OT: What Is Your Earliest Sports Memory?

Submitted by stephenrjking on July 8th, 2016 at 4:30 PM

This concept has sorta gone viral this week (there's another series of issues that obviously takes much more precedence, but they are outside the scope of this blog). People are recounting the earliest news they can remember.

Today, I've seen a few people on twitter discussing the earliest sports moment they can remember. For reference, there was a thread in 2010 on the blog asking for earliest Michigan FB memories. It was a while ago, and only Michigan Football related. This is a bit wider.

It's Friday, it's July, it's time for this thread. What is your earliest sports memory?

The first datable sports memory I have was Kirk Gibson's bottom-of-the-8th home run in Game 5 of the '84 series. My family was watching it at another family's house on an old, small color tv. I gather people were going rather bananas, but my memory is vague. Still, I remember it.

A close second was the '85 Michigan-Iowa game. 



July 8th, 2016 at 5:11 PM ^

OP, that 1984 Game 5 World Series game is a great one to remember. I was there. We sat in the last row of the lower deck bleachers, at the very depths of center field. I don't think anyone was further from the plate than we were, but we were giddy to be there. When Gibson hit that homer we all had to watch and see his reaction to find out whether it was fair or foul because we couldn't see where it went. When we saw the triumphant arms-raised "I did it!" leap at first base we knew it was over.

After the game my buddies and I (we were 22) vaulted the fence and stood in the outfield taking it all in. That was my senior year at Michigan.


July 8th, 2016 at 5:26 PM ^

the three innings of perfect ball from Aurelio Lopez that day ranks with Biakabuka's 313 against OSU and catching Stevie Ray Vaughn as the greatest live performances I've ever seen.

Hail Harbo

July 8th, 2016 at 6:32 PM ^

It was the year of my seventh summer and we took in a game at Tiger Stadium.  My best recollection was sitting way back under the overhang with a column blocking most of my view.  It was a night game, the Tigers were winning, and it was way past my bedtime when we left.  Which might explain why we left before the end of the game.

Though not my first Michigan game, that occured before I was weaned, the first one I recollect was 1968 Wisconsin.  We had gone to several during that season but why this one stands out is because it was cold and snowy and we had a blast sliding down the hill outside the north endzone.

The first real impact I had with grown up sports wasn't even a game, it was during the off season after the Tigers won the '68 WS (that I remember vividly).  Huron Valley National Bank was opening a branch on Stadium next to Big George's Appliance and for those opening a savings account, they could meet some Detroit Tigers and receive an autographed bat.  I met my boyhood idol, Bill Freehan, and got one of those minature bats with all the Tiger's signatures.  Don't know what happened to the bat, but I'll always treasure shaking hands with Bill Freehan.


July 8th, 2016 at 5:19 PM ^

My mom helping me in and out of my jeans jacket as the clouds came and went during the 1975 Stanford game.  I wouldn't remember the fact that it wound up in a tie except for feeling a little salty having overheard my Dad's Sunday backyard discussion of how we were lucky to have gotten away with one with our Sparty neighbor (a very good man).  

Also in 1974 or 75 my first glimpse of the field at Tiger Stadium after coming through the dark tunnels.  I vividly remember the green of the field and the brightness of the player's unis.  It was breathtaking.

The Geek

July 8th, 2016 at 5:20 PM ^

my father leaving me in the bleachers at tiger stadium at 8 years old. i was surrounded by a bunch of loud, obnoxious drunks so dad could leave, plow a hooker and score some coke. he'd show up in the 8th inning when you could just walk back into the stadium. /s

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CRISPed in the DIAG

July 8th, 2016 at 5:24 PM ^

The 1975 World Series.  I wasn't awake for most of the late-inning stuff.

The one Joe Morgan is pissed about because he thinks casual sports fans think that the Red Sox won.  Kinda like Duke is pissed because everyone remembers the Fab 5.

CRISPed in the DIAG

July 9th, 2016 at 10:08 AM ^

I wasn't there. And if I'm honest, I remember Red Sox games on the radio earler that summer but it hadn't hit me yet - except that the rules sounded similar to kickball. But the 75 WS was when I first remember seeing a sporting event on tv. And it seemed like a significant. Especially the games in Fenway. My first favorite player was Fred Lynn. He hit a three run HR in the 2nd or 3rd inning of Game 6 and the announcer said "This place is rocking." A few innings later he crashed in the CF wall near the triangle (before it had padding) and it looked like he died. I didn't want to go to bed so I think I fell asleep on the floor. 


July 8th, 2016 at 5:28 PM ^

It is the 1984 Bless You Boys, Detroit Tigers. It was during my birthday and everyone was freaking out in the basement, but I really had no idea why. 1986 In Plymouth Michigan for a family reunion. I was first introduced to my favorite team of all time, the Michigan Wolverines. It was a back and forth contest with Jim Harbaugh at the helm. The ending of that game will be etched into my memory until the day I depart this worldly vessel.


July 8th, 2016 at 5:26 PM ^

He was conflicted since he was a Missouri alum but also a U-M fan since my grandfather was a 1905 U-M grad. Michigan lost 20-15.

He played in Mizzou's marching band back in the late '30s and I think he was almost as interested in seeing Revelli as he was the football game itself.


July 8th, 2016 at 5:27 PM ^

Coming around the bend on highway 101 and seeing Candlestick Park for the first time. Then watching Willie Mays and Willie McCovey play the game. Awesome. And yes, it was a long time ago!

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July 8th, 2016 at 5:27 PM ^

My first distinct sports memory was the 1996 summer Olympics. I remember being super excited over the women's gymnastics. I have a lot of hazy but good memories of watching Michigan football on a beautiful fall Saturday. I don't remember any specific games, just pure enjoyment of hanging with my dad and brother.

carolina blue

July 8th, 2016 at 5:33 PM ^

Mine is a random tigers game when I was in kindergarten in '88. I couldn't tell you who we played, but I remember being on the bus (it was with a group of some kind) arriving at the stadium and sitting in the seat at tiger stadium.

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July 8th, 2016 at 5:34 PM ^

Bill Mazeroski's homerun in the bottom of the 9th to win game 7 and the series from those arrogant Yankees.  Now we'd call it a walk-off homer, but that phase was still in the future 56 years ago.


July 8th, 2016 at 5:34 PM ^

Mine's obviously a lot more recent than most, but the 2011 ND game was when I became a diehard wolverine. It must've been my thirtieth M game, but that one really amplified my fandom. I also remember rushing the field when we beat OSU in 2011


July 8th, 2016 at 5:37 PM ^

1961. I went to a Tigers/Yankees game with my dad. That year Norm Cash hit .360 something and won the batting crown. The Tigers won 101 games and still finished 8 or 9 games behind the Yankees.  I was 8 and a Mantle guy so I was happy. 

My first real memory of that day though was walking up the tunnel and seeing the field for the first time. I never knew anything could be so green. The Tigers won and Mantle hit one out so both my dad and I left happy.


July 8th, 2016 at 6:41 PM ^

Cash wins the batting title with .361, 41 HRs, 132 RBIs

Colavito hits .290, with 45 HRs, 140 RBIs

Kaline hits .324 with 19 HRs and 82 RBIs

Lary goes 23-9 with 145 SOs

Bunning goes 17-11 with 194 SOs


And we still end up far back of those fucking Yankees.


July 9th, 2016 at 1:55 PM ^

And it took 32 more years & a World Series cancelling work stoppage/lockout ('93 Giants win 103 but get eliminated from playoffs on last day of season as Braves complete 14-0 season sweep of Rockies in their inaugural season, then '94 no playoffs or WS) for baseball to create the wildcard. 

Those '61 Tiges would've made a formidible Wildcard!


July 8th, 2016 at 5:41 PM ^

the '86 Fiesta Bowl. I remember Michigan scoring a bunch of points in the 3rd quarter and my dad getting really fired up. On re-watch the 3rd quarter was pretty cool, but nothing like the offensive explosions you see now. Live was Mark McGwire hitting the flag pole in CF at Tiger Stadium in Reggie Jackson's last game in Detroit. Jackson pinch hit and popped out in foul territory to Darnell Coles then the whole stadium gave him a standing ovation.

Sparkle Motion

July 8th, 2016 at 5:43 PM ^


I remember watching Hank Aaron hit #715. I was six and I realized it was a big deal but didn't really know why. I do remember pointing at the screen as he rounded second and saying "one day that guy is going to attend Jim Mother Fucking Harbaugh's satellite camp!"

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Happy Gilmore

July 8th, 2016 at 5:50 PM ^

I remember watching the Red Wings lose in the Stanley Cup Finals to the Devils while at a family reunion on the East coast when I was 7. Though I also remember watching the game where Tractor Traylor shattered the backboard with my dad, which was probably around the same time


July 8th, 2016 at 5:45 PM ^

My dad took me to Tiger Stadium for the first time when I was around 4 or 5.  I was asleep by the 7th. The game went 14 innings. When we got home, my mom yelled at him for a good bit. She was worried about us because he told her we'd be home around 10. Before cell phones. We got in after midnight. No way he was leaving the game in extra innings


July 10th, 2016 at 6:18 AM ^

and No. 6 was definitely my favorite ball player. I was a Tiger junke long before I became a Lions's junkie. When just a kid, I could go through that entire lineup. I used to stand in the mirror with a bat and imitate his stance best I could. He was one of the greats. Just one more damn homer, 300 homer club and 3,000 hits. Of course, his lifetime batting avg was going down a little each year so he did the right thing. 

I remember the Tigers giving him 100K a year just for all his years of service. I ran into him about 32 years ago when he visited the softball complex here to sign autographs. Real nice guys with a set of Popeye forearms. 

I remember when Williams gave his list of active players he thought might high .400. He was one of the few on that last. 

Wenham Wolverine

July 8th, 2016 at 5:47 PM ^

I have faint memories of Cal Ripken breaking the streak in '95, Tim Biakabatuka vs OSU in '95, and the Wings losing to the Avs in the 96 WCF, as well as generic memories of going to minor league baseball games in 95 and 96. 97 is the first year where I can remember really following things and starting to be an engaged fan with the Astros, Michigan football, the Red Wings and the Rochester Red Wings, who moved into a new stadium and won their league. Pretty good timing.


July 8th, 2016 at 5:52 PM ^

My earliest sports memories are from the late 1980s. I remember my dad was BBQ'ing during one of the 1988 NBA Finals games and I kept running in and out of the house updating him on the score and if the Pistons were winning or losing. I also remember watching random Tigers games from 1986 on WDIV when they'd preempt Wheel of Fortune and/or Jeopardy! for games. I remember when the Red Wings lost to Edmonton in the 1987 conference finals (my youngest brother was born at the start of the series) and watched the Oilers celebrate the Stanley Cup soon after that on CBC. When it comes to Michigan, I remember being intrigued by the Rose Bowl and seeing the Wolverines on New Year's Day and Bo's face and voice. I don't know why, but I couldn't help but laugh at hearing Bo talk--maybe I saw a grandfatherly thing in him (aw shucks exterior to kids even though he was rough and tumble when it came to the business of coaching players).


July 8th, 2016 at 5:59 PM ^

I definitely have memories of going to see the 1984 Tigers several times as a kid, including Game 5 of the World Series - I have no fucking clue to this day how my dad got those tickets, to be honest, but we were there, and we were shuffled the hell out of Corktown after the game too. Speaking of Gibson's home run:


scanner blue

July 8th, 2016 at 6:00 PM ^

We went a few saturdays that year for Ladies -Retirees days. Kids, Seniors and Ladies got outfield seats for $.50. It was Denny McClain's 29th or 30th win. My dad and sister went for hotdogs during batting practice and Willie Horton hit a upper deck bomb that landed in my sisters seat and the guy behind me got it. I was 8 yrs old cried like a baby.


July 8th, 2016 at 6:09 PM ^

First datable memory is 1970 Lions/Saints game. Being an 8 year old, I did not have the attention span to watch whole games.  My dad was wise enough to call me back into the living room to watch the game winning kick by Tom Dempsey of the Saints. Kind of rooted for him that moment.

First memory of M football was the aftermath of the tie game in 1973. My brothers friends were so rightly upset.


July 8th, 2016 at 6:16 PM ^

I could hit the (tennis) ball hard with a bat before I was 4 years old.  My dad would pitch it to me and I'd rip that sucker.

Well, one time, our next door neighbor was visiting and I ripped a liner right into her crotch.

She screamed like she'd been shot and I ran and hid iny bedroom because I thought I'd killed her.

Didn't say the happiest.


July 8th, 2016 at 6:52 PM ^

My first sports memory was just being a kid, kicking balls around on a playgound with the other kids, then getting into soccer as a result.  I was big into that until I sat down and actually watched a football game for the first time:  1987 [email protected]

I had seen football games on tv before, but for whatever reason had never gotten into it.  My dad wasn't a football fan, so I'd mostly just see my grandparents and uncles watching the Browns occasionally.  I never cared to sit through more than a couple plays.

But one weekend I spent with my grandpa, he flipped on the Michigan game and I was instantly in love with the helmets.  I thought they were the greatest thing I'd ever seen in sports.  I sat down and watched every snap, and was hooked on football and hooked on Michigan from then on.

The funny thing is, Ohio State played Purdue in the following game.  I always wonder whether everything would have been different for me had the OSU game come on first.  To add to that, the grandpa I was watching the games with was a Notre Dame alum, and had been there for the Leahy years when he came back from the war.  He may or may not have mentioned that at the time, I can't honestly remember the first I knew about that.  Either way, it didn't make a difference.  I knew what team I was gonna be rooting for going forward.

Most of my extended family are OSU grads.  One uncle even used to buy me Buckeye shirts every Christmas, hoping to change my mind.  Goodwill got a lot of OSU clothes.


July 8th, 2016 at 6:30 PM ^

Learning to play catch with my dad. He gave me my baseball glove and I remember asking how I was supposed to catch the ball with the glove on my left hand being that I am right handed.

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July 8th, 2016 at 6:30 PM ^

I remember my mom taking my sister and I out for ice cream because she didn't want me to get really upset when the US team lost to the Soviets.  Apparently at 6 years old I didn't understand that my teams didn't win just because I wanted them to.

So we got home about midway through the second period, mainly because I hounded my mom mercilessly about getting back so I could watch the US beat the Russians.

We got home and turned the TV on.  I remember, vividly, my mom expressing real surprise that we were only down a goal.

She started getting excited at Johnson's goal and all of us were jubilant after Eruzione's goal midway through the third.  Then the tensest, longest ten minutes of hockey game I've ever watched.  Jim Craig standing on his head, stopping everything the Soviets could throw at him.  Being confused why the Reds didn't pull their goalie.  My mom bursting into outright sobs (as much in relief as joy, I suppose) when they finally won.

Then, of course, pandemonium.  Our neighbors who hadn't heard about the result of the game already (it was on tape delay) were running out into the streets cheering.  The only thing missing was an impromptu "USA...USA...USA" chant.

So my love of hockey was born, though we were poor as shit and could never afford for me to actually play in leagues.  To this day I can't watch the third period of that game without crying.

Hotel Putingrad

July 8th, 2016 at 6:47 PM ^

Seeing the photo of Gordie Howe on the front page of the newspaper the morning after the NHL all-star game at the Joe! Had just turned 2. Earliest memory period.