“Although the Boston Red Sox and the fans thru New England, They’ll tell you they were five outs away in the 8th inning… leading by 3 as Boone hits it to deep left! That might send the Yankees to the World Series. Boone the hero in Game 7! ”
Those were the words that were said by FOX announcer Joe Buck ten years ago today as the Yankees were able to head to the World Series by defeating the arch rival Boston Red Sox. The moment was made more special when Aaron’s brother, Bret Boone, was able to watch him round the bases in victory from the announcers’ booth. It was a series filled with drama that at one point had an angry brawl resulting in a Don Zimmer throwdown by Pedro Martinez.
Martinez ended up getting the start ten years ago in that game against Roger Clemens in what could have been his last start as a New York Yankee. It was a re-match of Game 3 in which the Rocket outdueled Pedro 4-3.
The start of the game for the Yankees was not ideal as Clemens gave up three runs in the second inning, including a two run homer by right fielder Trot Nixon. Clemens came out of the game in the 4th inning after a Kevin Millar made it a 4-0 game with fans wondering if it was the last time they had seen Clemens throw a pitch in the Bronx. Give credit to fellow starter Mike Mussina for keeping the damage down and the team in the ball game.
Despite two solo home runs by Jason Giambi, the Yankees rarely put men on base against Pedro Martinez, who was dialing it up to 94 mph by the 7th inning. Just like the Cubs in the NLCS that postseason, the Red Sox were five outs away from reaching the World Series for the first time since 1986. Then, the magic happened.
The Red Sox were leading 5-2 when with one out, Derek Jeter doubled to the wall in right field and Bernie Williams drove him in with a single to make it 5-3. With a lefty Alan Embree warming up in the bullpen, manager Grady Little stuck with his ace who had thrown 115 pitches to that point.
Boone was not the player that anyone expected to be the hero for the Yankees that night. He had only hit .254 with the Yankees since coming over at the trade deadline from the Reds. He ended up with just a .170 postseason batting average. Plus, he wasn’t even the starting third baseman that night (Enrique Wilson was the starter).
Boone took the first knuckleball he saw and hit it over the left field. Elation set in for the Bronx faithful as Rivera runs to the mound with tears of joy.
The 2003 League Championship Series in both leagues was one to remember. It is hard to believe that it has already been ten years since that night. Even though the Red Sox won the World Series the next year and are playing in the ALCS tonight while the Yankees are at home, it is still a memory for the ages. I was eleven years old when that night happened and I still have the game on my IPod to this day. Please enjoy the highlight of the memorable moment below.