On Sept. 7, 1996, FOX Sports Arizona hit the airwaves with our first telecast — a Pac-10 football showdown between Washington and Arizona State. Check back with us daily as we recount some of the top sports moments in Arizona during our 20 years of serving the state’s sports fans.
Backup goalie Brian Boucher records his eighth career shutout as the Coyotes beat the Los Angeles Kings 4-0 for their first victory in the newly minted Glendale Arena. It would be the first of five consecutive shutouts for Boucher — starting an NHL-record scoreless streak of 332 minutes, 1 second for the journeyman goaltender.
Garcia was a promising 23-year-old who hit .222 and hit nine home runs in the D-backs’ inaugural season, and the Tigers were betting on his upside. Gonzalez was a 31-year-old journeyman coming off a career-best 23 home run season.
Garcia would end up playing for seven teams over a 10-year career — compiling a .241 career average and hitting 66 home runs. Gonzalez would spend the next eight years in Arizona — hitting 224 home runs with a .298 batting average. And dare we mention a magical 2001 season when he hit .325 with 57 home runs and 142 RBI, plus a very special RBI off Mariano Rivera in Game 7 of the World Series?
The Tigers might have gotten the best of the D-backs in the Max Scherzer deal 11 years later, but we’ll still call the Snakes way ahead on points.
After a 149-day lockout, the Phoenix Suns open the 2011-12 season at home with an 85-84 loss to the New Orleans Hornets. Eric Gordon provided the game winner for New Orleans, hitting a 20-foot jumper from the top of the key with 4.2 seconds left.
In the final game of Dennis Erickson’s coaching tenure at Arizona State, the Sun Devils suffer a 56-24 loss to Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl — their fifth consecutive loss to end the season with a 6-7 record and end Erickson’s tenure with a 31-31 mark. Brock Osweiler passed for 395 yards in the losing effort, and Gerell Robinson had 241 receiving yards on 13 catches.
In the first major trade orchestrated by the Lance Blanks/Lon Babby regime, the Suns dealt Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu and Earl Clark to the Orlando Magic for Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat, Mickael Pietrus and a first-round pick.
Matt Scott throws two touchdown passes in the game’s final 42 seconds to lift Arizona to a 49-48 win over Nevada in the New Mexico Bowl. The Wildcats, who fell behind 21-0 in the first quarter, pulled with six points on a touchdown pass to Austin Hill, recovered an onside kick and drove 51 yards in three plays for the winning score.
Later that same day at McKale Center, Arizona’s eighth-ranked basketball team would stage a furious rally to edge No. 5 Florida, 65-64. Arizona scored the game’s final seven points and secured the win on Mark Lyons’ driving layup with 7 seconds to play after Florida missed the front end of a 1-and-1.
“I love coaching, but anybody can coach,” Ainge said. “My wife has just one husband and my children have just one father. Some of you may think I’m jumping ship. I don’t believe I’m jumping ship. I’m diving overboard to save my family.”
After an 8-13 start, Frank Johnson is dismissed as Suns’ head coach and replaced by Mike D’Antoni, ushering in what would become the glorious, fast-paced, Seven-Seconds-Or-Less era of Suns basketball that would rekindle the franchise’s hopes of contending for an NBA championship.
Dec. 8 1998
The Diamondbacks continue their off-season spending spree, landing center fielder Steve Finley with a four-year, $21.5 million contract. Finley would go on to become a centerpiece of a team that would win the World Series title in 2001.
Eric Bledsoe registers a triple-double — 27 points, 16 assists, 11 rebounds — against his former team but it goes for naught when the Clippers prevail 121-120 in overtime, getting the winning basket on a ridiculous buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Blake Griffin that bounced off the front of the rim and top of the backboard before falling through.
Darcy Wakaluk stops 33 shots and records the first shutout in Phoenix Coyotes’ history, a 3-0 victory over the Blues in St. Louis. Oleg Tvedovsky was involved in all three scores with a goal and two assists.
The Diamondbacks, believing they are close to contending for the NL West title, pull off the biggest shocker of the MLB off-season, ponying up $206.5 million over six years to sign free-agent pitcher Zack Greinke.
Dec. 3 2003
The Phoenix Mercury win the first pick in the WNBA Draft in the 2004 WNBA Draft Lottery and the chance to take Diana Taurasi with the No. 1 pick.