Welcome to the first part of the 25 for 25 Series! G-Man is turning 25 on July 23rd and to celebrate, I am counting down each of the sporting years I have been alive for. Full rules on the 25 for 25 Main Page.
Stanley Cup Champion: New York Rangers (52-24-8, President’s Trophy Winners) – After a thrilling seven-game series with the Devils, the New York Rangers edged the Vancouver Canucks in another seven-game set. This was the series that Mark Messier famously guaranteed the Rangers would win at home in Game Seven, securing their first Cup since 1940. Wayne Gretzky led the league in points (130) while Pavel Bure sniped 60 goals in 76 games.
NBA Champion: Houston Rockets (58-24, #2 Western Conference) – In the first season without Michael Jordan, MVP Hakeem Olajuwon and the Rockets surged through the West to take on the Knicks in the Finals. New York had a 3-2 series lead and had the title-winning shot in John Starks’ hands but the Dream came through in the clutch in Game Six with a last-second block. Hakeem dominated the regular season winning both MVP and Defensive Player of the Year while the Spurs’ David Robinson averaged 29.8 points and 17.3 rebounds per game.
World Series Champion: None – 1994 MLB Strike, the Montreal Expos had the best record in baseball. Ken Griffey, Jr. broke Babe Ruth’s record for most homers before the end of June with 31.
Super Bowl Champion: San Francisco 49ers (13-3, #1 NFC) – The Niners rolled through the NFC and the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX. Steve Young “finally” made it out of Joe Montana’s shadow winning his first title while throwing a record six touchdowns. Young had a strong showing in the regular season tossing 35 TDs en route to a regular season MVP. “Primetime” Deion Sanders and Marshall Faulk made their NFL debuts in this season each winning Defensive and Offensive Rookie of Year, respectively.
NCAA Football National Champion: Nebraska Cornhuskers
NCAA Men’s Basketball National Champion: Arkansas Razorbacks (#1 Seed)
Masters Champion: Jose Maria Olazabal
US Open Champion: Ernie Els
British Open Champion: Nick Price
PGA Champion: Nick Price
1994 FIFA World Cup in the USA: Brazil won the World Cup when it was here in our glorious nation, becoming the first country to win four titles. This was the final World Cup to have 24 countries in tournament before it expanded to the current format of 32 in 1998.
Leading off our list is the year that featured no World Series. The Montreal Expos led all of baseball as the strike began which has since led Canada’s only remaining team–the Toronto Blue Jays–to hanging this banner:
The strike is the reason for 1994 falling to #25. Seeing Ernie wins his first major as well as Nick Price’s back-to-back add onto an otherwise pretty great year in sports. Messier’s guarantee and Steve Young and the Niners’ dominance in the playoffs put up a strong effort for this year. The controversy surrounding Columbia footballer Andres Escobar’s murder after World Cup certainly doesn’t help the cause. Murdering a man for an own-goal and no World Series makes it pretty tough to get out of the bottom of this list.