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Revisiting some key moments, and key figures, in Boston sports

The region’s cup runneth over when it comes to athletics, from the Boston Marathon to four major sports teams and Bill Russell to Aly Raisman.

Just some of the sports icons covered by the Globe's Sports department, from left: David Ortiz, Marvin Hagler, Tom Brady, Larry Bird with Magic Johnson, Aly Raisman, and Ted Williams.globe staff

Snippets of Sports Reporting from the Globe

1874 | The Arrival of Lawn Tennis

The first lawn tennis game in the United States was probably played at the Nahant home of Colonel and Mrs. William Appleton, when James Dwight and Fred Sears haphazardly laid out a court, “hit the ball in no particular direction,” as a later account in the Globe put it, and promptly gave up. But they picked it up again and, in 1881, Sears’s brother Richard won the first US championship at Newport.

April 19, 1897 | The Birth of the Boston Marathon

“At 12:15, Tom Burke scraped his foot across the narrow street in front of Metcalf’s mill and called the contestants’ numbers. Fifteen men answered,” reported the Globe. So launched a proud tradition of the Boston Athletic Association. The race, “in emulation of the Olympian games held at Athens last spring, proved a great success and is an assurance of an annual fixture of the same kind.” They got that right. Much has remained the same: “The early morning trains to Ashland carried hundreds of spectators who wished to see the start of the great race and then jump on a train again and be present . . . to see the finish. The bicycle corps did excellent work during the trip, giving the men lemons, water, and wet handkerchiefs. . . . The ambulance corps also did good work.”

Four of Many Marathon Legends, By the Numbers


The bib number of Kathrine Switzer, who completed the race in 1967 (despite race official Jock Semple trying to stop her), before women were allowed to enter.


A world-record time set by Maine’s Joan Benoit Samuelson in 1983. She won gold at the first Olympic women’s marathon the next year.


The age at which Medford’s Johnny Kelley, in 1992, ran in his 61st and final Boston Marathon. (Watching Kelley in one race, Globe sports editor Jerry Nason coined the name “Heartbreak Hill.”)


The number of Boston Marathons completed by father-son team Dick and Rick Hoyt, with Dick pushing Rick in his wheelchair.

Clockwise from left: Johnny Kelley, Joan Benoit Samuelson, Dick and Rick Hoyt, and Kathrine Switzer.Kelley by Frank O’Brien/Globe staff; Benoit Samuelson by William Ryerson/Globe staff; Switzer from Getty; the Hoyts by Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff

A medal the Globe had made to give to the players who won the first modern World Series.From SCP Auctions

October 1903 | Honoring the Boston Americans Win in the First Modern World Series

To commemorate the victors of the first-ever World Series — though it wasn’t yet called that — the Globe announced on the front page that it was having “enduring medals of gold” made to give to each player, to be presented “at the earliest practicable date.” The franchise later became known as the Red Sox.

$97,558: The price one of the Globe medals reportedly sold for at auction in 2021.

The Enduring Fenway Park

Fenway Park under a brilliant sunset in August 2020.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

‘A crazy-quilt violation of city planning principles, an irregular pile of architecture, a menace to marketing consultants, Fenway Park works. It works as a symbol of New England’s pride, as a repository of evergreen hopes, as a tabernacle of lost innocence. it works as a place to watch baseball.’

The Globe’s Martin F. Nolan, on Fenway Park

25¢: The price for a grandstand seat at the first game played at Fenway Park in 1912. The Red Sox beat the Harvard University varsity team.

Francis Ouimet and his caddy, Eddie Lowery, during the 1913 US Open at The Country Club in Brookline.

September 20, 1913 | One of the Greatest Golf Games Ever Played

It had been a stunning match at The Country Club in 1913, with Brookline amateur Francis Ouimet — a 20-year-old gardener’s son on leave from his job as a shop clerk — tying two British pros, considered the best in the world, over 72 holes. The next day’s US Open playoff ended with Ouimet’s win before a crowd of 10,000, an event credited with spurring the popularization of golf in America. “His victory took golf away as the rightful property of the wealthy, the upper classes,” the Globe later reported, “and made it into a game that could be played by the clerk, the factory worker, or anybody who chose to buy a set of clubs.”

Babe Ruth at Fenway Park in 1915.

January 5, 1920 | Babe Ruth traded

And so, the curse begins.

575: The number of times “Curse of the Bambino” appears in the Globe digital archives, beginning with an excerpt in a 1990 Globe Magazine of Dan Shaughnessy’s then-forthcoming book of the same name.

Rocky Marciano in 1952.Associated Press

September 23, 1952: The Original Rocky is World Champion

When Brockton’s Rocky Marciano won the world heavyweight title, the Globe reported from the boxer’s hometown: “Thirty thousand ordinarily mild-mannered persons went happily mad.”

Two Iconic Moments in College Football, One November Date

> November 23, 1968: “THE Game of the Century.” That’s how the Globe put it, after Harvard scored 16 points in the final 42 seconds of the game, ending in a tie with Yale for the Ivy title.

> November 23, 1984: It was, quite literally, at the last second. Doug Flutie threw a 65-yard Hail Mary pass to Gerard Phelan in the end zone, scoring Boston College’s winning touchdown against Miami. “A miracle in Miami,” the Globe headlined it.

Reggie LewisMichele McDonald/Globe Staff

The Tragic Loss of Celtics Captain Reggie Lewis

On July 28, 1993, the Globe’s front page reported the tragic death of Reggie Lewis the night before. “Celtics captain Lewis dies after collapse while shooting,” the headline read. Lewis, 27, had been practicing at Brandeis University when he collapsed and went into cardiac arrest; he was pronounced dead two and a half hours later at Waltham-Weston Hospital.

The Reign of the UConn Women’s Basketball Team

111: The number of consecutive victories in the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team’s historic win streak, from 2014 to 2017. Over that time, the Huskies steamrolled the competition, frequently blowing out opponents by double digits.

Connecticut's Rebecca Lobo (50) pulls in a rebound in this Jan. 16, 1995, photo.BOB CHILD/Associated Press

June 15, 2011 | Bruins Win Back the Stanley Cup

An epic victory ended an epic drought of 39 years — the Bruins’ longest between Stanley Cup triumphs — as they beat the Canucks 4-3 in Vancouver. Back in Boston, the “region exploded in collective joy,” wrote the Globe’s Peter Schworm. “Thousands of electrified fans rushed into city streets, leaping through the night and embracing strangers in a euphoric celebration.”

Zdeno Chara was the first to hoist the Stanley Cup after the Bruins victory over Vancouver in 2011. Jim Davis

April 20, 2013 | David Ortiz speaks for an entire city

“This is our f_ _ _ _ _ _ city!” — David Ortiz, on Live TV after the Boston Marathon bombing

David Ortiz addresses Red Sox fans during a pre-game ceremony honoring the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings, before a game against the Kansas City Royals at Fenway. Reuters

A Short Survey of Some of the Greatest of the Greats

Bill Russell

“He’s the greatest defensive center I’ve ever seen.” — Red Auerbach, in a 1956 Globe story announcing the arrival of Bill Russell, who would lead the Celtics to 11 championships over 13 seasons

Bill Russell of San Francisco and the Olympic basketball team, watches Boston Celtics coach Red Auerbach maneuver ball on his finger tip shortly after the 6' 10" player signed a contract and donned a Celts uniform for workout in Boston, Dec. 19, 1956. (AP Photo/J. Walter Green)AP/Associated Press

September 28, 1960 | Teddy Ballgame Goes Out in Style

“G’BYE WITH A BANG . . . THAT’S OUR TED,” read the Globe’s headline the day after Red Sox legend Ted Williams, “one of the most fabulous figures who ever swung a bat,” ended his baseball career with his 521st home run.

Ted Williams is congratulated by Jim Pagliaroni after homering in his final at-bat, Sept., 28 1960. -- Library Tag 07062002 Sports Special Section - A Life Remembered TED WILLIAMS FAREWELL, JULY 6TH, 2002. Library Tag 07092002 Sports Library Tag 09282008 Sports Library Tag 10142010 Editorial/OpinionCourtesy Baseball Hall of Fame/X0-

Larry Bird

“Larry Bird said that there would be another Larry Bird one day. And Larry, there will never, ever, ever be another Larry Bird. . . . You take that to the bank.” — Magic Johnson, during the Celtic legend’s retirement ceremony in Boston.

LOS ANGELES - JANUARY 1: Larry Bird #33 of the Boston Celtics waits for a rebound against Magic Johnson of the Los Angeles Lakers at The Great Western Forum on January 1, 1986 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory copyright notice and Credit: Copyright 2001 NBAE (Photo By: Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images) Library Tag 06052008 Sidekick Calendar EditionThe New York Times

Bobby Orr

“He was the greatest ever, no one close.” — The assessment of Bobby Orr by Bruins TV analyst Johnny Peirson to the Globe’s Jack Craig, who would pioneer the beat of television sports criticism.

Caption: FILE -- Boston Bruins' Bobby Orr is airborne after scoring the goal that won the Stanley Cup for the Boston Bruins, May 10,1970, against the St. Louis Blues at Boston Garden. (AP Photo/Boston Herald American, Ray Lussier) Caption Writer: PK XSS HMB Headline: BOBBY ORR Special Instructions: NO SALES. MAY 10, 1970 PHOTO. B&W ONLY Byline: RAY LUSSIER Byline Title: MBR Credit: AP Source: BOSTON HERALD AMERICAN Object Name: MIL CENTURY SPORTS Date Created: 19700510 City: BOSTON Province-State: MA Country Name: USA Original Transmission Reference: NY205 Category: S Supplemental Categories: HKN Supplemental Categories: FILE Urgency: L Time Created: 000000+0000RAY LUSSIER/BOSTON HERALD AMERICAN via AP/File 1970

Tom Brady

“[A]t 38, Brady looks forever young. . . . He is still at the apogee of his profession, fixated on becoming the first quarterback to win five Super Bowls and erasing any doubt that he is the greatest ever at his position.” Christopher L. Gasper, June 23, 2016

“. . . the Patriots’ 34-28 overtime victory over the Atlanta Falcons Sunday night might very well be the greatest moment in Boston Sports History.” - Dan Shaughnessy, in his story on the Patriots’ Super Bowl LI victory

Tom Brady and his son celebrated with the Lombardi Trophy in 2017, after the Patriots beat the Falcons in the Super Bowl. Barry Chin/Globe Staff

The Globe’s Larry Whiteside and His Lasting Influence

Readers turned to Larry Whiteside’s Red Sox coverage from 1973 to 2004, when he retired. He was the Globe’s first Black beat writer, and a champion for Black journalists. The National Association of Black Journalists gave him a Lifetime Achievement Award. He was posthumously inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.


Aly Raisman: The Gutsiest Gymnast

“Aly Raisman had already proven her mettle on the mat in the 2012 and 2016 Olympic games, leading the ‘Fierce Five’ and the ‘Final Five’ women’s gymnastic teams to back-to-back gold medals,” read the Globe Magazine article naming the Needham native one of the 2018 Bostonians of the Year. “In 2018, Raisman emerged as one of the leaders of an even more dauntless squad — the sisterhood of survivors of sexual abuse by team doctor Lawrence G. Nassar,” wrote Stephanie Ebbert.

Raisman testified before Congress, criticizing the FBI’s handling of the sexual assault case that affected her and so many other young athletes. She also has worked with organizations such as Darkness to Light, which aims to end child sexual abuse, and campaigns focused on women’s empowerment. – Dylan Dhindsa

US Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman is sworn in before she testifies during a Senate Judiciary hearing about the Inspector General's report on the FBI handling of the Larry Nassar investigation of sexual abuse of Olympic gymnasts, on Capitol Hill, September 15, 2021, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Graeme Jennings / POOL / AFP) (Photo by GRAEME JENNINGS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)GRAEME JENNINGS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images