Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Top Five: Homeruns

For the next five weeks, Bronx Bloggers will release a top five list of events and players in Yankees history.
These lists are:
Recent Home Runs
Recent Plays
Underrated Players
Overrated Players
Top Lineups

Today I release the top five home runs in recent Yankees history.

Derek Jeter
Yankees vs Orioles
1996 American League Championship Series
October 9, 1996

The Yankees trailed the Orioles 4-3 in the bottom of the eighth inning when shortstop Derek Jeter hit a deep fly ball to right field. Right fielder Tony Tarasco moved near the fence and appeared "to draw a bead on the ball" when the then-12 year old Maier reached over the fence separating the stands and the field of play 9 feet below and deflected the ball into the stands. While baseball fans are permitted to catch (and keep) balls hit into the stands, if "a spectator reaches out of the stands, or goes on the playing field, and touches a live ball", spectator interference is to be called.
Right field umpire Rich Garcia immediately ruled the play a home run, tying the game at 4-4, despite the protest of Tarasco and Orioles manager Davey Johnson. The Yankees would win the game in the eleventh inning on Bernie Williams' walk-off home run. The Orioles maintained their protest of the Maier play after the conclusion of the game, but their protest was denied by American League President Gene Budig because judgment calls cannot be protested.

Jim Leyritz
Yankees vs Braves
1996 World Series
October 23, 1996

In Game 4 of the 1996 World Series against the Atlanta Braves at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, Leyritz hit a 3 run home run to left center in the 8th inning to tie the game at 6 and cap an improbable 6-0 Yankee comeback which did not begin until the 6th inning. This home run came off Atlanta closer Mark Wohlers and led to the Yankees eventually winning the game 8-6 in 10 innings with future Hall of Famer Wade Boggs 2-out bases loaded RBI walk off pitcher Steve Avery providing the winning margin in the top of the 10th. After the Yankees lost the first two games of the series at home, and narrowly winning Game 3 in Atlanta, this game appeared to be going to the Braves, which would have given them a significant 3-1 series advantage. Instead, Leyritz home run shifted the game's momentum and the Yankees won to tie the series 2-2.

Tino Martinez
Yankees vs Diamondbacks
2001 World Series
October 31, 2001

The Arizona Diamondbacks had taken a 2-1 lead in the World Series and a 3-1 lead going into the ninth inning with their closer on the mound.
Things were going well when Byung-Hyun Kim took the mound and send the D'Backs one game closer to a title.
Things went well....until Kim threw the pitch.
Tino Martinez, oh-fer the series, drilled the first pitch he saw over the right field wall for a game-tying two-run home run with two outs.
The Yankees won the game in the tenth inning and tied the series at 2.
Was it a fluke shot, a once-on-a-lifetime event? Keep reading...

Scott Brosius
Yankees vs Diamondbacks
2001 World Series
November 1, 2001

Due to the World Trade Center attack, commissioner Bud Selig pushed the season back a week sending the World Series into November for the first time in MLB history.
Almost a mirror image of the game from the night before, the Yankees entered the ninth inning down by two runs and two outs with an unlikely hero at the bat and Kim on the mound.
Scott Brosius hit the second pitch he saw from Kim deep into the sky and over the fence for an improbable home run to tie the game and send the Yankees into yet another extra inning victory and gave the Yankees a 3-2 series advantage heading to Arizona for the finale.

Aaron Boone
Yankees vs Red Sox
2003 American League Championship Series
October 16, 2003

The Yankees and Red Sox each had successful seasons, both reaching the playoffs, and both reaching the championship. Both playing close to 170 games; but game seven of the championship series is the one game to define their season.
The Red Sox had taken a commanding 5-3 lead with their ace Pedro Martinez on the mound and some clutch magic in the air.
The Yankees had tied the game at 5 going into extra innings and a gritty, gutty, and tense series wired down to one pitch.
It was the 11th inning. Tim Wakefield, the master knuckleballer was facing the defensive replacement Aaron Boone. Wakefield's first pitch was quickly changed into history.

"Although the Boston Red Sox and the fans throughout New England would tell you they were five outs away in the 8th inning, leading by BOONE HITS IT TO DEEP LEFT, THAT MIGHT SEND THE YANKEES TO THE WORLD SERIES! BOONE THE HERO OF GAME 7!!!"--Joe Buck

The Yankees had reached the 2003 World Series behind Boone's home run against the Red Sox.


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