An unlikely hero emerged in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series as the St. Louis Cardinals' David Freese kept their championship hopes alive by delivering a game-tying two-run triple in the ninth inning with two strikes. Freese then stepped up to the plate in the 11th inning and delivered a leadoff, walk-off home run that propelled the Cardinals to a win over the Texas Rangers, forcing the first Game 7 of the World Series since 2002.
After the disappointment of the 2011 Finals, LeBron James made his return to the NBA title series as a man on a mission. In the matchup against the upstart Thunder, King James averaged 28.6 points, 10.2 rebounds and 7.4 assists per game, with the Heat taking the series 4-1. With his dominant performance in the Finals, James not only captured his first career championship but also earned Finals MVP honors, making him the 10th player to win both the regular season and Finals MVP in the same season.
Surpassing big brother and becoming just the fifth quarterback with at least two Super Bowl MVP awards, Eli Manning brilliantly crafted another game-winning drive in the final moments of yet another Super Bowl.
Tony Stewart didn't win a race until it mattered most. He found himself in the winner's circle for five of the last 10 races, all five coming in the Chase format. Stewart became the first owner/driver to win the championship since the late Alan Kulwicki in 1992.
Just the third American-born player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the Stanley Cup playoffs, Jonathan Quick saved the L.A. Kings' season and led them to hoist Lord Stanley's cup. Quick allowed just seven goals in six games during the 2012 finals.