The 100 Greatest Days in New York Sports

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"Pick a sport—baseball, professional or college football or basketball, horse racing, boxing, or tennis—and in every case New York has consistently had front-row seats for every major development and many of the most memorable events in sports history."—from the introduction

It's every New York sports fan's dream: a chance to analyze, debate, and rank the top 100 sports events in New York history. A list to settle all arguments. What would you choose?

First of all, where to ...

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Overview

"Pick a sport—baseball, professional or college football or basketball, horse racing, boxing, or tennis—and in every case New York has consistently had front-row seats for every major development and many of the most memorable events in sports history."—from the introduction

It's every New York sports fan's dream: a chance to analyze, debate, and rank the top 100 sports events in New York history. A list to settle all arguments. What would you choose?

First of all, where to start? Babe Ruth hitting the first home run in Yankee Stadium? Arthur Ashe winning the first U.S. Open? Muhammad Ali versus Joe Frazier at Madison Square Garden? Over the years, New York has been at the center of seemingly every major sporting event. From the integration of baseball to the heyday of boxing and horse racing to the rise of professional sports—it all happened in New York.

The journalist Stuart Miller, a native New Yorker and sportswriter, guides us through the pivotal events with illuminating analysis and colorful detail. Based on extensive research, this richly illustrated book is filled with vivid and authoritative prose. Highlights include:

* Willie Mays makes "the Catch" in the 1954 World Series
• Jimmy Connors turns back the clock at the 1991 U.S. Open
• Willis Reed rescues the Knicks in the 1970 NBA Finals
• Joe Namath and the Jets win the 1968 AFL Championship
• Mookie Wilson's slow grounder to first is a Mets miracle in the 1986 World Series

All of the celebrated franchises are here, from the Yankees and the Mets to the Knicks and the Giants, as well as sports ranging from horse racing to tennis to boxing to the New York City Marathon. There are additional lists and analyses, such as "On the Road: The Top 25," featuring events such as Bucky Dent's 1978 homer over the Green Monster in Fenway Park. "Fearsome Foes" highlights epic performances by the opposition, like Michael Jordan's 55-point night at the Garden in 1992. Miller also gives us the bad side of sports, in "Worst Days," such as when Benny Paret died in the ring at the hands of Emile Griffith.

Exhaustively researched and endlessly entertaining, The 100 Greatest Days in New York Sports is a book destined to be on the shelf of every New York—and every American—sports fan.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
New York is sports central. With the Yankees, the Mets, the Giants, the Knicks, the Jets, the Rangers, and more, the Big Apple is the undisputed top banana of competitive sports. Stuart Miller's 100 Greatest New York Sports Events of All Time challenges diehard fans to name the most exciting moments, greatest teams, worst collapses, and fiercest rivalries in NY history. Guaranteed to enliven any commercial break.
From the Publisher
With another wait-till-next-year finish to New York baseball season...Miller has devised a perfect antidote to our long winter of discontent.
The New York Times

"It's a well written, well thought out, debate-worthy book. I highly recommend you buy it.” – Max Kellerman, ESPN Radio

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618574803
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 10/20/2006
  • Edition description: None
  • Pages: 560
  • Product dimensions: 8.70 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

STUART MILLER is a fourth-generation Brooklynite and a contributing writer for the Sporting News. His sportswriting has appeared in Sports Illustrated, the New York Times, Sports Business Journal, and Street & Smith's annual sports issues. He is also the author of a book on football, Where Have All Our Giants Gone?

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Read an Excerpt

Introduction New York City sports history, like the city itself, is noisy, self-important, and endlessly fascinating. Go on, admit it: if you live or have lived in New York for any length of time, there is deep inside of you at least a touch of that New York arrogance, a sense that for an event to truly matter it has to happen in New York. Well, when it comes to sports, that self-imposed myopia has historically been somewhat justified.
Pick a sport—baseball, professional or college football or basketball, horse racing, boxing, or tennis—and in every case New York has consistently had front-row seats for every major development and many of the most memorable events in sports history.
The most prominent example is baseball: New York was home to the first well-formulated baseball rules, the first ballpark, the first paying customers, the first fastball, curve, and bunt, the creation of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” Babe Ruth, the first televised games, the first racially integrated game, the first free-agent signing, and on and on. But it holds true for the other sports as well.
Sure, other cities have teams with rich and storied pasts (the Boston Celtics, the Green Bay Packers, the St. Louis Cardinals, the Montreal Canadiens); the Yankees alone, however, are more dominating, important, and influential than any team in any sport, and New York City’s overall depth, breadth, and success blows everyone else away. And it’s not just about “firsts” and historical developments: beginning in 1921, local teams captured 41 championships in a 58-year span, with all four major league teams, two pro football teams, one pro basketball and one hockey team, along with several college basketball teams, winning their respective big ones. It’s not just the titles themselves—from Bobby Thomson’s homer to Mookie Wilson’s grounder, from Louis-Schmeling to Ali-Frazier, from Knute Rockne to Joe Namath, from CCNY to Pat Riley, from Bill Tilden to Jimmy Connors—but the fact that no other city can match this one for sheer sports drama.
And because New York is the nation’s media capital, almost any great sports moment here has gotten extra amplification that guaranteed it was heard round the world. Would the 1958 New York Giants–Baltimore Colts NFL Championship have been seen as the watershed game in the league’s history if it had pitted Baltimore against Green Bay? Would “Broadway Joe” Namath have become as large an icon playing in St. Louis?
So, while all the world may be a stage, New York has the audience and the media to make it the grandest, most important arena of all.

This book features the top 100 days in New York City sports, including not just team sports but great fights, tennis tournaments, marathons, track meets, horse races, and even a bicycle race. It also highlights the 25 greatest moments our home teams have experienced on the road. There were, however, so many worthy candidates for both lists that I’ve added 100 honorable mentions for the former and nine for the latter. Then I expanded my view and drew up lists for the greatest performances against New York teams as well as the worst moments, from blunders to painful injuries to bad behavior to brawls.
This list drew to some extent on my years of writing about both sports and the life and history of the city, as well as on my own deep local roots—my family has lived in Brooklyn for 100 years; my 96-year-old grandparents still live here, as does my mother; I even married a native Brooklynite, and we are raising our two boys here. I grew up on my dad’s stories of Dixie Walker and Dolf Camilli (and knew the ’41 Dodgers’ starting lineup by heart at age eight) and my grandfather’s tales of watching everyone from Babe Ruth to fellow NYU student Ken Strong and of the day Jackie Robinson came to the house for a business meeting.
Beyond my own experience, I picked the brains of numerous sportswriters, historians, and other experts. But ultimately it was the days, weeks, and months of endless research—watching videotapes, studying stats online, reading through hundreds of books and literally thousands of newspaper and magazine articles and even blogs—that provided the basis not only for what I wrote but for what I included and how I ranked each event.

That was the tricky part, of course. How do you weigh the relative merits of such wildly diverse sports and time periods, of great comebacks versus dominant performances, of championship moments versus classic wins in a season that ended in defeat?
There is, of course, no objective way to do it—I changed my list daily, sometimes every hour (and would be tinkering still if not for my deadline), and every argument you could make I’ve probably aalready had in my head . . . at least twice, since I took each side as I shifted and slid every entry around. Still, as the book evolved I trieeeeed to follow certain criteria.
First, the basics. I started with geography. This book is a tribute to New York City as much as to its teams and athletes—it is the city that gives us our identity first, that makes us root for New York teams—so I drew the line along the boundaries of the five boroughs. (Yes, I know I’m stubborn. My family has been telling me that since I was a kid.) So I tossed out Dr. J’s Nets, LT’s Giants, Mike Bossy’s Islanders, the Devils, the Belmont Stakes, and other events beyond the periphery, though they do get their own top 10 list in the book. By contrast, I included events that took place in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx before 1898 even though these boroughs were not part of the city at that point. Although some Brooklynites still rue the consolidation, now that all five are joined together, those events are part of our shared heritage.
The other catch is that many of baseball’s greatest moments—Bobby Thomson’s homer, Sandy Amoros’s catch, Don Larsen’s perfect game—came at the expense of another hometown team and could be seen as absolutely awful from that perspective. But they brought glory to at least part of New York, and that’s the way I measured them.
(One other geographical note: there have been four Madison Square Gardens to date. The first, in Madison Square, lasted from 1879 to 1890; another in the same location lasted until 1925; the third held court at Eighth Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets through 1967, when the current version, above Penn Station, was built. For simplicity’s sake, I refer throughout the book to all of these structures simply as Madison Square Garden.)

Next, I had to think about what to leave out. I rejected mythical tales (many propagated online), like the story floating around about Giant out- fielder Red Murray getting struck by lightning while catching a fly ball to end a 21-inning game in Pittsburgh in 1914. It never happened, although apparently Murray had made a great catch in the same ballpark on a stormy day five years earlier.
To pick the ultimate survivors I pitted noteworthy moments against each other. Two dozen nohitters or perfect games have been pitched against New York teams, but I reasoned that Cy Young’s (at age 41) in 1908 and Jim Bunning’s (on Father’s Day) in 1964 were diluted by the deadball era (19 total no-nos from 1905–1910) and by expansion (17 from 1962 to 1965), while Daffy Dean’s (in a double-header with his brother Dizzy, who pitched a three- hitter) in 1934 stood out (only three from 1926 to 1933).
Each Yankee game was held to a higher standard because it competed against so many other great Yankee moments: constant winning becomes a bit numbing. The Bombers’ 1937 and 1938 and 1939 World Series didn’t make the list because there was little suspense as the Yankees won 12 of 13 games. Even the seventh game of the 1952 World Series, a true nail-biter, didn’t crack the top 40. After all, it was less historically significant than two other thrillers in that same dynasty: the final game of the 1949 regular season against Boston and the final game of the 1953 World Series, when the Yankees won their unprecedented fifth straight crown. (The same was largely true for the greats in other sports: Muhammad Ali’s fight against Ken Norton doesn’t compare to Ali-Frazier; Jimmy Connors’s U.S. Open wins in 1976, 1978, 1982, and 1983 paled next to his 1974 triumph and his 1991 comeback.) By contrast, singular seasons create multiple memorable moments. Titles for teams like the Mets, the Knicks, and the Rangers are so few and far between that each one stands out. And because these teams lack the Yankees’ imperial air, their championship runs seem infused with more close calls and narrow escapes. So the top 100 and the top 25 “On the Road” include three wins from the Mets’ 1969 World Series and four from the 1986 postseason, two from the Knicks’ 1970 NBA Finals and three from their 1973 championship run, and three from the Rangers’ 1994 Stanley Cup surge. The exception is the Brooklyn Dodgers’ 1955 World Series—they’d been so close so many times in one generation that winning the final game was all that mattered.

The top five moments all transcended sports and had an impact on society beyond the game itself. The next five were pretty easy too—Bobby Thomson’s homer, Brooklyn winning in 1955, Willis Reed limping onto the court in 1970, the Mets winning in 1969, Don Larsen’s perfect game. These would be near the top of lists covering sports, or even popular culture, across the entire nation’s history. (The only tough call was choosing Larsen over Game 6 of the 1986 World Series—Larsen achieved perfection, while the Mets won because Boston blew it.) Most of the other top 25 entries are equally obvious—the Rangers winning after 54 years, Willie Mays making “the Catch,” Jimmy Connors taking the 1991 U.S. Open by storm—but a few need explaining. Obviously Babe Ruth’s 60th homer in 1927, Roger Maris’s 61st in 1961, and Joe DiMaggio’s hitting streak in 1941 rank among baseball’s greatest achievements. And so they made the top 25. But why aren’t they higher? Because these individual accomplishments ultimately had less impact than an NFL Championship or a Game 7 of the Stanley Cup, the World Series, or the NBA Finals. (The Yankees would have won the Series in 1927 if Ruth had hit only 55 homers; DiMaggio’s streak also ranks lower in this book because it is measuring singular days, while his streak was impressive because it was a seemingly endless string of games.) After that, I weighed a number of other factors. If a season was already represented near the top of the 100 or the 25 “On the Road,” then the second or third entries from that team’s season—the Mets in 1969 or 1986, for example, or the Knicks in 1970 or 1973, or the Rangers in 1994—would get bumped further down; no matter how exciting those secondary games were, they did not define the season.
And if the game in question was a classic but occurred in a season that failed to produce a championship, in the end it ranked lower than a similarly great event that helped lead to a crown. For instance, the Yankees’ Game 7 win in the 2003 ALCS may have been as dramatic as the finale of the 1953 World Series, but the 2003 season ended with a World Series loss while the latter ended in the Yankees’ record fifth-straight title. Taking that reasoning one step further, great games in which the home team didn’t win the series—think Robin Ventura’s grand-slam single or John Starks’s dunk over Michael Jordan—ended up even further down the list.
(Still, this book gave me more of an appreciation for the near- misses—the years the home team came up short. Finishing second seems so frustrating at the time; in retrospect, however, not only can it be hailed as an impressive accomplishment, but we ultimately cherish the great moments from those seasons more than we stew over the disappointment of the aftermath. In 1951 the Giants lost the World Series, for instance, but we remember only that they won the pennant.) Those comebacks demonstrate another point worth making—the flawlessly played game is admirable but often less memorable. In the 1970 Knicks-Bullets playoff series, the Knicks played a masterful Game 7 and cruised to their 127–114 win, sapping that game of much of its drama; by contrast, in Game 1 of that series they fell behind early and needed two overtimes and some great defense by Walt Frazier to finally vanquish Baltimore. So it was Game 1 that made the honorable mention list, and Game 7 isn’t in the book at all.
It’s important to note that the honorable mention categories are not necessarily the ones I’d rank just below the ones on the lists. Most would fit in as numbers 101 through 200, but some made the list only because they fit a specific category. For instance, there are only three Ranger games in the top 100, but there were many others that came close. So I put the three next most memorable games in one category—an old-time classic against the rival New York Americans, Wayne Gretzky’s playoff hat trick, and the Smurfs’ 1983 dismantling of Philadelphia. But I also created a category that looked at “Building Blocks” to their Stanley Cups; some of the games on that sublist might not have made a top 200 list. Ranger fans might rank the triple- overtime win over Chicago in the 1971 playoffs higher, but since the Rangers lost that series, it didn’t fit in anywhere.
Honorable mention was also a place for me to celebrate many of the individual achievements that didn’t make the top 100. But even there, tough choices abounded. The Yankees have had numerous no-hitters that were dramatic beyond the accomplishment itself: in 1951 Allie Reynolds became one of only three people to pitch two in one season; in 1993 Jim Abbott pitched a no-hitter with just one arm; in 1996 Dwight Gooden briefly returned from his path of self-destruction to pitch gloriously. A strong case could have been made for putting all three no-hitters on a straight 101- through-200 list. But in a category that could fit just three items, they came up just short (in my view) when competing against the masterpieces of Steinbrenner’s Davids—Wells, Cone, and Righetti.
In sorting through all the brawls, blunders, painful plays, and heartbreaking losses, I tried to use similar criteria, looking for a loss that was more than a loss but also historically significant (Bill Mazeroski’s 1960 homer in the ninth inning of the seventh game), or at least a defining moment for a particular team (the passing of an era with the Yankees’ 2001 World Series loss in the ninth inning of the seventh game). Some of those events are actually remembered favorably (the Buddy Harrelson– Pete Rose fight), while some are truly tragic (Thurman Munson dying in a plane crash), but I think that all of them, in their own way, are as compelling and memorable as the greatest moments.
There are always, of course, exceptions to just about everything I’ve laid out here: the quirks of the list are what make it interesting and, I hope, will make you want to argue one way or another. And I’d love to hear your arguments. Send me your version of the list (with explanations) to nycsportstop100@verizon.net. By the time this book comes out, I hope to have a Web site where I can post some of the more intriguing suggestions . . . and, of course, my own responses.
The Top 100 1. Jackie Robinson shatters the color barrier, April 15, 1947, Ebbets Field 2. Joe Louis annihilates Max Schmeling, June 22, 1938, Yankee Stadium 3. Lou Gehrig proclaims himself the “luckiest man,” July 4, 1939, Yankee Stadium 4. The Fight: Ali-Frazier I, March 8, 1971, Madison Square Garden 5. Babe Ruth christens the “House That Ruth Built” with a homer, April 18, 1923, Yankee Stadium 6. The Giants win the pennant, October 3, 1951, Polo Grounds 7. “Next year” finally arrives for Brooklyn, October 4, 1955, Yankee Stadium 8. Willis Reed hobbles to the rescue, May 8, 1970, Madison Square Garden 9. The Amazin’ Mets win the World Series, October 16, 1969, Shea Stadium 10. Don Larsen achieves perfection, October 8, 1956, Yankee Stadium 11. Mookie Wilson hits a ground ball to first in Game 6 of the World Series, October 25, 1986, Shea Stadium 12. Fifty-four years later, the Rangers finally win the Stanley Cup, June 14, 1994, Madison Square Garden 13. The Giants crush the Bears in the NFL Championship, December 30, 1956, Yankee Stadium 14. CCNY wins its second national championship . . . of the month, March 28, 1950, Madison Square Garden 15. Willie Mays makes “the Catch,” September 29, 1954, Polo Grounds 16. Jack Dempsey outslugs Luis Firpo, September 14, 1923, Polo Grounds 17. Reggie, Reggie, Reggie, October 18, 1977, Yankee Stadium 18. Matty shuts out the A’s, October 14, 1905, Polo Grounds 19. Jimmy Connors defies Father Time, September 2, 1991, National Tennis Center 20. Roger Maris beats the Babe, October 1, 1961, Yankee Stadium 21. The Babe hits 60, September 30, 1927, Yankee Stadium 22. Joe DiMaggio hits in his 45th straight game, a new record, July 2, 1941, Yankee Stadium 23. Army and Notre Dame shut each other out in “the Battle of the Century,” November 9,1946, Yankee Stadium 24. The Yankees and the Dodgers both win on the season’s final day, October 2, 1949, Yankee Stadium and Shibe Park 25. The Marathon expands to all five boroughs, October 24, 1976 26. Arthur Ashe wins the first U.S. Open, September 9, 1968,West Side Tennis Club 27. The Yankees win a fifth straight World Series, October 5, 1953, Yankee Stadium 28. The Giants win 1–0 to finish the first “Subway Series,” October 13, 1921, Polo Grounds 29. The Subway Series rides again, October 21, 2000, Yankee Stadium 30. The Jets avenge their “Heidi” loss and win the AFL title, December 27, 1968, Shea Stadium 31. Notre Dame wins one for the Gipper, November 10, 1928, Yankee Stadium 32. The sky falls on Grady Little and Aaron Boone sinks the Sox, October 16, 2003, Yankee Stadium 33. Patrick Ewing lifts the Knicks into the NBA Finals, June 5, 1994, Madison Square Garden 34. Cookie Lavagetto ruins Floyd Bevens’s no-hitter, October 3, 1947, Ebbets Field 35. Every match goes the distance on Super Saturday, September 8, 1984, National Tennis Center 36. The Giants win the NFL Championship in the “Sneaker Game,” December 9, 1934, Polo Grounds 37. The Brooklyn Atlantics hand the Cincinnati Red Stockings their first defeat, June 14, 1870, Capitoline Grounds 38. Man o’War comes back to beat Grier at the Dwyer Stakes, July 10, 1920, Aqueduct Race Course 39. The Yankees win their first World Series, October 15, 1923, Polo Grounds 40. Willis Reed goes down, but the Knicks come back to win in Game 5, May 4, 1970, Madison Square Garden 41. The Mets come back once more to win Game 7, October 27, 1986, Shea Stadium 42. Billy Martin saves the Yankees, October 7, 1952, Ebbets Field 43. Stephane Matteau scores in double overtime in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, May 27, 1994, Madison Square Garden 44. Tommie Agee saves the day . . . then does it again, October 14, 1969, Shea Stadium 45. John McEnroe gets revenge against Bjorn Borg, September 7, 1980, National Tennis Center 46. Tony Zale drops Rocky Graziano, September 27, 1946, Yankee Stadium 47. Carl Lewis lifts off at the Millrose Games, January 27, 1984, Madison Square Garden 48. Bill Tilden becomes the first tennis superstar with his revenge win over Bill Johnston, September 6, 1920,West Side Tennis Club 49. Pat Summerall kicks a field goal in the snow, December 14, 1958, Yankee Stadium 50. Chris Chambliss homers the Yankees back into the World Series, October 14, 1976, Yankee Stadium 51. The Rangers beat the Islanders to reach the Stanley Cup finals, May 8, 1979, Madison Square Garden 52. Sugar Ray Robinson melts against Joey Maxim, June 25, 1952, Yankee Stadium 53. Fred Lebow and Grete Waitz run side by side, November 1, 1992, New York City Marathon 54. Joe Louis comes back to KO Billy Conn, June 18, 1941, Polo Grounds 55. The U.S. Open crowns two unique but very different champions, September 9, 1974,West Side Tennis Club 56. At the All-Star Game, Carl Hubbell strikes out Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons, and Joe Cronin . . . in a row, July 10, 1934, Polo Grounds 57. Seabiscuit wins the Brooklyn in a photo finish, June 26, 1937, Aqueduct Race Course 58. Columbia ends Army’s winning streak, October 25, 1947, Baker Field 59. Ingemar Johansson’s “Toonder and Lightning” strikes Floyd Patterson, June 26, 1959, Yankee Stadium 60. Larry Johnson shocks the Pacers with his four-pointer, June 5, 1999, Madison Square Garden 61. In a match for the aged, Pete Sampras beats Andre Agassi one last time, September 8, 2002, National Tennis Center 62. Jim Corbett has his finest hour in a loss against Jim Jeffries, May 11, 1900, Greater New York Athletic Club, Coney Island 63. Steffi Graf, struggling with her father’s arrest, battles Monica Seles, struggling to overcome her stabbing injury, September 9, 1995, National Tennis Center 64. Tony Lazzeri, Joe DiMaggio, and the Yankees make a statement against the Giants and start a new Yankee dynasty, October 2, 1936, Polo Grounds 65. The Giants hold off the Packers for the NFL Championship, December 11, 1938, Polo Grounds 66. Graig Nettles flashes his leather and saves the World Series, October 13, 1978, Yankee Stadium 67. Ned Irish launches college basketball with the first double-header, December 29, 1934, Madison Square Garden 68. New York gets its first glimpse of a sports-mad future, May 27, 1823, Union Course 69. St. John’s revs up the Big East, March 12, 1983, Madison Square Garden 70. The “Four Horsemen of Notre Dame” triumph over Army, October 18, 1924, Polo Grounds 71. Chris Evert becomes the “It Girl” with her comeback win, September 4, 1971,West Side Tennis Club 72. Robin Ventura hits a grand slam single, October 17, 1999, Shea Stadium 73. John Starks dunks over Michael Jordan in the Eastern Conference Finals, May 25, 1993, Madison Square Garden 74. Bernard King scores 44 in Game 6 to keep the Knicks alive against the Celtics, May 11, 1984, Madison Square Garden 75. Mike Piazza picks up New York with his post-9/11 game-winning homer, September 21, 2001, Shea Stadium 76. Brooklyn goes bonkers for its “Bums,” September 29, 1941, Brooklyn 77. Baseball returns to Brooklyn, June 25, 2001, Keyspan Park 78. Dykstra rolls a homer in NLCS Game 3, October 11, 1986, Shea Stadium 79. The Mets sing the praises of their unsung heroes, October 15, 1969, Shea Stadium 80. Dave DeBusschere saves the NBA Finals, May 8, 1973, Madison Square Garden 81. St. John’s gives Joe Lapchick a going-away championship, March 20, 1965, Madison Square Garden 82. NYU topples Fordham’s “Seven Blocks of Granite,” November 26, 1936, Yankee Stadium 83. Althea Gibson wins the U.S. National Championships, September 8, 1957,West Side Tennis Club 84. Carmen Basilio and Sugar Ray Robinson go to war, September 23, 1957, Yankee Stadium 85. Rocky has to go the distance, July 17, 1954, Yankee Stadium 86. Rod Dixon surges past Geoff Smith in the Marathon, October 23, 1983, Central Park 87. Salvator and Tenny go down to the wire, June 25, 1890, Coney Island Jockey Club 88. The Knicks beat the Celtics in double overtime in the Eastern Conference Finals, April 22, 1973, Madison Square Garden 89. Willie Pep gets revenge against Sandy Saddler, February 11, 1949, Madison Square Garden 90. Eamonn Coghlan breaks Glenn Cunningham’s record by winning his seventh Wanamaker Mile, January 30, 1987, Madison Square Garden 91. Rod Laver wins the Grand Slam . . . again, September 8, 1969,West Side Tennis Club 92. Jack Elder leads Notre Dame to victory with a 98-yard interception return, November 30, 1929, Yankee Stadium 93. Monica Seles and Jennifer Capriati introduce power to women’s tennis while Martina does her best Jimbo, September 6, 1991, National Tennis Center 94. Henry Armstrong collects another title as Barney Ross hangs on, May 31, 1938, Madison Square Garden Bowl 95. Harry Greb bests Mickey Walker amid a cavalcade of fists, July 2, 1925, Polo Grounds 96. Pete Sampras shows his guts against Alex Corretja, September 5, 1996, National Tennis Center 97. Secretariat shows his stuff, April 7, 1973, Aqueduct Race Course 98. The Giants beat Knute Rockne’s Notre Dame All-Stars, December 14, 1930, Polo Grounds 99. Marathon mania reaches its peak, April 3, 1909, Polo Grounds 100. Charles Miller rides (and rides and rides) into the record books, December 10, 1898, Madison Square Garden

On the Road: The Top 25 1. Broadway Joe makes good on his guarantee, January 12, 1969, Orange Bowl, Miami 2. Bucky Dent tops the Green Monster, October 2, 1978, Fenway Park, Boston 3. Babe Ruth calls his home run, October 1, 1932, Wrigley Field, Chicago 4. The Mets finally vanquish Houston in the 16th, October 15, 1986, the Astrodome, Houston 5. Columbia pulls off a stunning upset, January 1, 1934, the Rose Bowl, Pasadena 6. This time around Ralph Terry finds success and happiness in the ninth inning of a Game 7, October 16, 1962, Candlestick Park, San Francisco 7. Mark Messier backs up his guarantee, May 25, 1994, Brendan Byrne Arena, East Rutherford, New Jersey 8. The Knicks finally beat Boston in Game 7, April 29, 1973, Boston Garden, Boston 9. The Giants win but the Dodgers come from 6–1, 8–5 down on the final day against Philadelphia in 14 innings to force a playoff, September 30, 1951, Shibe Park, Philadelphia 10. Babe Ruth hits three homers to finish off St. Louis, October 8, 1928, Sportsman’s Park, St. Louis 11. The Yankees resurrect themselves with a 10th-inning win, October 8, 1958, County Stadium, Milwaukee 12. The Rangers win the Stanley Cup after a six-year void, April 13, 1940, Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto 13. Allan Houston sinks Miami, May 16, 1999, Miami Arena, Miami 14. Jim Leyritz powers a Yankees comeback, October 23, 1996, Fulton County Stadium, Atlanta 15. The Jets intercept the Raiders, January 15, 1983, Los Angeles Coliseum, Los Angeles 16. The Silver Fox saves the day, April 7, 1928, Montreal Forum, Montreal 17. Mel Ott homers to win the Series, October 7, 1933, Griffith Stadium,Washington, D.C.
18. Baseball’s best team wins its 125th game, October 23, 1998, Jack Murphy Stadium, San Diego 19. Bernard buries the Pistons, April 27, 1984, Joe Louis Arena, Detroit 20. The Mets finally come out on top, October 1, 1973, Wrigley Field, Chicago 21. The Knicks win at the buzzer in double-overtime in the deciding playoff game against the Celtics, March 26, 1952, Boston Garden 22. The Rangers win their forgotten Cup, April 13, 1933, Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto 23. St. John’s wins down south, March 22, 1952, Reynolds Coliseum, Raleigh, North Carolina 24. The Mets outlast Atlanta, July 4–5, 1985, Fulton County Stadium, Atlanta 25. The Jets beat the Giants in the biggest preseason game ever, August 17, 1969, Yale Bowl, New Haven

Copyright © 2006 by Stuart Miller. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company.

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Table of Contents

Introduction VI Foreword by Tom Seaver X

Greatest Days The Top 100 1 On the Road: The Top 25 339

Fearsome Foes The Top 10 401 On the Road: The Top 5 431

Worst Days The 5 Worst Days 437 The Worst Day on the Road 446 More Days to Forget 447

Extra Innings Wheeling and Dealing 511 Schoolboy Heroics 517 Movin’ Out 518 Timeline: The Best of Each Year 519 Calendar: The Best of Each Day 521

Acknowledgments 526 Index 527 Illustration Credits 532

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Introduction

Introduction

New York City sports history, like the city itself, is noisy, self-important, and endlessly fascinating.

Go on, admit it: if you live or have lived in New York for any length of time, there is deep inside of you at least a touch of that New York arrogance, a sense that for an event to truly matter it has to happen in New York. Well, when it comes to sports, that self-imposed myopia has historically been somewhat justified.

Pick a sport-baseball, professional or college football or basketball, horse racing, boxing, or tennis- and in every case New York has consistently had front-row seats for every major development and many of the most memorable events in sports history.

The most prominent example is baseball: New York was home to the first well-formulated baseball rules, the first ballpark, the first paying customers, the first fastball, curve, and bunt, the creation of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," Babe Ruth, the first televised games, the first racially integrated game, the first free-agent signing, and on and on. But it holds true for the other sports as well.

Sure, other cities have teams with rich and storied pasts (the Boston Celtics, the Green Bay Packers, the St. Louis Cardinals, the Montreal Canadiens); the Yankees alone, however, are more dominating, important, and influential than any team in any sport, and New York City's overall depth, breadth, and success blows everyone else away. And it's not just about "firsts" and historical developments: beginning in 1921, local teams captured 41 championships in a 58-year span, with all four major league teams, two pro football teams, one pro basketball and one hockey team, along with several college basketball teams, winning their respective big ones. It's not just the titles themselves-from Bobby Thomson's homer to Mookie Wilson's grounder, from Louis-Schmeling to Ali-Frazier, from Knute Rockne to Joe Namath, from CCNY to Pat Riley, from Bill Tilden to Jimmy Connors-but the fact that no other city can match this one for sheer sports drama.

And because New York is the nation's media capital, almost any great sports moment here has gotten extra amplification that guaranteed it was heard round the world. Would the 1958 New York Giants-Baltimore Colts NFL Championship have been seen as the watershed game in the league's history if it had pitted Baltimore against Green Bay? Would "Broadway Joe" Namath have become as large an icon playing in St. Louis?

So, while all the world may be a stage, New York has the audience and the media to make it the grandest, most important arena of all.

This book features the top 100 days in New York City sports, including not just team sports but great fights, tennis tournaments, marathons, track meets, horse races, and even a bicycle race. It also highlights the 25 greatest moments our home teams have experienced on the road. There were, however, so many worthy candidates for both lists that I've added 100 honorable mentions for the former and nine for the latter. Then I expanded my view and drew up lists for the greatest performances against New York teams as well as the worst moments, from blunders to painful injuries to bad behavior to brawls.

This list drew to some extent on my years of writing about both sports and the life and history of the city, as well as on my own deep local roots -my family has lived in Brooklyn for 100 years; my 96-year-old grandparents still live here, as does my mother; I even married a native Brooklynite, and we are raising our two boys here. I grew up on my dad's stories of Dixie Walker and Dolf Camilli (and knew the '41 Dodgers' starting lineup by heart at age eight) and my grandfather's tales of watching everyone from Babe Ruth to fellow NYU student Ken Strong and of the day Jackie Robinson came to the house for a business meeting.

Beyond my own experience, I picked the brains of numerous sportswriters, historians, and other experts. But ultimately it was the days, weeks, and months of endless research-watching videotapes, studying stats online, reading through hundreds of books and literally thousands of newspaper and magazine articles and even blogs-that provided the basis not only for what I wrote but for what I included and how I ranked each event.

That was the tricky part, of course. How do you weigh the relative merits of such wildly diverse sports and time periods, of great comebacks versus dominant performances, of championship moments versus classic wins in a season that ended in defeat?

There is, of course, no objective way to do it- I changed my list daily, sometimes every hour (and would be tinkering still if not for my deadline), and every argument you could make I've probably already had in my head . . . at least twice, since I took each side as I shifted and slid every entry around. Still, as the book evolved I tried to follow certain criteria.

First, the basics. I started with geography. This book is a tribute to New York City as much as to its teams and athletes-it is the city that gives us our identity first, that makes us root for New York teams-so I drew the line along the boundaries of the five boroughs. (Yes, I know I'm stubborn. My family has been telling me that since I was a kid.) So I tossed out Dr. J's Nets, LT's Giants, Mike Bossy's Islanders, the Devils, the Belmont Stakes, and other events beyond the periphery, though they do get their own top 10 list in the book. By contrast, I included events that took place in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx before 1898 even though these boroughs were not part of the city at that point. Although some Brooklynites still rue the consolidation, now that all five are joined together, those events are part of our shared heritage.

The other catch is that many of baseball's greatest moments- Bobby Thomson's homer, Sandy Amoros's catch, Don Larsen's perfect game- came at the expense of another hometown team and could be seen as absolutely awful from that perspective. But they brought glory to at least part of New York, and that's the way I measured them.

(One other geographical note: there have been four Madison Square Gardens to date. The first, in Madison Square, lasted from 1879 to 1890; another in the same location lasted until 1925; the third held court at Eighth Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets through 1967, when the current version, above Penn Station, was built. For simplicity's sake, I refer throughout the book to all of these structures simply as Madison Square Garden.)

Next, I had to think about what to leave out. I rejected mythical tales (many propagated online), like the story floating around about Giant out- fielder Red Murray getting struck by lightning while catching a fly ball to end a 21-inning game in Pittsburgh in 1914. It never happened, although apparently Murray had made a great catch in the same ballpark on a stormy day five years earlier.

To pick the ultimate survivors I pitted noteworthy moments against each other. Two dozen nohitters or perfect games have been pitched against New York teams, but I reasoned that Cy Young's (at age 41) in 1908 and Jim Bunning's (on Father's Day) in 1964 were diluted by the deadball era (19 total no-nos from 1905-1910) and by expansion (17 from 1962 to 1965), while Daffy Dean's (in a double-header with his brother Dizzy, who pitched a three- hitter) in 1934 stood out (only three from 1926 to 1933).

Each Yankee game was held to a higher standard because it competed against so many other great Yankee moments: constant winning becomes a bit numbing. The Bombers' 1937 and 1938 and 1939 World Series didn't make the list because there was little suspense as the Yankees won 12 of 13 games. Even the seventh game of the 1952 World Series, a true nail-biter, didn't crack the top 40. After all, it was less historically significant than two other thrillers in that same dynasty: the final game of the 1949 regular season against Boston and the final game of the 1953 World Series, when the Yankees won their unprecedented fifth straight crown. (The same was largely true for the greats in other sports: Muhammad Ali's fight against Ken Norton doesn't compare to Ali-Frazier; Jimmy Connors's U.S. Open wins in 1976, 1978, 1982, and 1983 paled next to his 1974 triumph and his 1991 comeback.)

By contrast, singular seasons create multiple memorable moments. Titles for teams like the Mets, the Knicks, and the Rangers are so few and far between that each one stands out. And because these teams lack the Yankees' imperial air, their championship runs seem infused with more close calls and narrow escapes. So the top 100 and the top 25 "On the Road" include three wins from the Mets' 1969 World Series and four from the 1986 postseason, two from the Knicks' 1970 NBA Finals and three from their 1973 championship run, and three from the Rangers' 1994 Stanley Cup surge. The exception is the Brooklyn Dodgers' 1955 World Series-they'd been so close so many times in one generation that winning the final game was all that mattered.

The top five moments all transcended sports and had an impact on society beyond the game itself. The next five were pretty easy too-Bobby Thomson's homer, Brooklyn winning in 1955, Willis Reed limping onto the court in 1970, the Mets winning in 1969, Don Larsen's perfect game. These would be near the top of lists covering sports, or even popular culture, across the entire nation's history. (The only tough call was choosing Larsen over Game 6 of the 1986 World Series -Larsen achieved perfection, while the Mets won because Boston blew it.)

Most of the other top 25 entries are equally obvious- the Rangers winning after 54 years, Willie Mays making "the Catch," Jimmy Connors taking the 1991 U.S. Open by storm-but a few need explaining. Obviously Babe Ruth's 60th homer in 1927, Roger Maris's 61st in 1961, and Joe DiMaggio's hitting streak in 1941 rank among baseball's greatest achievements. And so they made the top 25. But why aren't they higher? Because these individual accomplishments ultimately had less impact than an NFL Championship or a Game 7 of the Stanley Cup, the World Series, or the NBA Finals. (The Yankees would have won the Series in 1927 if Ruth had hit only 55 homers; DiMaggio's streak also ranks lower in this book because it is measuring singular days, while his streak was impressive because it was a seemingly endless string of games.)

After that, I weighed a number of other factors. If a season was already represented near the top of the 100 or the 25 "On the Road," then the second or third entries from that team's season- the Mets in 1969 or 1986, for example, or the Knicks in 1970 or 1973, or the Rangers in 1994- would get bumped further down; no matter how exciting those secondary games were, they did not define the season.

And if the game in question was a classic but occurred in a season that failed to produce a championship, in the end it ranked lower than a similarly great event that helped lead to a crown. For instance, the Yankees' Game 7 win in the 2003 ALCS may have been as dramatic as the finale of the 1953 World Series, but the 2003 season ended with a World Series loss while the latter ended in the Yankees' record fifth-straight title. Taking that reasoning one step further, great games in which the home team didn't win the series- think Robin Ventura's grand-slam single or John Starks's dunk over Michael Jordan-ended up even further down the list.

(Still, this book gave me more of an appreciation for the near- misses-the years the home team came up short. Finishing second seems so frustrating at the time; in retrospect, however, not only can it be hailed as an impressive accomplishment, but we ultimately cherish the great moments from those seasons more than we stew over the disappointment of the aftermath. In 1951 the Giants lost the World Series, for instance, but we remember only that they won the pennant.)

Those comebacks demonstrate another point worth making-the flawlessly played game is admirable but often less memorable. In the 1970 Knicks-Bullets playoff series, the Knicks played a masterful Game 7 and cruised to their 127-114 win, sapping that game of much of its drama; by contrast, in Game 1 of that series they fell behind early and needed two overtimes and some great defense by Walt Frazier to finally vanquish Baltimore. So it was Game 1 that made the honorable mention list, and Game 7 isn't in the book at all.

It's important to note that the honorable mention categories are not necessarily the ones I'd rank just below the ones on the lists. Most would fit in as numbers 101 through 200, but some made the list only because they fit a specific category. For instance, there are only three Ranger games in the top 100, but there were many others that came close. So I put the three next most memorable games in one category-an old-time classic against the rival New York Americans, Wayne Gretzky's playoff hat trick, and the Smurfs' 1983 dismantling of Philadelphia. But I also created a category that looked at "Building Blocks" to their Stanley Cups; some of the games on that sublist might not have made a top 200 list. Ranger fans might rank the triple- overtime win over Chicago in the 1971 playoffs higher, but since the Rangers lost that series, it didn't fit in anywhere.

Honorable mention was also a place for me to celebrate many of the individual achievements that didn't make the top 100. But even there, tough choices abounded. The Yankees have had numerous no-hitters that were dramatic beyond the accomplishment itself: in 1951 Allie Reynolds became one of only three people to pitch two in one season; in 1993 Jim Abbott pitched a no-hitter with just one arm; in 1996 Dwight Gooden briefly returned from his path of self-destruction to pitch gloriously. A strong case could have been made for putting all three no-hitters on a straight 101- through-200 list. But in a category that could fit just three items, they came up just short (in my view) when competing against the masterpieces of Steinbrenner's Davids-Wells, Cone, and Righetti.

In sorting through all the brawls, blunders, painful plays, and heartbreaking losses, I tried to use similar criteria, looking for a loss that was more than a loss but also historically significant (Bill Mazeroski's 1960 homer in the ninth inning of the seventh game), or at least a defining moment for a particular team (the passing of an era with the Yankees' 2001 World Series loss in the ninth inning of the seventh game). Some of those events are actually remembered favorably (the Buddy Harrelson- Pete Rose fight), while some are truly tragic (Thurman Munson dying in a plane crash), but I think that all of them, in their own way, are as compelling and memorable as the greatest moments.

There are always, of course, exceptions to just about everything I've laid out here: the quirks of the list are what make it interesting and, I hope, will make you want to argue one way or another. And I'd love to hear your arguments. Send me your version of the list (with explanations) to nycsportstop100@verizon.net. By the time this book comes out, I hope to have a Web site where I can post some of the more intriguing suggestions . . . and, of course, my own responses.

The Top 100

1. Jackie Robinson shatters the color barrier, April 15, 1947, Ebbets Field
2. Joe Louis annihilates Max Schmeling, June 22, 1938, Yankee Stadium
3. Lou Gehrig proclaims himself the "luckiest man," July 4, 1939, Yankee Stadium
4. The Fight: Ali-Frazier I, March 8, 1971, Madison Square Garden
5. Babe Ruth christens the "House That Ruth Built" with a homer, April 18, 1923, Yankee Stadium
6. The Giants win the pennant, October 3, 1951, Polo Grounds
7. "Next year" finally arrives for Brooklyn, October 4, 1955, Yankee Stadium
8. Willis Reed hobbles to the rescue, May 8, 1970, Madison Square Garden
9. The Amazin' Mets win the World Series, October 16, 1969, Shea Stadium
10. Don Larsen achieves perfection, October 8, 1956, Yankee Stadium
11. Mookie Wilson hits a ground ball to first in Game 6 of the World Series, October 25, 1986, Shea Stadium
12. Fifty-four years later, the Rangers finally win the Stanley Cup, June 14, 1994, Madison Square Garden
13. The Giants crush the Bears in the NFL Championship, December 30, 1956, Yankee Stadium
14. CCNY wins its second national championship . . . of the month, March 28, 1950, Madison Square Garden
15. Willie Mays makes "the Catch," September 29, 1954, Polo Grounds
16. Jack Dempsey outslugs Luis Firpo, September 14, 1923, Polo Grounds
17. Reggie, Reggie, Reggie, October 18, 1977, Yankee Stadium
18. Matty shuts out the A's, October 14, 1905, Polo Grounds
19. Jimmy Connors defies Father Time, September 2, 1991, National Tennis Center
20. Roger Maris beats the Babe, October 1, 1961, Yankee Stadium
21. The Babe hits 60, September 30, 1927, Yankee Stadium
22. Joe DiMaggio hits in his 45th straight game, a new record, July 2, 1941, Yankee Stadium
23. Army and Notre Dame shut each other out in "the Battle of the Century," November 9,1946, Yankee Stadium
24. The Yankees and the Dodgers both win on the season's final day, October 2, 1949, Yankee Stadium and Shibe Park
25. The Marathon expands to all five boroughs, October 24, 1976
26. Arthur Ashe wins the first U.S. Open, September 9, 1968,West Side Tennis Club
27. The Yankees win a fifth straight World Series, October 5, 1953, Yankee Stadium
28. The Giants win 1-0 to finish the first "Subway Series," October 13, 1921, Polo Grounds
29. The Subway Series rides again, October 21, 2000, Yankee Stadium
30. The Jets avenge their "Heidi" loss and win the AFL title, December 27, 1968, Shea Stadium
31. Notre Dame wins one for the Gipper, November 10, 1928, Yankee Stadium
32. The sky falls on Grady Little and Aaron Boone sinks the Sox, October 16, 2003, Yankee Stadium
33. Patrick Ewing lifts the Knicks into the NBA Finals, June 5, 1994, Madison Square Garden
34. Cookie Lavagetto ruins Floyd Bevens's no-hitter, October 3, 1947, Ebbets Field
35. Every match goes the distance on Super Saturday, September 8, 1984, National Tennis Center
36. The Giants win the NFL Championship in the "Sneaker Game," December 9, 1934, Polo Grounds
37. The Brooklyn Atlantics hand the Cincinnati Red Stockings their first defeat, June 14, 1870, Capitoline Grounds
38. Man o'War comes back to beat Grier at the Dwyer Stakes, July 10, 1920, Aqueduct Race Course
39. The Yankees win their first World Series, October 15, 1923, Polo Grounds
40. Willis Reed goes down, but the Knicks come back to win in Game 5, May 4, 1970, Madison Square Garden
41. The Mets come back once more to win Game 7, October 27, 1986, Shea Stadium
42. Billy Martin saves the Yankees, October 7, 1952, Ebbets Field
43. Stephane Matteau scores in double overtime in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, May 27, 1994, Madison Square Garden
44. Tommie Agee saves the day . . . then does it again, October 14, 1969, Shea Stadium
45. John McEnroe gets revenge against Bjorn Borg, September 7, 1980, National Tennis Center
46. Tony Zale drops Rocky Graziano, September 27, 1946, Yankee Stadium
47. Carl Lewis lifts off at the Millrose Games, January 27, 1984, Madison Square Garden
48. Bill Tilden becomes the first tennis superstar with his revenge win over Bill Johnston, September 6, 1920,West Side Tennis Club
49. Pat Summerall kicks a field goal in the snow, December 14, 1958, Yankee Stadium
50. Chris Chambliss homers the Yankees back into the World Series, October 14, 1976, Yankee Stadium
51. The Rangers beat the Islanders to reach the Stanley Cup finals, May 8, 1979, Madison Square Garden
52. Sugar Ray Robinson melts against Joey Maxim, June 25, 1952, Yankee Stadium
53. Fred Lebow and Grete Waitz run side by side, November 1, 1992, New York City Marathon
54. Joe Louis comes back to KO Billy Conn, June 18, 1941, Polo Grounds
55. The U.S. Open crowns two unique but very different champions, September 9, 1974,West Side Tennis Club
56. At the All-Star Game, Carl Hubbell strikes out Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons, and Joe Cronin . . . in a row, July 10, 1934, Polo Grounds
57. Seabiscuit wins the Brooklyn in a photo finish, June 26, 1937, Aqueduct Race Course
58. Columbia ends Army's winning streak, October 25, 1947, Baker Field
59. Ingemar Johansson's "Toonder and Lightning" strikes Floyd Patterson, June 26, 1959, Yankee Stadium
60. Larry Johnson shocks the Pacers with his four-pointer, June 5, 1999, Madison Square Garden
61. In a match for the aged, Pete Sampras beats Andre Agassi one last time, September 8, 2002, National Tennis Center
62. Jim Corbett has his finest hour in a loss against Jim Jeffries, May 11, 1900, Greater New York Athletic Club, Coney Island
63. Steffi Graf, struggling with her father's arrest, battles Monica Seles, struggling to overcome her stabbing injury, September 9, 1995, National Tennis Center
64. Tony Lazzeri, Joe DiMaggio, and the Yankees make a statement against the Giants and start a new Yankee dynasty, October 2, 1936, Polo Grounds
65. The Giants hold off the Packers for the NFL Championship, December 11, 1938, Polo Grounds
66. Graig Nettles flashes his leather and saves the World Series, October 13, 1978, Yankee Stadium
67. Ned Irish launches college basketball with the first double-header, December 29, 1934, Madison Square Garden
68. New York gets its first glimpse of a sports-mad future, May 27, 1823, Union Course
69. St. John's revs up the Big East, March 12, 1983, Madison Square Garden
70. The "Four Horsemen of Notre Dame" triumph over Army, October 18, 1924, Polo Grounds
71. Chris Evert becomes the "It Girl" with her comeback win, September 4, 1971,West Side Tennis Club
72. Robin Ventura hits a grand slam single, October 17, 1999, Shea Stadium
73. John Starks dunks over Michael Jordan in the Eastern Conference Finals, May 25, 1993, Madison Square Garden
74. Bernard King scores 44 in Game 6 to keep the Knicks alive against the Celtics, May 11, 1984, Madison Square Garden
75. Mike Piazza picks up New York with his post-9/11 game-winning homer, September 21, 2001, Shea Stadium
76. Brooklyn goes bonkers for its "Bums," September 29, 1941, Brooklyn
77. Baseball returns to Brooklyn, June 25, 2001, Keyspan Park
78. Dykstra rolls a homer in NLCS Game 3, October 11, 1986, Shea Stadium
79. The Mets sing the praises of their unsung heroes, October 15, 1969, Shea Stadium
80. Dave DeBusschere saves the NBA Finals, May 8, 1973, Madison Square Garden
81. St. John's gives Joe Lapchick a going-away championship, March 20, 1965, Madison Square Garden
82. NYU topples Fordham's "Seven Blocks of Granite," November 26, 1936, Yankee Stadium
83. Althea Gibson wins the U.S. National Championships, September 8, 1957,West Side Tennis Club
84. Carmen Basilio and Sugar Ray Robinson go to war, September 23, 1957, Yankee Stadium
85. Rocky has to go the distance, July 17, 1954, Yankee Stadium
86. Rod Dixon surges past Geoff Smith in the Marathon, October 23, 1983, Central Park
87. Salvator and Tenny go down to the wire, June 25, 1890, Coney Island Jockey Club
88. The Knicks beat the Celtics in double overtime in the Eastern Conference Finals, April 22, 1973, Madison Square Garden
89. Willie Pep gets revenge against Sandy Saddler, February 11, 1949, Madison Square Garden
90. Eamonn Coghlan breaks Glenn Cunningham's record by winning his seventh Wanamaker Mile, January 30, 1987, Madison Square Garden
91. Rod Laver wins the Grand Slam . . . again, September 8, 1969,West Side Tennis Club
92. Jack Elder leads Notre Dame to victory with a 98-yard interception return, November 30, 1929, Yankee Stadium
93. Monica Seles and Jennifer Capriati introduce power to women's tennis while Martina does her best Jimbo, September 6, 1991, National Tennis Center
94. Henry Armstrong collects another title as Barney Ross hangs on, May 31, 1938, Madison Square Garden Bowl
95. Harry Greb bests Mickey Walker amid a cavalcade of fists, July 2, 1925, Polo Grounds
96. Pete Sampras shows his guts against Alex Corretja, September 5, 1996, National Tennis Center
97. Secretariat shows his stuff, April 7, 1973, Aqueduct Race Course
98. The Giants beat Knute Rockne's Notre Dame All-Stars, December 14, 1930, Polo Grounds
99. Marathon mania reaches its peak, April 3, 1909, Polo Grounds
100. Charles Miller rides (and rides and rides) into the record books, December 10, 1898, Madison Square Garden

On the Road: The Top 25
1. Broadway Joe makes good on his guarantee, January 12, 1969, Orange Bowl, Miami
2. Bucky Dent tops the Green Monster, October 2, 1978, Fenway Park, Boston
3. Babe Ruth calls his home run, October 1, 1932, Wrigley Field, Chicago
4. The Mets finally vanquish Houston in the 16th, October 15, 1986, the Astrodome, Houston
5. Columbia pulls off a stunning upset, January 1, 1934, the Rose Bowl, Pasadena
6. This time around Ralph Terry finds success and happiness in the ninth inning of a Game 7, October 16, 1962, Candlestick Park, San Francisco
7. Mark Messier backs up his guarantee, May 25, 1994, Brendan Byrne Arena, East Rutherford, New Jersey
8. The Knicks finally beat Boston in Game 7, April 29, 1973, Boston Garden, Boston
9. The Giants win but the Dodgers come from 6-1, 8-5 down on the final day against Philadelphia in 14 innings to force a playoff, September 30, 1951, Shibe Park, Philadelphia
10. Babe Ruth hits three homers to finish off St. Louis, October 8, 1928, Sportsman's Park, St. Louis
11. The Yankees resurrect themselves with a 10th-inning win, October 8, 1958, County Stadium, Milwaukee
12. The Rangers win the Stanley Cup after a six-year void, April 13, 1940, Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto
13. Allan Houston sinks Miami, May 16, 1999, Miami Arena, Miami
14. Jim Leyritz powers a Yankees comeback, October 23, 1996, Fulton County Stadium, Atlanta
15. The Jets intercept the Raiders, January 15, 1983, Los Angeles Coliseum, Los Angeles
16. The Silver Fox saves the day, April 7, 1928, Montreal Forum, Montreal
17. Mel Ott homers to win the Series, October 7, 1933, Griffith Stadium,Washington, D.C.
18. Baseball's best team wins its 125th game, October 23, 1998, Jack Murphy Stadium, San Diego
19. Bernard buries the Pistons, April 27, 1984, Joe Louis Arena, Detroit
20. The Mets finally come out on top, October 1, 1973, Wrigley Field, Chicago
21. The Knicks win at the buzzer in double-overtime in the deciding playoff game against the Celtics, March 26, 1952, Boston Garden
22. The Rangers win their forgotten Cup, April 13, 1933, Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto
23. St. John's wins down south, March 22, 1952, Reynolds Coliseum, Raleigh, North Carolina
24. The Mets outlast Atlanta, July 4-5, 1985, Fulton County Stadium, Atlanta
25. The Jets beat the Giants in the biggest preseason game ever, August 17, 1969, Yale Bowl, New Haven

Copyright © 2006 by Stuart Miller. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2006

    Can't put this book down...

    This book is a must for every sports fan in New York. Whether you like the Mets or Yankees, Football or Tennis, Marathoning or Boxing, this book has something for everyone. The author's in depth research and masterful retelling of the stories that make New York's sports history unlike no other city on earth make this book impossible to put down. Miller includes several other shorter lists in addition to the 100 greatest, which is icing (and candles) on the cake. This book has saved me countless hours of holiday shopping too!

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