
in the Yankees' 22-2 pounding of the Tigers.
Gehrig expected to be on the bench "for just a few days."
However, he would never play again. The results of an examination revealed he
had ALS, a form of infantile paralysis. The
illness would come to be referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease.
June 2, 1941 - exactly 16 years to the day after he replaced
Wally Pipp at first base - Gehrig died of the disease.
5, 1947 DiMaggio
Kicks the Dirt
It speaks volumes about how well-known was DiMaggio's cool
perfectionism that, aside from the Streak, he is remembered
for nothing better than his show of frustration in the 1947
This was the year that the Brooklyn Dodgers introduced Jackie
Robinson to major league baseball, and behind the efforts of
their Rookie of the Year and captain Pee Wee Reese, they
had battled the Yankees all the way. After dropping the first
two games in Yankee Stadium, they came back to win Game 3 at
Ebbetts Field, and then denied Yankee's pitcher Bill Bevens a
no-hitter in Game 4 with a game-winning rally with two outs in
the ninth. The mighty Yankees shrugged it off and took a 3-2
lead with a win in Game 5.
In dramatic Game 6, the Dodgers went ahead 4-0, fell behind
5-4, and then took an 8-5 lead with a four-run sixth, thanks
to a two-run single by Reese. Dodgers manager Burt Shotton inserted little Al Gionfriddo for
defense in the bottom of the inning at Yankee Stadium
- and it's a good thing he did.
With two on and
two out in the bottom of the sixth, Joe DiMaggio made a
valiant effort to tie the game. He slammed a Joe Hatten pitch
toward the left field bullpen. Just as it appeared the ball
might drop over the fence, Gionfriddo made a twisting,
one-handed catch near the 415-foot mark.
As DiMaggio approached second base, he kicked the dirt in
disgust, one of the rare times the Yankee Clipper showed
emotion on the diamond. The
Dodgers held on for a 8-6 victory, tying the Series at three
games each. It was the last game Gionfriddo would ever play in
the majors. The next day, the Yankees won, 5-2, to take the
2, 1980 Muhammed
Ali vs. Larry Holmes
the most vilified athlete of the 1960s, became an American hero
in the 1970s with his courageous wins over George Foreman in
1974 and Joe Frazier in 1975. But it was an
overconfident Ali who lost his title on Feb. 15, 1978 when
Leon Spinks, a 1976 Olympic gold medalist who had only seven
fights as a pro, took a split decision. Ali regained the title
from Spinks seven months later, winning a unanimous decision,
to become the first three-time heavyweight champion. It would
be his last victory. The
following June, Ali announced his retirement.
But money brought him back, along perhaps with some notion
that he could still be "The Greatest" at the age of
38. Against the advice of his closest friends, Ali challenged
the undefeated heavyweight champion, Larry Holmes,
the dominant fighter of his era. Although Ali was in terrific shape, Father
Time had eroded his reflexes, and Larry Holmes exposes
the ex-champ's hubris by simply pounding him.
Ali later said:
"All I could think of after the first round was, 'Oh,
God, I still have 14 rounds to go.' " Ali's former sparring
partner beat him for 10 rounds, probably contributing
mightily to the development of Parkinson's disease, the
neurological disorder which has now left Ali a shadow of his
former self. Only courage kept Ali from being knocked out
earlier; before the 11th round started, Ali's corner throws in
19, 1988 Louganis
Hits the Board
Louganis did the unthinkable in attempting to defend his
three-meter springboard Olympic title: in the preliminary
round, he hit his head on the board while performing his
ninth of 11 dives, a reverse 2½ somersault pike.
After receiving temporary sutures to close the gash in his
scalp, he said: "I didn't realize I was that close to the
board ... When I hit it, it was kind of a shock. But I think
my pride was hurt more than anything else."
Thirty-five minutes after the mishap, Louganis was back on the
board and finished qualifying for the final. He went to a
hospital, where the sutures were replaced by five stitches. The
next day, he won easily, scoring 730.80 points - Tan Liangde
of China finished second with 704.88 points - to become the
first diver to win the three-meter springboard in consecutive
24, 1965 Packers-Cowboys
In 1966 and 1967, the Packers and Cowboys played
spectacular games for the NFL championship. But on this day, the
two teams set a record for futility: for the only time in NFL
history, two teams had negative passing yardage.
first start, Cowboys rookie quarterback Craig Morton completed
10-of-20 passes for 61 yards, but nine sacks caused 62 yards in
losses. It gave the passing game minus one yard for the day.
Packers veteran Bart Starr connected on only 4-of-19 passes for
42 yards, but the Doomsday Defense sacked him five times for 52
yards in losses. The Packers finished with minus 10 yards passing.
Green Bay, as it would in
the next two championship games, came out on top. Despite only 63
yards in total offense, the Packers won, 13-3, to run their
record to 6-0.