Brendan Fitzgerald’s Favorite Yankees Memory

Derek Jeter circles the bases after hitting a walk-off home run during the 2001 World Series. (Photo courtesy of Al Bello/AP Images

Derek Jeter circles the bases after hitting a walk-off home run during the 2001 World Series. (Photo courtesy of Al Bello/Getty Images

One series. 7 games. 3 pitches. 2 homers. One broken bat walk-off single. These words encapsulate my favorite Yankees’ memory, the 2001 World Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. I wasn’t in-person to witness the event but it happened over a series of days and was the most amazing thing I have ever seen. I was just starting to understand baseball strategy and enjoyed writing out the pitching rotations and lineups. I began to realize that both of these teams were loaded with talent: young and old, rotation and lineup, defense and bullpen. What I did not know was that this would turn out to be one of the best World Series of all-time.

The series was just after 9/11 and the excitement surrounding the team helped to lift the spirits of New Yorkers. The Yankees were outplayed badly and lost Games #1 and #2 in Bank One Ballpark. The Yankees won a close Game #3. Games #4 and #5 were the craziest games I’ve ever seen. Game #4 was played on Halloween. The Yankees were down 3-1 in the 9th inning. Paul O’Neill hit an opposite-field single. With 2 outs Tino Martinez stepped to the plate and launched a two-run shot to right-centerfield. Later on, the clock passed midnight and Derek Jeter was due up. He hit an opposite field home run off Byung-Hyun Kim. Jeter became “Mr. November”.

The same series of events happened the next night. The Yankees were down 2 runs with 1 out remaining. This time Jorge Posada provided the base runner with a double. Scott Brosius tied it with a moonshot to left field. All against the same pitcher from the previous night, Byung-Hyun Kim. As Yogi Berra would say, “deja vu all over again.” I couldn’t believe it. Yankee Stadium became magical to me and the Yankees were invincible. Mystique and aura actually appeared nightly. Unfortunately the Yankees lost Game #6 and forced a winner-take-all Game #7.

My favorite Yankees’ moment (or series of moments) also includes my worst nightmare. I try to forget the sequence of events but the infallible Mariano Rivera blows the save and then gives up a broken bat single over the drawn-in infield. The base hit won the World Series for the Diamondbacks and effectively ended the late-90s dynasty as cornerstones like Paul O’Neill retired and the franchise didn’t win the World Series again until 2009.

Those nine days were very special for me as a Yankees fan. I was starting to really study the game of baseball while witnessing some of the best games ever played. Games #4,#5, and #7 were instant classics and my Yankee and baseball fandom was solidified for life.

Topics: Arizona Diamondbacks, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees, News, Tino Martinez

Want more from Yanks Go Yard?  
Subscribe to FanSided Daily for your morning fix. Enter your email and stay in the know.
  • ikkf

    Yeah, that was a great time to be a Yankee fan. Those teams were great. Now we have a bunch of overpaid imported mercenaries because Cashman is too incompetent to build a viable farm system.