Pinstripe Alley kicks off our Yankees Top Moments Tournament by going back to the very beginning in the Founding to 1959 bracket. Vote in the poll below for which moment you think deserves to advance to the next round.
(#3) Ruth's called shot
In the third inning of Game Three of the 1932 World Series, Babe Ruth came to the plate to face Cubs starter Charlie Root. In what may have been an attempt to rattle the legendary slugger, the Cubs bench decided to heckle the Babe mercilessly. Ruth obliged his would-be tormentors by barking right back at them. After taking strike one, Ruth gestured with his hand in an indeterminate direction. After taking a second strike, Ruth repeated the gesture. It's unknown if Ruth was pointing at Root, the Cubs bench or the centerfield seats, but on the next pitch Ruth slammed a home run of at least 440 feet over the centerfield wall. On his trip around the bases, Ruth made sure to let the Cubs know of his accomplishment, making several more gestures toward the dugout.
It would have simply been another monstrous home run in a career of many, as the Yankees would sweep the series easily. But as word spread of the "called shot", the legend grew to epic proportions Ruth, ever the showman, did nothing to demystify the event. While he was coy about whether he was pointing to the seats or not immediately after the game, he would say he was pointing to center in later newsreels and biographies. Naturally, fans and sportswriters ate it up. Regardless of whether or not he actually did call his shot, it is one of the most amazing cases of sticking it to a belligerent opponent in the history of sports. A larger than life moment from a larger than life man.
(#6) Martin wins '53 World Series
Billy Martin had already shown himself to be the nemesis of the Brooklyn Dodgers thanks to his game saving catch in Game Seven of the 1952 World Series. He had continued his pivotal play with eleven hits in the '53 Series by the time he came to the plate in the bottom of the ninth of Game Six. The Dodgers had just staved off elimination thanks to a two-run rally in the top of the inning, but their reprieve would prove to be short lived. A leadoff walk and one-out Mickey Mantle single had Hank Bauer at second base as the potential series-clinching run.
Martin stepped into the batters' box to face Dodgers' reliever Clem Labine. Martin smacked a groundball into center field for his record-setting twelfth series hit that would score Bauer easily and complete the series victory. It was the Yankees' fifth consecutive championship and another heartbreaking loss for their rivals from Brooklyn. It also helped to cement Martin's status as a Yankees legend and hero.