Readers' List: Best moments of 2001
From the Page 2 mailbag

'Tis the season for year-end lists.

Here's how Page 2 editors ranked the best sports moments of 2001:

1. Scott Brosius' two-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to tie Game 5 of the World Series

2. The playing of "God Bless America" during the seventh-inning stretch of the Braves-Mets game on Sept. 21

3. Luis Gonzalez's single to win Game 7 of the World Series

4. Barry Bonds' 71st home run

5. Ray Bourque finally lifts the Stanley Cup

6. Tino Martinez's two-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to tie Game 4 of the World Series

7. Michael Jordan's second comeback begins in New York

8. The Bears score two TDs in the final 28 seconds, then stun the Browns in OT

9. Jennifer Capriati wins the Australian Open

10. Tiger Woods wins the Masters

After checking out Page 2's list of the top 10 sports moments of 2001, our readers chimed in with their choices. Examine their picks below and then vote in the poll at right to crown the No. 1 sports moment of the past 12 months.

1. Luis Gonzalez's bloop single wins the World Series (162 letters)

I've been a Yankees fan since I was in my mother's womb, and I was at Game 5 of this year's World Series for Scott Brosius' home run, and even I can't understand how you could put it above Luis Gonzalez's World Series-winning hit. As much as it pains me to say it, beating the three-time defending champs with the greatest reliever on the planet on the mound in the ninth inning of Game 7 is head and shoulders above anything. I will always remember Brosius' home run fondly, but the 2001 Series will always be bittersweet because of Gonzalez's heroics.

Matt DeMazza
Tarrytown, N.Y.

With the whole nation watching in excitement, the most dramatic World Series in recent history came to an unexpected conclusion when Luis Gonzalez slapped his game-winning single off Mariano Rivera in the ninth inning. Similar to the excitement drawn by Edgar Renteria's game-winning single in the 1997 World Series, Gonzalez's hit captivated us all.

With a World Series that was crazy to begin with, the ending just added to the insanity. Who would have thought that with the Yankees just three outs away from their fourth straight title, their streak would come to an abrupt halt.

Most importantly, though, the nation needed something like this to happen. Although there was a larger than normal hope for a Yankees victory, the conclusion, be it for some only a split second, took our minds off of the tragedy of Sept. 11. America needed a break, and Luis Gonzalez delivered.

Adam Kallin
Cooper City, Fla.

Craig Counsell
Luis Gonzalez's single made the D-Backs No. 1 -- and was No. 1 with our readers.
"Poetic justice" doesn't even come close to describing it.

Jenn Lambert
Millersville, Md.

2. Ray Bourque hoists the Stanley Cup (138 letters)

The best moment of 2001 was unquestionably the moment when Joe Sakic immediately skated over and handed Ray Bourque the Stanley Cup. I realize the lack of hockey fans in the United States will keep this from getting to No. 1, but that should not matter. Bourque is everything that is good about sports in this country. He was loyal, played at a high level for a long time, and he appreciates his fans. He was so good, and so loyal to the fans in Beantown, that they even endorsed his being traded to a contender, and then got behind him during the seven-game Finals. There is something to be said when a whole city routes for a player to win the Stanley Cup. On top of all of that, he hoisted the Cup in his final game, and then quietly retired without seeking loads of attention.

Matt S.
Blacksburg, Va.

I'm not a huge hockey fan anymore, and I'm definitely not an Avalance fan, but I watched this whole series just to see if Raymond Bourque could finally get what he deserved. The picture of him hoisting Lord Stanley's cup will forever be in my memory.

Chris Riggi
Hurricane, W.Va.

Ray Bourque
Ray Bourque hoisted the Stanley Cup for the first time in June.
The only moment that brought tears to my eyes. I get misty just thinking about it.

New Jersey

3. Scott Brosius homer wins Game 5 of the World Series (120 letters)
Brosius' home run had to be the most "Unbelievable Insane Twilight Zone I Can't Believe That Just Happened" moment in baseball since Buckner.

Ben Thompson
Nashville, Tenn.

I have to agree with you on Scott Brosius' game-tying homer. If there's such a thing as ending a dynasty with honor, the Yankees managed it in the 2001 World Series. Game 5 was like getting ready to leave the arena after my favorite band finishes their encore, and then realizing they're coming back out for one more song.

Andrew Pushlar
White Plains, N.Y.

4. Lance Armstrong wins his third straight Tour de France (86 letters)

Lance Armstrong
Lance Armstrong's third straight Tour de France win was an amazing achievement.
How about Lance Armstrong looking back at Jan Ulrich, and then dropping him like a bad habit on the famed slopes of l'Alpe d'Huez (Stage 10 of the 2001 Tour de France). That was sheer and utter dominance! You just don't see that type of performance in many sports, much less cycling. Being there in person to witness that was truly dramatic and moving. I wish you guys would look outside the U.S. sometimes!

Lance is the best athlete in the world, bar none, but he hardly ever gets the respect he deserves because he doesn't play football, baseball or basketball. I certainly hope he wins Athlete of the Year at the ESPYs. He has been shafted the past two years!

Adam Zetter
Menlo Park, Calif.

It is inconceiveable to me that Lance Armstrong's winning of his third Tour is not on the list or honorable mention. Comparing a single home run, e.g., either Bond's or Brosius', to what Armstrong accomplished is like comparing walking to Michael Johnson in the 400 meter.

As for MJ, it was a mistake from the beginning, and it continues to be a hype by the press only. It is and was a non-event.

David Black
Clear Lake, Texas

5. Derek Jeter's flip throw in Game 3 of the ALDS (63 letters)
The most dramatic sports moment of 2001 has to be Jeter's play in Game 3 against Oakland. I still can't believe it when I see it. There's no conceivable reason for him being there, let alone to be able to make that flip to Posada. Then Posada's tag just clips Giambi's leg without a mili-second to spare. It's picture-perfect and impossible. Plus, it let the Yankees stay in the series they eventually won, giving them the momentum to get to the World Series. That play is simply unforgettable.

Adam Ruder
Scarsdale, N.Y.

Derek Jeter
Derek Jeter's play in Oakland kept the Yankee Dynasty alive.
Derek Jeter's relay play was not only the best play of the year, but maybe the most heads-up play I have ever seen. I despise the Yankees. I don't much like Jeter, either. But that play was, in a nutshell, the portrait of why the Yankees have been as great as they are.

Sly Bri

Though I am by no means a Yankees advocate, I have to rank Jeter's relay to home plate in Game 3 of the ALCS as the sports moment of the year. Without that throw, the greatest World Series of all-time might never have occurred. Maybe the A's would have won it all, creating the leverage to secure Mr. Giambi's services for 2002. Instead, Jeter's throw seems to have set the stage for years of Yankee dominance to come. Has one play meant so much to one sport in recent memory?

Steve Averett
Charlotte, N.C.

6. Dale Jr. wins in return to Daytona (43 letters)

Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Little E's victory at Daytona was a very emotional moment.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s win in the Pepsi 400 was one of the most emotional things I have ever seen. As a lifelong fan of the Man in Black, I shed a tear on the last lap, knowing that Junior was going to win with Daddy in the passenger seat.

Michael Procton
Chattanooga, Tenn.

7. Cal Ripken's homer in the All-Star Game (32 letters)

Cal Ripken Jr.'s first-pitch homer in the All-Star Game reminded those of us who admire great players that respect sometimes goes both ways. Cal's shot was the ultimate thank you to the fans. And while it might have counted for nothing, the home run's drama foreshadowed the exciting events in the season's second half.

Quinn Hanchette
Los Angeles

8. Goran Ivanesivic wins Wimbledon (18 letters)

This guy had been called "The Best Player to Never Win a Major." After coming so close three times, his emotional win over Patrick Rafter in the fifth set meant he had to trade that in -- for the title of being the first wild card ever to win at Wimbledon.

B. Hansen
Iowa City, Iowa

9. Seventh-inning stretch in New York, Sept. 21 (16 letters)

I think it should be a tie between every baseball game after Sept. 21 where they played "God Bless America" during the seventh-inning stretch. For a long time many Americans were getting sick and tired of the national anthem being played before every game. Now, not only do we demand the National Anthem, but we need more. We need to hear "God Bless America," too. We live in a cynical world, and perhaps now we, as Americans, can take pride and honor in being American.

Joe Novick
Charlottesville, Va.

10. Duke rallies against Maryland in the Final Four (14 letters)
Mike Dunleavy
Duke celebrated two huge comeback wins over Maryland in 2001.

I graduated from Duke last year, so you can probably see where I'm headed with my choice for most dramatic moment, although I'd like to make two amendments. Maybe this is nitpicking, but it was 10 points that Duke came back from instead of nine against Maryland. More important, and more dramatic, was Duke's comeback against the same Maryland team in the Final Four. Duke came back from being 22 down to win, and I'll never forget the feeling after this game that a lot of people thought was lost in the first half. You know who else will never forget? Maryland coach Gary Williams ...

Bryan "Starter" Horowitz
Hasbrouck Heights, N.J.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Allen Iverson beats Lakers in Game 1 of NBA Finals

  • Jennifer Capriati wins Australian Open

  • Arkansas and Ole Miss go to seven OTs in college football

  • Ichiro's throw to nail Terence Long


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