When you think of a “great game,” like we’re doing as part of our 25 Best Games of the Past 25 Years series, you’re probably going to think mainly of either a close, down to the final innings game, or one featuring a heroic single player performance. Most of the ones in the series are probably going to fall into one of those two categories.
However, there are other types of great games, especially when you put on a pair of [insert team colors here]-tinted glasses. One, for example, is a game where your team beats the absolute stuffing out of an opponent, especially a rival.
Date of Game: June 19, 2000
Game MVP: Scott Brosius
After meeting in the previous year’s ALCS, the Yankees and Red Sox went into a June series at Fenway Park just separated by half a game atop the AL East in 2000. The teams had spent the first couple months of the season trading the division lead back and forth, with Boston going into a series opener on June 19th with a modest edge. The Red Sox were led by Pedro Martínez, who was in the midst of what would be the best season in his Hall of Fame career. However, he wasn’t on the mound that day, and it showed.
Fourth-year Red Sox pitcher Brian Rose got the start for Boston, and he did a pretty decent job at holding down the Yankees’ offense early on. He allowed just one Yankees runner to reach in the first three innings. Eventually, the Yankees got to him, scoring six runs over the course of the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings, thanks in part to home runs from Jorge Posada and Derek Jeter.
Meanwhile, on the mound for the Yankees that day was Ramiro Mendoza. The longtime Yankees swingman gave the Yankees a very good effort that day against a Boston lineup that featured a pair of 2000 All-Stars in Nomar Garciaparra and Carl Everett. Mendoza shut them out through the first six innings with pristine control of his sinker-led repertoire. The Red Sox eventually got a run off him in the seventh, but he had already done a lot of important work that day. Yankees starting pitchers had lasted a combined 2.1 innings in the two previous games, and Mendoza ensured that the bullpen got some much needed rest.
However, all of that is not why this game cracked the 25 Best list. An easy 6-1 win is always good, especially against the Red Sox, but they’re also dime a dozen. What got this game on the list is what happened in the eighth and ninth innings.
In the top of the eighth, Boston brought in reliever Rob Stanifer, for what ended up being his final ever MLB appearance. It’s not hard to figure out why that was the case. Here is how the inning played out after Jorge Posada began the eighth with a single:
That is an unpleasant, grueling frame for Stanifer, who was hung out to dry by Red Sox skipper Jimy Williams.
Shane Spencer’s three-run blast capped the nine-run whooping:
Stanifer was mercifully taken out after the final single by Ricky Ledee, having allowed nine runs on seven hits in just 0.2 innings.
Tim Wakefield finally got the Red Sox out of the eighth by getting the final out, and then remained in for the ninth. The knuckleballer couldn’t get much of a handle on his specialty pitch that night though, and it turned into a disaster. Clay Bellinger led off with a free pass and scored on a two-run blast by Félix José. Bernie Williams followed with a single and after a wild pitch, Wakefield walked back-to-back hitters to load the bases for Spencer.
This time around, Spencer merely hit a sacrifice fly, and while a run scored, the Red Sox were an out away from escape. The Yankees showed no mercy though, as Ledee singled off the Green Monster to bring home a run and Brosius tied the bow on the absolute drubbing with a three-run bomb:
By the time the dust had settled, the Yankees had added seven more runs and now led 22-1, which would also be the final score. The 21-run margin of victory is the second-largest in Yankees’ history, behind only a 25-2 victory over a 100-loss Philadelphia A’s team in 1936.
While it wasn’t an “everyone who played got a hit” game, the Yankees did get at least one for all nine spots in the batting order. I gave Brosius the game MVP for this win after a video game final line of going 3-for-5 with a walk, four RBI, and three runs scored, but there are several players who also had massive games. Spencer went 3-for-5 with four RBI, and was a mere double short of the cycle. Jeter, Posada, Williams, Ledee, and Tino Martinez all had two-hit days, while 10 different Yankees recorded at least one RBI. Considering that you can only have nine players in the lineup at a time, that is a rather impressive feat.
After the game, the befuddled Red Sox skipper Williams was quoted as saying “‘I could keep talking, but it would just be words.’’
If you’ve got a free couple hours to spare and are looking for some comedy, some beautiful soul has uploaded the entire NESN broadcast of this game to YouTube:
There will certainly be more dramatic games on this list. There will be ones with more visually memorable moments that spring to mind. However, it’s hard not to love a good, old-fashioned obliteration of the Red Sox.