Re-living the best "ends" in New York sports history
Oct. 3, 1951 – The Giants win the pennant!
Arguably the most famous ending in the history of New York sports occurred more than 50 years before the Mayans thought the world would end, in Game 3 of a playoff series between the Dodgers and Giants. With the New York (baseball) Giants trailing by two runs in the bottom of the ninth – and one out away from missing the World Series – Bobby Thomson delivered “The shot heard ‘round the world,” a three-run walk-off homer that delivered the Giants to the Fall Classic and prompted radio broadcaster Russ Hodges to give his famous call, “The Giants win the pennant!”
Oct. 14, 1976 – Chambliss incites a crazy celebration
After a decade-long drought, the Yankees returned to the World Series in 1976 thanks to Chris Chambliss, who hit a walk-off homer – and nearly several unsuspecting celebrators who spilled onto the field – to beat Kansas City in Game 5 of a thrilling ALCS.
Oct. 25, 1986 – Buckner’s Folly
The Curse of the Bambino was still in full effect when the Red Sox reached the World Series in 1986, but by Game 6, the Sox appeared to be on the cusp of ending a drought that seemed to reach ancient times. However, the Mets mounted a rally in the 10th inning, sending Mookie Wilson came to the plate with a chance to keep it going. Wilson hit a seemingly-innocuous ground ball down the first base line, but Bill Buckner famously misplayed it into an error that allowed the winning run to score, and the Mets would go on to win Game 7 and the World Series.
Jan. 28, 1991 – Norwood goes “Wide Right”
The world didn’t end on Jan. 28, 1991, but Super Bowl XXV did – in dramatic and heart-wrenching fashion. The New York (football) Giants led the Buffalo Bills, 20-19, as Buffalo kicker Scott Norwood lined up for a potential game-winning 47-yard field goal. Norwood’s kick missed, wide right, and the Giants emerged victorious.
May 27, 1994 – MATTEAU! MATTEAU! MATTEAU!
The 1994 NHL Eastern Conference Finals featured three double-overtime games and Mark Messier’s famous guarantee, but the most iconic moment is Stephane Matteau’s series-winning goal (in Double OT, of course) that propelled the Rangers to the Stanley Cup Finals.
June 14 and 17, 1994 – “This one will last a lifetime”
After Matteau’s heroics, the Rangers met the Canucks in a thrilling Stanley Cup Finals series that also went the distance. In the end, the Blueshirts pulled it out, winning their first Stanley Cup in 54 years and prompting announcer Sam Rosen to utter the titular quote. Three days later, they became the first actual NYC residents to parade a trophy up Broadway, setting a precedent the Yankees would follow up on five times in the next 15 years.
May 16, 1999 – Eight is greater than one
Knicks-Heat in the late 1990s and early 2000s made for good pre-apocalyptic theatre. One of the rivalry’s most famous moments came in 1999, when the Knicks’ Allan Houston hit a game-winning, series-clinching runner in the waning seconds of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. That shot made the Knicks, who went on to the NBA Finals, just the second No. 8 seed to win a playoff series against a No. 1.
Sept. 21, 2001 – Sports return to NYC
Sept. 21, 2001, marked the return of professional sports to New York after the tragic events of Sept. 11, and the 10-day drought ended with a Mets-Braves matchup at Shea Stadium. The Mets entered the bottom of the eighth trailing, 2-1, when Mike Piazza belted a two-run homer to put New York on top. The homer proved to be the game-winner and lifted the Mets to a 3-2 victory.
Nov. 1, 2001 – Derek Jeter becomes Mr. November
The 2001 World Series was filled with huge late-inning home runs, but the most revered is Jeter’s shot that ended Game 4. He wasn’t The Captain yet, but he was the hero of the first non-exhibition MLB game played in the month of November.
Oct. 16, 2003 – Aaron “Bleeping” Boone
In 1978, Bucky Dent dashed the Red Sox’ World Series hopes with his famous three-run homer over the Green Monster. A quarter-century later, it was another unlikely hero in Aaron Boone that crushed a Tim Wakefield knuckleball into the Bronx night to end the 2003 ALCS and send the Sox home unhappy.
Feb. 3, 2008 – The Pats’ season goes to Hel-met
Super Bowl XLII didn’t end on this play, but David Tyree’s remarkable grab late in the fourth quarter kept hope alive and helped set the stage for the game-winning touchdown pass from Eli Manning to Plaxico Burress. Manning was the game’s MVP, but if not for Tyree’s helmet, it’s very possible that the Patriots would have completed a perfect 19-0 season.
Oct. 10, 2012 – Raul keeps his cool
Down to their last three outs in ALDS Game 3, the Yankees turned to 40-year-old Raul Ibanez to save their season, and he delivered – twice. Ibanez homered to tie the game in the ninth, and later made history with his 12th inning walk-off blast that gave the Yankees a 2-1 series lead.