My Top 10 Yankee Moments of the Past 15 Years
I have been fortunate enough to grow up minutes from Yankee Stadium. So of course, I have my own favorite Yankee moments from the last dynasty.
Some moments are the ones everyone loves. Others are moments that you might not have noticed if you don't watch them on a daily basis. In any case, these are my top 10 favorite moments in recent Yankees history.
10. Yankees' Five-Game Sweep in Fenway
In August 2006, the New York Yankees entered Fenway with a 1.5-game lead in the AL East over the Boston Red Sox. Four days later, they left with a 6.5-game lead.
It wasn't the prettiest series I've ever seen, but going into Fenway and leaving with a five-game sweep is a feat that won't be forgotten soon.
9. Yankees Allow, Then Score, Eight Runs In Second Inning
It seems most people have forgotten about this game, but it still ranks as one of the most exciting games I've ever seen.
In a supposed pitching duel between Roger Clemens and Jon Garland of the White Sox on Aug. 2, 2007, the Yankees surrendered eight runs in the top of the second inning, only to score eight runs of their own in the bottom half.
The White Sox eventually won the game 13-9, but the game itself had me on the edge of my couch for the full 3 hours and 59 minutes.
8. Derek Jeter Hits Home Run with a Little Help From His Friends
Do you remember back in 1996 when the Yankees were a team that hadn't done very much in a long time? Back to a time when the Yankees winning the World Series was a surprise again?
In the 1996 ALCS, Derek Jeter hit a home run with the help of a performance enhancing child, 12-year-old Jeffrey Maier.
Jeter's fly looked like it was going to barely stay in the park until Maier reached out and pulled the ball into the stands.
The play stood, and the Yankees went on to win the ALCS 4-1 and took the World Series over the Atlanta Braves 4-2.
7. Jeter Catches Ball, Rips Face Open on Seats
In 2004, with the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry at its highest point in years, Derek Jeter showed one more time why he is Captain Clutch. In the 12th inning of a game against Boston, Trot Nixon hit a pop up near the seats behind third base.
Jeter made the catch then couldn't stop himself from crashing into the wall, sending him face first into the seats. Jeter emerged with the ball and a bloodied face, helping the Yankees secure the win over Boston.
6. Mike Mussina's Last Game at Yankee Stadium
In late September of this past year, I was fortunate enough to be in attendance at the last game Mike Mussina pitched at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees won the game 9-2 with multiple home runs from Bobby Abreu and solid pitching from Moose.
Having 17 wins with three games left to pitch, it was great to see him get the win that night, and I felt fortunate to be part of the standing ovation as he left the mound for the last time in Yankee Stadium.
5. Bernie Catching the Last Out of the 2000 World Series
In a Series that showcased Roger Clemens' possible roid rage, the Yankees beat the New York Mets in five games to capture their fourth title in five years.
In addition to making Benny Agbayani look like a fool for predicting the Mets take the series in five games, the Yankees picked up in the new millennium right where they left off in the late 90s.
Up by two in the ninth, Mariano Rivera faced Mike Piazza as the tying run with two outs. Piazza hit .324 in 2000 with 38 home runs and 113 RBI.
He was in his prime of being an intimidating hitter to opposing teams. He sent Yankee fans' hearts into their throats one last time as he sent a blast to left-center field, but Bernie Williams caught it and secured the series.
4. David Cone's Perfect Game
Don Larsen threw the ceremonial first pitch to Yogi Berra, recreating the pair that teamed up for the only perfect game in World Series history. By the end of the day, David Cone had a perfect game of his own.
Just a year after David Wells' perfect game, David Cone brought yet another classic moment that only Yankee Stadium could hold.
The Yankees beat the Expos 6-0 that day and I'm proud to have a picture of Joe Girardi meeting David Cone at the base of the mound, autographed by Girardi, hanging in my house.
3. Back-to-Back Ninth-Inning Comebacks in the 2001 World Series
In 2001, the Yankees were going after their fifth title in six years. Down two games to one, Tino Martinez hit a game tying home run to center field off Byung-Hyun Kim in the bottom of the 9th and Jeter hit the walk-off homer, also off Kim, in the 10th to give the Yankees the game 4 win.
The very next day, the Yankees were again down by two runs in the ninth. This time it was Scott Brosius hitting a game-tying home run with two outs, again off Kim.
Alfonso Soriano won the game in the bottom of the 12th with a base hit to bring Chuck Knoblauch home. Arizona went on to win the series in seven games, but Games 4 and 5 are what most people remember.
2. Aaron Boone Ends The 2003 ALCS With One Swing
I was a senior in high school during the last year of Red Sox misery. Tied 3 games apiece, game seven for the right to go to the World Series had already had some Yankees magic with the eighth inning collapse that let the Yankees tie it at 5.
Now in the 11th inning, Aaron Boone took the first pitch he saw from Tim Wakefield and launched it into the left field seats, setting off a frenzy fans will remember for the rest of their lives and giving himself a nickname Red Sox fans had reserved for Bucky Dent since 1978.
1. Paul O'Neill! Paul O'Neill!
I may be biased, as Paul O'Neill is my favorite all-time Yankee along with Lou Gehrig, but the send off fans gave O'Neill in game 5 of the 2001 World Series completely trumps anything else I've seen in the past 20 years of Yankee baseball.
Knowing 2001 was probably going to be O'Neill's last season, the Yankees fans chanted “Paul O'Neill” throughout the top of the 9th until the inning ended and O'Neill acknowledged the fans before entering the dugout.
Losing 2-0 at the time, it was just amazing the fans still thanked him for his years of service. It's a sight that still gives me goosebumps every time I see his Yankeeography.