P Damaso Marte (2008-2010)
The Yankees acquired Damaso Marte at the 2008 trade deadline, after a strong six-year stint with the Chicago White Sox and Pittsburgh Pirates.
Unfortunately, Marte couldn’t figure it out in New York. He finished with a 5.40 ERA in 25 games in his first year in pinstripes.
Things weren’t better as the Yankees started their championship run in 2009. As a left-handed specialist, Marte appeared in 21 games, managing a dreadful 9.45 ERA in 13.1 innings in the regular season.
As the playoffs began, Yankees fans and had largely written off Marte as a flop. He had one appearance in the game 2 of the ALDS, unable to record an out after giving up a pair of hits.
Then, something clicked for Marte. He appeared in three games against the Angles in the ALCS, getting left-handers out each time. He only threw nine pitches in the entire series but it set him up to take on the left-handed dominant Philadelphia Phillie’s lineup in the World Series.
As Girardi explains in the above tweet, Marte got his first World Series action in Game 1. Although the Yankees lost, he managed to strike out Chase Utley, the Phillies’ best contributor during the series. Utley would go on to mash 5 homers in six games.
Throughout the series, he shut down slugger Ryan Howard as well. Marte and Howard faced off four times and Marte got him out each time.
The most pivotal moment for Marte was in the series-clinching game six. In the seventh inning, with a pair of baserunners, Utley came to the plate. After dominating the Yankees all series, getting him out would hand the keys over to Mariano Rivera, setting the stage for ring number 27.
Marte was able to strike out Utley and get the Yankees within six outs of their most recent championship.
Although the heroics of Alex Rodriguez, Andy Pettitte, and Hideki Matsui will always be remembered in Yankees lore, Marte’s key outs will live on in former Yankees manager Joe Girardi’s memories.
“Damaso Marte was the unsung hero of that World Series, and I’ll never forget him,” Girardi said.