While there’s still a lot going on around Jacoby Ellsbury’s release, his playing career with the Yankees is over.
After signing ahead of the 2014 season, his tenure in pinstripes started pretty well. Through April, Ellsbury put up a .821 OPS while stealing eight bases. However, he didn’t quite sustain his play to that level over the rest of that year, and the fell off further in the next couple seasons.
However, this post is not to talk about whether or not he was disappointing in the Bronx, or what the organization should be doing in this likely upcoming battle over his contract. No, this is about looking at is best moments as a Yankees that definitely aren’t themed in a jokey way.
The Yankees had just opened up a 2-1 lead when Ellsbury faced Jake Odorizzi in the fourth inning against the Rays. With count full, one of his swings nicked the catcher’s mitt, allowing Ellsbury to reach on catcher’s interference.
In doing so, Ellsbury broke Pete Rose’s record for the most all-time catcher’s interferences. He had already broken the single season record the year before, too.
4. May 20, 2016
With the Yankees and A’s tied 1-1 in Oakland, Ellsbury came to the plate against his future teammate Sonny Gray in the fourth inning. With two runners on, Ellsbury made contact with catcher Stephen Vogt’s glove, allowing him to reach base and load them up. The Yankees proceeded to bust the game open with four more runs in the inning and knock him out in favor of fellow future Yankee Ryan Dull.
The Astros knocked the Yankees out in the Wild Card game in 2015, but there was a chance at revenge to start the next season. The two teams faced off in Yankee Stadium to start 2016 and split the first two games, setting up the rubber game.
After Carlos Correa got Houston on the board with a home run in the first, Ellsbury got a chance to set the tempo for the Yankees in the bottom half of the inning. In that at-bat, Jason Castro made contact with his bat, allowing Ellsbury to start the game with a catcher’s interference. The Yankees went on to put up six runs in the inning and won the game 16-6.
Little did we know at the time that this would be the third to last game Ellsbury played as a Yankee.
The Yankees took a first inning lead on Didi Gregorius’ home run, but the decisive game against the Indians was still delicately balanced when Ellsbury came to the plate. With two outs in the inning, he battled Corey Kluber in a six-pitch at bat before reaching on catcher’s interference. That specifically didn’t lead to any runs, but who knows the butterfly effect that could’ve had in knocking Kluber out of the game and eventually leading to the Yankees winning the game.
The Yankees were down to their last seven outs when Ellsbury stepped to the plate in the bottom of the seventh. They were trailing 2-1 to the Rays, but there were two on and two out when Ellsbury came up with the chance to be the hero.
On a 2-2 pitch, catcher Curt Casali made contact with Ellsbury’s bat allowing him to safely reach on catcher’s interference, keep the inning alive, and load the bases. Brett Gardner followed that with a game-tying run and then a walk-off home run two innings later.
His name should’ve been Jacoby Illsbury, because in reality, you shouldn’t be able to spell his name without CI.