The 10 Most Devastating Moments in Los Angeles Sports History
Just like any other city, Los Angeles based teams have had their moments that were charming and others that were alarming.
In light of the recent Manny affairs and considering the fact that the City of Angels has not won a major noncollegiate championship in several years, it seems like a good time to delve into the most damaging, shocking and upsetting moments in L.A. sports history.
Although highly successful at times, the mainstays -- the Lakers and Trojans -- have run into disasters. And so have the Dodgers, Angels, Clippers (I know, that one's a no brainer).
And how about those other teams?
Even though many people aren't aware, L.A. does indeed have two hockey teams. Oh, and while were on the topic of the forgotten one's ... how about those NFL teams?
Ain't it a shame that Los Angeles doesn't have professional football anymore? For those who forgot: The Trojans are not an NFL team.
And for the record, if you're expecting to find anything about soccer and David Beckham, you’ve come to the wrong place. Beckham wasn’t devastating, he was just a joke.
Anyway, let’s get on with the show, and on to the top 10.
No. 11 - Rose Bowl woes
I know, I know, I said this was a top ten.
But how can you mention devastating moments without throwing in good ol’ UCLA football?
Like the Clippers to the Lakers, the Bruins always come behind the Trojans as a second-rate team on the gridiron.
While USC has won three consecutive Rose Bowls and seven in the past 25 year's, UCLA has just one to its name in that time, and that was in 1986. Year's and year's have passed, and UCLA has continued to disappoint its faithful.
The Bruins, despite home field advantage in the postseason, have lost the last two times they have played in the Rose Bowl.
That, my friends, is devastating.
And if the Bruins want to make the Rose Bowl anytime soon, they better hope the Trojans start playing in the national title game.
No. 10 - 'Clips let winning coach slip
The Clippers couldn’t get the job done in San Diego and they certainly don’t get it done often in Los Angeles.
However, as always, there is one exception to the rule.
They got the job done under head coach Larry Brown -- the only coach in franchise history to hoist a winning record.
He even got the Clippers to the playoffs -- twice.
Unfortunately for the Clippers, though, Brown didn’t even stay with the team for a full two seasons.
And although Senior Dunleavy got the Clippers to the Western Conference semifinals, he’s never going to do it again. The Clippers will never have a coach as good as Brown.
No. 9 - Manny gets caught; CA approval ratings to drop
The Dodgers started off the 2009 season 13-0 at home with a league-best 21-8 record.
Everything was going right for the Dodgers for the first time since who-can-even-remember, and a World Series run seemed likely, too.
Well, until Manny Ramirez, that guy who they spent all summer negotiating a blockbuster contract with, got caught taking a substance banned by MLB regulations, that is.
On Thursday, Ramirez was handed a 50-game suspension by the league, approximately 30 percent of the season, and it’s quite likely that his approval ratings in California may drop lower than Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s soon.
That very same day, without Ramirez in the lineup, the Dodgers lost their first home game of the season to the lowly Washington Nationals.
No. 8 - Gretzky single handily created/destroyed L.A. hockey
While the Ducks' fans may quack every now and then, hockey ultimately was born and killed in Southern California with trades involving Wayne Gretzky.
The Kings acquired “The Great One” in 1988 from the Edmonton Oilers. That same year, Gretzky was the league MVP and people in Los Angeles suddenly got interested in hockey.
Just a few year's later, for the first and quite possibly the last time, the Kings made it to the Stanley Cup Finals, thanks to Gretzky.
No. 99 brought hockey life to sports fans in Los Angeles, but after he got traded to the St. Louis Blues in 1996, that spirit faded, and so did the Kings.
No. 7 - USC gets embarrassed by Cardinal
Remember when David and Goliath met at the Coliseum?
Pete Carroll's heavily favored USC -- Goliath -- was 5-0 and the No. 1 team in the 2007 season heading into a home game against PAC-10 foe Stanford -- David -- in Week 5.
The Trojans were considered a major contender for the national title until giving up 17 fourth-quarter points to the Cardinal, squandering a 9-0 halftime lead.
The Cardinal went on to win, 24-23, in perhaps the most embarrassing game in USC’s storied football history.
Three weeks later, the Trojans suffered their second loss of the season to the Ducks in Eugene, Ore., 24-17. USC finished the season 10-2, which was good for, yet again, a Rose Bowl bid.
No. 6 - Moore, Angels blow '86 ALCS
The Angels led the Red Sox three games to one and were an out away from clinching the 1986 American League Championship Series in their own ball park.
Relieve pitcher Donnie Moore had a 2-2 count against Boston’s Dave Henderson and a 5-4 lead in the ninth inning in his favor.
Henderson crushed the next pitch out of the park, and later went on to crush the Angels’ World Series hopes when he hit a sacrifice fly to bring in the game-winning run in the 11th inning.
The series went back to Beantown and the ’Sox eliminated the Angels.
The Angels, established in 1961, had never been to the World Series before and would not make their first appearance until 2002 when they beat the San Francisco Giants.
No. 5 - Lakers haven't been champs since Shaq left town
From 2000 to 2002, the Lakers won three consecutive NBA championships.
In 2004, the Lakers traded Shaquille O’Neal to the Miami Heat and have not won a championship since.
The tandem of Kobe Bryant and O’Neal was the Lakers' strongest, maybe best ever, since Magic and Kareem.
While Kobe has emerged as the Lakers’ cornerstone since Shaq’s departure, O’Neal was the one who won three consecutive NBA Finals MVPs. Bryant has yet to win one.
No. 4 - Dodgers fail again
In 1982, the Dodgers needed to beat their intrastate rival Giants in the season finale to clinch the NL West title.
The game was tied at two runs apiece, until they were devastated by the long ball once again.
Only this time, San Francisco’s Joe Morgan did the dirty deed to the Blue Crew with a three-run home run to right field.
The Dodgers had two more innings to catch up, but garnered just one run and fell 5-3.
There was no Wildcard those days, so the Dodgers season ended earlier than expected.
No. 3 - L.A. losses not one, but two NFL squads
There was a time when the USC Trojans weren’t the only “professional” football team in Los Angeles and football was played on Sundays.
In 1946, the City of Angels was blessed with its first NFL team when the Cleveland Rams relocated.
Although the Rams never won the Super Bowl in California, they made the playoffs occasionally -- well, in the ’70s and ’80s mostly -- and they had games football fans could actually go to on Sundays.
Another blessing came in 1982 when owner Al Davis brought his Commitment to Excellence from the Bay down to L.A. Two years later, Los Angeles got its first -- and maybe last -- Vince Lombardi Trophy when the Raiders slaughtered the Redskins 38-9 in Super Bowl XVIII.
After the 1994 season, both teams cursed the town as they packed their bags and shipped out, leaving the second biggest city in the United States with no NFL franchise.
Nowadays, football fans in Los Angeles can go to professional games on “Saturdays” and watch their televisions on Sundays.
No. 2 - Magic tells the world
On Nov. 7, 1992, Magic Johnson announced that he had tested positive for HIV and would retire from playing in the NBA.
While playing for the Lakers, Johnson won five NBA championships, three NBA MVPs and three NBA Finals MVPs.
The twelve-time All-Star was one of the greatest basketball players of all time, even though his career was cut short.
In 1996, Johnson made a brief comeback bid to the NBA.
No. 1 - Close, but no cigar
They were down three games to two. There were runners on second and third base. There were two outs in the top of the ninth inning.
The Dodgers held a 5-4 lead and were on the brink of forcing a Game 7 with home field advantage.
Then, the most devastating moment in Los Angeles sports history happened.
Jack Clark hit a three-run home run and the St. Louis Cardinals won the 1985 National League Championship Series.