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5 Greatest Moments in Sports that Make Them the Good Old Days

By Jan Bolder - April 25, 2014

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There's nothing quite like the heroics and excitement of sports. A well-timed pass, an agile catch, an unlikely homer — watching iconic moments by our favorite athletes is something we'll never get tired of reliving. And in today's age of digital this and instant replay that, the game-changing plays just aren't as good as they used to be. We'll take a look at some of the greatest ever sports plays that make sports just seem better when we were younger.

The Shot Heard 'Round the World

The date was October 3, 1951 and the Brooklyn Dodgers were facing the New York Giants in the deciding game of their playoff series. At the top of the 9th, with the score 4-1 in favor of the Dodgers, Bobby Thomson stepped up to bat. He had no chance on the first pitch, with Ralph Branca throwing a fastball strike to the inside corner. But on the second pitch, an up-and-in fastball, Thomson made no mistake and send the ball into the stands, acing a three-run homer that gave his Giants the National League pennant. Unfortunately, the Yankees won the World Series that year, topping those very same Giants.

The Hail Mary Pass

With football a near-religion in the country, it's no surprise that one of the most unlikely plays in football would be given a religious moniker. Although the play's name can be traced back as far as a Notre Dame-Georgia Tech game in 1922, it was the 1975 playoff game between the Cowboys and Vikings that cemented its place in history. Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach — with his eyes closed — threw a field-long pass to wide receiver Drew Pearson, a play that normally is a waste of time. But on December 28, it went through and Dallas beat Minnesota, 17-14 (but sadly, the Cowboys lost Super Bowl X to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 21-17).

Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point Game

In 1962, the NBA was a sort-of nothing league, not even as popular as college ball. And the game between the Philadelphia Warriors and New York Knicks was such a low-importance one — there were only five games left in the season, with the Warriors sitting pretty in 2nd place compared to the Knicks in last — that there were barely more than 4,000 people in attendance. But those who did show up saw Chamberlain set a record that still stands today. Only Kobe Bryant has come close with 81 points against the Raptors, and it looks like Chamberlain's record will continue to stand.

Four-Minute Mile

Runners from all over the world saw the four-minute mile as one of the sport's greatest barriers, with hundreds coming close but never cracking it. And the runners would have to wait decades until the magical year of 1954, when it was broken not once, but three times. Englishman Roger Bannister was the first on May 6, clocking in at 3:59.4, and repeated the feat again two months later at the British Empire and Commonwealth Games, along with Australian John Landy.

Mickey Mantle's Perfect Catch

Mickey Mantle long cemented his status as a household name, but his biggest moment came on October 8, 1956. To date, there had never been a perfect game in MLB history, but Yankees pitcher Don Larsen was determined to get his way against the Brooklyn Dodgers. However, he ran into trouble in Game 5 when Gil Hodges cracked a shot deep into left center field...where it was met by Mantle's outstretched glove. The Yankees won the World Series that year.