Welcome back for part two of our countdown! (In case you missed part one, click here!)
This week we focus on the top five most iconic Chicago sports moments. Grab some popcorn and buckle in for the second and final part of our Chicago Sports Countdown!
5) The Phantom Goal
Perhaps the second-most famous “Phantom” in history behind The Phantom of the Opera is Patrick Kane’s Phantom Goal in overtime of Game 6 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals. Aptly coined The Phantom Goal, no one besides Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane seemed to know the puck went in the net initially as the light and sound that normally accompany an NHL goal did not go off and it required a replay review to confirm the goal. Evidently, the puck had snuck past the Philadelphia goaltender and had gotten stuck underneath the goal’s netting. This famous goal not only clinched Chicago’s first Stanley Cup in half of a century, it also launched the Blackhawks dynasty as they proceeded to win two more Stanley Cups in the coming years.
4) The Black Sox Scandal
Shoeless Joe Jackson and seven other members of the Chicago White Sox were accused of accepting money from the mob to throw the 1919 World Series. The scandal prompted baseball owners to appoint Kenesaw Mountain Landis as Major League Baseball’s first commissioner in order to clean up the game. Landis promptly banished the players allegedly involved in the scandal–a move which has captivated the public ever since and been captured in the classic films Eight Men Out and Field of Dreams. Classic novels The Great Gatsby and The Natural were also inspired by the event. While most of the world has forgotten that the Cincinnati Reds were the 1919 World Series champions, people still remember the Black Sox Scandal almost a century later as it have infiltrated almost many segments of American pop culture.
3) A.J. Pierzynski Reaches First Base On Strikeout in Game 2 of the 2005 American League Championship Series
The White Sox hadn’t won a World Series since 1917, but 88 years after the Black Sox Scandal, redemption came to Chicago in the most peculiar way. In the bottom of the 9th with Chicago and Anaheim tied 1-1, White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzysnki apparently struck out to send the game into extra innings. The Angels headed off the field as Pierzynski ran to the first base. What was going on? The umpires reversed their initial call and determined Angels catcher Josh Paul hadn’t caught the pitch and thus hadn’t completed the strikeout as he hadn’t tagged Pierzynski afterwards (if a catcher doesn’t cleanly catch a third strike, he must then tag the batter, who becomes a runner, to complete the strikeout). Pierzynski remained on first. The White Sox went on to score, win that game, and never lose again on their way to a World Series victory. And this strikeout was the pivotal play. Was this a strikeout? You be the judge:
2) Cubs Finally Win World Series–2016
While the White Sox fans had waited 88 years for a World Series title, Cubs had waited a 108 years to enjoy such a feeling. The October Classic had stretched into November in 2016 for Game 7 and Game 7 itself had stretched into the 10th inning–after a 17-minute rain delay followed the 9th. It was all worth the wait. Ben Zobrist earned the World Series MVP and as he gave the Cubs the victory with an RBI-Double in the 10th. Luckily it doesn’t look like the Cubbies will have to wait another 100 years for another championship; they have a strong organization with not only a great Major League roster but also the ability to develop a top-notch minor league system, where future makers of iconic moments might be developing as we speak.
1) Michael Jordan: The Ultimate Sendoff
Michael Jordan concluded his career in Chicago with another now-famous shot. Everyone knew Jordan’s retirement was to follow the 1998 NBA Finals, which the Bulls led 3 games to 2 heading into Game 6 in Utah, which would also host Game 7 if necessary. If Jordan was to win his 6th title of the 90s, he was going to have to do so on the road. And he did so–the vintage Jordan way. Jordan hit a 20-foot jumper over Utah’s Byron Russell with 5.3 seconds left to win the game and capture the Bulls 6th title. He held his shooting pose for an extra second after the shot as if to bask in the moment. It would be Jordan’s last shot as a Chicago Bull and what a way to go out–both for Jordan and our countdown!
What do you think? Did we miss anything important? Want to leave your take on things? Leave a comment below!