Sports have been around for hundreds of years, and so have the amazing athletes who dominate them. There are moments in sports that go down in history as the greatest ever, and how cool is it that many of these moments were captured. We are able to reminisce and look back at some amazing memories through photographs and video footage. These snapshots in history give us a clear view into that very day and into that very moment these great athletes changed the world of sports forever.
Willie Mays’ Catch
The Willie Mays’ catch is one of the greatest catches in major league baseball history, if not the most famous. Fans refer to his over-the-shoulder basket catch as “The Catch”. During the 1954 World Series, the New York Giants were playing the Cleveland Indians. It was Game 1 in the 8th inning and the score was tied 2-2 when Mays made the catch, robbing Vic Wertz of a base hit. Not only did Willie make the catch, but he hurled the ball into the infield, preventing runners from stealing any bases. The Giants went on to win the game in extra innings, and the World Series altogether.
Pete Rose’s Dive
Pete Rose, also known as “Charlie Hustle”, was one of the best players on the Cincinnati Reds. Have you ever seen players dive for a base headfirst? You can thank Pete Rose for the impressive slide that many (if not all) players use today. Pete was also known for being pretty reckless on the field, crashing into walls and other players regularly. During the 1970 All-Star Game, Indians catcher Ray Fosse suffered a career-altering injury because of one of Pete’s infamous dives. Pete Rose is the MLB’s all-time hits leader, a three-time World Series Champion and a 17 time All-Star. Aside from being one of the greatest, Pete is also one of the most controversial players in baseball history. He was thoroughly involved in betting on baseball, and in 1989 this resulted in a lifetime ban on the gambling.
Terry Bradshaw Flexing
This epic photo was shot as Terry Bradshaw prepared for Super Bowl XIII against the Dallas Cowboys. Terry must have been feeling prepared for the game as he had won with his team in both 1975 and 1976. Some trash talk went on between Terry and Cowboys linebacker Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson prior to the game. Thomas stated, “Bradshaw couldn’t spell “cat” if he spotted the C and the A”. Instead of engaging with Thomas, Terry decided to leave it all on the field. He ended up passing for four touchdowns, the first time this ever happened in Super Bowl history. The Steelers finished with a 35-31 victory, defeating the Rams in Super Bowl XIV and becoming the first four-time champions in league history.
Bobby Orr Flying
Bobby Orr is a Boston Bruins Hall of Fame defense-man, and he is the highlight in this photo. During the 1970 NHL Stanley Cup Finals, it was overtime in Game 4 when Bobby Orr delivered, shooting the game winning goal for the Bruins. The opposing team’s defense-man unintentionally tripped Bobby seconds after the goal. This photo became one of the most classic images in NHL history and came to symbolize Orr’s career.
Vince Lombardi Rides Off Into Victory
Vince Lombardi was the Green Bay Packers Head Coach responsible for earning the team’s nickname “Titletown”. During the 1960’s, he led the Green Bay Packers to 5 NFL championships, including the first two Super Bowls ever, in the years 1966 and 1967. After winning Super Bowl II in Miami, Coach Lombardi was carried off of the field by his players, including lineman Jerry Kramer. After this memorable game, Vince stepped down as Head Coach, later joining the Redskins organization. Unfortunately cancer prevailed in the early 1970’s, but his name and impact is, and will always be legendary. After his death, the Super Bowl trophy was memorably named the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Bill Russell’s Block
Bill Russell was one of the NBA’s greatest defensive players of all time. Not only was he an 11-time champion and a five-time MVP, he ended his career with 21,620 rebounds, second in NBA history. Russell was exceptionally talented at blocking shots and grabbing rebounds, and he had a finesse in doing so, rather than using just force. Unlike many players who swat the ball as hard as they can into the crowd, Bill would alter a shot or pass just enough for his teammates to grab the loose ball. Bill Russell’s blocks changed the way basketball was played forever.
Super Bowl I
Super Bowl I, the first in NFL history, took place on January 15, 1967 between the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs. The Packers ended up stealing the title, winning it 35-10. Instead of being call The Super Bowl, as it is today, it was called the AFL-NFL World Championship Game. Head Coach Vince Lombardi’s most unstoppable running play was donned the “power sweep”, a very basic, but effective play. This photo shows Running back Jim Taylor leading the play, where in this case he ran 56 yards and scored a touchdown. Currently, the Packers have 11 NFL Championships, 2 AFL-NFL Super Bowls, and two modern-day Super Bowls under their belt.
Namath’s Super Bowl
Joe Namath was an NFL quarterback, but was mainly known for his drunken public display of affection on a Live ESPN segment. He is also remembered for his bold statement prior to Super Bowl III. At the time, he was the Jets’ Quarterback and he told the media, “we’re going to win the game. I guarantee it.” Low and behold, in one of the biggest Super Bowl upsets ever, the Jets defeated the Indianapolis Colts. Joe was crowned MVP of the game. The Jets have yet to win a Super Bowl since!
Among being California’s Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger was also a professional bodybuilder. Arnold is considered one of the most important figures in the bodybuilding world and currently owns many gyms and fitness magazines worldwide. In 1965 at only 19 years old, Schwarzenegger won Junior Mr. Europe; this proved to be the start of a successful career. He would go on to win 5 Mr. Universe titles and 7 Mr. Olympia titles. Here Arnold is pictured with one of the most famous stars of the 70’s…the beautiful Raquel Welch.
Phil Mickelson was Arizona State University’s premier amateur golfer. In the year 1990, he led his team to the NCAA Championship. He individually won 3 NCAA championships, and was named first-team All-American four years in a row. The photo below is of a young Phil, and a young Dr. J. After college, Phil went on to compete professionally, dominating the sport of golf. He has 5 Major Championships and a world record of 6 runner-up finishes at the U.S. Open. In the early 2000’s, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods became the biggest names in golf, and they still are today.
Larry And Magic
As it usually goes with the best of the best, rivalries exist, some friendly, some solely competitive. Larry Bird and Magic Johnson played in college and in the pros during the same time, so it was only natural to be pinned up against one another. During their NBA careers, both played for two of the NBA’s biggest rivals, the Lakers and the Celtics. The two teams, and two friends, came head-to-head in the NBA finals three times. The player’s rivalry began when they were in College, Larry at Indiana, and Magic at Michigan State. The two teams battled it out at the 1979 NCAA Championships, Michigan taking the title with a final score of 75-64. This game is a very accurate representation of the two teams today, as Michigan State is one of the NCAA’s most dominant programs and as Indiana State has faded into a losing team.
“Havlicek Stole The Ball”
The audio of this play during the 1965 Eastern Conference Finals may be more famous than the photo itself. Do you remember the announcer screaming, “Havlicek stole the ball! It’s all over!”? The Celtics were leading the 76ers by one-point in Game 7 with only a mere seconds left in the game. The 76ers in-bounded the ball and could have easily upset the defending champs, but John Havlicek had different plans. He stole the ball and held it while the clock ran out. He and the Celtics advanced to the NBA finals where they won their 7th straight title.
Bill Mazeroski’s Walk Off
During Game 7 of the 1960 World Series, Bill Mazeroski of the Pittsburgh Pirates had a walk-off home run. Let us remind you that this is the first and only of its kind. Bill and his team advanced to Game 7, giving the favored NY Yankees a run for their money. It was the bottom of the 9th and the score was tied at 9-9, Bill was up at bat and on the second pitch, he sent the ball over the outfield wall, ending the game in a W for the Pirates. Taking into account that Bill was known for his skills on the field, and not at bat, makes this play that more legendary. The 1960 World Series is also memorable for being the only time the MVP award was given to a player on the losing team.
Not only was Deion Sanders a talented football player, but he also dazzled on the baseball field and in the world of fashion. In 1989, Deion was drafted out of Florida State as the 5th overall draft pick. Deion was known as one of the most athletic players in the league, and was used for offense, defense and special teams. He played in the MLB, leading the National League in triples in 1992, and the NFL, becoming a two-time Super Bowl champion and a Pro Football Hall of Famer. Since most youngsters these days focus primarily on one sport, it is pretty rare we’ll come across an athlete like Deion today.
Hank Aaron Is Crowned King
Hank Aaron is known as the home run king in the MLB. Without cheating and using drugs, he managed to pass Babe Ruth’s incredible record of 715 home runs. He set the record on April 8th, 1974, in the bottom of the fourth inning. Two fans stormed the field, excitedly greeting the new King as he rounded the bases. When Hank reached home plate, a celebration took place as his teammates hauled him onto their shoulders.
Wayne Gretzky Hoists The Cup
Wayne Gretzky is one of the best hockey players of all time and is regarded as a God by many hockey fans. During his first 9 seasons in the NHL, Wayne won the Stanley Cup 4 times. He began his career with a team who later became one of the NHL’s greatest dynasties. However, after winning the Stanley Cup in 1988, he never won it again. He tried for 11 years following 1988 to secure another win, but fell short each time. His number has been retired by not only his team, but respectively by the NHL as a whole.
Shaquille O’Neal And Monica Seles
Shaq and tennis star Monica Seles shared a moment when she decided to join his business venture and become the first female investor in the multi-million dollar sports restaurant in Times Square. This photo was shot at a press conference in New York. Other famous athletes that invested in the chain include Joe Montana and Wayne Gretzky. While we all know the name Shaquille O’Neal and the mark he left on the NBA, Monica isn’t too shabby herself with 9 Grand Slam singles titles, 8 of which are from when she was just a teenager. Their restaurant business, The Official All Star Cafe, sadly went under in 2007.
Jim Brown was a powerhouse on the field, to say the least. His physicality can be seen in the below photo, these tough NY Giants defenders are having quite a tough time bringing Jim down. Jim Brown is not only considered the greatest Cleveland Browns player of all time, but he is also widely regarded as the best running back in NFL history. Although, we have to admit that he hasn’t had much competition with the lacking roster the Browns seem to have every year. The future Hall of Famer was also a standout guard on the basketball team, an All-American lacrosse player, and member of the track-and-field team at Syracuse University.
Wilt Chamberlain earned himself the nickname “The Stilt” for his towering frame and for his athletic ability. Wilt holds the record for most rebounds in an NBA career with a whopping 23,924. He is also the only NBA’er to ever score 100 points in a game, but too bad there’s no video footage to show it. Despite all of his achievements, Wilt has surprisingly only won 2 NBA championships. Many fans and past players attribute this to his “softness” on the court and his unfocused nature.
John Carlos And Tommie Smith
During the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, there was a lot of tension regarding the social injustices occurring across the world. Apartheid in South Africa, the Vietnam War, and a racially unequal America were just a few of the issues at-hand. Sprinters John Carlos and Tommie Smith From the United States can be seen raising awareness while on the podium receiving their Gold and Silver Olympic medals. The two men bowed their heads, raised black-gloved fists in the air and took their shoes off – all to make a statement and bring attention to the injustices and poverty present in the U.S. and across the world. Some people criticized the athletes for turning the Olympics into a political event, while others commended the young men for using their platform to make a difference.
The big match between Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston in 1965 was a very politically charged one, requiring heightened security. Not many spectators were allowed to attend, and the fight was held in a high school gym only filled to half capacity. This was a record low for someone of Muhammad Ali’s caliber. After just one round, the match was over. Ali hooked Liston, sending his opponent to the ground. Sonny Liston was the former boxing champion before Ali had taken the title. This inspirational photo shows Ali celebrating after winning the title World’s Boxing Champion.
Tiger Woods And Greg Norman
Tiger Woods started his golfing career while attending Stanford University. Tiger’s first major championship was the 1995 Masters, he was a 19-year-old college freshman and placed 41st in the tourney. The photo below is of Greg Norman, who seems to be running Tiger through some last minute things before gearing up. Greg ended up tying for 3rd place in the said tournament. Just 2 years later, Tiger won his first Masters, and became the youngest player to ever win and the first African-American to win. Over the years, Tiger has made a name for himself, becoming the world’s best golfer. After numerous injuries and extra-marital affairs threatening his career, he came out on top in 2018 after winning the Tour Championship.
Joe DiMaggio’s 56 Game Hit Streak
Thought 9 World Series championships and 3 MVP awards was impressive? Wait until you hear this. Joe DiMaggio has a 56 game hitting streak! This impressive feat is the most awe-inspiring in sports history to date. With the evolving of the game, the improved athleticism, and the increased technicality of the game, it is very unlikely we will ever see such a record ever again.
In 1972, during the cold war, an eight game series panned out between the Soviet Union and Canada. The heated battle between the two teams showed just how intense the Cold War was, on and off the ice. Canadian goalie Tony Esposito, older brother of Phil Esposito, can be seen on the ice during one of the Summit Series games. Tony is a Hall of Famer, and led his team to four wins, ahead of the Soviets three wins. Canadian fans would celebrate the country’s victory for years to come.
Babe Ruth is a baseball legend, widely known as one of the best hitters to ever grace the game. Babe stunned the crowds with his powerful hits and exciting home runs. Not only was he exquisite when at bat, but he wasn’t too shabby in the field either. Babe was as feared with a bat in his hand as he was when on the pitching mound. When Babe was traded from the Boston Red Sox to the NY Yankees, the Red Sox experienced an 86 year long World Series drought. New York would go on to win, and keep winning, becoming one of baseball’s most feared teams. Babe Ruth retired from the MLB with 714 home runs, and went on to become one of the first inductees into the Baseball’s Hall of Fame.
Ted Williams was and will always be the face of the Red Sox. Ted is regarded as the best overall hitter in the history of the sport. He was the last player to record above a .400 in a single season, and has the highest on base percentage of all time. Not only was he amazing on the field, but Williams was also very active in the military, a fighter pilot during World War II, flying 39 combat missions in Korea. After the Korean War subsided, Ted made his way back into baseball as if he had never left. The only thing that seems to be missing from this incredible player and man’s resume is a World Series win.
Bob Feller High Kick
You don’t see many pitchers with a pitch like Bob Feller’s! Feller was most famous for his leg kick when pitching, but as an eight-time All-Star pitcher, we’re not judging his technique! Bob spent most of his years with the Cleveland Indians, helping to lead the team to a World Series win in 1948. Not only was Bob extremely athletic on the field, but he also carried that over to the U.S. Navy, and became the first professional athlete to volunteer for military service during World War II. When Feller retired, he was regarded as one of baseball’s most well-respected pitchers.
Roger Bannister Sub Four Minute Mile
Back in the mid-1990’s, running a four minute mile was said to be impossible. But in 1954, Roger Bannister proved everyone wrong. The Harrow, England native broke the record with an amazing 3 minute and 59.4 second time. Even though his record was beaten just a mere 46 days later, he was one of the world’s most celebrate and respected athletes. His amazing run paved the way for other athletes, and he is always mentioned when new records are broken each year. After his career as a runner, he went on to become a world-renowned neurologist. This amazing photo shows the second Roger crossed the finish line, the shock and excitement apparent on the bystander’s faces. Roger’s facial expression is a mix of exhaustion and excitement as well.
Michael Jordan And His Super Cars
As an extremely successful athlete, it only makes sense that Michael Jordan has many nice things, including luxurious cars. Not only did he collect sports cars, but he also collected and smoked high-end cigars. If his opponents weren’t intimidated by his basketball skills, they sure were when they saw him roll up to the game in a Ferrari or Aston Martin. Michael even had a Ferrari F335 made after his signature shoe, the Air Jordan XIV.
Jesse Owens 1936
In 1936 during the Berlin Olympics, Adolf Hitler used the games as a way to broadcast Germany’s supremacy over the rest of the world. The dictator hoped the podium would be filled with blonde hair, blue eyed Germans, and no one else. Jesse Owens, an American sprinter, set out to prove Hitler wrong, dominating the podium and the Olympics with four gold medals. Not only did he crush Hitler’s wishes, he also set multiple world records in the making. Jesse Owens stood up to the dictator in a scary, hostile environment. We commend you, Jesse Owens, for your bravery and your resilience.
Red Auerbach 1963 ECF Champs
Celtics coach Red Auerbach solidified the cigar in mouth post-win celebration. From 1957 to 1966, the decorated head coach and his team went on to win 9 championships in a 10-season span. Auerbach solidified the cigar image, a staple in locker room celebrations today. He and his team can be seen celebrating post-win in this photograph.
Super Bowl IV
Super Bowl IV was the final time the AFL and the NFL played against one another. The game took place on January 11, 1970 and included the Kansas City Chiefs and the Minnesota Vikings. Many fans felt that the NFL was the clear-cut winner, but the AFL proved everyone wrong by dominating from the first play. The game was held in New Orleans’ Tulane Stadium and was remembered for being extremely muddy. #3 Jan Stenerud was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1991 after his performance in this game. Jan hit three field goals and converted on two extra points.
First World Series
The first ever World Series was held in the year 1903 between the Boston Americans and the Pittsburgh Pirates. The 9-game series was at Boston’s Huntington Avenue Grounds, now home to Boston University’s athletic program. Boston defeated Pittsburgh 5 games to 3, the fans can be seen storming the field after the victory. Fans storming the field after a game was still a pretty common phenomenon up until a few years ago. Security is now heightened and fans are banned from such close proximity to players.
First NBA Finals
The first ever NBA Finals were held in the year 1947 between the Chicago Stags and the Philadelphia Warriors. Before the NBA came to be, the Basketball Association of America (BAA) was in charge of all things professional basketball. The National Basketball League (NBL) later merged with the BAA, becoming the NBA. Interestingly enough, the NBA consider all BAA stats to be their own, so the 1947 finals are considered the NBA finals and not the BAA finals.
First Stanley Cup Finals
The first ever NHL Stanley Cup Finals were held in the year 1927 between the Ottawa Senators and the Boston Bruins. The Senators won the series 2-0, and it’s their most recent victory since! The year before the Stanley Cup, the World Hockey League was purchased by the National Hockey League, this game serving as the first time in history that two NHL teams, and only NHL teams, were squaring off.
Ali’s First Fight
Muhammad Ali’s first professional fight was at Freedom Hall in Louisville against West Virginia policeman, Tunney Hunsaker. The arena was sold out, fans excited to see the highly anticipated match. Ali won by unanimous vote, but we’re happy to hear the 2 boxers became good friends afterwards. This big fight earned Ali his well-respected name, and from then on he was remembered as the world’s greatest boxer. Ali retired from the sport in 1981 and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 1984. After fighting the disease for 32 years, Ali succumbed in 2016 in his home in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Ali Wins Gold
Ali went to the Olympics once, and this was a shot from his anticipated appearance. Aside from being known as an incredible boxer, Ali is also remembered for his impact on the civil rights movement. Ali lit the torch at the Atlanta Summer Games in 1996 as a well-respected athlete and as an overall good man.