Pedro Martinez’s Game 5 performance during the ’99 ALDS squares off against Larry Bird’s retirment ceremony in the first round of Boston’s Greatest Sports Moment tournament.
4. Pedro’s 1999 ALDS Game 5 performancePedro Martinez was one of the most dominating starting pitchers in Red Sox history. But Martinez’s most memorable performance came in relief. During the 1999 ALDS against the Cleveland Indians, Martinez left his start in Game 1 after only four innings with back problems, and his status for the rest of the series was questionable. But in the series’ decisive Game 5, with the game tied 8-8, Martinez stepped up out of the bullpen when the Red Sox needed him most. He pitched an unbelievable six no-hit innings with eight strikeouts, giving the Red Sox a victory and a chance to face the Yankees in the ALCS. In a season in which Martinez went 23-4 and earned the first of back-to-back Cy Young Awards, his relief performance in Game 5 was the defining moment for many Boston sports fans.
13. Larry Bird’s retirement ceremonyNo two players better represented the NBA than Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. The duo first met in the 1979 NCAA national championship game when Johnson led his Michigan State Spartans over Bird’s Indiana State Sycamores. Five years later, with Bird on the Celtics and Johnson on the Lakers, the pair met in the NBA Finals, and Boston defeated Los Angeles in seven games. Johnson and the Lakers bested the Celtics in 1985 and 1987, as Bird versus Magic became must-see NBA entertainment and revived the struggling league. When Bird retired in 1993, Johnson was at his ceremony inside the Boston Garden, where the two reminisced about their many hardwood battles. With eight NBA championships, six MVP awards and two Olympic gold medals between them, Bird and Magic personified what a rivalry is all about. Each player undoubtedly brought out the best in the other. At Bird’s retirement ceremony, Johnson wore a Celtics T-shirt and had the quote of the night, saying “Larry, you only told me one lie. You said there will be another Larry Bird. Larry, there will never, ever be another Larry Bird.”
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