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 6:55 PM ^

87 tigers choking against the Twins...although for some reason I remember the Mets winning in 86....I remember Gibby's HR in 88, I also remember Rumeal's FT's.

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July 8th, 2016 at 8:28 PM ^

87 twins were a team of destiny. Tigers had no hope against Frank Viola and Kirby Puckett. Some of my earliest sports memories were watching the late night sports report all summer in 87, lights off and window fans churning in the background, hoping to god the royals lost and minnesota won.

They didn't even have the alcs on at night back then, it seemed like all the games were day games. I remember coming home from from school as a 10 yr old and my dad telling me his beloved Twins won the series. WTF? I didn't even get to watch!

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July 8th, 2016 at 7:00 PM ^

For me, my earliest NFL memory is the 1977 super bowl between the vikings and the raiders. The Raiders were just so cool with the logo and Fred Biletnikoff. I asked for a Raiders wool winter hat for Christmas that season. Shortly after that, the Broncos drafted Rob Lytle and my loyalties shifted from the Raiders to the Broncos. Only later in life did I realize that was like shifting from OSU to UofM.

Earliest college football memory is probably the '78 Rose Bowl and me crying at the end of the game. Hey, I was seven at the time.

My earliest baseball memory was rooting for the Big Red machine. But I soon switched to rooting for the Pirates because they had those awesome uniforms in the '79 season and Dave Parker was a beast.

Not sure about the NHL, but I do remember listening to Bruce Martyn and Sid Abel on WJR calling the Red Wings. Ernie Harwell is rightfully known as one of the great announcers. I think Bruce and Sid is one of the all-time most underrated announcing duos.


July 8th, 2016 at 7:02 PM ^

Very first: Labor Day, 1954. I was 6! At family friends BBQ and my Dad was upset, why? Yankees dropped a pair to the Indians in Cleveland. That year the tribe won 111 games.

Bando Calrissian

July 8th, 2016 at 7:08 PM ^

The 1989 basketball championship, probably. Remember going to our local mall for a Steve Fisher autograph signing that summer. First football season I really remember is 1989 for sure.

micheal honcho

July 8th, 2016 at 7:31 PM ^

Ali losing to Leon Spinks. I cried, Ali was the closest human thing to superman to me at that age and losing to that gap toothed minger was more than I could comprehend.

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Eastside Maize

July 8th, 2016 at 7:36 PM ^

boxing was big in Detroit then, especially with the Kronk. I didn't see the fight until years later but all my fam were rooting for the Hitman. He lost by TKO in the 14th.


July 8th, 2016 at 7:44 PM ^

1960 World Series-Yankees won three lopsided games and lost four close ones including game 7 with Mazeroski's walk off. I felt sorry for the Yankees (didn't know the history of the franchise) and it fueled my lifelong Yankee fandom

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July 9th, 2016 at 3:07 PM ^

I think you have unwittingly summed up the very essence of "Yankee fandom"... feeling the team of superstars that won 3 blowouts deserved to win more than the team of pluggers (+ young Clemente) that scratched out 4 close Ws.

I feel absolutely, completely the opposite, which is why I hate the Yankees! I root for the SF Giants, scratching out 1 & 2 run wins throughout the entire season, every season, which prepares them for the post-season. The problem for them is staying healthy enough thru the 162 game grind to make the post-season. When you play tight, low scoring games almost every game, any missing piece is magnified. So that's the downside...


July 8th, 2016 at 7:45 PM ^

my dad took me to about a half dozen Wings games at Olympia.  For souvenirs, I had a collection of key chains from unlucky rabbits.  

Probably that & Campaneris throwing the bat at Lerrin Lagrow & then the Tigers losing that ALCS to Oakland in '72.


July 8th, 2016 at 7:47 PM ^

I was 4, still living in Calhoun County and I remember my dad all my uncles gathering around the tv and cheering. So lucky that it is the most vivid memory of sports I have from that age. USA! USA!!


July 8th, 2016 at 7:47 PM ^

Being from Southern California the chance to see Michigan football play didn't come around to often. My first real favorite sports memory was going to see UM play a regular season game at the rose bowl vs UCLA in the early 2000s. I was about 8yrs old and even though it was crazy hot I convinced my parents to let me wear one of the plastic UM helmets during the whole game! I'm sure I got some looks from UCLA fans but I was just too excited to watch my first game in person.

father fisch

July 8th, 2016 at 7:58 PM ^

I was young single digits and found my dad watching the OU-Nebraska game on TV. It was back in the days of the running game and the wishbone, not that I knew then. I watched a few plays as the RB ran into a wall of defenders before I got frustrated and bored!

Goggles Paisano

July 9th, 2016 at 6:38 AM ^

'76 was the first year I started collecting - that was the year where the cards were a bit smaller than normal.  They went back to the normal size the year-after.  As a kid my brother and I were always at the store buying up the baseball cards anytime we came into some money.  Typically, if I could scrape up 50 cents or a dollar it was off to the corner store to buy some cards. They were 25 cents per pack and came with the stick of gum that often left a stain on the back of the card. The gum was there to prevent charging sales tax.  

Bruce Kimm cards used to go in my spokes. No offense Bruce, but your stick just wasn't that great to warrant staying out of my spokes.  


July 8th, 2016 at 8:09 PM ^

Don't know what year it was, but sometime in the 80's. I woke up early and went to watch some cartoons, but a football game was on instead. As a small child I was upset at first but decided to observe anyway, to see what could be more entertaining than loony tunes. The first team ran out of the tunnel with amazing striped maize and blue helmets and looked like total badasses. The announcers were enamored with the second team, whose helmets were totally lame; they were just plain gold.

One of them even said, "The paint is dry!" as the Irish ran onto the field, like that was important to paint those stupid gold helmets. So, I naturally hated Notre Dame as a small child. I rooted for Michigan in its far superior uniform but they lost.

Michigan won in the end though. I went there for undergrad and make M look good to this day. Fuck Notre Dame

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July 8th, 2016 at 8:32 PM ^

Wasn't sure if it was a. Hank Aaron's record breaking HR, or b. hearing about the AD vote that kept Michigan home from the Bowl Season the year Dennis Franklin broke his collarbone vs OSU. 

Turns out it was the AD vote. (1973 v 1974).

 Was very young, and don't remember the game itself, though based on who I lived with I'm sure I watched it. Also pretty sure I at least listened to Ufer most Saturdays, but no specific memories of an event prior to hearing that the ADs screwed Michigan.

More specifically, I remember my friend Chris telling me the vote was in favor of Michigan, and then at the last minute the MSU AD came running into the room shouting, 'we vote for OSU, we vote for OSU'...My young self didn't put together that Michigan couldn't have been winning the vote one second, and then a single vote later be losing the vote.  

Didn't matter, I was bitter. Still am.

Durham Blue

July 8th, 2016 at 8:39 PM ^

My first Red Wings game circa 1978(?).  The year is fuzzy but my dad took me to Olympia and I remember how loud it was when the Wings scored.  I also remember the wooden bench seating.

After that it was my first Tigers game in 1980.  We sat in the upper deck behind home plate.  I believe it may have been opening day.  Champ Summers hit a home run...well, it may have been a grand slam now that I think about it.  Too many alcoholic drinks in the past 36 years have faded my memory a bit.

EDIT: OK, I meant to say 22 years of alcoholic drinks.  Yeah, I was gettin' blasted at 7.


July 8th, 2016 at 8:47 PM ^

can't even remember how old I was, my dad, uncle, and their dad (grampa) was there, would guess I was probably 4 or 5, and remember how big it all was, how big the boys playing football were, and how I wanted to go there from that point on and play there. Worked out pretty well from there.

Cranky Dave

July 8th, 2016 at 8:47 PM ^

I was 5 and my Dad took me to see the Lions and 49ers at Tiger Stadium. Late season game with snow and slush. I wore my snow suit. Can't remember the score though I do remember it was Greg Landry at QB


July 8th, 2016 at 8:48 PM ^

I was 6 and my dad took my brother and I to the Tigers vs Angels game in Detroit. We sat in right field lower deck. When Reggie Jackson came up to bat I heard my first cuss word, many of them, from several fans. My dad put his hands over my ears.

Same game I remember my brother and I getting Gibby to give us a dirty look because we kept yelling and hitting the fence.

Michigan FTW Again

July 8th, 2016 at 8:49 PM ^

in 1992, and I watched Christian Laettner drain that game-winning 3 at the buzzer against Kentucky from upstairs in the "game room" on a big old wood-grained tube tv that I had to sit on the floor to watch.

First Michigan memory was that fall, the week before Thanksgiving - I was in 3rd grade and the teacher passed out pages of football helmets for us to color. This was in Dublin, Ohio, so the only crayons the teacher had to pass out were red and gray, and everyone was fine with that. There were even a ton of buckeye stickers to decorate them with afterwards. I had a buddy in the class who had his own crayons, and he let me borrow his gold and blue. Our two winged helmets were displayed prominently, at the very bottom of the wall where everyone could slide their feet across them.

The 90s were a really great time to be a Michigan fan growing up right in the heart of enemy territory!

Clarence Boddicker

July 8th, 2016 at 9:28 PM ^

'73--the Mets winning, and asking an uncle why female relatives were cheering and he wasn't. My uncle said, "Because they're Mets fans. But I'm a Yankee fan and you should be one too." He'd bought me my first glove, so I listened. Let's go Yankees! <clap, clap, clap-clap-clap>

Also, the Knicks won the NBA championship that year, and I was able to get Clyde Frazier's  signature at a signing event for a shoe store my mom took me to in Herald Square. The 70's, man...

Boner Stabone

July 8th, 2016 at 9:57 PM ^

My first memory of Michigan football would be as a 7 year old watching Michigan lose to UCLA in the Rose Bowl.  I remember watching the game in the family room with my dad on new years day.  I also remember Anthony Carter in the game and he became my early childhood favorite player.


July 8th, 2016 at 10:05 PM ^

...I would go to basketball games at the school where my father was coaching and keep track of his team's score on my Easy Adder:


(Took that picture from e-bay; I don't still have the machine.)

First sports trip out into the wider world was to see Wilt. Would have been November of 1965--I remember that he walked past us and I couldn't believe anyone could be that tall and I remember that Cincinnati won, but that's about it. I just found the box score and Wilt had 46.

Perkis-Size Me

July 8th, 2016 at 10:34 PM ^

Lived in Tampa, so my first memory is watching the fighting creamsicles, err, I mean, the Bucs, take on the Packers in the days of the NFC Central League. The Bucs were playing the Packers and the Old Sombrero was filled at least 50% with Packers fans.

Watched Favre light up the Bucs as many teams back in the early to mid 90s tended to do.

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M go Bru

July 8th, 2016 at 10:55 PM ^

Huge upset. I was 8 at the time. Light hitting Bill Mazeroski's home run in the bottom of the ninth won the game.

Started collecting baseball cards that season.

1st Tiger game: 1961 vs. Yankees @ Briggs (Tiger) Stadium. My brother (age 10) and I (age 9) took the Grand River bus to the game from our NW Detroit home and sat in the centerfield bleachers. Tigers beat the Yankees 10-4 won by Frank Lary, the Yankee Killer.

There was a drunk in the bleachers that kept calling Frank Lary a farmer during the game until he fell down and the cops hauled him away.

Tigers finished second to the Yankees that year a distant 8 games back, despite winning 101 games. Tigers were lead by Kaline, Cash, and Colavito.


July 8th, 2016 at 11:08 PM ^

The first sporting event I remember was a stock car race my dad and a neighbor took me and my brother to, somewhere around 1966 or 67 when I was about six.  My memory is a bit hazy, but I do remember the cars were really loud and a woman sitting in the row behind us yelling something to the effect of "he really kissed his ass" everytime a car was rear ended.  Another thing I remember is my dad being mad that my mother had bought him a green jacket--he said it was bad luck for car racing. Now that I think back on it, My dad is a Michigan State graduate, but he did not want anything to do with a green jacket, at least not that night.


July 8th, 2016 at 11:20 PM ^

in, well, I guess it's not quite dateable but I think it was 1971 (it was before the playoff year 1972).  I got a Willie Horton bat which seemed huge.  My friends got Jim Price and Aurelio Rodgriquez models.  But I don't recall who they played or even the score.  I do remember all those bats being pounded in the stands.


July 8th, 2016 at 11:23 PM ^

When I was four, a few Tigers were doing a photo-op at a local real estate agency, and my aunt took me.  By then I was already pretty into the Tigers so I was very excited.  Still have the autographed picture - Kirk Gibson, Dave Rozema, Dave Bergman, and a fourth who I can't remember off the top of my head but I think was either Lance Parrish or Dan Petry.  Probably Petry because I think he lived in the area as he was the grand marshal of our Little League parade one year and I played all that season with his autograph on my hat.

I also very distinctly remember my first Tigers game: a 9-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox with Frank Tanana on the mound, Chet Lemon in right field, and so on.  The only problem with that memory is that it never actually happened - there was no such game where the Tigers lost 9-2 to the Red Sox.  I've got these rock-solid memories, but obviously some of the details are screwed up somewhere.