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(Un)forgettable, in every way

11.04.09 at 2:37 pm ET

After stealing second base on Sunday, Johnny Damon looked up and saw that third was also uncovered and took off, stealing it as well. It was a heads up play by Damon and a costly mistake by the Phillies, who had mounted a dramatic comeback to tie the game in a game that would have tied the series, 2-2. 

We all know how that game ended, but it opens up an interesting subject. How often have we seen athletes make game-changing mistakes that cost their team wins? We decided to list some of the more (un)forgettable moments.

Chris Webber calls a timeout
Webber, while maybe not one of the all-time NBA greats, was a good big man and a contributor for the teams he played for. However, he will always be known for calling a timeout in the 1993 NCAA championship game between Michigan and UNC. In retrospect, there was plenty of time left in the game for Michigan to set up a play and if the Michigan guards, who usually handle the ball, had helped after the rebound, we might only talk about how Michigan collapsed and not how Webber lost the game for his team.

Andres Escobar scores own goal
Escobar was a defender on the Columbian 1994 FIFA World Cup team. Despite a celebrated career, he cemented himself in sports history when he scored an own goal in a match on June 22 against the United States while attempting to redirect a shot from U.S. midfielder, John Harkes.

The result of the own goal was the U.S. winning the match, 2-1. Columbia failed to advance past the first round in the tournament, and helped propel the U.S. into the second round, where they lost a 1-0 match to Brazil. The win over Columbia put U.S. soccer on the map in terms of World Cup play. For Colombia and Escobar, the result was far more harrowing. On July 2, 1994, Escobar was shot and killed in front of a bar. His death is widely believed to be punishment for the own goal.

Jim Marshall runs the wrong way
As a football player, this is one of those situations that you hope never happens to you.
It was an athletic play to pick up the ball on one bounce, but you have to pay attention to where you are! Even to this day Marshall can’t live it down. But at least Roy Riegels has company.

Bill Buckner 

Need I say more?

Merkle’s Boner

The granddaddy of all brain cramps in U.S. professional sports, which has been immortalized in culture and literature. Fred Merkle, a rookie making his first-ever big-league start, was on first base when one of his Giants teammates lined an apparent walkoff single against the Cubs, with whom New York was in a heated pennant race. Rather than touching second, however, Merkle sprinted straight from first base to the Giants clubhouse, located in centerfield, to avoid a flood of fans on the field. Johnny Evers of the Cubs somehow retrieved the ball (or a ball), brought the umpires back on the field as he stepped on second for a force out, and insisted that Merkle was out. Instead of a Giants walk-off win, the game was declared a suspended tie that the Cubs ultimately won, a pivotal moment in their claiming the pennant and their last World Series triumph in 1908. 

These plays and others like them will live on in infamy because of how much fans cherish sports and their favorite teams. These plays gain significance over the years because they are often deciding factors in what makes an individual, a team or game memorable.

Read More: andres escobar, bill buckner, fred merkle, jim marshall