Some dates are synonymous with the Chicago sports fan.
Every Bears fan should know about Jan. 26, 1986.
White Sox fans long for another night like Oct. 26, 2005
Cubs fans have Nov. 2, 2016 etched into their minds (same probably goes for the wee hours of Nov. 3).
The Blackhawks have had several recent June nights also worth reminiscing.
But what about May 20? Whether you’re a fan of the Bulls, Blackhawks, Cubs or White Sox, May 20 is one of the most memorable dates on the Chicago sports calendar:
Bulls win NBA Draft Lottery, 2008 - Bulls fans might be more familiar with this number: 1.7. That’s the percentage chance the team had of acquiring the No. 1 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. The Bulls sent Steve Schanwald, executive vice president of marketing and broadcasting at the time, to represent the team in Secaucus, NJ. “Stan” Schanwald, as he was mistakenly called in the broadcast, was in for the surprise of the century. The Bulls beat incredible odds to win the top overall pick. They went on to select hometown hero Derrick Rose.
”The Punch,” 2006 - The lead-up to this game was just as good as the infamous play at the plate. The White Sox and their fans, fresh off a World Series title, got the chance to strut in front the rival Cubs— and a national TV audience— on the South Side. In the top of the second, A.J. Pierzynski tagged from third off a Brian Anderson fly to left. Matt Murton’s throw was on line but it it didn’t matter to Pierzynski, who barreled over Cubs catcher Michael Barrett. Seconds later, Barrett punched Pierzynski and all hell broke loose. Sox fans were spun into another frenzy just moments later as Tadahito Iguchi’s grand slam put another exclamation mark on the day.
Scottie Pippen posterizes Patrick Ewing, 1994 - In what would turn out to be the final pro basketball game ever played at Chicago Stadium, Pippen gave the Madhouse on Madison faithful one more reason to roar. The thunderous jam— and one— was set up by a nice bounce pass from Pete Myers. Ewing fell to the floor as Pippen stared over him from above. The crowd on West Madison Street got an extra jolt as Pippen taunted Spike Lee after the play ended. The Bulls went on to win this Game Six Eastern Conference semifinals battle but couldn’t win the war, losing to the Knicks in seven.
26 years ago today, Scottie unleashed one of the greatest dunks in NBA history. pic.twitter.com/Arla5qRkCR— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) May 20, 2020
Cubs put 20 on the Dodgers, 1967 - Adolfo Phillips belted six RBI and Randy Hundley added another five as the North Siders trounced Los Angeles 20-3. Phillips and Huntley both went yard that day, as did Glenn Beckert. It helped kickstart a (somewhat?) magical summer at Wrigley Field as the Cubs climbed the National League standings and were in first place for a few dates in late-July.
Stan Mikita born, 1940 - The nine-time All-Star played in parts of four decades, all with the Chicago Blackhawks. His contributions to the franchise were immeasurable. Mikita helped guide the Hawks to the 1961 Stanley Cup, won four Art Ross Trophies as the league’s leading point scorer and three Hart Trophies as most valuable player. He was the first Hawk to have his jersey retired (No. 21) and was later inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1983.
In 2017, Avisail Garcia hit two home runs and two doubles in a 16-1 White Sox thrashing of the Mariners.
In 1997, Frank Thomas reached base for the 15th consecutive plate appearance.
In 1973, the White Sox attract a record crowd of 55,555 in a Sunday doubleheader against the Twins.
In 1962, the Cubs’ Ken Hubbs gets eight hits across a doubleheader sweep of the Phillies.
One entry that just missed the May 20 mark was Julio Zuleta’s “Zudoo” ritual, which happened the day before on May 19, 2001. He performed a Pedro Cerrano-like (“Major League”) voodoo ritual on the once-dormant Cubs bats. The “zudoo” trick worked. Not only did the Cubs win on that Saturday, the won on May 20 as well. And 10-consecutive games after that.
Some days are just more magical than others.