Yesterday, the SB Nation mothership Twitter account asked this question:
What classic sports event do you wish Twitter was around for? pic.twitter.com/2YQfUOAv8r— SB Nation (@SBNation) May 10, 2018
It’s an interesting question, of which there is a correct answer. (Randy Johnson manslaughtering a bird, duh.)
That being said, what about Yankees’ specific moments? What plays would have been better with gifs and video of every angle? What moments or players would be subject of jokes and memes? What things would be argued about all hours of the day? Here are some of the standouts that come to mind.
Babe Ruth’s entire career
On baseball twitter, there’s plenty of marveling at the stats Mike Trout put up or how far and hard Aaron Judge hit a baseball. Now imagine that, but with a guy basically rewriting the record book on a yearly basis.
Ruth first broke the all-time single season home run record in 1919 and by the end of his career had more than doubled the record number he hit in 1919. At the end of 1934, he had the all-time lead with 708 career home run. Lou Gehrig was in second place with less than half that. The man literally called that he would hit a home run in a World Series game and then did it. Marveling and keeping track of his achievements would have been fun to do in the moment, because there would have been something new and interesting basically every day.
Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris
In some respects, this time would have been not very fun to deal with. In addition to some fans taking sides, there also would have been sniping all around at the idea of the record being asterisked due to the number of games it took to break Ruth’s record. Whether that be Yankees fans against that idea, or fans of other teams in favor, just to be annoying.
That being said, it was still months of two Yankees mashing home runs and going after a record, all while the team was good and heading towards another World Series title. It would have been fun to keep track of.
On a related note, the gawking and gifs of Mantle’s home run off the Yankee Stadium facade and/or the 565 foot homer would match and possible exceed anything we do now with mammoth Judge homers.
The 1939 and 1941 World Series endings
The Yankees won both their eighth and ninth World Series titles in sweeps, but the endings to both came in strange circumstances.
In 1939, game four went into extra innings. In the 10th, the Yankees had runners at first and third with one out when Joe DiMaggio singled. One run scored on the play, but due to an error in the field, Charlie Keller tried scoring all the way from first. Both he and the ball reached the plate at around the same time and he collided with Reds’ catcher Ernie Lombardi. Lombardi was hit in the groin and fell to the ground in pain, losing the ball. That allowed DiMaggio to come all the way around and score. The Yankees then wrapped things up in the bottom of the 10th and clinched the title.
Two years later, the Dodgers were a strike away from forcing a Game 5. Tommy Henrich swung and missed at strike three. However, the ball got past Dodgers’ catcher Mickey Owen, and Henrich reached first safely. The Yankees then scored four runs in the inning, taking a lead in the process. They blanked the Dodgers in the bottom of the ninth, sweeping Brooklyn, and clinching another World Series.
Either series ending in part because of those plays would have only been more embarrassing for the players in today’s age. Lombardi especially would have gotten in rough, considering the likely jokes about, um, where he was hit on the play.
Bucky Dent and Aaron Boone
These two moments were already massive in their own times. Now image Yankees’ fans had access to tweet the Red Sox, and Boston players and fans about them in real time. “The Warriors blew a 3-1 lead” jokes basically lasted for an entire year after the 2016 NBA Finals. It took the Red Sox another almost 30 years to finally win a World Series after the Dent home run. They would have gotten jokes about blowing a 14-game lead for a looooooong time.
The Jeffrey Maier-aided home run
Tony Tarasco pointing up towards the stand is a moment that is begging to be meme-d.
July 1, 1990: White Sox 4, Yankees 0
On July 1, 1990, Andy Hawkins no-hit the White Sox...and took a loss. A combination of five walks and three errors doomed Hawkins and the Yankees to a 4-0 loss despite the eight no-hit innings. Whatever the 1990 version of the Crying Jordan was, there would have been a timeline full of Andy Hawkins photoshops full of them.
Those are some, but there are plenty of others. Feel free to share yours!