LEEInks List: Most memorable Boston sports moments of 1986

Scott McLaughlin
January 26, 2011 - 4:37 am

This year marks the 25th anniversary of one of the most memorable years in Boston sports history '€“ 1986. All four Boston teams made the playoffs, three reached the championship and one won it all. There were also great individual performances, broken records, comedy and tragedy. From the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, here'€™s a look back at the 10 most memorable Boston sports moments of 1986. 10. Early February: The Beanpot Trot This might not be as famous as the Bears'€™ '€œSuper Bowl Shuffle,'€ but it'€™s every bit as entertaining and embarrassing. Leading up to the 1986 Beanpot, the Boston College hockey team wrote, choreographed and videotaped the '€œBeanpot Trot.'€ The Eagles ultimately lost 4-1 to archrival Boston University in the Beanpot final, but this is much more memorable than the game itself. Whether that'€™s a good thing or a bad thing for BC is another story. 9. April 21: Robert de Castella breaks Boston Marathon record In becoming the the first (and still only) Australian to win the Boston Marathon, de Castella did it in record time. De Castella finished in 2:07:51, shattering the previous record by a full minute. His record stood until 1994 when Kenyan Cosmas Ndeti beat it by 36 seconds. 8. April 12: Canadiens sweep Bruins It'€™s always memorable when the B'€™s and Habs meet in the playoffs, but this is one of the less memorable matchups, especially for B'€™s fans. Led by Keith Crowder'€™s 38 goals and 84 points, the B'€™s finished just one point behind Montreal in the regular season. But the Habs, backstopped by rookie goalie Patrick Roy, made quick work of their rivals in the playoffs, winning three straight en route to claiming the Stanley Cup. 7. April 20: Michael Jordan drops 63 at the Garden In just his second season in the NBA, MJ did something in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals that no one had done before and no one'€™s done since '€” score 63 points in a playoff game. More impressively, he did it against the 1985-86 Celtics, widely regarded as one of the greatest teams in NBA history, at Boston Garden. The Celts won the game 135-131 in double overtime and went on to sweep the Bulls, but that didn'€™t stop Larry Bird from saying he thought he was playing against '€œGod disguised as Michael Jordan.'€ 6. April 29: Roger Clemens fans 20 This wasn'€™t even supposed to be the biggest game of the night (the Celts were taking on the Hawks in Game 2 of their second-round series), but it certainly became more memorable. In his fourth start since offseason shoulder surgery, the 23-year-old fireballer broke a major league record by striking out 20 Mariners. Clemens went on to win the Cy Young and MVP awards that season and helped the Sox reach the World Series. More on that later. 5. June 19 : Len Bias dies after cocaine overdose Nine days after winning the NBA title (more on that later, too), the Celts selected the Maryland star with the second overall pick, acquired from the Supersonics for Gerald Henderson and cash. The excitement generated by adding an elite talent to an elite team was short-lived, though. The night after the draft, Bias died of cardiac arrhythmia induced by a cocaine overdose while celebrating back on the Maryland campus. 4. Oct. 12: Dave Henderson sparks ALCS comeback The Sox trailed the Angels three games to one in the ALCS and trailed Game 5 in Anaheim 5-2 entering the ninth. But then Don Baylor hit a one-out, two-run homer to pull the Sox within one. Three batters later, with the Angels one strike away from reaching the World Series, Henderson blasted a go-ahead, two-run dinger into the left-field stands (video). After the Angels tied the game in the bottom of the ninth, Hendu rose to the occasion again with an RBI sacrifice fly in the 11th that proved to be the winner. The Sox won Games 6 and 7 handily to advance to the World Series. 3. Jan. 26: Patriots get Super Bowl stomped Super Bowl XX is memorable simply because it was the Pats'€™ first appearance in the big game. The game itself was decisively forgettable for New England fans, though. The Pats set Super Bowl records for most sacks allowed (7) and fewest rushing yards gained (7) en route to a 46-10 beatdown at the hands of Mike Ditka, Walter Payton and the Bears'€™ relentless defense. The 36-point margin is the second largest in Super Bowl history and the Pats'€™ 123 total yards are the second fewest. 2. June 8: Celtics win 16th title The Celts won their third title in six years to cap off one of the greatest seasons in NBA history. They went 67-15 during the regular season, including 40-1 at the Garden, before breezing through the Eastern Conference playoffs with series wins of 3-0 over the Bulls, 4-1 over the Hawks and 4-0 over the Bucks. The Rockets posed a slightly more difficult challenge in the finals, winning two games in Houston to force the series back to Boston for Game 6. But Larry Bird, who averaged close to a triple-double in the series and was named finals MVP, led the Celts to a 114-97 victory and their 16th title. 1. Oct. 25: Sox blow it It would be great if the Celts'€™ title was the most memorable moment of 1986, but it wasn'€™t. You know the story. After the Red Sox scored two runs to take a 5-3 lead in the top of the 10th inning of Game 6 of the World Series, Calvin Schiraldi quickly retired the first two Mets batters of the bottom of the 10th and the Sox were one strike away from winning their first title since 1918. But then Gary Carter knocked a two-strike single, Kevin Mitchell followed with a base hit and Ray Knight drove home Carter with another two-strike single to pull the Mets within one. Bob Stanley replaced Schiraldi and got to two strikes on Mookie Wilson (the third time the Sox were one strike away from winning) before throwing a wild pitch that tied the game. Three pitches later, Wilson rolled a grounder down the first-base line that got under Bill Buckner'€™s glove and allowed Knight to score the winning run (video). The Mets went on to win Game 7, and the curse lived on for 18 more years.