On Nov. 4, 2001, one of the most memorable World Series had come to a dramatic ending. It was on this day that the Arizona Diamondbacks hosted the New York Yankees in Game Seven of the 2001 World Series.
The World Series did not start until October 27 because of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, which meant that this was the first World Series ever played in November after both teams battled to the deciding game. Arizona tied the Series 3-3 with a 15-2 win to force the deciding game. On the mound for the Yankees was 39-year-old Roger Clemens facing Arizona's Curt Schilling.
Clemens and Schilling were locked into a pitcher's duel, with neither team scoring in the first five innings of the game. Then, in bottom of the sixth inning, the Diamondbacks took a 1-0 lead when shortstop Tony Womack doubled in Steve Finley, who led off the inning with a single. Womack was thrown out at third base, trying to stretch the hit into a triple, and the Yankees retired the next two batters to escape further damage.
Going into the top of the seventh inning, the Yankees had just one hit in the game, which came in the first inning when outfielder Paul O'Neill was thrown out at third base, trying to extend a double into a triple. The Yankees put together three singles in the seventh inning, with Tino Martinez getting an RBI by driving in Derek Jeter to tie the game, 1-1.
Schilling stayed in the game to pitch in the eighth inning and gave up a home run to Alfonso Soriano, which put the Yankees ahead 2-1. After giving up a single to pinch-hitter David Justice, Schilling left the game as Miguel Batista come on. Batista pitched to one batter, and Game Six starter and winner Randy Johnson came on to close out the eighth inning.
Yankees closer Mariano Rivera came on in the eighth inning to try and put away the Diamondbacks. He allowed one hit and struck out the side in the eighth inning to lower his major-league-best ERA to 0.70. Randy Johnson retired the three batters he faced in the Yankees' half of the ninth inning to keep the score 2-1.
First baseman Mark Grace singled off Rivera to leadoff the ninth inning for the Diamondbacks. Rivera then makes what turned out to be a very costly error, as he threw wild to second base on a force out attempt off the bat of Damien Miller.
Second baseman Jay Bell then attempts to bunt the runners to third and second, but Rivera was able to throw out pinch-runner David Dellucci. It appeared that third baseman Scott Brosius would have been able to throw out Bell at first after the force play, but he held the ball instead.
Midre Cummings came on to pinch-run for Miller at second base, and he scored on Womack's double to tie the game 2-2. Bell advanced to third base on the hit, and the Diamondbacks had runners in scoring position with Craig Counsell coming up. But on a 1-1 pitch, Rivera hit Counsell, which loaded the bases for slugger Luis Gonzalez.
With the infield drawn in with one out, Gonzalez hit a soft single over the head of Derek Jeter on an 0-1 pitch to score Bell from third base. The Diamondbacks had scored two runs off dominating closer Rivera to win the game 3-2 and clinched the franchise's first ever World Series title.
This was only the third time in World Series history that a bases loaded, game-winning hit happened in Game Seven (Minnesota Twins in 1991 and Florida Marlins in 1997). Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling shared World Series MVP honors, as Arizona won the Fall Classic after only their fourth season in franchise history.
This was also the third World Series that saw the home team win all seven games (Minnesota accomplished the feat in both 1987 and 1991). To date, it's the last World Series in which the National League was scheduled to have the home-field advantage, because of the new rule of the winning league in the All-Star Game gaining the advantage in which the American League has won everytime so far.
This is the last World Series to date that hasn't had at least one Wild Card winner playing. Furthermore, no World Series has gone seven games since this one.
The 2001 World Series also helped build much needed morale for the city of New York after the 9-11 attacks. The Yankees had won two dramatic games in their last at-bat with game-tying home runs in the bottom of the ninth inning in Games Four and Five in which they later won those games. The Yankees had won all of their games by one run, as they did their part to boost the home crowd. Arizona outscored the Yankees 27-5 at home.
This World Series was memorable for not only the dramatic conclusion, but as a time when the United States continued one of the country's greatest traditions by staring adversity in the face. It was only fitting that the city of New York was part of this and that the game was decided in the bottom of the ninth inning on the last play.
This World Series saw three games decided in the final at-bat. No, this wasn't the best World Series off all-time, but none of them were ever played under this kind of adversity while bringing a strong boost of morale to the United States.
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