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You never know what might happen when it comes to physical competitions. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 crazy moments in sports.
Though sometimes it means unbelievable or good, for this list, we’re defining crazy as shocking and bad. We’re focusing on displays of bad behavior, violence, and accidents that simply made our jaws drop. The events could have happened during or after sporting events as well as away from play.
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#10: The World Series Earthquake, Baseball (1989)
This tremor struck San Francisco Bay for 10-15 seconds and was caught live on TV because of the ongoing World Series. The MLB’s Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants were warming up for their third game when the quake hit and had announcers scrambling for an explanation. Measuring 6.9 on the Richter Scale, the Loma Prieta earthquake caused over 60 deaths and thousands of injuries.
#9: Tim Donaghy and the NBA Betting Scandal, Basketball (2007)
It was in 2007 that this basketball referee with a gambling problem shocked the NBA. Associating himself with multiple individuals who were tied to the mob, Tim Donaghy was charged for fixing games to pay off his debts. The gambling scandal resulted in Donaghy receiving a 15-month prison sentence for his involvement and the revision of behavior guidelines for NBA referees.
#8: Clint Malarchuk’s Neck Is Sliced by a Skate, Hockey (1989)
Luck was on this Alberta native’s side the day the St. Louis Blues faced off against the Buffalo Sabres on March 22, 1989: after Blues player Steve Tuttle accidentally slashed the goaltender’s neck with his skate, team trainer Jim Pizzutelli rushed to his rescue and pinched off the bleeding until doctors arrived. Three hundred stitches and multiple sickened fans and players later, Malarchuk came out alive.
#7: On-Court Attack of Monica Seles, Tennis (1993)
Tennis is seen as a very civilized sport where the fans are pretty close to the action—sometimes, maybe too close. After defeating Steffi Graf in the Australian Open, Monica Seles was stabbed by one of her rival’s obsessed fans during a quarterfinal match in Hamburg. Seles didn’t return to the sport competitively for two years after the incident.
#6: Over the Edge with Owen Hart, WWF, now WWE (1999)
Wrestling is part competition and part entertainment. So when Owen Hart fell to his death during this pay-per-view event, many fans wondered if it was part of the storyline. Their shock and confusion turned to disbelief and sadness when it became clear it wasn’t: after the safety harness malfunctioned, Hart’s chest-first plunge into the top rope had EMTs come running. No footage of the tragedy has ever been officially released.
#5: Punch-up in Piestany, World Junior Ice Hockey Championships (1987)
During the final game of the 1987 Junior Championship between Canada and the Soviet Union, inexperienced referee Hans Rønning’s failure to make several calls triggered tension. This resulted into a post-face-off fight between two players that turned into a violent battle between both teams. To stop it, officials were forced to turn off the arena lights. The players and coaches involved in the 20-minute bench-clearing brawl received suspensions from the International Ice Hockey Federation.
#4: 1994-1995 MLB Strike, Baseball (1994-1995)
It was because of this work stoppage that the first World Series in 90 years was cancelled and Major League Baseball lost its entire 1994 postseason. After salary negotiations between players and team owners took a turn for the worse, the players felt compelled to strike and the season came to an abrupt end after several weeks. Though a Supreme Court decision 232 days later ended the strike, early low attendance for the 1995 season revealed fans’ anger.
#3: “The Play,” American College Football (1982)
After future Hall of Famer John Elway led Stanford Cardinal's offense to what appeared to be a game-winning touchdown, California’s Golden Bears managed to return the kick-off down the field. Meanwhile, the Stanford band was storming the field while the play was going on! Cali was ultimately given the victory—albeit a highly disputed one—and to this day, the incident’s regarded as one of the sport’s most memorable plays ever.
#2: Le Mans Disaster, Auto Racing (1955)
Because of auto racing’s dangerous nature, car crashes come with the territory. However, they seldom have spectator fatalities. Unfortunately, the 1955 Twenty-four Hours of Le Mans was the site of both: Pierre Levegh died after his Mercedes crashed into Lance Macklin’s car, taking over 80 spectators with him. Those that weren’t killed by flying debris likely perished in the fire that erupted when the fuel tank burst.
- Anderson Silva Taunts Chris Weidman and is knocked out during UFC 162, Mixed Martial Arts (2013)
- Louisville Cardinals’ player Kevin Ware breaks leg during NCAA Elite Eight game against Duke Blue Devils, American College Basketball (2013)
- Steve Bartman and the Foul Ball Incident, Baseball (2003)
#1: Hand of God Goal, Football/Soccer (1986)
It was in 1986 that the FIFA World Cup was the stage of the world’s biggest game with the world’s biggest football star. Argentina and England faced off in a match that went down in history because Diego Maradona scored not one, but two, of the sport’s most famous goals ever. First was the “Hand of God” goal, which he appeared to score with his hand. That controversial goal was let through because the refs had not seen it. Four minutes later, the Argentine footballer landed “The Goal of the Century” when he dribbled the ball past several English players by himself.
Do you agree with our list? What do you think is the craziest moment in sports? If you didn’t see a moment you think should be on here, be sure to check out our video of the "Top 10 Unsportsmanlike Moments in Sports" and subscribe to WatchMojo.com.