Houston's Top Ten Sports Moments: Another View
The bosses came out their Top 10 Greatest Houston Sports Moments today, so I thought I would share mine.
1. September 25, 1986: The magic number for the Houston Astros to clinch the NL West is one game. The Astros are playing a midweek day game against the San Francisco Giants, the team that just happens to be in second place. An Astros win and the Astros clinch a playoff spot. On the mound that day is Houston Astros ace Mike Scott. And Scott does something that no other pitcher in major league history has ever done. He tosses a 13-strike-out no-hitter to clinch the pennant for the Astros.
2. June 22, 1994: Welcome to Game Seven of the NBA Finals, the Houston Rockets against the New York Knicks. Houston is in a frenzy, and for once, the Rockets actually hold the heart of the city. Behind the play of series MVP Hakeem Olajuwon, the Rockets defeat the Knicks 90-84 as the Rockets win the first world title that a Houston team has ever won.
3. November 20, 1978: The Houston Oilers are hosting the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football. The nation is being treated to their first major glimpse of Luv Ya Blue, and a rookie running back named Earl Campbell puts on one of the most impressive showings in Monday Night Football history. Campbell runs for 199 yards and four TDs in the Oilers 35-30 win, including this 81-yard run late in the fourth quarter that clinches the win.
4. September 8, 2002: It's the first regular season game in Houston Texans history. They're playing on Sunday night before a national audience. Reliant Stadium is packed. And the Texans are playing the hated Dallas Cowboys. Since this is the first game in team history, the Texans are big underdogs. Which helps to make it all of the more sweeter when the Texans pull off the 19-10 upset. Unfortunately, things have been all downhill from there for the Texans.
5. January 20, 1968: For a time it was known as the Game of the Century, the number-one ranked UCLA Bruins venturing into the Astrodome to play the number-two ranked Houston Cougars. Lew Alcindor, one of the game's greatest players, was going up against Elvin Hayes, another of the greats. John Wooden was coaching the Bruins, and Guy V. Lewis was coaching the Coogs.
Lewis was the mastermind behind the game, the first of a kind. The first basketball game played in a domed stadium before a 50,000-plus crowd, and on national television. These games are now taken for granted. But in 1968, it was something really special. Especially after the Cougars defeated UCLA 71-69.
And can someone, please, explain to me why Coach Lewis isn't in the Basketball Hall of Fame?
6. September 26, 1981: The Astros were one and a half games ahead of the Cincinnati Reds, and they were struggling to hold on to that lead as they sought to make the playoffs for a second straight year. This was the strike year, and if the Astros could hold off the Reds, they would face the winner of the season's first half, the L.A. Dodgers in the first round. Nolan Ryan strode out to the mound to face the Dodgers that day, and he pitched one of the great games of his career, no-hitting the Dodgers and leading the Astros to the 5-0 win. He struck out 11 that day. What made it all that much better was that it was Ryan's fifth career no-hitter, which gave him the major league record, which he had shared with Dodger great Sandy Koufax.
7. June 28, 2007: The Astros were in the midst of the first of rather several disappointing seasons. But on this night, facing the Colorado Rockies, Craig Biggio, with his third hit of the game, accomplished something that no other Astro player has ever done: he got his 3,000th hit, putting the cap on what should be a first-ballot selection to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
8. October 19, 2005: The Houston Astros had made the NLCS three times in their history, losing all of them in heart breaking fashion. This was their fourth visit, and with the opportunity to clinch a trip to the World Series in front of a home crowd in Game Five, the Astros were instead stunned as Albert Pujols hit a two-out, three-run ninth-inning homer to win the game for the Cards. But two days later, in St. Louis, with Roy Oswalt on the mound, the Astros roared to the 5-1 win to advance to the first World Series in team history.
9. June 6, 1995: Game One of the NBA Finals between the Houston Rockets and the Orlando Magic. The Magic were heavily favored over the Rockets, and at one point in Game One, the Magic were up by 20 points. The Rockets played some fantastic second-half basketball, but were still down by three with just a little under eight seconds late. Nick Anderson was at the line, shooting free throws for the Magic, and if he makes just one shot, the Rockets lose. But Anderson misses four straight free throw attempts, and with time running out, Kenny Smith nails a three to send the game to overtime, which the Rockets then win 120-118 on their way to the four-game sweep.
10. January 6, 1980: The Houston Oilers lose a heartbreaker to the Pittsburgh Steelers, aided by a bad call that cost the Oilers a touchdown. This is the second year the Oilers have lost in the AFC Championship Game to the Steelers. The Oilers arrive back in Houston and take buses to the Astrodome, which is packed with 70,000 fans - and an entire city watching on television - as the Oilers are treated as champions.
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