On a night when hearts were heavy and tears were plentiful, the New York Yankees Nick Swisher capped a momentous evening with a single in the bottom of the 9th inning. The single, Swisher's third hit of the night, scored Curtis Granderson with the winning run in a 5-4 victory at Yankee Stadium--the House the Boss Built.
With tremendous tributes to both former principal owner George Steinbrenner and public address announcer Bob Sheppard (who also was a former cast member of the Seinfeld series *), the Yankees won in walk off fashion with Swisher's third hit, and third RBI, of the night.
The drama and circumstances were eerily similar to the August 6, 1979 tribute game ** to the late Thurman Munson (my favorite player) when Munson's great friend, Bobby Murcer, hit a walk-off, two-run single to win that Monday night baseball game.
The Captain's funeral was earlier that day in Canton, OH, and Murcer gave one of the eulogies, then hit a three-run homer in the 7th inning that night before the two-run opposite field single in the 9th.
Murcer drove in all five runs that night in the Yankees 5-4 win, the same score they won by on tribute night to the boss and the voice.
It was fitting that Swisher, who went to Ohio State (where Steinbrenner once coached football and as a native Ohioan was an avid Buckeye supporter), had the same type of game in support of "Big Stein" that Murcer did for Munson, another native.
Swisher ended the night 3 for 5, with three RBI, including a mammoth HR in the 8th inning to tie the game at 4-4.
It was a big night for all Yankees and Yankee fans, fitting that "The Boss" was presented with a classic Yankee style victory.
George M. Steinbrenner would have demanded that type of finish, and not expected it any other way.
*Sheppard's voice can be heard in three different Seinfeld episodes. One was at Giants Stadium, with Sheppard asking Elaine's boyfriend, "Will Joel Rifkin please report to the stadium office." The next two are scenes set at Yankee Stadium where Elaine will not remove her Baltimore Orioles hat and another episode when the Miss America contestants are announced. "Poise, poise, poise!"
**Another great thing about this game is that Ron Guidry, who got the win, pitched a complete game despite allowing nine hits and four earned runs. He also struck out nine and his pitch count must have been somewhere around 125 or more.