Piedmont Park to911

 1998 |1999 | 2000 | 2001

2002 is, for me, the End of Baseball. Not only hadI lost my favorite fellow baseball fan ( my cousin Bev ),but the lack of any real consideration for Baseball Fans in theManagement-Player negotiations of August 2002 makes me feel like anexploited sucker instead of an interested fan, so I am leavingBaseball just as Baseball left Brooklynback in 1958.


 

The year 1998 was a DOUBLY-BRIGHTYEAR for the NEW YORK YANKEES,

who won the World Series by sweeping the San Diego Padres,but also won more baseball games than any other team in major leaguehistory, finishing with a record of 125 wins and 50 losses. Inthe regular season David Wells pitched a Perfect Game,defeating the Minnesota Twins 4-0. The 1998 Yankees includedTim (Rock) Raines, who fell ill with lupus kidneydisease during the next summer while playing for Oakland and did notplay for the Yankees during

 

the 1999 baseball season. 18 July 1999 was a good day forDavid Cone, as he pitched a Perfect Game for the New YorkYankees (a 6-0 win against Montreal), on Yogi Berra day at whichDon Larsen (Perfect Game pitcher for the Yankees against theDodgers in the 1956 World Series, winning 2-0) threw the ceremonialfirst pitch to Yogi Berra. There were 10 strikeouts, 9 outfieldflies, 4 infield flies, and 4 infield grounders.

Of the 18 Perfect Games* in MajorLeague history, the Yankees have 3, including the only World SeriesPerfect Game.

The New York Yankees won the 1999 (5760)World Series, their 25th, by sweeping the Atlanta Braves,finishing with a record of 109 wins and 65 losses.

In Atlanta, the Yankees won the first game, 4-1, with El Duque(Orlando Hernandez,who came to the Yankees from Cubaon a boat, and whose Orisha is Chango)pitching 7 innings with 2 walks and 10 strikeouts, and giving up onlyone hit (a home run by Chipper Jones).

In Atlanta, the Yankees won the second game, 7-2, with David Conepitching 7 shutout innings with 5 walks and 4 strikeouts, giving uponly one hit.

In New York, the Yankees won the third game 6-5, on a 10th inninghome run by Chad Curtis (his second home run of the game). MarianoRivera was the winning pitcher, pitching the 9th and 10th innings andexetending his streak of scoreless innings to 41 2/3 including theregular season. In post-season games, his scoreless streak is 24 1/3innings.

In New York, the Yankees won the fourth game 4-1, with RogerClemens winning his 250th game (against 137 losses), giving up 1 run,4 hits, and 2 walks, while striking out 4, over 7 2/3 innings.Mariano Rivera closed the game, adding 1 1/3 innings to his scorelessstreak. The ceremonial first pitch was thrown by Whitey Ford to YogiBerra.

It was the Yankees' 12th straight victory in World Series games,including 4 in 1996 against Atlanta and 4 in 1998 against San Diego,which tied the record for consecutive victories in World Seriesgames. The New York Yankees of 1927, 1928, and 1932 had also won 12in a row.

The 1999 World Series Yankees had manager Joe Torre (who survivedprostate cancer) and coaches Don Zimmer (who acted as manager whileJoe Torre was sidelined with cancer), Chris Chambliss, MelStottlemeyre, Willie Randolph, Jose Cardinale, Tony Cloninger, and a25-player roster:

During the regular season and playoffs, the Yankees used 14 moreplayers: pitchers Dan Naulty, Hideki Irabu, Jay Tessmer, Tony Fossas,Ed Yarnall, Todd Erdos, Mike Buddie, Jeff Juden, catcher Mike Figga,infielders Jeff Manto, D'Angelo Jimenez, and outfielders ShaneSpencer, Tony Tarasco, and Alfonso Soriano.

According to a 30 October 1999 article by David M. Halbfinger inThe New York Times:

"... New York threw yet another ticker-tape parade for its World Champion Yankees Friday [29 October 1999] ... on the platform in front of City Hall ... Darryl Strawberry followed a number of his teammates to the podium to say a few words. After a short speech, the oft-troubled designated hitter, who recovered from a bout with colon cancer last fall only to be arrested for solicitation and drug possession early this year, began to thank his manager, Joe Torre, when he broke down and doubled over, sobbing uncontrollably. As he cried for a full minute, Torre walked up to Strawberry and put his arms around him, and the crowd began to applaud, louder and louder, until even the Yankee players were clapping in a standing ovation of moral support. Finally, Strawberry lifted his head and managed: 'I'd just like to say to Joe, thank you for caring for me." To his teammates, he added: "And I love you guys." ...".

During the post-season playoffs, when the Yankees were playing thefinal game of the series with the Texas Rangers in Texas, the Texasfans were jeering Darryl Strawberry when he came to bat, chanting"Just Say No!". Darryl then hit a 3-run home run that won the game3-0, and in the Yankee dugout, Chris Chambliss yelled "Just Say Yes,Baby, Just Say Yes!". Roger Clemens (whose mother was in the stands)was the winning pitcher, giving up 3 hits over 7 innings, with JeffNelson facing one batter and Mariano Rivera closing the last 2innings.

 

During 2000 spring training (stillin 5760), Tim (Rock) Raines tried to recover fromlupus and make a comeback to the team he helped to World SeriesChampiionships in 1996 and 1998, but decided on23 March 2000 to retire from active playing. ( In the followingseason, 2001, Raines did play actively at Montreal. ) DarrylStrawberry was suspended for a the season for a positive cocainetest, and suffered a recurrence of his colon cancer, losing a kidneyin an operation to remove cancer from his adrenal gland. Joe Torreand Mel Stottlemeyer continued their battles against prostate cancerand bone marrow cancer. The Yankees won the AL East, but their 87-74record was the worst of any of the 8 teams that made it to thepost-season, and they were the only one of those 8 teams that did notwin 90 games. Even the Cleveland Indians, who did not get into thepost-season, won 90 games.

In October ((after 5760) the Yankeesmet the Western Division champion Oakland As in the AL Divisionplayoffs. The 5-game series, which the Yankees won 3 games to 2, wasa nerve-wrackingly close contest between very different styles ofplay:

After Oakland, the Yankees played the ALCS against the WesternDivision runner-up Seattle Mariners, and won the series in 6 games,with Roger Clemens winning game 4 ( a 1-hit complete game, 15strikeouts, 2 walks ) by a 5-0 score.

In the World Series against the Mets, the Yankees won game 1 in 12innings by a 4-3 score. In the first inning of game 2, Roger Clemensfaced Mike Piazza for the first time since a regular seasoninterleague game in which Piazza was knocked unconscious by a pitchfrom Clemens. Piazza's bat broke, and the barrel (just over the ML ofMLB in the image below) flew toward Clemens like a bouncing groundball.

Clemens fielded the bat barrel

and threw it off the field across the line to first base nearwhere Piazza was running.

The ball went foul, and the game continued with the Yankeeswinning 6-5 and Clemens pitching 8 shutout innings with 9 strikeouts,giving up only 2 hits and no walks. Clemens was fined $50,000.00 forthrowing the bat barrel.

The World Series winning streak of the Yankees ended at 14 gameswhen the Mets won game 3 by a 4-2 score, with El Duque (despitestriking out 12) losing in the post-season for the first time after11 post-season appearances, 8 of which were wins. Mike Stanton struckout 1 in relief for the Yankees, and the Mets pitchers struck out 12.The game total of 25 strikeouts for both teams was a World Seriesrecord.

Derek Jeter hit the first pitch of game 4 for a home run, and theYankees held on to win by a 3-2 score.

In game 5, Bernie Williams and Derek Jeterhit home runs, and 2 more runs were scored by a walk to Jorge Posada,a single by Scott Brosius, another single by Louis Sojo, and 2 basesgranted to runners with the throw to the plate hit Posada and wentinto the dugout. Andy Pettitte gave up only 2 runs (on 2 errors), andMike Stanton and Mariano Rivera pitched shutout relief as the Yankeeswon the game, 4-2, and the series 4-1, making the Yankees thefirst team since the 1972-73-74 Oakland As to win the World Series 3times in a row. The Yankees also won the World Series

4 times in the 5 years 1996-2000, something that Oakland did notdo in its run in the 1970s.

The only other teams to win as many as 3 World Series in a roware:

Even after the Yankees won 5 World Series in a row, 4 of thefollowing 5 involved the Yankees:

In 1958, the Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Los Angeles, and Dodgercatcher Roy Campanella's car hit an ice patch and then a telephonepole, leaving him paralyzed from the chest down. It was the endof an Era.

 

During the 2001 regular season, RogerClemens:

The Yankees won the AL East pennant in 2001.

In the 2001 AL Division playoffs, Oakland won the first two gamesin Yankee Stadium, but, according to anarticle in The New YorkTimes:

"... Mike Mussina pitched seven scoreless innings in a 1-0 victory over Oakland in Game 3 of the American League division series. ... in the seventh ... Jeremy Giambi singled to right field. Terrence Long hit a ground ball inside the first-base line, into right field, down into the corner. ... Giambi would try to score. Spencer dug out the ball, Alfonso Soriano set up in short right field, Tino Martinez about 20 yards behind him, backing up in case Spencer overthrew Soriano. ... Spencer's throw sailed far over the head of Soriano, and Martinez took a step back and reached up with his glove but could not get to the ball. Spencer had overthrown both cutoff men, and Giambi was running home with the tying run, the ball bounding in foul territory between home and first. But Derek Jeter, sprinting from his position at shortstop, caught the ball on a hop running toward the Yankees' dugout on the first-base side and flipped the ball to his right, the way a quarterback flips a football on an option play.

Posada reached to catch the ball, swiped with his glove at Giambi, who was nearing the plate standing up - and Posada appeared to tag a millisecond or less before Giambi's right foot came down on home plate. Umpire Kerwin Danley pumped his fist, out. ...".

The Yankees won the next two games and defeated Oakland 3 games to2.

 

In the 2001 ALCS, the Yankees defeated Seattle 4 games to 1.Seattle had won 116 games during the 2001 regularseason, and had won 3 games defeating Cleveland in the AL Divisionplayoffs. If Seattle had won the ALCS (4 more wins) and then won 3games in the World Series, Seattle would have won 116+3+4+3 = 126games and would have broken therecord of 125 total wins in a season held by the 1998Yankees. However, the 2001 Yankees heldSeattle to only 1 win in the ALCS, leaving Seattle with a total of116+3+1 = 120 wins, thus preserving the1998 Yankees 125 wins as the most totalwins in a baseball season.

 

In the 2001 World Series against Arizona, Curt Schilling and RandyJohnson of the Diamondbacks won the first two games ( 9-1 and 4-0 )in Arizona.

Games 3, 4, and 5 were in Yankee Stadium.

Roger Clemens pitched 7 innings, giving up 1 run and striking out9 for the Yankees, and Mariano Rivera pitched 2 perfect innings inrelief striking out 4 for the Yankees, as the Yankees won Game 3 (2-1 ) with Roger Clemens getting the win and Mariano Rivera gettingthe save.

During Los Dias De LosMuertos (31 October - 2 November 2001) the Yankees were playingGames 4 and 5 of the World Series in Yankee Stadium and

(water vapor 2 Nov 2001 image fromkauai.nrlmry.navy.mil)

Hurricane Michelle was forming south of Cuba.

 

Game 4 in Yankee stadium on Halloweennight (baseball schedules having been set back a weekbecause of 911)had Curt Schilling against El Duque, who hasbeen recovering from surgery on a toe broken by a line drive(recall Dizzy Dean's career-ending broken toe)during the 2001 regular season. According to accounts of the game inThe New York Times: "... ElDuque ... has the best winning percentage of any pitcher inpostseason history, a 9-2 record for an 81.8 percentage. ... Hiscontract is up at the end of this season, and ...[Halloween]...may have been his last game for the Yankees. ....

... He left in the seventh with one out ...[with the game tied1-1, the Yankees' run coming on a Shane Spencer home run off CurtSchilling in the third inning]... the crowd gave...[El Duque]... a warm cheer as hejogged off the mound,

stopping to chat and smile with [Umpire] Rapuano ... Ifthis was his last Yankee start, the man known as ... SeñorOctubre helped the Yankees advance to a new month ...

... in the top of the eighth ... Arizona ...[went]...ahead, 3-1 ... With two out in the ninth inning ... with O'Neillleading off first base,

Martinez slammed a two-run homer ...

... In the 10th inning ...[just after midnight when Octoberturned into November]... Jeter ... sliced a home run ... for a4-3 victory that squared the Series at 2-2 ... "I've never hit awalk-off home run before; it was pretty exciting," Jeter said later....

... a prescient ... fan held up a sign: "Mr. November." ...".Mariano Rivera was the winning pitcher in relief.

Game 5 began in Yankee stadium on AllSaints Day. According to accounts of the game in TheNew York Times: "... Former Yankees stars Reggie Jackson [Mr.October] and Don Mattingly threw out the ceremonial first balls... [Yankee pitcher] Mike Mussina ... did fine in pitchingeight innings ... with 10 strikeouts ...[leaving trailing2-0]... in the ninth ... Jorge Posada ...[led]... offwith a double ...

... Scott Brosius saved the Yankees with a two-out, two-run homer...

... Chuck Knoblauch opened the 12th ...[after midnight whenAll Saints Day had turned intoAll Souls Day, the last day ofLos Dias De Los Muertos (TheDays Of The Dead)]...with his first hit of the series and moved up on Brosius' sacrifice... then Alfonso Soriano singled ...

... and Knoblauch scored ...

 ... to give New York a 3-2 victory over the ArizonaDiamondbacks and a three games-to-two edge. ...". Sterling Hitchcockwas the winning pitcher in relief.

According to a3 November 2001 article by Buster Olney in TheNew York Times:

"... Ten days before the stock market crash of 1929, Mule Haas's game-tying two-run homer in the ninth inning led to the Philadelphia Athletics' victory over the Cubs in Game 5 - the last time a game-tying home run in the ninth had led to a World Series victory.

The Yankees accomplished the feat on consecutive nights, in games virtually identical in content and drama, as they took a lead of three games to two over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Games 4 and 5 will undoubtedly be remembered as two of the greatest in a World Series; the question is whether anyone who participated or watched will ever fully believe or comprehend what took place at Yankee Stadium. ...

... "This is the most incredible couple of games I've ever managed, obviously," the Yankees' manager, Joe Torre, said. ...

... [in] the bottom of the 12th [of Game 5] ... Soriano slammed a single to right, Knoblauch rounded third base sharply on his way home, slid and was safe when Sanders's throw bounced off the catcher. ... Knoblauch jumped to his feet - the highest he has jumped since he tried to dunk a basketball as a boy, he said - and the Yankees' fans exploded, many staying to sing along to Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" five or six times.

Torre kept shaking his head afterward as he tried to describe the finish, his face filled with the same silly smile that all the Yankees wore. "I don't know; I really don't," he said. "I don't know. Sorry." ...".

Games 6 and 7 of the 2001 World Series wereplayed in Arizona.

Arizona won Game 6 ( 15-2 ) with Randy Johnson getting thewin.

Game 7 was played on 4 November 2001. According to a 5 November2001 report on spaceweather.com:"... Twisted magnetic fields near sunspot 9684 erupted Sunday, Nov.4th, at approximately 1620 UT. The explosion sparked an X1-classsolar flare and hurled a bright coronal mass ejection ...

 

... toward Earth. The expanding cloud could trigger geomagneticactivity and Northern Lights ...

...[ image from sec.noaa.gov

images from spaceweather.comgallery by Brian Klimowski, Rapid City,SD; Vesa Sarkela, Kemijarvi, Finland; RickDavis, Dalton, GA]...

... when it hits our planet's magnetic field on Nov. 6th or 7th.... Protons accelerated by Sunday's X-flare and coronal mass ejectionhave reached Earth, and an S3-class solar radiation storm is inprogress. ...".

Roger Clemens (who won Game 3, and who won the 2001 American League Cy Young Award (his 6th)) pitched 6 1/3 innings giving up 1 run and striking out 10 for the Yankees.

Curt Schilling (who won Game 1, and who was the runner-up for the 2001 National League Cy Young Award) pitched 7 1/3 innings giving up 2 runs (one an 8th inning home run by Alfonso Soriano) and striking out 9 for the Diamondbacks,

in the bottom of the 9th inning, the Diamondbacks scored 2 runs (1 earned, 1 unearned) off Mariano Rivera (who won Game 4) to win Game 7 (3-2), so that Arizona won the 2001 World Series 4 games to 3.

Randy Johnson (who won Game 2 and Game 6, and who won the 2001 National League Cy Young Award (his 4th)) relieved Curt Schilling and was the winning pitcher.

According to articles from AP, and by Jack Curry, in TheNew York Times of 5 November 2001: "... The Diamondbacks were thefirst team to rally from a deficit to win in the ninth inning of aWorld Series Game 7. The only comparable thriller came in 1912, whenthe Boston Red Sox rallied to beat the New York Giants in the 10thinning of Game 7. ...

... The home team won every game, just the third time thathas ever happened. ... The other two all-home victory Series wereboth won by Minnesota, 1987 and 1991 ...

... David Justice ...[who] singled as a pinch-hitter in the eighth [for the Yankees] ...played [against Minnesota] ... in 1991 ... Game 7 ... with [the] Atlanta [Braves] ...

... [Yankee] Chuck Knoblauch ...[played]... for the Minnesota Twins ... at the Metrodome on Oct. 27, 1991 ... in Game 7 of the World Series ... Jack Morris gave an unbelievable performance and held the Braves without a run for 10 draining innings; he finally exhaled when Gene Larkin's bases-loaded single vaulted the Twins to a 1-0 victory. ... Fay Vincent, the commissioner of baseball at the time, said the [1991] Series was "probably the greatest World Series ever." ... the 1991 Series ... was the first to have four games decided as a result of the last pitch, the first to have five games decided in a team's last at-bat, the first to have three extra-innings games and the first to have a Game 7 that was scoreless through nine innings. ... "Game 6 and 7 then, now these two," he [Knoblauch] said, reflecting back to the last two games in 1991 and the two extra-inning victories in this Series. "I'm sure they're four of the greatest World Series games ever played. I was there for all of them. I'm very fortunate." ...".

All three all-home victory World Series were played after theAmerican League instituted the designated hitter in 1973, so that therules of the game were determined by the home field, and each teamwon all the games played under the rules under which it won itspennant.

 

The Game 7 loss ended theYankees' Era of 4 World Series championships during the 5 years1996-2000.  It was a nice run, but you can't win themall. As the Brooklyn Dodgersused to say prior to 1955:

"Wait 'till next year."

 

I am very proud of the 2001 Yankees.

In the 2001 World Series they won alltheir home games in Yankee Stadium and their opponent hadto come from behind in the bottom of the 9th inning of 7th game.

 

Their Halloween - All Saints Day - AllSouls Day Midnight Magic wins in Games 4 and 5 were to methe most memorable baseball games I have ever seen.

 

 

 

That the 2001 World Series might represent the End of an Era wasindicated in a4 November 2001 article by George Vecsey in TheNew York Times:

"... Joe Torre ... knows that ... this Yankee team will not remain. ... the Yankees are about to receive a massive dosage of the old Branch Rickey formula for moving players - better a year too soon than a year too late. ... changes are coming:
  • The peppery little guy who started the Yankees' 12th-inning rally in the fifth game: Chuck Knoblauch. His contract is up and he's gone.
  • The solid guy who clubbed the two-out, two-run homer that tied Thursday night's game: Scott Brosius. His contract is up and his fielding has disintegrated. ...
  • The smooth first baseman who on Wednesday slugged one of the most memorable home runs in Yankee history: Tino Martinez. His contract is up, and he could be gone ...
  • The intense right fielder who started Wednesday night's rally with a single, and whom everybody in Yankee Stadium honors as "Paul-ie! Paul-ie!": Paul O'Neill. He wants to stay home with his kids, and is retiring.
  • And the crafty pitcher of indeterminate age who willed himself into the seventh inning on Wednesday: Orlando Hernández. El Duque's contract is up and he may be too fragile to exist as a spot starter.

... Torre knows this group of players will never be in the same clubhouse again. ...".

 

 


* - Here I am including the non-regular season Perfect Game (DonLarsen's 1956 World Series game) and also two non-standard PerfectGames:

No-hitters and perfect games are not the same. The pitcher whopitched the most no-hitters was Nolan Ryan (7, ahead of Sandy Koufaxat 4). Nolan Rayan never pitched a perfect game (unlike Sandy Koufax,who did pitch a perfect game for the Dodgersagainst the Cubs in 1965). However, Nolan Ryan does hold careerrecords for most strikeouts (5,714), most walks (2,795), fewest hitsper game (6.56), lowest batting average by opposition (.204, justahead of Sandy Koufax at .205), and most strikeouts per game (9.55,just ahead of Sandy Koufax at 9.28). Also, for the time since 1900,Nolan Ryan holds the record for strikeouts in one season (383, justahead of Sandy Koufax at 382). Nolan Ryan pitched one game (he lost)in 1966, the year Sandy Koufax won 27, lost 9, and retired. For the26 years from 1968 to 1993, Nolan Ryan pitched for the Mets, theAngels, the Astros, and the Rangers. He was disciplined and workedhard, maintaining good health until 23 April 2000 when he suddenlyhad chest pains and shortness of breath, and had to have an emergencydouble bypass heart operation.

 


(See Perfect Games article at infoplease.com;Total Baseball, Fourth Edition, Viking 1995; and an AP article 24April 2000 and other articles in TheNew York Times.)


 

Next to the Yankees,the Brooklyn Dodgersare my favorite team because they were the parent club of theValdosta Dodgers inthe Georgia-Florida League, and my grandparents used to rent rooms intheir house on College Street to ballplayers. When I was a smallchild, I had my own Dodger uniform.

The Dodgers abandoned Brooklyn in 1958, movingto Los Angeles, and the 1958 World Series was (for the second year ina row) between the Yankees and the Braves.Unlike 1957, the Yankees won the 1958 World Series.

In 1960, both Joe Torre and my cousin Bev(Robert Beverly Irwin, Jr.) went totheir first Spring Training with Braves. Joe went on a great careeras player and manager (now of the Yankees), but Bev, not having muchluck hitting curve balls, did not become a Braves player. However,Bev continued to work for the Braves for many years, and got to knowa lot of people with the Braves, like his good friend Paul Snyder. On22 September 2001, the last day of Summer, Bev died of colon/livercancer after battling it valiantly for over three years. Ironically,Bev came down with cancer about the same time that Joe Torre andDarryl Strawberry came down with it. Bev loved baseball, his FrankTorre bat, his Hank Aaron weights, and his baseball from Hank Aaron.A few days before he died, Bev described Hank Aaron as the greatestbaseball player of all time in all aspects of the game (even including pitching, because Bev saw Hank pitchduring Spring Training ) ).

The day of Bev's burial in the Episcopal cemetery in Marietta,Georgia,

Monday, 24 September 2001, (according toweather.unisys.com)a cold front came through

and (accordingto a 25 September 2001 BBC article by David Whitehouse)"... at 1038 GMT, a huge explosion occurred onthe Sun above sunspot region 9632, which hurled a giant cloud ofmagnetic superhot gas towards the Earth. The first arrivals from theexplosion, a mass of energetic protons, reached the Earth a fewminutes later. The magnetic cloud travels more slowly and is expectedto disturb the Earth's magnetosphere on Tuesday night/Wednesdaymorning GMT. ... Another solar disturbance buffeted the Earth on 23September, prompting a magnificent display of aurorae

captured in this stunning picture by Juha Kinnunen in Finland....". Bev would have been 61 years old if he had lived until 26September 2001 ( 9 Tishri (Erev Yom Kippur) 5762 ).

 


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