In the 30th round of the 1996 Major League Baseball Draft, the New York Yankees selected Marcus Thames from Louisville, Mississippi.
Six years after that, in June of 2002, Thames homered on the first pitch he ever saw. Who threw it? Just this guy named Randy Johnson. No big deal, right?
Thames was traded to the Texas Rangers the following season for Rubén Sierra, then filed for free agency at the end of that season. He signed with the Detroit Tigers in the 2003 offseason. He would remain there until 2010, when he was signed by the Yankees once again.
In case the Yankees fans have forgot that Thames started out his career as a Yankee, he reminded them that he was a Yankee on Monday night against the Boston Red Sox.
Jonathan Papelbon came into the game at Yankee Stadium with a 9-7 lead, having converted his last 21 saves. Brett Gardner hit a lead off double and was sacrificed to third by Mark Teixeira.
Papelbon chose to pitch to Alex Rodriguez and he would be sorry. A-Rod connected on a game tying, two run homer to tie the game at nine. Just two days after giving the Yankees a lead with an eight inning grand slam, Rodriguez comes through again for the Bronx Bombers, the 20th time in his career he has tied or given his team the lead in the ninth inning of a baseball game.
However, Rodriguez only set up another Yankee to become the hero for now.
After Robinson Cano flew out to deep center for the second out of the ninth, Yankees backup catcher Francisco Cervelli, playing for a banged up Jorge Posada was beaned by a Papelbon fastball, putting him on first.
Thames set dead red on a fastball down the middle on the first pitch and drove it into the seats in left with an "Aaron Boone" like blast to end the game. Boone, who was calling the game for ESPN, welcomed Thames to the rivalry in a post-game interview.
The Yankees won 11-9 and the walk-off shot by Thames was the first of his career. AJ Burnett, just like the 14 times during the regular season last year, came rushing out of the dugout and pied Thames in the face.
"Marcus is tremendous. He is a tremendous player and a great person and he has fit into this clubhouse very well", Rodriguez said.
In case being drafted by the Yankees, beginning your career there with a home run off Randy Johnson didn't do the trick, Thames made it official on Monday night. He is now a New York Yankee.
The Yankees (25-13) remain in second behind the red hot Tampa Bay Rays (27-11). Meanwhile, the Red Sox (19-20) drop below .500 and are eight and a half games out of first in the AL East.
The Yankees are now 5-2 against the Red Sox this season. Tuesday night, both aces will face off in a rematch from opening night back on April 4th. Josh Beckett (1-1, 7.46 ERA) will take the mound for the Red Sox while CC Sabathia (4-2 3.71 ERA) takes the ball for the Yankees.