Sports Q

Sports Q: What is the longest ovation you’ve ever heard at a sporting event?

Standing ovations have created special sports moments over the years, especially in Boston.

Bill Buckner received a standing ovation from the Fenway Faithful when he returned to throw on the first pitch on Opening Day in 2008. Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Welcome to’s Sports Q, our daily conversation, initiated by you and moderated by Chad Finn, about a compelling topic in Boston sports. Here’s how it works: You submit questions to Chad through TwitterFacebook, and email. He’ll pick one each weekday to answer, then we’ll take the discussion to the comments. Chad will stop by several times per day to navigate. But you drive the conversation. 

What is the longest ovation you’ve ever heard at a sporting event?

I got curious about this Monday, which was the 42nd anniversary of Yankee catcher and captain Thurman Munson’s death in a plane crash. (Yes, it’s that long ago now.) When the Yankees played their next game at Yankee Stadium on August 3, fans stood and cheered for more than eight minutes during a pregame remembrance in which the catcher’s position was briefly left unattended when the players took the field. Even if you’re a Red Sox fan, the emotion of the scene and the grace with which the Yankees handled it will put a lump in your throat. 

Upon watching the video of the tribute, I figured that had to be the longest ovation there’s been at a sporting event. But then I started remembering some others: Cal Ripken Jr.’s tribute the night he broke Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games played record included an ovation that lasted over 20 minutes. When the Bruins retired Bobby Orr’s number in 1979, the ovation was said to last for around 15 minutes. John Havlicek’s final game in 1977 rocked the old Garden to its core for several minutes.


I think the longest one I’ve heard in person – and maybe the loudest, too – came when Zdeno Chara, his jaw busted, was introduced before Game 5 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden.

I imagine David Ortiz and Larry Bird got some cheers that are still echoing when their numbers were retired or when they played their final game. But I didn’t see those in person. I’m sure I’m forgetting some other great ones.

What does everyone else think? What is the longest ovation you’ve ever heard at a sporting event? I’ll hear you in the comments.


This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on