Ryan L. Fox
Mother’s Day is a special time of the year where mom’s everywhere get a special nod for their hard work and effort in raising their children. It is also a special time in the year where athletes pay tribute to their mom. Fans are sometimes treated to an unforgettable performance by athletes on this special day or get to experience sports history as well. But win or lose, you know that their mom will still be proud no matter what.
Here are just a few of the most special moments that have happened on Mother's Day in the sporting world. some of which you just had to be there to experience the magic.
5. A Performance That You'll Never Forget
There's something about Mother's Day where baseball fans get treated to just out of this world performances. You get walk-off homeruns, rallies, opposing teams walking you six times (paging Bryce Harper). But the two performances that stick out the most were by LF Fred Lewis of the San Francisco Giants and Cincinnati Reds great 1B Joey Votto in 2012.
In 2007, Lewis made his 4th career start at the on Mother's Day May 13 against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado. Batting leadoff and playing in left field, Lewis went off as he ended up hitting for the cycle that day. He got a double in the 1st inning, a home run in the 4th inning, a triple in the 5th inning, and 2 singles in the 7th inning. He ended up finishing the game going 5-for-6 with 2 singles, 1 double, 1 triple, and 1 HR while collecting 4 RBIs as the Giants pulverized the Rockies 15-2.
Fast forward 5 years later the same date as Votto and the Reds hosted the visiting Washington Nationals in a 3-game weekend series at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, OH. Trying to salvage a victory and avoid the sweep, the two teams took to the field on that Mother's Day Sunday. Votto smashed a solo shot off of Nationals starter RHP Edwin Jackson in the bottom 1st to give the Reds the early 1-0 lead. He then added another solo shot in the bottom 4th off of Jackson to tie the game up at 2-2. Afterwards, the Reds found themselves trailing for the middle and later innings of the game. With the score 6-5 in favor of the visting Nationals, Votto stepped up to the plate against Nationals RHP Henry Rodriguez with the bases loaded and 2 outs. On a 2-2 count, Votto slammed the ball out of the ballpark for a walk-off grand slam to give the Reds a 9-6 victory. For the game, Votto went 4-for-5 with 3 home runs and a career high 6 RBIs.
4. Making Mom Proud
If you know if your mom is in attendance, you always want to bring you 'A Game' and make her proud. That’s what Charlotte Hornet’s small forward Jamal Mashburn did back during the 2001 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals against the Milwaukee Bucks. Game 4 just happened to fall on Mother's day as Jamal took to the court with his teammates. However sitting courtside was none other than his mother, Helen, who actually spent most of the 2000-2001 NBA battling colon cancer. With his mom in attendance, Jamal exploded in the game. He lead all scorers with 31 points on 11-for-26 shooting, got 8 rebounds, dished out 4 assists, had 2 steals, and even made a block as the Hornets won the game 85-78 to even the series at 2-2. Like I said, if mom's in attendance at your game, always want you bring your 'A Game' and make her proud.
3. The Mother Day Rallies
It feels like Mother’s Day is perhaps one of the more interesting times during the baseball season. You just never know what is going to happen. But when something special does happen, it’s a moment that you won’t forget. This was the case for both the St. Louis Cardinals in 2002 and for the Boston Red Sox in 2007.
On Mother’s Day in 2002, the St. Louis Cardinals found themselves down 8-0 to the Cincinnati Reds after just two innings of play. But in the top 5th, the Cardinals got an RBI single by RF J.D. Drew and a 2 RBI single by 3B Placido Polanco to make it 8-3. In the following top 6th, the Cardinals got back-to-back RBI singles by LF Kerry Robinson and C Eli Marrero to make it 8-5. Then in the top 8th, Polanco got a 2 RBI double followed by an RBI double by 2B Fernando Vina to tie the game up at 8-8. Immediately after that, Drew knocked a 2-run home run deep into center field to make it 10-8 and ultimately give them the 10-8 victory.
Almost the same situation happened six years later in 2007 for the Boston Red Sox in a home matchup against the Baltimore Orioles. Down 5-0 and with only 2 outs left in the bottom 9th, the Red Sox were able to get their first run of the game thanks to an RBI double by DH David Ortiz to make it 5-1. Three batters later, 1B Kevin Youkilis was walked to bring in another run followed by and 2 RBI double by C Jason Varitek to make it 5-4. Then another three batters later, SS Julio Lugo got an RBI single to tie the game up at 5-5 but a costly fielding mistake by the Orioles allowed the game-winning run from third to come home to give the Red Sox the 6-5 come-from-behind victory.
Guess you could say that the St. Louis Cardinals and the Boston Red Sox made mom proud huh.
2. This One's For You Mom
NHL Hall of Fame right winger Martin St. Louis was considered by some to be one of the greatest hockey players of the 21st century. For 16 years, he played for the Calgary Flames, Tampa Lightning, and New York Rangers. He appeared in a career total 1,134 games while amassing 391 career goals and 642 career assists for a career total of 1,033 points while being a 5x All-Star, a 3 Byng Trophy winner (), a 2x Ross trophy winner, has a Stanley Cup to his name, as well an Olympic Gold medal from the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
In the 2013-2014 NHL season, St. Louis was traded from the Tampa Bay Lightning to the New York Rangers as he was instrumental in their Stanley Cup run. The team got into a tough spot in the second-round of the playoffs as they were down 3-1 in a Best of 7 Series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
However, St. Louis was overcoming a personal tragedy as during the Rangers-Penguins series his mother passed from a sudden fatal heart attack on May 8 prior to Game 5. With encouragement from his family, St. Louis took to the ice to continue to play as both his Ranger teammates and Penguins came to offer their condolences to the Ranger right winger.
Then in Game 6 on May 11, 2014 on Mother’s Day, St. Louis made arguably one of his most memorable goal in his hockey career.
In the first period, St. Louis knocked in the puck into the net off a deflection past Penguins goalie Marc Fleury to give the Rangers the early 1-0 lead. You could how fired up St. Louis was getting the game's first goal as he was mobbed by his teammates and Madison Square Garden was on its feet. The goal ended up rallying the Rangers as they went on to win Game 6 with the final score of 3-1 and ultimately won the series against the Penguins.
Although it's never easy losing somebody close to you, especially a family member, St. Louis showed so much poise and character that everybody who saw could not help but admire it. And he knows that in heaven, his mother had the biggest smile as she was proud of her son.
1. The Perfect Mother's Day Gift
In the baseball world, the pinnacle of a pitching performance is the ‘Perfect Game’. It is a rare occurrence that only has happened 23 times in baseball’s illustrious history. No hits, no runs, no walks, no errors. Just 27 up, 27 down. So many times, in the past have we see pitchers carry a perfect game into the later innings, only to lose it on a little bloop single into the outfield. But when it does happen, when one of baseball's rarest achievements happens it is a special moment.
This was the case back on Mother’s Day on May 9 in 2010 when Oakland A’s SP Dallas Braden went the distance against the Tampa Bay Rays to record his only career perfect game in his MLB career.
Up until that point, Braden was just your typical 4th/5th starter in the rotation. He had been in the big leagues for 3 seasons prior to 2010, accumulating a career 14-21 record in 61 total games played (46 starts) with 280.2 innings pitched, 312 hits allowed, 158 runs allowed (147 earned), 93 walks (5 intentional walks) allowed, struck out 177 batters, and had a career ERA of 4.72 and a career WHIP of 1.461. Up until his start against the Rays, Braden was having an average start to his 2010 campaign (3-2 record in 6 starts with 7 BBs, 22 Ks, 37 hits given up, 17 runs allowed(all earned) for an ERA of 4.14 and a WHIP of 1.189).
On May 9, Braden took to the mound for the weekend series finale against the Tampa Bay Rays for a Mother's Day matinee at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, California.
Braden breezed by the first few innings, keeping the Rays from getting any sort of offense groove going and forcing many groundouts, flyouts, and lineouts. Following quick top 5th, the whispers of a 'perfect game' started to buzz as Braden's performance was put on notice. Then in the top 6th, after retiring the first two batters he faced, Braden got into a 12-pitch battle with Rays RF Gabe Kapler which resulted in Kapler popping out in foul territory. The talk of a perfect game started to increase even more afterwards.
Braden made quick work of the Rays in the top 7th (taking only 7 pitches to get 3 outs) and top 8th (taking only 9 pitches) as he was just 3 outs away from achieving baseball immortality. Rather than pull him at 98 pitches to go with the bullpen to close the game out, A's manager Bob Geren allowed Braden to go back out in the top 9th. Braden got both Rays DH Willy Aybar and C Dioner Navarro to lineout back-to-back before facing Kapler again. This time, it took only 5 pitches as Kapler grounded out 6-3 for the final out.
As soon as the final out was made, Braden was swarmed by his teammates at the pitcher's mound to celebrate what he just did. A's fans cheered in euphoria as that had seen their pitcher throw the 19th Perfect Game in MLB history. Braden also celebrated the moment with his maternal grandmother, who had raised him after his mother passed away from melanoma during his senior year in high school. For his stat line, Braden pitched in all 9 innings, giving up 0 hits, 0 runs, 0 walks, and had 6 strikeouts while throwing 109 pitches (77 for strikes).
Braden went on to finish the 2010 season, posting career bests in wins (11), ERA (3.50), WHIP (1.157), strikeouts (113), complete games (5), and shutouts (2) while pitching in a career high 192.2 innings.
Although Braden didn't win any awards or make any All-Star teams, for one moment he was perfect. He achieved baseball immortality and that's something that he will always keep with him.
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