In the year 2016 the city of Chicago saw some pretty amazing things in sports, from the many individual feats of Chicago athletes, to the team accomplishments, including a Chicago Cubs World Series Championship.
As you prepare for your New Year’s Eve festivities this evening, take a look back at some of the best moments of 2016 from across the Chicago sports landscape. Our top moments from 2016 are comprised of feedback from our staff, as well as mentions from readers across social media.
Instead of ranking these moments myself, I decided to take this walk down memory lane with you, in no specific order, and then allow readers to vote for their top moments of 2016 on social media all day today. Once the ball drops at midnight the voting will end.
Whether you’re indulging in a bottle of champagne this evening with your friends, or uncorking a bottle of Welch’s Sparkling Grape Juice with your little ones in the comfort of your home this evening, be sure to share and vote!
Jimmy Butler Drops 40 in the Second Half to Beat the Raptors – January 3
Just three days into the year 2016 Jimmy Butler gave us our first memorable performance of the year, when he nearly single-handedly beat the Toronto Raptors.
Butler scored only two points in the first half, and left the game with a lacerated lip after taking a shot to the face from Raptors forward DeMarre Carroll. Butler would receive stitches in the locker room, and return for the third quarter with the Bulls trailing the Raptors 60-48. Butler would go on to score 40 points in the second half, to finish with 42 points on the night, and break Michael Jordan‘s team record of 39, for most points scored in a half.
“He just made play after play,” head coach Fred Hoiberg said, shaking his head in disbelief after the win. “He was unbelievable with the ball in his hands; hitting fade away shots, the last three, getting himself to the free-throw line.
“Just a really, really good individual performance.” – Bulls Head Coach Fred Hoiberg’s post game comments on Butler’s performance.
The Bulls would beat the Raptors 115-113 in dramatic fashion thanks to Butler, who willed his team to their seventh consecutive win over Toronto at the time.
Kris Bryant Takes Chris Sale Deep at MLB All-Star Game – July 12
The two Chicago baseball teams were well represented at the 2016 Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Petco Park in San Diego this past July, and the table was set early for a little crosstown battle.
In the top of the first inning, Chicago Cubs third-baseman Kris Bryant stepped into the batters box in a scoreless game, opposed by Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale, the American League’s starting pitcher for the mid-summer classic.
With two outs, Sale was closing in on a scoreless opening frame, but on the first pitch of the at-bat Kris Bryant took Sale deep to left field, giving the National League All-Star Team a 1-0 lead.
Cubs Clinch First World Series Championship in 108 Years – November 2
The Chicago Cubs went curse busting last month, as they made their way to the World Series against the Cleveland Indians. Down three games to one, the Cubs won back-to-back games to set the stage for a game seven at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio.
In one of the best baseball games I have ever witnessed, Cubs fan’s watched their World Series hopes seemingly crash and burn when Rajai Davis took closer Aroldis Chapman deep for a game-tying missile of a home run, that just cleared the tall left field fence at Progressive Field, shaking the stadium from the crowd’s eruption and tying the game at six in the 8th inning.
Davis was hitting just .132 in the postseason and had only hit 55 career home runs over the span of 11 years in Major League Baseball before his game-tying homer.
After a short rain rain delay before the top of the 10th inning began, the Cubs would take the lead for the final time, and clinch their first World Series Championship in 108 years in the bottom of the 10th inning, sending Chicago into an uproar a century in the making.
White Sox Turn Wild Triple Play Versus the Rangers – April 22
The White Sox didn’t do a whole lot of things right beyond their early hot start, but they did manage to turn one of the craziest triple plays you will ever see on April 22, against the Texas Rangers.
With the White Sox leading 5-0 in the top of the 7th inning, the Rangers had the bases loaded with no outs. Jose Quintana induced a fly ball to right field off of the bat of Mitch Moreland, which was corralled on the run by Adam Eaton, who then threw the ball to first-baseman Jose Abreu who was able to somehow tag a dancing and diving Ian Desmond out.
Abreu then proceeded to throw across the diamond where the White Sox would force Prince Fielder into a rundown between third base and home plate, eventually tagging him out, and capping off a wild 9-3-2-6-2-5 triple play.
The triple play was the first for the White Sox since September 18, 2006. The White Sox would have more triple play magic later in 2016, but nothing will compare to this wild one.
Patrick Kane Becomes First American to record a 100-Point Season since ’96 with A Hat Trick – April 3
Patrick Kane put together a career year in 2015-2016 for the Blackhawks, as well as one of the best seasons by an American born NHL player in the last two decades.
On April 3, 2016 in a regular season game against the Boston Bruins, Kane became the first Blackhawks player to eclipse the 100 point mark in a season since Jeremy Roenick did it during the 1993-1994 season, Kane also became the first American NHL player to accomplish that feat since Doug Weight in the 1995-1996 season. In Showtime fashion, he accomplished the feat by recording a hat trick against the Bruins.
Kane would go on to finish the season with 106 points, and win both the Hart Memorial Trophy and the Art Ross Trophy, becoming the first Blackhawks player to win either of the two awards since Stan Mikita did it during the 1967-1968. Kane would also win the Ted Lindsay Award to cap off his monster 2015-2016 campaign.
Jose Quintana Makes All-Star Game Debut, Tosses Scoreless Frame – July 12
White Sox starting pitcher Jose Quintana has long been considered one of the most underrated players in baseball, due to his mediocre win-loss record, due in large part to some anemic White Sox offenses over the years.
In 2016 Quintana was overlooked no more, as he was selected to replace the injured Danny Salazar in the 87th MLB All-Star Game. Quintana entered the game in the top of the 5th inning for the American League, and pitched around an error by Houston Astros second-baseman Jose Altuve, to record a scoreless inning for the American League All-Stars.
Jake Arrieta No Hitter, Part Two – April 21
On April, 21 Jake Arrieta added to his pajama party lore, when he tossed his second no-no in his previous 16 starts, dating back to the end of the 2015 regular season, as the Cubs trounced the Cincinnati Reds 16-0 at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Arrieta threw 119 pitches while striking out six Reds hitters en route to the no hitter, stretching his early 2016 record to 4-0 with a 0.87 ERA. At that point Arrieta had posted an insane stretch of starts dating back to the end of 2015, consisting of 16 starts in which he posted a 15-0 record with a minuscule 0.53 ERA and two no-hitters.
Little did Arrieta know back in April, that he would eventually celebrate a much bigger moment in his career in Ohio during the ensuing fall.
Marian Hossa Notches His 500th Goal – October 18
On October 18 against the Philadelphia Flyers the 37-year-old Marian Hossa scored his 500th career goal against Flyers goalie Michal Neuvirth. Hossa skated behind the net and threw his arms up in the air in celebration with the 21, 263 Blackhawks fans in attendance at the United Center.
The United Center crowd gave Hossa a strong standing ovation, and Hossa acknowledged the fans after the game saying, “It feels great. Doing it at home in front of our fans, I can’t be happier,” he said. “And the guys end up winning this game. It feels great.”
“What an amazing moment that was,” Kane said. “You could tell he was excited. The crowd was excited. Pretty cool celebration with him coming over to the bench and getting everyone involved, too.” – Patrick Kane on Marian Hossa’s 500th goal
Hossa became the 44th player in NHL history to reach the 500 goal plateau, and the Hawks’ went on to beat the Flyers 7-4.