Welcome back to 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: Dallas Stars (51-19-12, #1 Western Conference, President’s Trophy) — The fans in Buffalo still debate the end to this Final. In tripe overtime of Game Six, Brett Hull scored the Cup-winner while in the crease creating a large controversy. The Stars were anchored by both Ed Belfour and Roman Turek in net who combined for the NHL’s best goals against average. 1999 also saw the debut of the Nashville Predators franchise and with them the six-division format while Wayne Gretzky said his farewells as he retired at the end of the season.
NBA Champion: San Antonio Spurs (37-13, #1 Western Conference) — The 1999 season missed the first 32 games due to a lockout that wouldn’t end until January. Despite this, David Robinson, Tim Duncan, and the Spurs effectively won the championship wire-to-wire as the team never seemed to miss a beat en route to the title. The First-Team All NBA was Duncan, Karl Malone, Alonzo Mourning, Allen Iverson, and Jason Kidd while the All-Rookie Team featured Vince Carter and Paul Pierce–not too shabby of a list.
World Series Champion: New York Yankees (98-64, #1 American League) — 1999 finally gave us the top-seeded Yankees/Braves series but Atlanta has halted in its tracks by a man named Marino Rivera–1999 World Series MVP–as the Yankees swept the Braves. Rivera led the league in saves but it was Pedro Martinez would take home the AL Cy Young Award. Pedro won the Pitching Triple Crown–23 Wins, 2.07 ERA, and 313 Strikeouts–as well striking out five of the first six NL batters in the All Star Game at Fenway Park.
Super Bowl Champion: St. Louis Rams (13-3, #1 NFC) — The beginning of the Greatest Show on Turf. Led by MVP QB Kurt Warner and Offensive POY RB Marshall Faulk, the Rams led the NFL in offense as well as having their defense allow the fewest rushing yards. St. Louis would win Super Bowl XXXIV over the newly named Tennessee Titans 23-16. 1999 featured the re-birth of the Cleveland Browns franchise, retroactively changing the designation of the Ravens to an expansion team.
NCAA Football National Champion: Florida State Seminoles
NCAA Men’s Basketball National Champion: Connecticut Huskies
Masters Champion: Juan Maria Olazabal (2nd Major)
US Open Champion: Payne Stewart (3rd Major)
British Open Champion: Paul Lawrie (1st Major)
PGA Champion: Tiger Woods (2nd Major)
1999 Ryder Cup: USA defeats Europe 14 1/2 to 13 1/2
1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion: USA — Brandi Chastain in PKs!!!
Oh boy, 1999 was great. From the Women’s World Cup team establishing our dominance in the sport, to the EPIC comeback by the US Ryder Cup team, we had some legendary moments. Perhaps my favorite is the All Star Game at Fenway. The “team of the century” was named prior to the game starting and one of the players included was Red Sox legend Ted Williams, who rode out on a golf cart. I remember watching Ted tip his cap to the crowd and my parents were both in awe as Williams was notorious for never tipping his cap. That alone would have made the game a fantastic experience but the aforementioned dominant performance put on by Pedro put it over the top.