Sports

Kirk Gibson’s pinch-hit HR wins World Series game

By Rick Weinberg -- Special to ESPN.com -- See Video below!

He could barely walk. Actually, he could barely stand without his leg wobbling and shaking. When no one was looking, back when he was in the batting cage outside the Los Angeles Dodgers' locker room during Game 1 of the 1988 World Series against the Oakland A's, he actually used a bat a few times as a walking cane, to balance himself.

Read More »

Behind gimpy Reed, Knicks make stand

Willis Reed in 1970 NBA Championship

Hobbled captain inspires club to '70 title.

By Bruce Lowitt


Hollywood could not have written a better ending: the old warrior coming to the aid of his comrades in arms for one final climactic battle.

Willis Reed played the role to perfection.

It was May 8, 1970, and the New York Knicks were staring defeat in the face -- Wilt Chamberlain's face -- in Game 7 of the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers. Reed, the Knicks center, their captain, their rock, appeared too hurt to play.

Read More »

Slam finishes off Hogan’s comeback

Ben Hogan 1950 Merion

Ben Hogan wins the British Open to complete his return to the top of his sport.

By Bruce Lowitt

He was far from the manicured courses at Augusta National in Georgia and the Oakmont Country Club in Pennsylvania. This was Carnoustie, where the wind and rain swept across the desolate fairways on the Scottish coast.

No matter. On July10, 1953, Ben Hogan tamed the course with a record final-round 4-under 68 to win the British Open and complete the first Triple Slam in golf's storied history.

Read More »

Wooden retires after 10th title

UCLA gives Wizard of Westwood a grand sendoff by beating Kentucky 92-85.

By Bruce Lowitt

They knew it would be their last game under John Wooden. They already had won nine NCAA basketball championships under his tutelage. But the UCLA Bruins wanted this one as a going-away present for their coach.

When the 1974-75 season had begun, UCLA was, for the first time in nine years, not the defending champion. It had lost in the 1974 Final Four semifinals to eventual champion North Carolina State.

Read More »

Namath, Jets make statement for AFL

By BRUCE LOWITT

To much of America, and certainly to the NFL, the American Football League was somewhere between a minor league and a joke.

Until Super Bowl III.

Until quarterback Joe Namath made good on a preposterous guarantee -- that his New York Jets would beat the seemingly unbeatable Baltimore Colts. They did, 16-7.

This AFL was the fourth league to challenge the NFL. The first three died within a year or two of their birth. But this one, which began playing in 1960, had network television money behind it.

Read More »

Secretariat proves he’s a unique breed

Secretariat racing

By Bruce Lowitt


Realistically speaking, the 1973 Belmont Stakes wasn't a horse race -- unless you count the four thoroughbreds racing for second place. This third jewel of the Triple Crown was the coronation of Secretariat as the greatest race horse of all time.

He had won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, each time beating Sham by 21/2 lengths.

Now it was June9. Most of the bettors in the crowd of nearly 70,000 at Belmont Park expected the first Triple Crown winner since Citation in 1948. Secretariat was a 1-10 favorite.

Read More »

Oh, Henry! Aaron swings past Ruth

By Bruce Lowitt

The nation waited for this moment for 38 years. And for the six months after the 1973 baseball season. And for the first four days of 1974's.

Fans looked forward to Henry Aaron's 715th career home run with hope in their hearts -- or venom in their veins.

To a segment of society, it wasn't Aaron chasing the home run record of Babe Ruth. It was ... well, a black man. Aaron was a racist's nightmare, excelling in a sport that for decades had been as white as the ball. And excelling in Atlanta, the heart of Dixie.

Read More »