The 5 Worst Moments in Oakland Sports History
Over the years, the Oakland Raiders and their fellow coliseum residents, the Athletics, have brought home three Super Bowls (1976, 1980, 1983) and four World Series titles (72, 73, 74, 89).
In addition to their triumphs, the A's and the Raiders have experienced quite a few not-so-great moments, but these five top them all.
5. The Flip
It was Game 3 of the 2001 ALDS.
The A's had a comfortable series lead over the Yankees, 2-0. New York led 1-0 in the seventh with two outs. Jeremy Giambi stood on first as Mike Mussina stared down off the mound at A's lefty Terrence Long. T-Long ripped a fastball down the right-field line and the not-so-speedy Giambi rounded third.
Yanks right fielder Shane Spencer picked up the ball and fired toward the plate, overthrowing his cut-off man by a long shot. The ball bounced slowly towards Jorge Posada, who was waiting for it at home. The ball was slowing down and there was no way it was going to make it to the plate in time to get the runner, when, all of a sudden, Derek Jeter appeared out of thin air, grabbed the ball and, while running full speed in the opposite direction, flipped the ball to Jorge Posada. Posada caught the ball and tagged Giambi (who, for some reason, decided not to slide) on the back of the leg just as he crossed home plate.
Giambi was called out and the A's lost the game and eventually the series. Every time I see this replay, I cannot help but ask myself two questions:
1. Why and how did Derek Jeter get to that ball?
2. Why didn't Jeremy Giambi slide?
4. The Immaculate Reception
With seconds remaining in the AFC divisional game between the Raiders and Steelers in 1972, the Raiders led 7-6.
Terry Bradshaw rolled out, evading a sack, and hurled the ball down field towards Frenchy Fuqua. Fuqua was hit by Raiders safety Jack Tatum and the ball went flying backwards. Franco Harris "caught" the ball and ran it in for the game-winning touchdown.
Due to lack of video evidence, we will never know whether or not Franco really caught that ball.
3. The Tuck Rule
With less than two minutes to play in a 2002 AFC divisional playoff game, Tom Brady was sacked and fumbled the ball, sealing a victory for the Oakland Raiders. At least, that's what should have happened.
The call was overturned due to the worst rule ever made, and the Patriots maintained possession. Tom Brady led the Pats down the field where they eventually kicked the game-tying field goal.
The Pats went on to win the game in OT and later defeated the Rams in the Super Bowl.
2. With the 1st Pick in the 2007 NFL Draft...
...the Oakland Raiders select JaMarcus Russell. Quarterback. LSU.
As the auditorium erupted in boos, I sat at home rejoicing, thinking my team had finally found its savior.
I would soon find out that I was very, very wrong.
Russell was your typical American gold digger. He used his talents and good looks to lure in the rich, old man. As soon as he got his money, he left, leaving the Raiders alone, stranded without a quarterback.
1. The Walk-off
With the A's one out away from winning Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, the somewhat-injured, flu-stricken Kirk Gibson hobbled up to the plate.
After a long at-bat, Gibson took an awkward swing at a Dennis Eckersley slider and somehow punched it over the right-field wall. As Gibson limped around the bases, pumping his fists like a fool, Eck and the rest of the A's walked off the field (eventually leading to the coining of the term "walk-off").
The A's went on to lose the series to the underdog Dodgers, and it's all because of Kirk Gibson.
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