Saturday, March 10, 2007

Memorable Cleveland Wins

I was doing a little surfing and stumbled across this list of Cleveland's greatest wins since 1980. It's a pretty good list, and reminds you why you bother with these damn teams. Cleveland teams are a lot like life--you know what happens at the end, but you can still have a hell of a lot of fun along the way.

I'm not sure I'd displace any of the games that are listed in this guy's top ten, but there are a few other candidates that I'd like to toss out for consideration:

Game 1, 1995 ALDS -- Cleveland 5, Boston 4. Tony Pena homers in the bottom of the 13th to give the Tribe their first post-season victory since 1948. Since this game took place on a Tuesday evening and Pena's ball left the yard around 12:45 a.m. on Wednesday, Indians fans woke up to their first taste of what were to be many groggy October mornings over the course of the next six years.

Game 3, 1997 ALCS -- Cleveland 2, Baltimore 1. You remember this one, right? Bottom of the 12th, one out, Vizquel's up. Omar squares to bunt and misses the ball (that's my story, and I'm stickin' to it). The ball gets by Lenny Webster, and Marquis Grissom comes racing in to score the winning run.

The Impossible Return -- On August 5, 2001, the Indians trailed the Seattle Mariners 14-2 after six innings. The Tribe went on to score 3 in the 7th, 4 in the 8th and 5 in the 9th to tie it, and won it in the 11th when Jolbert Cabrera singled to left to score Kenny Lofton. Click here to watch a great recap of the game.

Cleveland 37, Pittsburgh 31 -- This was one of the best Browns v. Steelers games ever played. On November 23, 1986, the Browns and Steelers were knotted up 31-31 at the end of regulation, thanks in no small part to a game saving tackle by Matt Bahr on a kickoff. On the second possession of OT, Bernie hit Webster Slaughter on a 36 yard touchdown strike. You can almost hear Nev Chandler now, can't you?

"Strock Around the Clock" -- Cleveland 28, Houston 23. On a snowy December day, Don Strock came off the bench to lead a 16 point comeback to beat Jerry Glanville's Oilers in the last game of the 1988 regular season and clinch a playoff spot for a battered Browns team.

The Marshmallow Game --Game 2 of 1992 NBA Eastern Conference finals. After the Cavs were beaten 103-89 by the Bulls in Game 1, the Chicago media decided that the Cavs were "marshmallows" and said so in print. These comments lit a fire under the Cavs, who went on to destroy the Bulls 107-81 in Game 2. Michael Jordan, who was held to 20 points, thanked the Chicago media after the game.

Anyway, the Tribe lost to the Braves in 1995, to the Marlins in 1997 and lost their divisional series to the Mariners in 2001. Bernie got to the Super Bowl, but not in a Browns uniform, and Strock's magic wasn't enough the following week, when they lost to Houston in a Christmas Eve playoff rematch. As for the Cavs, well, at least they had one good day against Michael Jordan.

Like I said, no happy endings, but lots of fun along the way.


old town brown said...

"Cleveland teams are a lot like life--you know what happens at the end, but you can still have a hell of a lot of fun along the way." That might be the single best line ever written by a Cleveland sports journalist or blogger. Thank you for such great writing Rhino...I have never previously commented, but always look forward to checking out your and Vinny's page. Here's hoping for another Joe DeLamielleure or Tom Deleone before next season.

Hornless Rhino said...

Thanks for your comment, Old Town Brown. I appreciate it.