Witnessing one bullpen failure after another in the playoffs makes baseball fans, especially Yankee fans, appreciate the great Mariano Rivera all the more.
Year after year, Rivera, pictured above with Jorge Posada and Scott Brosius after saving the final game of the 1999 World Series, compiled a post-season resume that is unrivaled in baseball history. In 96 playoff games and 141 innings, Mariano had a 0.70 ERA. He had 42 saves (same as his number) in 47 opportunities. Sure Mo blew a few – most notably against Arizona in the 2001 World Series in Game 7 and two games against Boston in the fabled ALCS 3-0 comeback. He was human.
That 0.70 ERA is the best all-time in MLB playoff history, ahead of such luminaries as Sandy Koufax, Christy Mathewson and Babe Ruth. And the 42 saves is more than twice as many as the runner-up, Brad Lidge.
Here’s another stat – Rivera allowed exactly two home runs in post-season, none after Jay Peyton took him deep in the 2000 World Series with the Mets. Heck, Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen has given up as many homers in this World Series alone.
Name the only franchise to win both American and National League pennants? It’s the Houston Astros of course. They Astros won the National League pennant but were swept by the White Sox in the 2005 World Series. And this year they were American League champs.
Next Yankee Manager
If the Yanks continue their Joe trend, then third base coach Joe Espada will be named the next manager, succeeding Joe Girardi. Girardi won one World Series in 10 years. He took over from Joe Torre, who won four World Series in 12 years. And another Joe – McCarthy – managed the Yankees for 16 years between 1931 and 1946, winning a franchise best 1460 games and seven World Series.
Going out on a limb here, and tabbing Al Pedrique as a dark horse candidate for the next Yankee manager. Pedrique has been successful managing the Yankees Triple A affiliate Scranton, and has groomed many of the young Yankee stars, including Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez. Greg Bird, Luis Severino and more.
Old School Baseball
Game One of the 2017 World Series ran just two hours and 28 minutes, the quickest playoff game in more than 20 years. The game brought back memories of the old days, when games typically ran two hours, sometimes less.
As a kid, I used to go to Sunday doubleheaders at Yankee Stadium, and most times be home before dinner. And the price was right – $1.50 to sit in the upper deck, half price with a high school card. Two games for 75 cents. Top that.
That is the question. It’s never been done, either at the new Yankee Stadium or the old ballpark — The House that Ruth Built — right across the street.
Seems like a super human feat. Mission impossible. Perhaps, but after Yankees’ phenom Aaron Judge cleared the left-center field bleachers with a 495-foot home run, it seems like a legitimate question.
Judge’s latest moonshot blast certainly opened some eyes. Consider that his home run would have landed in the corridor in front the Yankees retired numbers, under the Bank of America sign, if not deflected by a fan. Now look to the left of that spot, perhaps 25-30 feet, near the flagpoles. Notice the alley. Under ideal circumstances, with the wind blowing out, who’s to say Judge couldn’t clear that back wall. Not impossible.
There have been some monster shots in the new Stadium, but none as monstrous as the one Judge hit. Alex Rodriguez hit several bombs deep into the bleachers, and Philly’s Raul Ibanez and Cleveland’s Russell Branyan hit titanic shots.
But judging by the results, Aaron Judge has the best chance to hit a fair ball out of Yankee Stadium
Original Yankee Stadium Blasts
Nearly 16 years ago, July 22, 2001, Yankees outfielder Bernie Williams hit a ball that left the old Stadium, over the old Yankee bullpen in right field and onto the elevated tracks of the 4 line.But that was in batting practice.
I was at the ballpark with my family that day, a hot summer Sunday afternoon. We were sitting on the third base side, box seats. My son Dan, a teen-ager at the time, swears he saw the ball go out
“I saw it,” he said. “It went out in that little gap, over the wall and right onto the railroad tracks. “People noticed it, they were clapping. You didn’t believe me.”
Well, it was hard to believe.
“I didn’t see it,” Williams told the New York Post. “But I noticed that it never came back, so that should have been some indication it was out. Batting practice is a great relief and release of tension for me. I’ve had a lot of tension this year, so it’s kind of like hitting a punching bag. I always try to hit the ball hard, but that’s as hard as I’ve ever hit one. That’s a long way.”
It’s a feat that no Yankee slugger had ever accomplished before — not Babe Ruth, not Mickey Mantle, not Reggie Jackson.
Twice, Mantle came within several feet of hitting one out of Yankee Stadium, off Pete Ramos of the Washington Senators on Memorial Day, 1956, right, and against Bill Fischer of the Kansas City A’s on May 22, 1963. Both times the ball was still rising when it struck the façade in right field. Mantle later said the 1963 HR was the hardest ball he ever hit.
Josh Gibson and Frank Howard, among others, were reputed to have gone out of the Stadium, though neither has ever been proven.
Gibson, the great Negro League catcher, is said to have hit several moonshots in the his day, including a ball that traveled 580 feet in the 1930s.
Babe Ruth may have hit some balls out of the original Yankee Stadium before the upper deck in right field was built, but none have ever been documented. The upper deck in right was extended in 1937.
But Bernie Williams did it for real….even if it was BP. He even hit a home run in the game, a solo shot in the first inning, to help lift the Yankees to a 7-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.
Bernie finished his career with 287 home runs, 22 more in the playoffs. And one that didn’t count but went out of Yankee Stadium
Bernie goes Boom!
Baseball today mourns the passing of Yogi Berra. Yogi was an American icon, a World War II veteran who was part of the D-Day invasion and a Hall of Fame catcher with the Yankees whose record of 10 World Championships will never be equaled. But above all that, Yogi was a great husband, a loving father, and a wonderful man, whose kindness, humility and sincerity touched all who knew him.
Yogi Berra played in the first baseball game I ever saw, in the summer of 1958 at Yankee Stadium. Yogi batted fifth and played right field and was 0-for-3 with a strikeout and a walk. And although the Yankees lost to the White Sox that day, I was hooked on baseball for life.
Yogi was a walking Bartlett’s who said everything from “It ain’t over till it’s over” to “It gets late early out there” to “Nobody goes there any more, it’s too crowded.”
On a personal note, I played competitive softball until I turned 60. In the later years I became a catcher, and proudly wore #8 in honor of Yogi.
Yogi’s passing hits home for me. My father was born in 1925, the same year as Yogi. My dad passed on his love of baseball to me. No doubt, he’ll be watching the Yankee game tonight.
We used to argue about who was the best catcher in Yankee history, Bill Dickey or Yogi Berra. My father, who saw Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig play, would say Dickey. Sorry pops, it was Yogi.
RIP Lawrence Peter Berra.
Over the years, New York athletes have worn some of the most famous numbers in all of sports. Icons like Babe Ruth (#3), Lou Gehrig (#4) and Joe DiMaggio (#5) sit atop a long and storied list of Yankees, who will have retired all single digit numbers as soon as they get around to Derek Jeter (#2). Brooklyn Dodger Jackie Robinson wore #42, which has now been retired by major league baseball. Willie Mays wore #24 when he roamed center field for the New York Giants.
And there are so many more. Legends such as Lawrence Taylor (#56) with the New York Football Giants, Joe Namath (#12) with the Jets, Walt Frazier (#10) with the Knicks and Wayne Gretzky (#99) with the Rangers, just to name a few.
As you might expect, since there are more players per team and higher numbers in football, the Giants top our list of top New York athletes by number with 36. Every team is represented, even the Giants and Dodgers, who left New York for California in 1958. There are 21 Yankees, 16 Jets, 7 Mets, 6 Knicks, 5 Rangers, 3 Dodgers and Nets, 2 Devils and an Islander and baseball Giant on the list. If you’re counting with me that adds up to 101, with Casey Stengel (#37) getting the nod as both Yankee and Met manager.
Here are the top New York players by number from 0-99, with other candidates also listed. Competition was tough in some spots, most notably #10, where Walt Frazier edged out Pele, Eli Manning, Phil Rizzuto and Fran Tarkenton, and #42, where Mariano Rivera and Charlie Conerly failed to make the cut.
The New York numbers list:
0 – Orlando Woolridge (Nets)
1 – Pee Wee Reese (Dodgers)
Eddie Giacomin, Billy Martin, Earle Combs
2 – Derek Jeter (Yankees)
3 – Babe Ruth (Yankees)
Bill Terry, Harry Howell, Ken Daneyko
4 – Lou Gehrig (Yankees)
Mel Ott, Duke Snider, Tuffy Leemans, Scott Stevens
5 – Joe DiMaggio (Yankees)
Denis Potvin, David Wright
6 – Joe Torre (Yankees)
Tony Lazzeri, Carl Furillo
7 – Mickey Mantle (Yankees)
Mel Hein, Rod Gilbert, Ken O’Brien, Carmelo Anthony
8 – Yogi Berra (Yankees)
Bill Dickey, Walt Bellamy, Gary Carter
9 – Richie Guerin (Knicks)
Roger Maris, Graig Nettles, Andy Bathgate, Adam Graves, Clark Gillies, Hank Bauer, Charlie Keller
10 – Walt Frazier (Knicks)
Pele, Eli Manning, Phil Rizzuto, Fran Tarkenton, Brad van Pelt
11 – Mark Messier (Rangers)
Carl Hubbell, Lefty Gomez, Phil Simms
12 – Joe Namath (Jets)
13 – Don Maynard (Jets)
Alex Rodriguez, Mark Jackson, Odell Beckham, Dave Jennings
14 – Gil Hodges (Dodgers)
YA Tittle, Bill Skowron
15 – Thurman Munson (Yankees)
Red Ruffing, Earl Monroe, Dick Mcguire, Jeff Hostetler, John McLean
16 – Frank Gifford (Giants)
Whitey Ford, Dwight Gooden
17 – Keith Hernandez (Mets)
18 – Darryl Strawberry (Mets)
Don Larsen, Phil Jackson
19 – Willis Reed (Knicks)
Bryan Trottier, Dave Righetti, Jean Ratelle
20 –Allan Houston (Knicks)
Jorge Posada, Monte Irvin, Jimmy Patton, Joe Morris
21 – Paul O’Neill (Yankees)
22 – Mike Bossy (Islanders)
Dave DeBusschere, Allie Reynolds, Dick Lynch
23 – Don Mattingly (Yankees)
24 – Willie Mays (Giants)
Bill Bradley, Derrell Revis, Robinson Cano, Ottis Anderson
25 – Bill Mclchionni (Nets)
Dick Nolan, Jason Giambi, Joe Pepitone, Bill Cartwright, Mark Collins
26 – Patrik Elias (Devils)
Wade Boggs, Orlando Hernandez
27 – Rodney Hampton (Giants)
Scott Niedermayer, Alexi Kovalev
28 – Curtis Martin (Jets)
29 – Catfish Hunter (Yankees)
30 – Martin Brodeur (Devils)
Bernard King, Henrik Lundqvist, Dave Meggett, Eddie Lopat, John Davidson
31 – Dave Winfield (Yankees)
John Franco, Mike Piazza, Billy Smith
32 – Julius Erving (Nets)
Elston Howard, Sandy Koufax, Al Blozis
33 – Patrick Ewing (Knicks)
34 – Charles Oakley (Knicks)
John Vanbiesbrouck, Don Chandler
35—Mike Richter (Rangers)
36 – David Cone (Yankees)
37 – Casey Stengel (Yankees/Mets)
38 – Bob Tucker (Giants)
39 – Roy Campanella (Dodgers)
40 – Joe Morrison
Lindy McDaniel, Mark Pavelich
41 – Tom Seaver (Mets)
42 –Jackie Robinson (Dodgers)
Mariano Rivera, Charlie Conerly
43 – Spider Lockhart (Giants)
44 – Reggie Jackson (Yankees)
John Riggins, Ahmad Bradshaw
45 – Emlen Tunnell (Giants)
Tug McGraw, John Franco
46 – Andy Pettitte (Yankees)
47 – Luis Arroyo (Yankees)
48 – Jacob deGrom (Mets)
Andy Pafko, Kenny Hill, Bobby Humphrey
49 – Ron Guidry (Yankees)
50 – Ken Strong (Giants)
51 – Bernie Williams (Yankees)
52– Buck Williams (Nets)
Jon Schmitt, CC Sabathia
53 – Harry Carson (Giants)
54 – Goose Gossage (Yankees)
55—Hideki Matsui (Yankees)
56 –Lawrence Taylor (Giants)
57 – Johan Santana (Mets)
John Wetteland, Mo Lewis
58 – Carl Banks (Giants)
59 – Kyle Clifton (Giants)
60 – Larry Grantham (Jets)
D’Brickeshaw Ferguson, Brad Benson
61 – Rick Nash (Rangers)
62 – Al Atkinson (Jets)
Joba Chamberlain, Carl Hagelin
63 – Karl Nelson (Giants)
64 – Jim Burt (Giants)
65 – Joe Fields (Jets)
66 – Jack Stroud (Giants)
David Diehl, Randy Rasmussen
67 – Dave Herman (Jets)
Bill Ard, Kareem McKenzie
68 – Kevin Mawae (Jets)
Jaromir Jagr,Dellin Betances
69 – Rich Seubert (Giants)
70 – Sam Huff (Giants)
71 – Dave Tollefson (Giants)
72 – Ose Umenyiora (Giants)
73 – Joe Klecko (Jets)
74 – Nick Mangold (Jets)
75 – George Martin (Giants)
Jim Katcavage, Winston Hill
76 – Rosey Grier (Giants)
Jumbo Elliott, Chris Snee
77 – Phil Esposito (Rangers)
78 – Jerome Salley (Giants)
79 – Roosevelt Brown (Giants)
80 – Victor Cruz (Giants)
John Elliott, Wayne Chrebet, Jeremy Shockey
81 – Andy Robustelli (Giants)
Amani Toomer, Gerry Philbin
82 – Mario Manningham (Giants)
83 – George Sauer (Jets)
84 – Harland Svare (Giants)
85 – Del Shofner (Giants)
86 – Verlon Bigggs (Jets)
87 – Howard Cross (Giants)
Pete Lammons, Domenik Hixon
88 – Al Toon (Jets)
Pat Summerall, Eric Lindros
89 – Mark Bavaro (Giants)
90 – Jason Pierre-Paul (Giants)
91 – Justin Tuck (Giants)
92 – Michael Strahan (Giants)
93 – Marty Lyons (Jets)
94 – John Abraham (Jets)
95 – Frank Ferrera (Giants)
96 – Barry Cofield (Giants)
97 – Mathias Kiwanuka (Giants)
98 – Jesse Armstead (Giants)
99 – Wayne Gretzky (Rangers)
Mark Gastineau, Steve DeOssie
of Take a look, give a listen to the 20 greatest home runs in Yankee history. Many are on this list of 100 greatest home runs in baseball history.
Any list of greatest home runs would be incomplete without the immortal Babe Ruth.
Ancient footage played to the music of Queen’s “We are the Champions,” the Bambino makes his mark and challenges all comers to match it. “60. Count em 60,” roared the Babe. “Let’s see some other son of a bitch match that.”
The legendary called shot at Wrigley Field, with motion picture footage that shows Ruth pointing. But where?
3. 1932, Lou Gehrig, 4 HRs, single game
Close as we could come to video with Larrupin’ Lou is this photo. But you get the point, it was a long time ago. And four in one game — not even the great Ruth ever did that.
Great radio call, Joe D goes “high and far over the fence in deep left field” at Wrigley Field to bury the Cubs in another Yankee sweep.
Mantle, just 20 years old, goes deep on a 3-1 pitch off Joe Black in the sixth inning at Ebbets Field to give the Yankees the lead for good on their way to their fourth straight World Series. Mel Allen with the play-by-play in the sixth – “that ball is going, going…it is gone.” Watch how fast Mantle gets around the bases.
6. 1956, Yogi Berra, 2 HRs, Game 7, World Series
A signature moment for the Yankee catcher, who belted two early two- run homers against Don Newcombe to help the Yankees avenge their loss to Brooklyn the previous year in a 9-0 whitewash. Elston Howard also homered, and Bill Skowron hit a grand slam.
One of the great Phil Rizzuto calls (“Holy cow, he did it, 61 for Maris.”). At one point the camera catches Sal Durante, the fan who got $5,000 for coming up with the ball. Lots going on in this brief cut: fans booing Boston’s Tracy Stallard for going to a 2-0 count against Maris, a young fan running on the field to shake the Rajah’s hand, and Maris being pushed out for a curtain call by his teammates.
The Mick talks about the hardest ball he ever hit, which missed by less than a foot of clearing the right field facade of Yankee Stadium. No player has ever hit a fair ball out of the Stadium old or new — Mantle came the closest.
Watch the gimpy-legged Mantle struggle around the bases after lining his milestone round tripper into the right field seats at Yankee Stadium. Jerry Coleman with the call. Again, kids on the field.
Chambliss helps the Yankees win their first AL pennant in 12 years. Keith Jackson and Howard Cosell with the call. Talk about security in the Bronx — fans storm the field as Chambliss barely makes it around the bases.
Mr. October earns his stripes with an unforgettable performance that matches the heroics of one George Herman Ruth.
” Deep to left. Yastrzemski will not get it. It’s a home run. A three-run homer for Bucky Dent.” Bill White with the call on the blast that brought Yaz to his knees and silenced Fenway Park.
Donnie Baseball ties Dale Long’s record by homering in his eighth consecutive game.
Jeter, a rookie, shares the spotlight with 12-year-old Jeffrey Maier, who gives the Yankees a boost on this controversial eighth inning call that tied the score and made Bob Costas ask “And what happens here?”
Same game as Jeter’s home run, the winning blow by Williams came in the bottom of the 11th. You may have to turn up the volume to hear it — but John Sterling gives a landmark Yankees win call as Bernie goes boom.
With Atlanta on the verge of taking a 3-1 lead in the World Series, Leyritz launches a game-tying, three-run homer to left to tie the game in the eighth. Watch the reaction on the Yankee bench, especially Don Zimmer.
Less than two months after 9/11, two outs in the ninth, game on the line, Martinez homers to tie the score. Derek Jeter’s walk-off wins it in the 10th. And the next night…..
….it happened again. One night after Tino’s shocker, Brosius goes yard with two down in the ninth to tie the score. This time the Yankees win in 12. Joe Buck with the dual calls.
With the score tied in the last of the 11th, Boone hits the first pitch from knuckleballer Tim Wakefield into the left field seats to send the Yankees to the World Series. Look closely in the background. As Boone is rounding the bases, Mariano Rivera is hugging the mound.
This dramatic 14th inning walk-off in the rain gave birth to John Sterling’s Giambino.
YouTubeism baby. A millenial generation shot of A-Rod’s two-run blast that broke a scoreless tie with the Red Sox.
No matter what he does the rest of this World Series and for the remainder of his career, Albert Pujols carved out his own special niche in baseball history with three home runs in the third game of the 2011 World Series.
The 31-year-old Pujols is a sure-fire, first ballot Hall of Famer once he retires, but unless he’s Babe Ruth (more on that in a moment) this World Series tour de force will be his signature moment.
More than a generation ago, on October 18, 1977, Reggie Jackson became Mr. October when homered three times on a cool night at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. Jackson, like Pujols, homered off three different pitchers as he led the Yankees to their first World Championship in 15 years with an 8-4 win over the Dodgers.
That year, Jax set a record with five home runs in a single World Series, including four in his final four swings. Mr. October was named 1977 World Series MVP.
Fittingly, Babe Ruth is the only other player to hit three home runs in a World Series game. Ruth accomplished the feat twice, both times against the Cardinals.
Babe Does It Twice
But unlike Pujols or Jackson, Ruth had dozens of signature moments. His record-breaking 60th home run in 1927, his called shot in the 1932 World Series, and his three home run game with the Boston Braves in 1935 days before he retired are three that come to mind.
In Game Four of the 1926 World Series, Ruth hit three home runs at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis to lead the Yankees to a 10-5 victory. The Yanks won the next day and returned to New York with a 3-2 lead, but Hall of Fame right-hander Grover Cleveland “Old Pete” Alexander beat the Yankees 10-2 with a complete Game 6 effort.
In the decisive seventh game, Alexander came on in relief in the seventh inning to fan Tony Lazzeri with the bases loaded. He walked Ruth, who had homered earlier in the game, with two outs in the ninth to put the tying run on base. But the Babe inexplicably tried to steal second base and was thrown out to end the Series with Bob Meusel on deck and Lou Gehrig in the hole.
Two years later, Ruth again hit three home runs in a World Series game against the Cardinals at Sportsman’s Park. The Yankees won the game 7-3 to sweep the Series. Ruth hit .625 in the 1928 World Series with those three homers and four RBIs and batted .625.