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Classic St. Patrick's Day

Murray: They pronounce it how in Boston?

Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Classic Boston moments

ESPN Classic looks back at some of the most memorable moments in Boston sports history.

April 20, 1912
MLB: Two new ballparks open today in the American League -- Navin Field in Detroit and Fenway Park in Boston. Beside celebrating the parks, the fans also get to celebrate 11-inning victories behind the play of two future Hall of Famers.

An estimated crowd of 26,000 (24,384 paid) fills the new concrete ballpark in Detroit. Every seat is taken and thousands stand around the borders of the outfield, necessitating ground rules which limit the length of any hit to two bases. Ty Cobb stars for the Tigers, with two hits, two steals (including one of home) and two outstanding catches in center-field. The Tigers win 6-5 on pitcher George Mullin's run-scoring single in the 11th inning.

In Boston, the Red Sox finally get to play in Fenway after several rainouts. The estimated crowd of 27,000 sees the home team beat New York, 7-6, as Tris Speaker knocks in the winning run in the 11th.

October 9, 1916
MLB: Before Babe Ruth became the greatest slugger in baseball, he was one of the game's top pitchers. The Boston Red Sox southpaw was 23-12 with an American League-leading 1.75 ERA in 323 2/3 innings during the 1916 season.

Today in Boston, in Game 2 of the World Series, Ruth pitches a Series record 14-inning complete game as he beats the Brooklyn Robins 2-1 in the longest game in Series history. Ruth allows six hits, walks three and strikes out four. The only run he allows comes in the first inning when Hy Myers, who had hit only three homers all season, wallops an inside-the-parker.

This is Ruth's only appearance in the Series, which will be won by Boston in five games. At the plate, he goes 0-for-5.

September 11, 1918
MLB: Boston concludes a brilliant stretch in which it wins five of the first 15 World Series. In going 5-for-5 in the Series, the Red Sox gain their latest crown with a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs. Carl Mays pitches a three-hitter in the sixth game as they take the Series four games to two.

The Red Sox score both their runs in the third inning without benefit of a hit. Two walks by Lefty Tyler put the runners on base and they score with two outs when right-fielder Max Flack fluffs clean-up hitter George Whiteman's line drive.

Whiteman is 35 years old and only has played in 86 regular-season games, over three seasons. This is his final game in the majors and he goes out in grand fashion when he robs pinch-hitter Turner Barber of an extra-base hit with an outstanding catch in left-field. He injures himself on the play and is replaced later in the inning by Babe Ruth. The Babe had won Games 1 and 4 as a pitcher, allowing just two runs in 17 innings.

The Red Sox have yet to win another Series.

September 28, 1941
MLB: The idea of his .39955 batting average being rounded up to .400 doesn't sit well with Ted Williams. So, on the final day of the season, Williams refuses to sit out and risks his ".400" average. The 23-year-old Boston Red Sox cleanup-hitter raps his major league-leading 37th homer and three singles in five at-bats in the opener of a doubleheader against the Philadelphia Athletics, raising his average to .404.

The Splendid Splinter doesn't sit out the nightcap either, getting a double and single in three at-bats in a game called after eight innings because of darkness. He finishes the season at .406, the first player to hit .400 since Bill Terry in 1930 and the last to do it this century. He goes 185-for-456 with 120 RBIs. He also leads the majors with 135 runs and 145 walks while striking out just 27 times.

April 13, 1957
NBA: It's not the veterans but two rookies and a second-year player who are instrumental in the Boston Celtics winning their first NBA championship. The youngsters thrive under the Game 7 pressure as the Celtics win a thriller, 125-123, over the St. Louis Hawks in double overtime in Boston Garden.

Forward Tommy Heinsohn, the Rookie of the Year, scores 37 points before fouling out in the second OT. Fellow rookie Bill Russell grabs 32 rebounds and scores 19 points. Second-year forward Frank Ramsey, on loan from the Army, puts the Celtics ahead for good at 122-121 with a foul shot with 1:35 left and then increases the lead to three with a long hander 20 seconds later. He finishes with 16 points.

Boston's veteran starting backcourt of Bob Cousy (12 points) and Bill Sharman (nine) account for just 21 points.

The Hawks' Bob Pettit, who scores a game-high 39 points, sends the game into overtime with two foul shots with six seconds left in the fourth quarter. Heinsohn's layup with 15 seconds remaining in the first overtime puts Boston up 113-111, but the Hawks' Jack Coleman ties the game on a one-hander.

Before the game, Celtics coach Red Auerbach and Hawks owner Ben Kerner shake hands. Earlier in the series, Auerbach had punched Kerner after they got into a heated argument. The title is the first of 11 the Celtics will win in 13 seasons.

June 17, 1960
MLB: Just two weeks ago, 41-year-old Ted Williams was considering retiring. "I was awfully close to quitting," the Boston Red Sox slugger says. "I had a bad cold, was feeling bad and I wasn't hitting good. Then I hit a couple against the wind and I decided to stay with it."

Tonight, Williams is delighted with his decision to continue. The Splendid Splinter becomes the fourth player to reach 500 home runs with his drive over the left-center-field fence in Cleveland off Wynn Hawkins. When he arrives at home plate, he has a big grin. His teammates enthusiastically greet him when he comes into the dugout.

"Sure, the homer was a thrill," Williams says. "It was one of my goals. If this were August, I might retire. But now I want to play out the year if I can." The two-run homer, Williams' eighth of the season in just 15 starts, gives the Red Sox a 3-1 victory. He will hit 29 homers, in just 310 at-bats, and retire at the end of the season with 521 homers.

April 28, 1966
NBA: Boston coach Red Auerbach lights one final victory cigar. The Celtics win their eighth consecutive championship, and ninth in 10 years, with a 95-93 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 7 in Boston.

The game is not as close as the final score indicates. The Celtics score the first 10 points of the game and increase their lead to 59-40 early in the third period. They have a 76-60 edge entering the fourth quarter. With less than 30 seconds left, Auerbach lights up after a Boston basket, believing the game clinched. The Lakers, who outscore the Celtics 33-19 in the fourth period, get two late baskets to make the final score close.

Bill Russell, who has been named to replace Auerbach as coach, scores a team-high 25 points and grabs a game-high 32 rebounds. Auerbach, 48, will remain as Boston's general manager.

Jerry West leads the Lakers with 36 points, but Elgin Baylor is held to 18, with only two in the first half, as Tom Sanders does an outstanding job on the acrobatic forward.

May 5, 1969
NBA: Finishing fourth in the Eastern Division, it appeared that the aging Boston Celtics didn't have much of a chance to continue their dynasty. But they overcame the homecourt advantage of the 76ers and Knicks to reach the Finals.

Their opposition is the Los Angeles Lakers, who not only have Elgin Baylor and Jerry West, but this season traded for Wilt Chamberlain. Wilt was supposed to make the team invincible. The Lakers are up 3-2 before Boston won at home to force today's seventh game in Los Angeles.

The Celtics take charge from the start and lead 100-85 with nine minutes left. But with Chamberlain on the bench with a minor injury, the Lakers cut their deficit to 103-102. Then Don Nelson breaks the Lakers' hearts when his jumper hits the back of the rim, bounces high in the air, and goes in.

The Celtics win, 108-106. It is their 11th championship in 13 years, all with Bill Russell at center. For the last three seasons, Russell also has been the team's coach (it wins two titles in that span). This turns out to be the last game for Russell, 35, with Boston, both as a player and coach. It also is the final game for Sam Jones, also 35.

West, despite being hampered by a leg injury, scores 42 points and is named the Finals' MVP after averaging 37.9 against Boston.

May 10, 1970
NHL: Though just 22, the legend of Bobby Orr continues to grow. He puts the finishing touch on Boston's first Stanley Cup in 29 years by scoring one of the most acrobatic goals in hockey history.

Early in overtime of today's Game 4 in Boston, the Bruins star sets things in motion when he outraces the Blues' Larry Keenan to a loose puck. Orr passes to teammate Derek Sanderson in the corner and then dashes towards the crease. Sanderson waits just long enough before sliding the puck back to the charging defenseman.

Orr slips the game-winner past goalie Glenn Hall just before he is sent flying, courtesy of a full-fledged leg trip by Noel Picard. The dramatic goal is caught on camera and the image of Orr in the air is sure to remain in the minds of hockey fans for decades to come.

"Honest, I really don't know how it went in," says Orr.

The goal gives the Bruins a 4-3 victory, marking the third consecutive year the Blues are swept in the finals.

MAy 12, 1974
NBA: For the first six games of the NBA Finals, the Celtics played Milwaukee center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar straight up. Today in Game 7, Boston coach Tom Heinsohn changes his strategy -- and it works to perfection.

"Dave Cowens got in front of him and Paul Silas and Don Nelson helped out behind," says John Havlicek, the Finals MVP. "It disrupted them and they couldn't quite make the adjustment."

With the Celtics ganging up on the 7-foot-2 Abdul-Jabbar, they rolled to a 102-87 victory for their first title since Bill Russell retired five years ago. After scoring 14 points in the first period, Abdul-Jabbar is held to only three shots -- and no points -- in the next 18 minutes as the Celtics race out to a 65-50 lead midway through the third quarter.

Abdul-Jabbar is held to a playoff low of 21 shots and 26 points. Besides his strong defensive game, the 6-foot-9 Cowens also leads the Celtics offense with 28 points as Boston wins for the third time in four games in Milwaukee.

October 21, 1975
MLB: The sixth game of the World Series will eventually belong to Carlton Fisk, but even before his at-bat in the 12th inning, there's plenty of drama. The Cincinnati Reds rally from a 3-0 deficit and are four outs away from the world championship when Boston's Bernie Carbo pinch-hits a three-run homer into Fenway Park's centerfield bleachers to tie the game 6-6 in the eighth inning.

The Red Sox have a chance to win in the ninth, but blow a bases-loaded, nobody-out situation. When Pete Rose comes to bat in the 10th, he says to Fisk, Boston's catcher, "This is some kind of game, isn't it?" Fisk replies, "Some kind of game."

It gets even better. In the 11th, Boston's Dwight Evans robs Joe Morgan, preserving the tie with a sensational catch against the rightfield seats and starting a double play. Leading off the bottom of the 12th, Fisk launches a long drive down the leftfield line off Pat Darcy. Worried that the ball might go foul, he furiously waves his hands for the ball to stay fair. It does, ricocheting off the foul pole. Boston's 7-6 victory evens the Series at three games apiece.

"I made sure I touched every base," Fisk says. "Even if I had to straight-arm people or knock them down, I made sure I touched every bit of white I saw out there."

June 4, 1976
NBA: It is likely the greatest game in NBA history, the triple-overtime thriller between the Boston Celtics and Phoenix Suns in the fifth game of the finals. John Havlicek has a chance to win it in regulation for the Celtics, but he makes only one of two free throws with 19 seconds left and the game goes into OT.

It is the second overtime that makes this game really special. Incredibly, seven points are scored in the final five seconds. Curtis Perry's jumper puts the Suns up 110-109, but then Havlicek banks in a lunging jumper. The crowd at Boston Garden storms the court, thinking the game is over.

But the referees put a second back on the clock. When they do, a fan attacks Richie Powers, one of the officials. Rather than taking the ball out from under the Boston basket, guard Paul Westphal shrewdly calls a timeout for the Suns, knowing they don't have any left. This results in a technical, which Jo Jo White converts for a 112-110 lead. But now the Suns can take the ball out at half court.

The strategy works as Garfield Heard takes the inbounds pass and beats the buzzer with a high arching jumper from beyond the top of the key, with Don Nelson's hand in his face.

In the third overtime, substitute Glenn McDonald, playing only because Paul Silas fouled out, scores six points as the Celtics break a 118-118 tie and earn a 128-126 victory.

September 12, 1979
MLB: Carl Yastrzemski, the man who replaced Ted Williams in left field for the Boston Red Sox, reaches a milestone that not even the Splendid Splinter could attain.

The 40-year-old Yaz achieves his goal of 3,000 hits and 400 homers when he grounds a single to right off the Yankees' Jim Beattie in the eighth inning of Boston's 9-2 win at Fenway Park. The crowd of 34,337 chants "Yaz, Yaz, Yaz" as his son, Carl Michael Yastrzemski Jr., is the first to reach him at first base.

After the game, Yaz gives a gold watch to Red Sox bullpen coach Walt Hriniak. The inscription on the back says: "To Walt: Thanks. Wouldn't Have Made 400-3,000 Without You."

The only three players to achieve that milestone are Stan Musial, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron (Eddie Murray, Dave Winfield and Cal Ripken have also joined the 400/3,000 club). Yaz is the 15th player to reach 3,000 hits, but only the second American Leaguer to do so since 1925 (Al Kaline in 1974 was the other).

May 14, 1981
NBA: Houston Rockets center Moses Malone predicts the Boston Celtics will be drinking Gatorade, not champagne, after Game 6 of the Finals. Wrong.

The Celtics are gulping champagne after winning their first title in the Bird era. Larry Bird, in his second season with Boston, had scored only 8, 8 and 12 points in the previous three games, but breaks out tonight with 27 points, 13 rebounds and five assists in Boston's 102-91 victory in Houston.

After the Rockets close a 17-point deficit to 86-83, Bird scores seven points in 2 1/2 minutes. "They came close, but I knew we were going to win," says Bird, who shot 7-of-10 in the second half. "The coach (Bill Fitch) kept calling my play and I knew I could make it."

The Celtics' other forward, Cornbread Maxwell, is voted the Finals MVP. He scores 19 and has five assists. While this is Boston's 14th NBA title, it is the first for every member of the team.

November 23, 1984
College football: On a wing and prayer, Boston College shows it's not a fluke, but Flutie. That's Doug Flutie, who will clinch the Heisman Trophy with one magnificent "Hail Mary" throw.

Trailing 45-41 with six seconds left and the ball on Miami's 48-yard line, Flutie calls for "Flood Tip," Boston College's version of everybody go deep. The 5-foot-9 3/4 quarterback scrambles back and to his right, giving four receivers time to reach the end zone. From his own 37-yard line, he plants his left foot and lets it fly, 64 yards in the air.

No tip is needed. The ball goes over two Miami defenders and settles poetically into the waiting arms of Flutie's roommate, Gerard Phelan, a yard deep in the end zone. The touchdown gives the Eagles an incredible 47-45 victory over the defending national champions in Miami's Orange Bowl.

Earlier in the game, Flutie had become the first to ever pass for more than 10,000 yards in a major-college career. Until today, no two college quarterbacks had ever surpassed 300 yards apiece in one game. Flutie finishes with 472 yards, while Miami's Bernie Kosar throws for 447.

April 26, 1986
MLB: Roger Clemens accomplishes what no strikeout pitcher has ever done before. Not Walter Johnson, not Bob Feller, not Sandy Koufax, not Nolan Ryan. The flame-throwing Boston Red Sox right-hander becomes the first to strike out 20 batters in a nine-inning game.

Clemens has fanned 18 Seattle Mariners going into the ninth. Then he whiffs Spike Owen before striking out Phil Bradley for the fourth time to break the record of 19 set by Steve Carlton (1969) and matched by Tom Seaver (1970) and Ryan (1974). Boston's 3-1 victory ends with Clemens retiring Ken Phelps on a grounder.

"The Rocket" also ties the American League record of eight consecutive strikeouts (aided by first baseman Don Baylor's error on a foul pop during the streak). Amazingly, Clemens does not walk a batter. He allows only three hits, with Seattle's run coming on a Gorman Thomas homer. It is the 20th career victory for the 23-year-old Clemens, who is in his third season with Boston.

Clemens will duplicate his 20-strikeout, no-walk performance 10 years later, this time against the Detroit Tigers. It will be his 192nd, and last, victory for Boston.

June 8, 1986
MLB: Having lost only once all season at Boston Garden, it is expected the Celtics will wrap up their third championship of the 80s today. With Larry Bird at the top of his game, the Celtics deliver.

Bird turns the parquet floor into his personal stage with his third triple-double of the playoffs and second of the Finals. In winning his second Finals MVP, he scores 29 points, grabs 11 rebounds and has 12 assists in leading the Celtics to a 114-97 pounding of the Houston Rockets in Game 6.

"Larry Bird," says Boston coach K.C. Jones, "is where he wants to be. He has reached the pinnacle of basketball."

"I saw him take on five guys by himself," said Houston's Jim Petersen. "He's the best. At times, he doesn't seem to need teammates."

The Celtics are giddy in the locker room, acting more like teenagers who have won a high school title. "And we get $45,000, too," says guard Danny Ainge, slapping high fives with everyone. "Pow. We get $45,000, too."

May 26, 1987
NBA: Once, it was John Havlicek who stole the ball. Today, it's Larry Bird.

The Detroit Pistons are poised to take a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference finals in Boston Garden. With the Celtics trailing by a point, Bird's shot is blocked by rookie Dennis Rodman and the ball goes out of bounds off Boston's Jerry Sichting with five seconds left.

Pistons guard Isiah Thomas, whose jumper had given Detroit a 107-106 lead with 17 seconds left, takes the ball out from the side, and lofts a pass to center Bill Laimbeer, who is alone and has his arms up near Boston's basket.

Out of nowhere comes Bird, who anticipates the throw as he leaves his man. He intercepts the toss and almost instantly passes to a cutting Dennis Johnson, whose layup with a second left gives the Celtics a 108-107 victory. Bird finishes with 36 points, 12 rebounds, nine assists and, yes, one steal.

The Pistons will win Game 6 at home, but the Celtics will take the series with a seventh-game victory in Boston.

May 22, 1988
NBA: It's the seventh game of the Eastern Conference semifinals and on the Boston bench, the players are saying the duel between Larry Bird and Atlanta's Dominique Wilkins "is like the shootout at the old corral."

The modern-day gunslingers are firing one bull's-eye after another. Wilkins is phenomenal, scoring 47 points, including 16 in the final period. But it's not enough. The Celtics win 118-116 in Boston Garden, thanks to the heroics of the sharpshooting Bird.

Larry adds to his legend by scoring 20 points in the fourth quarter, hitting nine of 10 shots from the field, and finishes with 34 points despite the tight defense of Wilkins. "I've seen so many of Larry's fourth quarters," says Boston assistant coach Jimmy Rodgers, "but I don't ever remember him having a fourth quarter like that. And you know ... it was absolutely necessary. Everything he did was significant."

When Wilkins walks to the foul line with a second to go and the Hawks trailing by three, he tells Celtics teammates Kevin McHale and Robert Parrish, "Great game."

November 20, 1993
College Football: A week ago, Notre Dame upset top-ranked Florida State. Today, it's the Fighting Irish who are stunned.

Glenn Foley's fourth touchdown pass gives the Eagles a 38-17 lead with 11:23 left in the game. But Notre Dame roars back with 22 points to take a 39-38 edge with 69 seconds remaining.

Now, it's Boston College's turn to rally. Foley, who thought the Irish rubbed it in last year during a 54-7 pasting, passes for 51 yards on four completions (in seven attempts) to move the Eagles to Notre Dame's 24, setting up a 41-yard field-goal attempt for David Gordon.

Gordon is a walk-on transfer student from the University of Vermont, where he played soccer. Earlier in the season, the son of the owner of the Hartford Whalers had missed a potential game-winning 40-yard field goal in a haunting 22-21 loss to Northwestern. Kicking at the north end of Notre Dame Stadium, which is overlooked by the famous 14-story mosaic of "Touchdown Jesus," Gordon drills a low kick on the game's final play.

When it goes between the uprights, Boston College has a 41-39 upset, its eighth straight victory. And in the process, he ends the Irish's 17-game winning streak and short reign as No. 1.

"Who are they laughing at now?" says BC tackle Pete Kendall, remembering last year's licking. "They're not laughing at us, baby."

September 18, 1996
MLB: It's another whiff of history for Boston Red Sox pitcher Roger Clemens, who notches 20 strikeouts against the Detroit Tigers, tying his own record set 10 years earlier. Incredibly, just as he did against the Seattle Mariners on April 29, 1986, Clemens does not walk a batter.

Clemens is the only major leaguer to record 20 strikeouts in a nine-inning game. Throwing up to 96 mph, the 34-year-old Rocket holds Detroit to four hits in his 4-0 victory at Tiger Stadium. The Tigers don't even manage to hit a ball past the infield until the sixth inning.

Clemens strikes out at least two batters in all but the ninth inning and three times strikes out the side (second, fifth and sixth innings). With 19 strikeouts entering the ninth, Clemens has a chance to break his record, but the first two outs come on a popout by Alan Trammell and a fly to left by Tony Clark, who had already fanned three times. But Clemens' favorite victim, Travis Fryman, fittingly provides the final strikeout -- his fourth whiff in as many at-bats.

With the victory, Clemens ties Cy Young for both victories by a Red Sox pitcher (192) and most shutouts (38). It is Clemens' last victory for Boston as he will sign as a free agent with the Toronto Blue Jays after the season.

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