Bill Russell leading the Celtics to the 1969 NBA title squares off against Curt Schilling’s bloody sock in the second round of Boston’s Greatest Sports Moment tournament.
4. Bill Russell leads Celtics to 1969 titleBill Russell capped his 13-year playing career –- and third as a player-coach — with one last unforgettable run in 1969. At 36, a worn-down Russell led the Celtics to their 11th NBA championship in 13 years, defeating the powerful Los Angeles Lakers trio of Jerry West, Elgin Baylor and Wilt Chamberlain in seven games to clinch the title. Although the Celtics struggled to a 48–34 regular-season record (their worst mark since 1955-56), they caught fire in the postseason, upsetting the 76ers and Knicks to set up a date with the Lakers in the Finals. Boston then withstood a Herculean effort by West (the only player from the losing team ever named Finals MVP) to raise yet another championship banner and close out one of the greatest eras in professional sports history.
5. Curt Schilling’s bloody sock performanceCurt Schilling’s debut season with the Red Sox almost had an unhappy ending. But after getting rocked in Game 1 of the 2004 ALCS and seeing the Red Sox fall into a 3-0 hole to the Yankees, Schilling got a chance for redemption. The Red Sox battled back to force a Game 6, team doctors sewed the tendon in Schilling’s injured ankle in place and the veteran right-hander took the mound for Game 6 at Yankee Stadium with a very visible blood stain adorning his right sock. Schilling made good on his promise of “making 55,000 people from New York shut up,” as he went seven innings and struck out four while surrendering only one run on four hits. The Red Sox took the game, 4-2, and went on to win the series in Game 7, becoming the first team in baseball history to overcome a 3-0 series deficit. Boston went on to sweep the St. Louis Cardinals in the Fall Classic, winning the club’s first World Series since 1918 and officially ending the “Curse of the Bambino.”
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