The Atlanta Braves and New York Yankees were undoubtedly baseball’s two best teams throughout the 90’s. The Yankees won the World Series in ’96, ’98, and ’99, while Atlanta made the World Series in ’91, ’92, ’95, ’96, and ’99. It was fitting that the decade would end with these two powerhouses going head-to-head for the championship.
The Braves had jumped out to 5-1 lead behind a solid start from Tom Glavine in Game 3. However, things would begin to unravel for Atlanta when Chad Curtis’ solo home run in the fifth inning and Tino Martinez’ solo home run in the seventh inning brought the score to 5-3. Bobby Cox brought Glavine out to pitch again the eighth, but soon regretted his decision. Joe Girardi singled, and Chuck Knoblauch followed with a two-run shot to tie the game at 5-5 and knock Glavine out of the game.
After a sterling Game 1 appearance, the Yankees turned the tie game over to Rivera in the top of the ninth. After allowing a single to Brett Boone, Joe Girardi would throw out pinch runner Otis Nixon, and then Rivera would strikeout Chipper Jones and get Brian Jordan to ground out to short.
The Yankees were unable to score in the bottom of the ninth, so skipper Joe Torre elected to bring Rivera out for another inning. Rivera, of course did not disappoint and was able to quickly dispatch of Andruw Jones, Ozzie Guillen, and Greg Myers to set the Yanks up in the tenth. Chad Curtis would then hit his second home run of the game, giving Rivera his first ever World Series win, and the Yankees a 3-0 series lead.
After the series and another save in Game 4, Rivera would be awarded the World Series MVP trophy. An honor rarely bestowed upon relief pitchers.