Today marks the fortieth anniversary of the Heimlich Maneuver’s publication in the journal Emergency Medicine. Sports teams before and long after 1974 have been putting this choking rescue to its limits with a few notable epic failures. In that vein, here are the most notable cases where not even Dr. Heimlich could intervene.
1964 Philadelphia Phillies The first place Phillies endured a ten-game losing streak but still managed to find themselves leading by 6 1/2 games with twelve to play. Ahem, ahem, ahem! The St. Louis Cardinals wound up the eventual NL winner as Phillies manager Gene Mauch set the precedent as baseball’s loveable loser presiding over shipwreck teams like the Expos and Twins. Fate threw him a bone as the California Angels teams of 1980’s reached the playoffs and sought to redeem Mauch but there were a few heartbreaks even then.
2007 New York Mets The Phillies would become benefactors when the Metsies blew a seven-game NL East lead by losing twelve of their final seventeen. The roster read like an “over thirty league” squad and maybe they got pooped out but playing nothing but games versus the Nationals and Marlins, they simply hosted the largest choking orgy since Seka was the porn industry’s best gobbler. The late season swoon saw them miss out on the wild card as well.
2004 New York Yankees Game 3 of the 2004 ALCS looked to spell the end of the Boston Red Sox as the Yankees laid the lumber to the Sawx, 19-8 for a sweep of the first three games. As we know, it takes four games to win a playoff series which the Yankees had ample opportunity to do as they would squander late leads only to see Boston win in extras in Games 4 & 5. The Bombers’ asphyxiated on their own wood as bats drew silent in the final two games to highlight post-season baseball’s most colossal defeat much to the joy of many.
2013 Toronto Maple Leafs What appeared to be a monumental victory forcing a seventh game against the Boston Bruins after falling behind three to one in games, Toronto saw themselves within eleven minutes of sealing the comeback on enemy ice with a three-goal lead. Maple syrup is a viscous substance and apparently the Leafs took too much down the wrong pipe as they orchestrated the NHL’s most prolific single game flop by allowing the Bruins to tie the game in regulation and win 5-4 in OT.
2014 San Jose Sharks Thankfully, the Sharks removed the 2010 Bruins as the latest team to stifle on a 3-0 series lead by losing games by the following scores: 6-3, 3-0, 4-1, and 5-1. As you can see, they weren’t even close to winning any of those games against the Kings.
1992 Houston Oilers Is there a doctor in the house?!? Heimlich can’t perform the maneuver on a 54-man roster all at the same time and was needed during the Oilers AFC Wild Card game. Up 28-3 at the half and 35-3 moments into the second half, Frank Reich steamrolled the Bills to a 41-38 victory in Orchard Park. It was the 1992 Oilers who popularized boneless Buffalo wings to menus across western NY restaurants.
Come back for tomorrow for someone who never gags, West Coast Craig.