10th anniversary: Randy Winn’s greatest shot

Ten years ago, professional baseball player Randy Winn had maybe his best moment in sports. The neat part was, it had nothing to do with baseball. And Winn certainly didn’t expect to do anything memorable.

No, he was just going to watch a basketball game in his home town of Los Angeles. He had tickets to that night’s Clippers-Cavaliers game in LA and just intended to see star Clippers players Elton Brand, Lamar Odom, and Corey Maggette play.

The night turned out to be a bit more exciting for Winn, though. In the grand tradition of halftime entertainment, the Clippers promotional staff roped one random fan out of the stands to see if he could do the unlikely, sink a shot from half court in one, and only one, try. Oh, and just to make things interesting, a prize would be offered. A nice prize—a new car.

As it happens, that lucky random fan was Winn. Well, from the point of view of the Clippers team and the car company, Winn is about as bad a random pick as you could hope for. He was something of a ringer. First, he was a professional athlete, as he was the starting right fielder for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at the time.

Second, he wasn’t just a baseball player. In college he played basketball in Division I. Winn was a college teammate of Steve Kerr at Santa Clara. In 1993, their team became the second 15th seed in history to win a game in the annual NCAA tournament.

And now Winn was given a chance to sink a basket from half court to win a new car.

You know how this ends. It wouldn’t be much of a story if he missed. Of course, Winn’s aim was true, and he won himself a brand new Mitsubishi Lancer. Since Winn was already a millionaire by this time, he didn’t really need the car, but he knew just what to do with it. He gave the new set of wheels to his mom.

Oh, and the Clippers won, 109-103.

Aside from that, today many other events celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary” (which is an event that occurred X-thousand days ago). Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d rather just skim.

Day-versaries

2,000 days since Luke Scott hits for the cycle.

5,000 days since Randy Winn makes his big league debut.

5,000 days since Ivan Rodriguez gets his 1,000th hit.

6,000 days since Ron Darling plays in his last game.

6,000 days since Reggie Sanders of the Reds hits three homers in one game.

6,000 days since Kirby Puckett belts his best WPA home run. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth and Minnesota trailing by two run, he connects for a three-run homer and a 7-6 Twins lead over the Mariners. His WPA for the home run: 0.892.

8,000 days since owners drop their demands on arbitration and salary consessions during the 1994-95 work stoppage.

9,000 days since the White Sox beat the Red Sox, 8-6, despite an odd quirk. Despite getting 11 guys on base, Chicago ends the game with zero runners left on base. Eight score, two are out in double plays, and the remaining baserunner is caught stealing.

10,000 days since Tony Perez hits the 11th and final walk-off home run of his career. It’s his sole pinch-hit walk-off home run. His homer gives the Reds a 7-5 win over Pittsburgh in 11 innings.

15,000 days since fire damages the abandoned Forbes Field in Pittsburgh.

20,000 days since many players make their big league debuts, including Roger Maris, Dick Drott, Sam Mele, and Jim Landis.

25,000 days since pitchers Whitlow Wyatt and Manny Salvo go after each other after exchanging beanballs in a 2-0 Braves win over the Dodgers.

Anniversaries

1896 Bill McGowan, Hall of Famer, is born.

1934 Dizzy Dean confidently predicts the Cardinals will win the pennant, with himself winning 25 games and younger brother Paul notching 18-20 victories.

1938 Curt Flood, super fielding center fielder, is born.

1947 Pittsburgh purchases Hank Greenberg for $75,000. He’ll play one year there and then retire.

1952 The White Sox accept the resignation of GM Charles A. Comiskey, Jr. after his request for more money is turned down.

1954 Scott McGregor, pitcher, is born.

1961 Schoolboy Rowe, former Tigers pitcher, dies.

1964 Brady Anderson, unlikely 50-homer guy, is born.

1969 Washington hires Ted Williams as its manager. He’ll be the last manager in Senators history.

1971 Pittsburgh signs amateur free agent Tony Armas.

1972 Mike Lieberthal, longtime Phillies catcher, is born.

1973 Boston signs free agent Orlando Cepeda. He’ll be the team’s DH.

1985 The Brewers, Rangers, Mets, and Royals engage in the rare four-team trade. Texas gets Don Slaught, Milwaukee lands Danny Darwin and Tim Leary, KC gets Jim Sundberg, and the Mets receive Frank Wills.

1994 Baseball owners approve of a revenue plan that is keyed to a salary cap. This will need player approval, and that will cause that year’s strike.

1995 With the strike still going on, 55-year old Phil Niekro says a team contacted him and his 50-year-old brother Joe Niekro about possibly returning to the mound in 1995. He won’t say which team asked.

1995 Former baseball umpire and best-selling author Ron Luciano commits suicide at age 57.

1999 Five are injured when a fiberglass panel falls from the roof of Olympic Stadium in Montreal during the setup for an auto show.

2002 San Diego signs free agent Ron Gant.

2006 Pitcher Danny Graves returns to Vietnam, where he had been born in 1973. It’s his first visit there since 1974. He’s there to teach kids baseball.

2008 The White Sox sign amateur free agent Alexei Ramirez.

2008 Seattle signs free agent reliever Arthur Rhodes.

2011 Detroit signs free agent pitcher Brad Penny.

2011 Gil Meche announces his retirement, opting to forego the final year of his contract.

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Comments

  1. Steve I said...

    1934 – I’ve read a couple different versions of Dizzy’s prediction.  I prefer the one where he said between them, he and Paul would win 45 games, but I don’t pretend it is any more accurate than the other versions.  (I don’t remember for sure, but I think that’s the way it is told in The Gashouse Gang.)

  2. Mike Wilson said...

    Randy Winn’s famous teammate at Santa Clara was Steve Nash, not Steve Kerr, who played at the University of Arizona.

  3. Chris Jaffe said...

    Yeah – I got the Nash/Kerr thing wrong.  And the annoying thing is I actually looked it up too.  I first thought “Kerr” then realized that can’t be right, he’s too old.  So I looked it up found out it was Nash—and then typed in Kerr anyway.

    Got Kerr on the brain, I guess.

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