It’s been 13 long years. It’s been 13 seasons since the famous “Derek Jeter Flip Play” turned the tide for the Yankees as they were on the ropes against an upstart Oakland A’s team managed by Art Howe.
That play, I can see it right now. I have nightmares about (Jeter) almost every night. That’s something I don’t like to think about. It’ll go down as one of the greatest plays through all the ages.
The Yankees rallied from being on the verge of getting swept to win the series in 5 games to advance to the American League Championship Series. For the A’s, another season ending in disappointment as they couldn’t get over the hurdle known as the Bronx Bombers. Those A’s teams in many people’s opinions, never lived up to expectations, as free agency and low budgets ripped the core apart, including former AL MVP Jason Giambi, who would leave Oakland to don the pinstripes.
Art Howe is now a radio man for the Astros, and as much as the thought of that one play still brings back bad memories and lost opportunities, Howe doesn’t want to see Jeter retire either:
I think of Derek an awful lot. What a tremendous career he’s had. It’s going to be a shame to see him leave the game because he’s such a quality human being. But he was a pain in my side…I remember (then Yankee bench coach) Don Zimmer saying, ‘We work on that play.’ I was like, ‘Aw, c’mon Zim, don’t give me that.’ Derek obviously read that throw from (RF Shane Spencer), he was in the right place at the right time. Probably the only player in the league that would have made that play.
After leaving the A’s, Howe moved on to manage the Yankees’ crosstown rival New York Mets for several seasons, before calling it a career as a field manager.