TORONTO SUN AT 50: Looking back on half a century of Sun Sports

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Sports activities was on the entrance web page of the Toronto Solar’s first version and 50 years later, it nonetheless guidelines.


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An image of Tiger-Cats quarterback Joe Zuger, down in ache at CNE Stadium in a recreation towards the Argos, consummated the proper tabloid marriage, witness this week’s angst concerning the Maple Leafs’ gradual begin.

It has been a contented half-century between a metropolis of readers in love with their groups – win, lose or shootout – and a solid of devoted writers and particular oddballs of the Solar Sports activities Division.

In our first 12 months alone, Leon McQuay fumbled away the Gray Cup, Paul Henderson slew the Soviets and Harold Ballard took over the Leafs. Since then, about 140 scribes and editors have toiled day and night time on the most effective part within the metropolis, bringing you all the things besides a Stanley Cup. Whereas all of us look ahead to that and look ahead to 50 extra years, right here’s the 50 prime Toronto-themed sports activities tales and topics for the reason that Solar launched Nov. 1, 1971:


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1. Jays win World Sequence, 1992-93. From humble beginnings by pennant runs and playoff heartbreak, they grew to become the primary Canadian facet to win the World Sequence in defeating the Atlanta Braves in ‘92. Corridor of Fame scribe Bob Elliott, Ken Fidlin and a workforce of seamheads have been there once more for Joe Carter’s walk-off homer.

2. Raptors win NBA title, 2019. The commerce for Kawhi Leonard put them excessive. The Solar’s Stan Behal gained an NNA for Leonard’s quadruple bouncing buzzer-beater in Sport 7 of the Japanese semifinal.

3. Group Canada ‘72: Their solely win on Canadian ice was in Toronto and it was Leafs’ Henderson who potted three profitable objectives within the comeback in Moscow.

4. Argonauts win Gray Cup, 1983: Denied a title 31 years by the mystically merciless ‘Argo Bounce’, the Boatmen pulled off a one-point win over B.C. within the Lions’ den. Yonge St. grew to become a car parking zone of celebrants that night time.      


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5. Leafs 1993 playoff run. Three seven-game sequence in 42 days gripped the town, till Wayne Gretzky intervened. They haven’t been that shut to creating the ultimate since.

6. Darryl Sittler’s 10-point recreation, 1976. Six objectives and 4 assists versus Boston will in all probability by no means be matched. Some 16,000 have been on the Gardens, whereas 1.6 million would declare to have been there in later years.

7. Donovan Bailey, 1996 Olympics. Steve Buffery known as it because the Oakville-raised Bailey grew to become the world’s quickest man with a 100-metre time of 9.84 seconds, attaining the triple as world, Olympic champion and world report holder.

8. Dying of Harold Ballard, 1990. It was so much saner at Church and Carlton after the bombastic boss handed, however three Cup-less a long time later, appears he wasn’t the one flawed proprietor.


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9. Beginning of the Jays, 1977. T.O. had baseball roots that stretched from Hanlan’s Level to the Leafs on the Fleet St. Flats and Christie Pits. However what a solution to enter the present, amid the snow at CNE Stadium and two homers by prompt icon Doug Ault.

10. TFC wins MLS Cup, 2017. The thriller of professional soccer’s struggles in a metropolis the place half the individuals grew up with the gorgeous recreation was lastly solved when TFC arrived in ‘05. Excellent venue, a younger demographic, nice environment and ultimately, the correct lineup.

11. Terry Fox runs to Metropolis Corridor, 1980. The defining second of his Marathon of Hope and the hero’s welcome he deserved.

12. Closing of Maple Leaf Gardens, 1999. Eleven Leafs Cups, junior hockey, wrestling, boxing, the primary NBA recreation, tennis, monitor, rallies, the circus, each music act from ABBA to ZZ Prime. Everybody dreamed of enjoying there in some type. And it’s nonetheless in use. Solar Sports activities gained an Related Press quotation for its closing protection.


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13. Toronto Rock win sixth NLL title, 2011. Whereas the Leafs and Raptors spun their wheels, the lacrosse workforce and its exhausting core base raised banner after banner.

14. Doug Gilmour’s 127-point season, 1993. Set the one season franchise report and added 35 extra in playoffs. “He’s gone again to his planet to relaxation,” coach Pat Burns quipped when No. 93 took a day without work.    

15. Tiger Woods wins Canadian Open, 2000. Golf’s best identify and aided by a tremendous shot from the green bunker on the 18th at Glen Abbey, squeezed out a one-shot win.

16. Roy Halladay wins Cy Younger, 2003. Doc was a rock for the Jays at the moment, 22-7, a part of an inconceivable 86 wins. He additionally pitched seven consecutive opening days.

17. Opening of Air Canada Centre, 1999. Toronto’s ego-driven enviornment wars got here to a merciful shut. As anticipated, the Leafs and Raps would reside underneath one roof.


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18. Masai Ujiri named VP/GM of the Raptors, 2013. A brand new path, on and off the court docket. The Raps would beat the Leafs to a title parade that drew a few million individuals.    

19. Opening of SkyDome, 1989. An architectural surprise, supply of main civic satisfaction. Now   often called the Rogers Centre, it hasn’t aged properly.

20. Beginning of the Raptors, 1995. Who recollects they began on the Dome and MLG? How concerning the night time the first-year Dinos slew Air Jordan and the Bulls to get on the NBA map?

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21. Secretariat’s final race, 1973. The Triple Crown surprise horse went out a winner at Woodbine within the Canadian Worldwide Stakes.

22. Jays first playoffs, 1985. A memorable 12 months, beating the Yankees on the ultimate weekend, then being a win away from taking out Ok.C. to make the Sequence. However they misplaced three, Sport 7 on Jim Sundberg’s three-run triple on the windy Ex.


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23. Wendel Clark’s rookie 12 months, 1986. The terrible ‘80s Leafs have been doormats now not. The Calder finalist scored and socked his manner into the hearts of followers.

24. Pinball Clemons report, 1990. With 3,840 all-purpose yards, the 5-foot-6 Argo again set a professional soccer mark. His subsequent mission was conserving the CFL inhaling Toronto as coach/exec.

25. George Bell wins AL MVP, 1987. The primary Jay to take action, the tempestuous outfielder whacked 47 homers. Simply don’t ask him to DH.    

26. Mats Sundin’s five hundredth aim, 2006/Borje Salming’s 1,000th recreation 1989. Captain for a decade, Sundin hardly ever scored boring objectives and his milestone got here short-handed in OT at MLG. However the love affair with Swedes on the Leafs started with the pioneering defenceman Salming, rising from a number of muggings by the Flyers to change into an all-star.


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27. Penny Oleksiak wins 4 Olympic medals, 2021. The Monarch Park excessive schooler was our jewel within the pool, including to her three medals in Rio as Canada’s most adorned Olympian.

28. Sandy Hawley wins 500 races, 1973. The Solar’s barn and backstretch boys have been throughout Greenwood, Woodbine, Mohawk and Fort Erie by the years. Consider it was Jim Hunt who known as Hawley, the primary jockey to win 500 in a single 12 months, “the $2 bettor’s finest buddy”. 29. Damian Warner’s Olympic decathlon, 2021. We’ll stretch our GTA restrict to incorporate this London, Ont., native who gained probably the most gruelling occasion within the Video games.

30. Pat Gillick employed by the Jays, 1976. A sequence of astute strikes led to 5 division titles and two World Sequence.

31. Cliff Fletcher employed by Leafs, 1991. Re-made a moribund franchise shortly with offers together with a 10-player commerce and employed Burns as coach.


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32. Kyle Lowry traded to Raptors, 2012. He discovered the proper dwelling, ultimately a title   and is the franchise’s main post-season scorer.

33. Jose Bautista’s bat flip, 2015. The flip that launched a thousand GIFs and re-ignited Jays’ fever. Jose’s homer gained an emotional Sport 5 of the ALDS over Texas, however the sick will of his daring exclamation level lingered for years.    

34. Dying of Tim Horton, 1974. Named a recreation star for the visiting Sabres the night time he died en route dwelling to Buffalo in a sports activities automotive crash. One of the vital beloved of the ‘60s dynasty Leafs.

35. Roger Neilson turns into Leafs’ coach, 1977. The eccentric genius was fired and rehired by Ballard – and received away with out having to put on a bag over his head on nationwide TV.

36. Joey Votto’s three hundredth dwelling run, 2021. Etobicoke’s favorite son, the 2010 NL MVP, grew to become the primary Canadian since Larry Walker to belt 300 and drive in 1,000 runs.


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37. Elvis Stojko wins seventh Canadian males’s determine skating title, 2002. The Newmarket native was additionally a two-time Olympic silver medalist.

38. Cindy Nicholas swims Lake Ontario, 1974. Within the spirit of Marilyn Bell, the Scarborough teen touched off a brand new wave of crossings, together with disabled swimmers.

39. Toronto Metros – Croatia win NASL Soccer Bowl, 1976. Town’s forgotten champs. The league disliked the workforce, its ethnic identify and the low crowds at Varsity Stadium in comparison with the marquee New York Cosmos. However the Metros beat the Minnesota Kicks for the title.

40. Mark McKoy wins 110-metre Olympic hurdles, 1992. The Scarborough resident helped Canada to its finest ever medal haul to that date at Barcelona.    

41. Wrestlemania VI, 1990. A favorite reminiscence of our grappling guru, Frank Zicarelli, as 67,678 followers, a report for the day on the Dome, went wild as Hulk Hogan and The Final Warrior fought for 2 titles in the identical bout.


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42. Jr. Marlies win Memorial Cup 1975. Locals Bruce Boudreau, John Anderson and Mark Napier have been on the final OHA title workforce, the second Cup for coach George Armstrong in three years.

43. Sandra Submit finishes second on the LPGA cash record, 1979. The Oakville golfer and former tour rookie of the 12 months a decade earlier, was in peak type, profitable her second straight Dinah Shore occasion.

44. Bianca Andreescu wins US and Canadian Open, 2019. Canadian tennis continues to be on a excessive after she beat Serena Williams.

45. Lanny McDonald’s extra time aim, 1978. The one best-of-seven sequence the Leafs gained in in a 20 12 months stretch after their final   Cup, defeating an awesome Islanders’ workforce.

46. New Argos house owners 1991. Bruce McNall, Wayne Gretzky and Toronto actor John Sweet purchased the workforce, lured Rocket Ismail north, misplaced just a few million, however gained the Gray Cup.


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47. Argos lose 1971 Gray Cup. It was simply good to be again within the ultimate after 19 years, however the Stampeders   prevailed on a rain-soaked area in Vancouver. As coach Leo Cahill later remarked “McQuay slipped, I fell.”

48. Toronto Aeros win fifth NWHL title in six years, 2005. The workforce included GTA Hockey Corridor Of Famers Angela James, Geraldine Heaney, in addition to Cassie Campbell, Cheryl Pounder and Cherie Piper.

49. Ben Johnson at Seoul, 1988. Jubilation to humiliation and fallout over steroids that continues immediately.

50. The Solar’s first part, Nov. 1 1971. Sports activities Editor George (The Baron) Gross welcomed readers, the Argos misplaced and with no sports activities photographers, comic Johnny Wayne (of Wayne and Shuster fame) loaned us a few of his photos. The Leafs have been fortunate to tie the Rangers 3-3, Eaton Howitt writing “getting a tie could really feel like kissing your sister, however to the Leafs it will need to have appeared like an hour with Brigitte Bardot.”



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