The top 10 sporting and racing comebacks of all time

By on July 25, 2015

Red SoxTHE team at love a good comeback.

Is there anything more exciting in sport?

Whether it’s a comeback from injury or retirement, or beating overwhelming odds within a match, the great comebacks are what we live for.

Those great comebacks reverberate through time. Everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing when they happened – for true sports fans, they live with us forever.

So, with that passion in mind, we have compiled what we think were the best sporting and horse racing comebacks of all time.

Kicking off our list is the return of the best NBA basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan, as he returns to the Chicago Bulls after a stint at baseball.

10. Michael Jordan’s first NBA comeback in 1995

The world was Michael Jordan’s oyster after winning three consecutive NBA Championships with the Chicago Bulls from 1990-93. But, following the murder of his father, MJ decided to play the sport his father loved so dearly.

Jordan never quite succeeded playing AA baseball – reaching only a .202 average over a couple of seasons.

He eventually made his return to the NBA and it was like nothing had changed. Jordan went on to win three more titles from 1996-1998, making his return one of the greatest comebacks ever and establishing himself as the greatest to ever play basketball.

9. Paul Lawrie’s 1999 Open Championship win

Paul LawrieIrish golfer Paul Lawrie might not be the most well-known name in golf, but he does have one of the biggest comebacks in golf’s long history.

Lawrie trailed French golfer Jean Van de Velde by 10 shots heading into the final round of the 1999 Open Championship and that’s a bg enough lead in anyone’s books.

All Van de Velde needed was a double bogey on the final hole at Carnoustie, but he hit it into the water and much to the surprise of many, he decided to play his ball from the water.

That decision would haunt him for the rest of his career and he was never the same after that. Lawrie went on to win the Open Championship in a playoff, the biggest win and comeback of his career.

8. Zenyatta’s final farewell

This one might cause some controversy as it wasn’t a win and it wasn’t a comeback, but it was everything but and it captured the hearts of American racing fans.

Zenyatta was having its last career run and it was odds-on to win the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs, but one of the worst rides you’ll ever see from Mike Smith put an end to the fairytale story.

Mike settled Zenyatta about six lengths behind the nearest horse at the back of the field and it was effectively given no chance of winning.

This goes in our comeback top 10 list because Zenyatta produced one of the best runs you will see on the turf to run second.

It only went down a short margin at the line under the efforts of Mike Smith, who later apologised for his tactics and cried post-race, but Zenyatta went down in history that day.

7. Cleveland Indians late innings comeback

The Major League Baseball game between the Cleveland Indians and the Seattle Mariners in 2001 didn’t have much of an effect on the season, but the comeback was simply amazing.

The Indians were behind by 12 runs heading into the eighth inning and somehow managed to tie the game in the ninth with an outstanding comeback.

To make it better for the Indians, the Mariners were the best team in the league that season and producing a late performance against one of the best bullpens in the league was one out of the hat.

The Indians went on to win 15-14 in the 11th inning and cementing themselves in sporting folklore.

6. Oracle’s America’s Cup comeback

The America’s Cup has more prize money attached than many sports we like to watch, so it gets an include in this top 10 list.

In 2013, the final of the America’s Cup was between Team Oracle and Emirates Team New Zealand, and the hopes that the Cup would return to New Zealand were at a record high.

Team New Zealand led 8-1 in a best of 17 series, meaning they only had to win one from the next eight races to win the America’s Cup, but they couldn’t.

Oracle won every race to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, winning 9-8 and making sure the Cup stayed with the Larry Ellison-owned team.


5. Goran Ivanisevic Wimbledon victory

Croatian tennis player Goran Ivanisevic was down-and-out in the tennis world, but the Wimbledon committee decided to give him a wild-card spot into the 2001 Wimbledon Championships.

It was a wild card spot that he didn’t take for granted as Ivanisevic stormed his way through the tournament, beating players such as Andy Roddick, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Roger Federer and Lleyton Hewitt.

The then 29-year-old was a massive outsider all tournament, but scored a thrilling five set win in the final against Pat Rafter.

4. Liverpool – 2005 Champions League miracle

Liverpool weren’t fancied to win the 2005 Champions League after scraping through the knockout stage and they were due to face the impressive AC Milan in the final.

Making matters worse, Liverpool found themselves down 3-0 at halftime in the final, but just when bookmakers shifted AC Milan to $1.01, Liverpool struck back with a vengeance.

Liverpool scored three goals in six minutes and they won eventually won on penalties to win the Champions League.

3. Tulloch the brave

Tulloch was a champion Australian race horse which won the Caulfield Cup in 1957 before winning the Victoria Derby by eight lengths.

As a three-year-old it won 14 from 16 starts, but its toughest test was soon to follow. Tulloch suffered a stomach ailment which turned it into a virtual skeleton.

Tulloch suffered from this sickness for over a year before a medical miracle had the mighty horse back in full health.

In its return to the track, Tulloch defeated Lord in the Queen’s Plate and it went on to win 13 more stakes races including the 1960 Cox Plate.

2. Jack Nicklaus Masters comeback

Jack NicklausWidely considered the best golfer of all time, Jack Nicklaus made history when the 46-year-old became the oldest winner of the Masters and second oldest major winner in history.

The Golden Bear won his first Masters tournament in 1963 and it was amazing to think a golfer could win the tournament some 23 years later in 1986.

His score of -9 was good enough to beat Tom Kite and Greg Norman by one shot and also the late Seve Ballesteros by two strokes. Fellow champion golfers Tom Watson, Ben Crenshaw and Bernhard Langer were not far behind.

The best shot from Nicklaus was his eagle 3 on the 15th hole which rocketed him to the front of the leaderboard.

His famous birdie followed on 16 and he capped off a fantastic round with a birdie on the last.

1. Boston Red Sox make history

The Boston Red Sox comeback in 2004 is our best comeback in sports history.

The Red Sox hoodoo stretched for many years and some fans believed they would never win a Major League Baseball championship, but an unlikely comeback changed everything.

They were down 3-0 to the New York Yankees, their biggest rival, and they had to travel to the big apple to get the job done.

The players and coaches kept saying “one game at a time” and that’s exactly what they did. The Red Sox won four consecutive games to advance to the World Series, knocking out a stunned Yankees side.

Still on the high of their comeback, the Red Sox rolled through the St. Louis Cardinals 4-0 in the World Series and etched their names in history.

This article, The top 10 sporting and racing comebacks of all time, first appeared on Australian Gambling.

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