While the Yankees had played many games against the National League prior to that (because they’ve played in a lot of World Series, you see), their first regular season interleague game was a 12-inning 2-1 loss the Marlins on June 13, 1997. The lineups included the likes of Charlie Hayes, Luis Sojo, Bobby Bonilla, and a Marlins second-year second baseman who may make an appearance later in this post.
As the Yankees prepare for another set against an NL team, here are some of the more memorable ones involving the Yankees from the past 21 years.
One of the best moments in all of interleague history happened when David Cone took the mound against the Expos in 1999. With Don Larsen and Yogi Berra in attendance at Yankee Stadium, Cone threw a perfect game. It remains the only one to happen in an interleague game.
On the other side of that coin is the time the Yankees got no-hit in an interleague game. Astros’ starter Roy Oswalt had to leave the game after suffering a groin pull. Peter Munro, Kirk Saarloos, Brad Lidge, Octavio Dotel, and Billy Wagner then combined to finish off the other eight innings without allowing a single hit. Some of those six were obviously pretty good pitchers and had nice careers. There was also Kirk Saarloos.
Prior to their meeting in the World Series that season, the Yankees and Mets played six regular season games against each other. In the fifth of them, Roger Clemens hit Mike Piazza in the head with a pitch, causing the Mets’ catcher to miss time with a concussion. It would not be the only moment of note those two had that year.
In 2002, Barry Bonds was in the midst of arguably the best season of his career when the Giants came into Yankee Stadium. Bonds went 2-3 with a walk in the series opener, but the Yankees managed to squeak out a 2-1 victory. The next day, he came up in the first inning, and this happened:
The Giants won 4-3, and if it weren’t for the upper deck, that ball might still be traveling.
Clinging to a one-run lead in the top of the ninth, the Yankees loaded the bases against the Mets’ Francisco Rodriguez. Having already brought in Mariano Rivera and not wanting to take out the greatest reliever ever just for the chance at insurance runs, the Yankees were forced into letting him hit. Naturally, Rodriguez lost the strike zone and walked the guy who had batted once prior to that season.
Rivera then threw a scoreless inning to finish off a win, because some relievers are Mariano Rivera and some are Francisco Rodriguez.
Surely that was the only embarrassing moment the Mets had in the Subway Series that year...
Perhaps the most memorable event to take place in interleague play was the time Luis Castillo dropped a routine popup off the bat of Alex Rodriguez. With two outs in the inning, runners on first and second were going with the pitch. By the time Castillo managed to recover and get the ball to the plate, two run had already scored to give the Yankees the surprise walk-off win.