Yankees Top Moments Tournament: (#2) 2001 late-game World Series home runs vs. (#3) Jeter's flip play

J. Meric and Patrick McDermott

Late-game World Series heroics or the famous flip play – which moment deserves to advance in the Top Moments Tournament?

The second round of the Pinstripe Alley Top Moments Tournament concludes with this matchup from the 2000-Present bracket. Vote in the poll below for which moment deserves to advance.

#2: Late-game homers in 2001 World Series


Already down two games to one to the Diamondbacks in the 2001 World Series, the Yankees were mowed down easily by Curt Schilling and trailing 3-1 in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 4. The Yankees offense has mustered all of four runs scored to that point of the series. Exceptional D'Backs closer Byung-Hyun Kim came on for his second inning of work, and there was no real reason for Yankees fans to think there were any surprises left in the team's aging bats. But with two outs and Paul O'Neill on base, Tino Martinez crushed the first offering from Kim that he saw over the wall in right-center to tie the game up at 3 runs apiece. The job was only half done, so it was up to Derek Jeter. Shortly after the time struck midnight signalling the first instance of November baseball, The Captain responded to the unique occasion by lining a Kim offering the opposite way that just barely cleared the wall, giving the Yankees a shocking 4-3 victory in ten innings.

The absurdity was far from over, however, as the Yankees continued their paltry hitting and found themselves down in the final frame of Game 5 as well, trailing 2-0. Kim was on the mound again, once more only one final out from shutting the door on the Yankees. With Jorge Posada on, Scott Brosius played the role of hero hitting his two-run homer off Kim to square the game at 2-2. A devastated Kim was not left out there to languish for another batter as he was the night before, but it wouldn't matter. In the 12th an Alfonso Soriano single scored the winning run to give the Yankees a 3-2 series advantage. They were the first team ever with two back-to-back postseason victories after trailing going into the ninth inning.

Entry written by Michael Brown on December 10, 2013.

(#3) Derek Jeter's flip play

On October 13, 2001, the Yankees squared off with the Oakland Athletics facing elimination in Game Three of the ALDS with Mike Mussina on the mound. Holding onto a narrow 1-0 lead provided by a Jorge Posada home run (GIF), Mussina and A's pitcher Barry Zito were entrenched in a tense pitcher's duel in which Mussina had only allowed two hits in the game. Jeremy Giambi singled with two outs in the seventh inning before Terrence Long roped a ball past Tino Martinez to right field. Shane Spencer fielded the ball before launching it over the heads of both cutoff men, Alfonso Soriano and Tino Martinez, as Giambi was waved around third.

Seemingly out of nowhere, Derek Jeter sprinted to the first base line from the pitcher's mound to field Spencer's long throw with his momentum carrying him away from the field. In an instant, Jeter manages to flip the ball out of his glove right to Posada, who is waiting by home plate to make the tag. Giambi doesn't slide and Posada is able to tag him on the foot to preserve the Yankees' narrow lead. Many people have gone on to speculate whether or not Jeter was in his proper position when making the flip play, to which Jeter, of course, says that he was right where he has practiced being.

The Yankees would go on to win the series, advance to the ALCS, and eventually play in the World Series. Talk about one moment turning around a series, the flip play did just that.

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Entry written by Tanya Bondurant on December 11, 2013.

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