The past 10 years of Bay Area sports were so good, The Chronicle counted down the top 10 moments to commemorate a truly dynamic decade.
Even the “best of the rest” list, compiled below, offers several compelling, memorable moments:
A’s win AL West (2012): They did it in style, overcoming a five-game deficit with nine games left. Oakland secured the title on the season’s final day, smacking Texas 12-5 before a raucous, sun-splashed crowd at the Coliseum.
These A’s sported the lowest payroll in baseball at $59.5 million (shocking!) and trailed the Rangers by 13 games on June 30. Then the A’s went 57-26 the rest of the way, thanks to an avalanche of thrilling comebacks and walk-off victories. (They authored seven in July alone).
Bob Melvin, in his first full season as A’s manager, called the late surge to the division title “a magical-type thing.”
Thompson saves season (2016): The Warriors trailed Oklahoma City 3-2 in the Western Conference finals and by 13 points in the second quarter of Game 6. The arena was ear-rattlingly loud, given the thirst of Thunder fans to return to the NBA Finals.
Klay Thompson crashed the party, scoring 41 points and sinking a playoff-record 11 3-pointers — including one preposterous, 28-footer abruptly launched from beyond the top of the key. Golden State rallied for a riveting 108-101 win, then closed out the series in Game 7 in Oakland.
“Still waters run deep: That’s Klay,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said afterward. “He’s stoic, but he’s got more fire and more emotion than people know.”
49ers take epic playoff game (2012): Alex Smith outlasted Drew Brees in a fourth quarter for the ages, as the 49ers won 36-32 for their first playoff victory in nine years. The teams combined for four touchdowns — and four lead changes — in the final 4:02. All four scoring plays covered 14 yards or longer, including three of least 28 yards.
The last touchdown, with nine seconds left, was a 14-yard pass from Smith to tight end Vernon Davis. That sent head coach Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers into the NFC Championship Game, which they lost to the New York Giants in overtime.
Perfect games: A’s pitcher Dallas Braden picked an ideal day for his gem. Braden retired all 27 Tampa Bay batters he faced on May 9, 2010 — Mother’s Day. His mom had died of cancer when he was in high school, but his grandmother Peggy Lindsey watched from the Coliseum stands.
Braden wrapped Lindsey in a long, emotional hug after the game’s last batter — future Giants manager Gabe Kapler — grounded out. Braden became only the second A’s pitcher to throw a perfect game, joining Jim “Catfish” Hunter.
Barely two years later, Giants pitcher Matt Cain threw the first perfect game in the 130-year history of his franchise. Cain smothered the Houston Astros on June 13, 2012, collecting 14 strikeouts in a 10-0 victory.
Editors’ note: Bay Area sports experienced unprecedented success over the past 10 years. As we turn the page into 2020, The Chronicle counts down the Top 10 sports moments of the decade, and more. This story recounts the “best of the rest.” Find all of our historic coverage at www.sfchronicle.com/sports
Right fielder Gregor Blanco helped by racing into Triples Alley to make a phenomenal, diving catch to rob Jordan Schafer of extra bases in the seventh inning. “I still don’t know how he caught that ball,” manager Bruce Bochy said after the game.
Raiders win one for Davis (2011): On Oct. 9, 2011, one day after owner Al Davis died, his team won 25-20 in Houston behind quarterback Jason Campbell’s two touchdown passes and an interception by safety Michael Huff on the final play. That preserved one of the most emotional victories in franchise history, punctuated by head coach Hue Jackson crying on the sideline afterward.
“It was the first game without Al, and we were just reeling,” chief executive officer Amy Trask said in a 2017 interview. “I was in tears on and off throughout the game.”
Sharks reach Stanley Cup Finals (2016): San Jose finally conquered years of playoff disappointment, advancing to play for the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history. The Sharks got there with a 5-2 victory over St. Louis in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals at SAP Center.
The win propelled Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton into their first Stanley Cup Finals after long, distinguished careers. The Sharks ultimately didn’t raise the coolest trophy in sports; they fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games.
Stanford ends UConn’s streak (2010): Geno Auriemma’s Huskies had won 90 consecutive games, the longest winning streak in college basketball history. But head coach Tara VanDerveer and the Stanford women emphatically ended the streak on an electric night at Maples Pavilion.
Connecticut had not lost in more than 32 months and had won all but two of the 90 games by 10 points or more. Then the Cardinal jumped ahead early and rolled away to win 71-59 on Dec. 10, before a loud capacity crowd. Jeanette Pohlen led Stanford with 31 points.
Richmond teen wins skating title (2019): Alysa Liu became a national champion at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Detroit on Jan. 25. At age 13, she also became the youngest winner of any individual title in the event’s history.
Liu began training in Oakland at age 5, under noted coach Laura Lipetsky. Liu, all of 4-foot-7, picked up competitive vigor along the way, given her memorable quote to reporters after she won the title: “I don’t skate to lose.”
Scutaro in the rain (2012): The Giants stood one out from the pennant in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series against St. Louis on Oct. 22. The game was delayed briefly so the grounds crew could work on the rain-soaked field at China Basin.
Television cameras showed second baseman Marco Scutaro — soon to be named MVP of the series — tilting his head back, smiling and trying to catch raindrops in his mouth. The image captured the giddy mood of Giants fans as their team advanced to the World Series (in which they swept Detroit) for the second time in three years.
Franklin/Ledecky rule in the pool (2014-15 & 2017-18): Missy Franklin, a four-time gold medalist at the 2012 Olympics, was dominant in her two years at Cal. Franklin won four NCAA individual titles with the Bears: the 200-yard freestyle in 2014 and ’15, and the 200-yard backstroke and individual medley in ’15.
Katie Ledecky traced a similar path from Olympic glory (combined five gold medals in 2012 and ’16) to Stanford, where she was an eight-time NCAA champ. Ledecky led the Cardinal to national team titles in 2017 and ’18 and finished her college career as the American record holder in six freestyle events.
Stanford wins Rose Bowls (2013 & ’16): The Cardinal picked up their first Rose Bowl victory since 1972, beating Wisconsin 20-14 on Jan. 1, 2013. Linebacker Shayne Skov anchored a stout defense that held the Badgers scoreless in the second half.
Three years later, running back Christian McCaffrey turned Pasadena into his personal playground. McCaffrey set a Rose Bowl record with 368 all-purpose yards (172 rushing, 105 receiving, 91 on returns) as Stanford coasted to a 45-16 win over Iowa.
St. Mary’s dances into Sweet 16 (2010): The Gaels, fresh off their first NCAA Tournament win in 51 years in the first round, stunned No. 2 seed Villanova 75-68 in the second round on March 20. Center Omar Samhan scored 32 points and then flatly called it the best win in school history.
It was hard to argue, especially against a Villanova team that had reached the Final Four a year earlier. St. Mary’s, a No. 10 seed, fell to Baylor in the regional semifinals.
Cal’s Kristine Anigwe dominates (2019): Anigwe, a 6-foot-4 center/forward, scored 32 points and corralled 30 rebounds in a win at Washington State on March 3. It was the first 30-30 game in a Division I women’s basketball game in more than 16 years; Anigwe also matched the Pac-12 record for rebounds in a game.
The dominant display punctuated a fabulous college career for Anigwe, who became Cal’s all-time leader in scoring and rebounding. “It’s become customary for her to do extraordinary things,” head coach Lindsay Gottlieb said.
U.S. rallies to win America’s Cup (2013): On the picturesque backdrop of San Francisco Bay, Oracle Team USA staged a stirring comeback to win the world’s most storied, prestigious sailing event.
The U.S. squad, backed by Larry Ellison and representing Golden Gate Yacht Club, trailed 8-1 against New Zealand. Oracle Team USA then ripped off wins in eight consecutive races to retain the Cup.
Simpson takes U.S. Open at Olympic (2012): Webb Simpson, an established tour pro but hardly acclaimed, extended the Olympic Club’s long tradition of crowning “the other guy” as golf’s national champion.
Simpson shot 68-68 on the weekend to outlast major champs Jim Furyk, Ernie Els and Graeme McDowell. Simpson made four early birdies in the final round, finished with eight straight pars and watched from the locker room as his 1-over-par total held up for the victory. He joined Jack Fleck, Billy Casper, Scott Simpson and Lee Janzen as Open winners on Olympic’s Lake Course.
Cal wins conference for first time in 50 years (2010): Kevin Johnson and Jason Kidd couldn’t carry the Bears to a Pac-10 basketball title, but Jerome Randle, Patrick Christopher and Theo Robertson did. The head coach? Mike Montgomery, previously of Stanford and the Warriors.
Cal beat Arizona State 62-46 on Feb. 27 at Haas Pavilion to earn the school’s first regular-season conference title since 1960. The crowd rushed the court in pent-up celebration; the Bears later beat Louisville in the first round of the NCAA Tournament before losing to Duke.
Cody Ross, playoff hero (2010): The Giants acquired Ross, a journeyman outfielder, on a late-August waiver claim. He soon became a folk hero during the joyride to San Francisco’s first World Series title.
Ross smacked five homers in the 2010 postseason, including three in the National League Championship Series; he was named Most Valuable Player of the NLCS. Ross, a good-natured sort, said of his only taste of playoff baseball, “I felt like a 10-year-old kid. I was screaming, running and jumping as high as I could.”
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More memorable moments: Athletics’ division title, Klay Thompson’s Game 6 outburst round out decade’s best of the rest have 1897 words, post on www.sfchronicle.com at December 30, 2019. This is cached page on Europe Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.