Game 1 of the World Series gave fans one of the all-time great moments from an injured player. Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Charlie Morton broke his leg after a ball came back and struck him in the 3rd inning. After the initial injury, Morton threw 16 more pitches, including a strikeout against Jose Altuve.
This performance has made Morton a legend in World Series lore. The injury also got me thinking about the best performances of athletes dealing with an injury.
Here are the top 5 gutsiest performances from an injured athlete.
5. Kobe Bryant Achilles Injury
8 YEARS AGO TODAY
Kobe Bryant tore his Achilles, knocked down 2 clutch FTS then walked off the floor in a win over the Warriors. Lakers trainer Gary Vitti said this was Kobe's “gutsiest moment.”
Kobe also hyperextended his knee earlier in the game & was nursing a sprained ankle. pic.twitter.com/eeMPBueCAx
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) April 12, 2021
Kobe Bryant’s legacy was already cemented in 2013, but the late Laker great gave fans one of the most iconic moments of his career. In a tightly contested game with the Golden State Warriors, Bryant suffered a tear of his Achilles. For a normal human being, that injury would mean the end of any physical activity.
For Kobe Bryant, it meant let me knock down a pair of free throws before I leave the game. Bryant sank both free throws in a Laker victory and gave us all another reason to respect the Black Mamba.
4. The “Flu” Game
21 years ago today, MJ dropped 38 points in the Flu Game. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/NVqTd4MhYm
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) June 11, 2018
For many years this game was known as the “flu” game. However, in ESPN’s The Last Dance, Michael Jordan announced that he wasn’t dealing with the flu but food poisoning. Whatever the case, MJ dropped 38 on the Utah Jazz, and the rest is history.
Jordan clinging to Pippen as they walk off the floor will be in every NBA Finals montage until the end of time. Never order late-night pizza in Utah.
3. Kirk Gibson Home Run
October 15, 1988: Kirk Gibson’s iconic injured walk-off two-out two-run pinch-hit walk-off home run off Dennis Eckersley to give the Dodgers a 5-4 win over the A’s in G1 of the World Series. pic.twitter.com/PJ4CYerMWB
— This Day In Sports Clips (@TDISportsClips) October 15, 2020
Charlie Morton’s performance on a broken leg was outstanding, but is there a more iconic moment than Kirk Gibson’s home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series? Gibson was sidelined for the game and wasn’t expected to play.
However, Gibson came into pinch hit and gave Dodgers fans a memory to last a lifetime, giving the Dodgers a 1-0 series lead over the A’s in the Fall Classic.
2. Schilling’s Bloody Sock
Who could forget Curt Schilling’s performance in Game 6 of the ALCS?
More famously known as “The Bloody Sock Game” pic.twitter.com/f3W2VPZMPH
— Bet The Bases (@betthebases) October 5, 2021
The “Bloody Sock” game will go down as the best pitching performance in playoff history. Curt Schilling’s stitches from his ankle surgery busted open and gave fans an image they would never forget. Through the pain, Schilling hurled 7 innings and helped force a Game 7 against the Yankees in the incredible 2004 series.
In 2004, the Red Sox lifted the World Series curse, and a legend was born.
Kurt Angle’s Broken Freakin’ Neck
On this day in 1996, at the Olympic Games in Atlanta, Kurt Angle won the Gold Medal in men's heavyweight freestyle wrestling… with a broken freakin’ neck.#ItsTrue #TAP #Olympics #OlympicGames #Tokyo2020 #TeamUSA pic.twitter.com/z0jjW1ueKC
— The Kurt Angle Show (@TheAnglePod) July 31, 2021
If you grew up watching WWE, you heard Kurt Angle’s heel persona mention he won a Gold Medal at the 1996 Olympics with a “Broken freakin’ neck!” That performance is hands down the gutsiest performance of an injured athlete. Angle competed for his country with a terrible injury and brought home the gold. Everyone’s favorite Olympic hero created a legacy that will never be forgotten. Oh, it’s true!