It's a homer. Albeit sort of a pathetic homer when you think about it. Photograph by Walter Iooss Jr./Sports Illustrated via Getty Images
It's a homer. Albeit sort of a pathetic homer when you think about it. Photograph by Walter Iooss Jr./Sports Illustrated via Getty Images

What are the most pathetic greatest moments?

This is going to be another post about being a fan. It actually comes from a conversation about basketball over Twitter with my brother earlier this week, in which he referred to the triple-overtime win by the Suns over the Celtics in Game 6 of the 1976 NBA finals as “pretty much the high point” of his life. What makes it a pathetic great moment is that the Suns lost the next game and the title.

I suspect that only loser franchises get to have pathetic great moments. As a San Francisco Giants fan for many years before 2010 and 2012 changed everything, I remember my share, and can nominate a real doozy: Joe Morgan's home run in 1982, which happened just after the Giants had been eliminated from winning the division, but at least made sure that the Dodgers wouldn’t win it, either.

I think the best one in baseball, and the closest to that NBA example, had to have been the Carlton Fisk game-winning homer in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series. An amazing moment, except that Boston lost, as usual, the next game. I suspect, however, that until the last decade there were plenty of Sox fans who thought of the Fisk homer as their top moment. Of course, it was certainly a great game; what happened in Game 7 doesn’t affect that. But it does ruin it, I’d say, as an unadulterated “great moment” for Sox fans.

Just to be clear: I’m not saying that only World Series winners get non-pathetic great moments. For example, the Brian Johnson game in 1997 (which I was at, in case I haven’t mentioned that recently) was a key moment on the way to a Giants division title, even though the postseason wasn’t a success. Nothing pathetic about that. Nor would there be anything pathetic about an LCS win that gets a team into the World Series, no matter what happens after that. Or, say, a no-hitter or some other single-game gem, even by a team going nowhere.

I’m guessing that fans of other teams that have had long stretches of futility have their own pathetic great moments, although I can’t think of any that rival Fisk. Anyone have suggestions?