posted by Matt W on September 30th, 2011

Sports moments are hard to rank. Everyone has a different ranking based on whether it is their home team, how big the stage was, or how cool they think the sport is. As a Seattle fan, I have a special place in my heart for the Sonics Championship and Edgar Martinez’ hit to beat the Yankees in the playoffs, but for the purpose of this list, I tried to look beyond the home team bias. That being said, I did my best to create a list of great sports moments.

10.        The ball going through Bill Buckner’s legs to lose game 6 and ultimately the 86’ World Series itself. Even Met’s fans felt bad about that (but will certainly take it.)

9.         Tom Watson almost winning the 2009 British Open at 59 years-old. This is another sporting moment that didn’t quite turn out the way you wanted it. Every aspect of the tournament was perfect, a 5 time champion returning to the site of his greatest victory, playing flawlessly against players less than half his age (one of his playing partners was actually a third his age) and having one putt to win it all. He only looked 59 for one stroke that weekend. If he had made the putt, it would be my top moment.

8.         Carlton Fisk’s home run in extra innings to win game six of the 75’ World Series. I was in a furniture store with my parents watching one of the sets they had on display and begging my parents to stay a little longer so I could see the end of the game. Thank God we weren’t shopping for clothes.

7.         Franz Klammer win’s the 76 Olympic downhill. He won on the hardest course, in front of his hometown crowd, as the last person out of the gate, and almost lost control numerous times but held it together to win. I doubt there has ever been more pressure on a skier. I had never skied at the time and remember being in awe of how amazing it was.

6.         Franco Harris catching the “Immaculate Reception” from the 72’ Playoffs is another memorable moment. As a Raider fan at the time (Fred Biletnikoff was my favorite player), I remember being crushed by that catch. The high from going ahead just seconds earlier, to the low of losing in the final seconds was more than this 8-year-old boy could handle.  After years of therapy, I can finally say, “I’m sure he is a nice person, (bastard).” Moving on.

5.         The San Diego Charger, Miami Dolphin 1982 overtime playoff game where Kellen Winslow almost passed out on the field from dehydration, received IV’s on the sideline and then went back in the game and caught more passes and actually blocked a field goal attempt. Just a great game all around, with numerous all-time greats having great games. A shame someone had to lose.

4.         Ali-Foreman. I’m sure true boxing fans could argue the merits of other fights, any of the Ali-Frazier bouts for example, but I think Ali-Foreman was the greatest. Foreman was a monster. He was huge, skilled and mad at the world (and to be honest scared me as a kid). Ali took Foreman’s best shots for numerous rounds and then came back and won with perfect execution. As a young white kid who had never boxed, I was mesmerized. Muhammad Ali has it all. He is the greatest.

3.         Jack Nicklaus wins the 86’ Masters with his son as his caddie. Jack was 46 at the time, and while he was still a great striker of the ball, his putting was not as spectacular as it had been earlier in his career. All he needed was to putt great for 9 holes and he did that Father’s Day in 86’. With numerous great shots the “Golden Bear” was on the prowl once again and all competitors collapsed under the pressure. Stopping and hugging his son walking off the 18th hole is one of the all time great scenes I have witnessed.

2.         “The Miracle on Ice.” This is one of the great underdog moments in sports (unless you’re Russian). The U.S. hockey team had been annihilated by the Russians only a couple of weeks earlier and then came back to upset the powerful Russians. The fact that the U.S. held on for one more game to take the gold made it all the sweeter.

1.         Kirk Gibson’s World Series home run to beat the “Unbeatable” Oakland A’s. Another David beats Goliath moment. I was playing cards at my in-laws home and decided to watch the end of the game with my wife. The A’s were so dominant I was really just hoping to catch a “Bash Brothers” home run on screen. When Kirk Gibson came up and took the feeblest swing I had ever seen a major league ball player take, against the most dominant reliever of the time, it was all over. And then it happened, one swing that lifted an entire team, my most memorable moment in sports. I stood and cheered with my wife as Gibson struggled to circle the bases on hobbled legs. It instantly broke the A’s back and they lost in 4 straight games. A truly amazing moment in sports.

Well these are my top 10 (non-home team motivated) moments in sports. The floor is now open for debate.

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