David Ortiz was refreshing and blunt Saturday, inspiring Boston and its fans with these simple words: ‘‘This is our (expletive) city, and nobody is gonna dictate our freedom. Stay strong.’’ 14 words.When it came to ‘f-bombs’ – he indeed dropped the Big One. Ortiz’s words – vulgarities and all – put a bow on the most difficult week in the city’s history since muskets fired on Bunker Hill.
His quote now rests a top the list of all-time memorable Boston sports quotes. He wasn’t the first athlete to hold the public microphone and use one of those infamous “seven famous dirty words” that so many of us hear from Dad each time the Bruins fail on the power play, the Red Sox give up a home run, the Celtics miss a free throw, or the Patriots drop a pass.
Boston has produced some memorable sports quotes, from athletes, coaches and even team owners.
There were several examples of eloquence from the Boston sports community following Monday’s attacks, including words of defiance from Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks via his Twitter feed – “I can’t wait to put my jersey today…I get to play for the strongest city out there. #BostonStrong” – and plain-spoke emotional truths like “Boston isn’t a city, it’s a family” – from the Globe’s own Chad Finn.
With some inspiration from Big Papi—here’s a list of some of our favorite Boston sports quotes of all time – not including game-calls. Next
"All I want out of life, is that when I walk down the street folks will say, 'There goes the greatest hitter that ever lived,'" Ted Williams, 1939.
Never short on confidence, talent or ability, this quote sums up Williams as a ballplayer as well as any other. He retired with a .344 career batting average and a 39-0 record (with a few crash landings in the mix) as a Marine aviator in the Korean War. Of course, given his propensity for salty language and the lack of digital recorders back then, it’s not known if he spiced that up his self-epitaph with a few unprintable adjectives. Next
“My favorite ring? I've always said the next one,” Tom Brady, 2005.
Brady, less than six months after winning his third Super Bowl in four seasons, was spotlighted on the CBS show “60 Minutes.” During the interview, he was asked by Steve Kroft: “Which of the rings do you like the best? What's your favorite ring?”
Brady prefaced his remarks by attributing that statement to a former coach at Michigan. Sadly, Patriots’ fans have been waiting more than eight years for that next ring. Unless you want to count Brady’s wedding ring. Which we don’t.
Those words give fans some solace that Brady is at least as frustrated as they are about it. Next
"The sun will rise, the sun will set, and I'll have lunch.” – Lou Gorman, 1987.
The 1986 Red Sox came thisclose to ending what was then just a 68-year World Series drought. The next spring, reigning AL Cy Young Award winner and AL MVP Roger Clemens walked out of camp over a contract dispute – the Red Sox had renewed his contract for a whopping $225,000.
The walkout was unexpected and sent everyone in Winter Haven, Fla., at the time, including one young reporter covering his first spring training, into scramble mode. After speaking with Clemens’ agent at the time, Randy Hendricks, in the parking lot beyond left field at Chain O’Lakes Park, we caught up with the Red Sox GM.
Ever calm and never rattled, Gorman, who passed away in 2011, informed the gathered throng of his itinerary. Eventually Clemens returned for $650,000 and won another Cy Young Award in Boston. And Lou had dinner. Next
"I guess I didn't realize it was my job to pump his tires," Tim Thomas, 2011.
The Canucks had won Game 5 of the 2011 Stanley Cup finals 1-0, thanks in part to the Boston goalie Thomas going too far out of the crease on Max Lapierre’s rebound goal. Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo later criticized Thomas’ position on the play and also complained that Thomas had not done enough to compliment him, with the statement "I've been pumping his tires ever since the series started and I haven't heard one nice thing he had to say about me” he said.
Thomas said before Game 6 that he was unaware he was supposed to praise Luongo. He then went out and stopped 73 of Vancouver’s final 75 shots in the series as the Bruins won Game 6 in Boston 5-2 and Game 7 in Vancouver 4-0 for their first Stanley Cup in 39 years. Thomas was last spotted on Facebook. Next
“Moses does eat (expletive).” – Larry Bird, 1981.
The first year of the original Big Three – that would be Kevin McHale, Larry Bird and Robert Parish – ended with a title and a memorial rally at City Hall Plaza. During the festivities, Bird noticed a sign in the crowd from a fan offering his thoughts on Moses Malone, who was playing for Houston at the time. Bird’s line simply re-affirmed the thoughts of that one fan – and many others in Boston at the time. It all got started after the Rockets tied the 1981 Finals at 2-2. After that game, Malone infamously said he could get four guys off the streets of Petersburg, Va., his hometown, and beat the Celtics. "I don't think they're all that good," he said. After Boston won game five, he added, “the Celtics are still chumps.” Bird eventually got the last word. Next
''If they want you to cook the dinner, at least they ought to let you shop for some of the groceries.” – Bill Parcells, 1997 (pictured left).
This one slips under the wire because Parcells – who said he was quoting a friend – was still technically the coach of the Patriots when he said it (on Jan. 31 – his contract expired at end of that day). It all began with the 1996 NFL draft, when the Patriots – at least Parcells and his people – wanted to draft a defensive prospect. Team owner Bob Kraft, meanwhile, wanted Ohio State wide receiver Terry Glenn (he of “she” fame). Kraft’s forces won.
The rift between Kraft and Parcells – documented by the late Will McDonough – eventually grew beyond repair in the lead-up to the Super Bowl against Green Bay. Win or lose, Parcells was gone as Patriots’ coach after the season. They lost, and he went to the Jets. Next
“We’ll win more than we lose,” Dick Williams, 1967.
Long before the days of trash-talking superstars or social media rants, athletes and especially managers were given to humility – at least when it came to dealing with the press. So when Williams took over the sagging Red Sox in 1967 and offered that bold prediction, it came as a shock since the team was 100-1 to win the pennant. It was the first sign that the ’67 Impossible Dream season would be different – a dream come true for Red Sox fans. Their team had not finished over .500 since 1958. Williams put pressure on himself and his team and they responded. The dream ended with a Game 7 loss to Bob Gibson and the Cardinals in the World Series. But the modern-day resurgence of the Red Sox had begun. Next
“What are they going to do with all those goddamned balloons up there? They’ll eat ‘em,” – Red Auerbach, 1969 (pictured center).
Speaking to ABC’s Jack Twyman after Boston’s Game 7 victory over the Lakers in the then-very-fabulous Forum in Inglewood, Calif., Auerbach could not contain his disdain for the Lakers or their celebration plans. The Celtics won the series despite trailing 3-1 and headed into Game 7 at Los Angeles as decided underdogs.
Lakers owner Jack Kent Cooke had the arena pre-loaded with balloons ready to celebrate the Lakers’ title. Auerbach noticed the balloons before the game and is said to have been steaming about it. It took the Lakers until 1985 to beat the Celtics in the NBA Finals, with that title coming at the Boston Garden. Next
“You (have) to catch the ball when you’re supposed to catch the ball. My husband cannot (expletive) throw the ball and catch the ball at the same time. I can’t believe they dropped the ball so many times.” Gisele Bundchen, 2012.
The wife of Tom Brady was none too pleased with the performance of his receiving corps after New England lost to the Giants in Super Bowl XLVI. There was one receiver in particular who was the major target of her wrath, but he’s in Denver these days. The verbal blast toward no one in particular came in response to taunting from a Giants fan who said “Eli owns your husband.” OK, maybe just two of his Super Bowl rings. Next
“We played like a bunch of sissies,” Larry Bird, 1984.
The Lakers crushed the Celtics 137-104 in Game 3 of the 1984 NBA Finals and Bird was – to put it mildly – upset. He was fuming at his team’s tepid performance – and this was just in front of the cameras. The Celtics would finally wake up in Game 4 when Kevin McHale clotheslined Kurt Rambis. Lakers’ coach Pat Riley called the Celtics “a bunch of thugs” and he’s still going at it with Danny Ainge nearly 30 years later. The McHale-Rambis play turned the series around and Boston would win it in seven games. Next
“Havlicek stole the ball. Fisk waved the ball fair. Flutie launched the Hail Mary pass. Varitek split the uprights.” Mayor Menino, 2010.
Boston’s mayor, state officials, federal and local law enforcement agencies and all the first responders in and around Boston earned everyone’s eternal gratitude for the way they handled the reaction and investigation into the Boston Marathon bombings. But the mayor also has a well-earned reputation for his self-named Menino-isms – and no list of Boston sports quotes would be complete without at least one.
While he’s had many gems over the years – this from the dedication of the Bobby Orr statue was the most ionic of them all.
Thanks for helping us smile again. Next
“Larry Lucchino runs the Red Sox.” John Henry, 2011.
Once upon a time, Boston and its baseball fans were unhappy with Red Sox. It happened way back in 2011, when the team went 7-20 in the month of September. Boston missed the playoffs that season despite having a 9 ½-game lead for the wild card with a month to play – the worst mathematical collapse in baseball history.
That was followed by weeks of chaos. News of “Chicken and beer gate” broke, Terry Francona was fired/resigned and Theo Epstein would leave town (minus the gorilla suit) all in the span of a few weeks.
During all this, legend has it, principal owner John Henry was driving around Brighton and decided to refute charges Red Sox ownership was involved in a “smear campaign” against Francona. He stopped by the 98.5 The Sports Hub studios – uninvited and unannounced – and sat down for nearly 90 minutes live on the air with hosts Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti.
During the conversation, Henry dealt with a number of topics – including who was calling all the shots at 4 Yawkey Way. Henry’s quote about Lucchino remains a definitive part of Red Sox lore as they move into a new season and era. Next
“Larry Bird is not walking through that door, fans. Kevin McHale is not walking through that door, and Robert Parish is not walking through that door. And if you expect them to walk through that door, they're going to be gray and old. What we are is young, exciting hard-working and going to improve...” Rick Pitino, 2000.
Things weren’t going well for the Celtics during Pitino’s third season with the club and after a loss on March 1, the frustrated coach unloaded on Boston, its fans and anyone else who was in ear-shot. His long rant came after the Celtics were beaten at home by a three-pointer at the buzzer and fell 12 games under .500.
The Celtics finished in fifth place that season. They didn’t get better until Pitino walked through that door on the way out of town. Some Celtics fans were green with envy when Pitino and Louisville won the NCAA tournament in 2013, but they weren’t nearly as upset as fans of Kentucky. Next
“The evil empire extends its tentacles even into Latin America,”Larry Lucchino, 2002.
The Red Sox-Yankees rivalry had cooled in the years before Tom, John, and Larry took control at Fenway. Lucchino's remark came as a result of the Red Sox losing out on Cuban free agent José Contreras. The phrase first appeared earlier that year in a Denver Post headline and the "evil empire" moniker has taken on a life of its own.
It remains the most memorable quote from a series that also brought us "Bucky F. Dent," chants of “Reggie Sucks,” Pedro's 2004 admission of the Yankees' paternity ("What can I say? I tip my cap and call the Yankees my Daddy.") and Kevin Millar's famous first words before Game 4 against New York in 2004: “Don't let us win today. We got Petey tomorrow and Schill in game six...in game seven, anything can happen.”
And it did. Next
"Let's not put him in Canton, yet," Bill Parcells, 1995.
On his first NFL carry, Curtis Martin of the Patriots carried the ball 30 yards and ended the game against Cleveland by powering himself through Pepper Johnson at the goal line in the final seconds to score the game-winning touchdown.
After the game, Parcells did his best to curb the enthusiasm surrounding Martin's debut. Thus began a stellar career for Martin, who gained 14,101 yards in 11 seasons, the bulk of which were spent with the Jets after the Patriots let him go via the Patriot Way.
Fast forward to 2012, and Parcells gave the speech to introduce Martin into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, a year before he would gain entrance himself. Next
“I’m just looking to see who is going to finish second,” Larry Bird, 1986.
Bird remains one of the NBA’s all-time great trash talkers. His career is laced with claims that he backed up with routine consistency. This one came in Dallas before the first-ever NBA All-Star Weekend long-distance shooting contest. After Bird demolished the competition, he said simply: “That check has had my name on it for a week.”
Two years later, he rallied to win the same event after hitting his final 15 shots, without saying a word. Next
“Thirty-seven points on the best defense in the league. Suck (expletive).” Bill Belichick, 2012.
This uncharacteristic semi-public gloat came as Belichick was walking off the field with his son following the Patriots’ dismantling of the Jets in the Buttfumble Bowl on Thanksgiving Night. About 99.9 percent of Belichick’s regular rotation of quotes are gems along the lines of: “It all comes down to execution, “you need to be good in all three phases of the game” and, of course, “do your job.” And don’t forget about being” fully focused on next week’s opponent.”
If you didn’t like this gallery – all we can say is we were “outplayed and outcoached.” Back to the beginning
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