On this day five years ago, Mariano Rivera recorded the final six outs of the 2009 ALCS against the powerful Angels, and the Yankees clinched their record 40th American League pennant. Classic Mo, classic Yankees, classic season.
On this day 14 years ago, the Yankees and Mets were preparing to play Game 4 of the 2000 Subway Series. The Mets had snapped the Yankees' 14-game World Series game winning streak the night before and had the chance to tie the series up at Shea Stadium with Bobby Jones on the mound, who had recently spun a one-hit shutout. Leading off the game, Derek Jeter was unimpressed. Boom, 1-0. Vintage Jeter.
On this day in Yankees history 18 years ago, young lefty Andy Pettitte took the mound in Atlanta seeking to both avenge his World Series opener loss and deliver his team an improbable 3-2 lead in the Fall Classic. He faced a tough task with a potent Braves lineup and Cy Young Award winner John Smoltz against him. No sweat. Eight and 1/3 brilliant shutout innings, a John Wetteland out, and one heart-stopping Paul O'Neill catch later, the Yankees did just that. The Yankees took Game 5, 1-0. Andy Pettitte: Boss.
On this day in Yankees history 18 years ago, Jim Leyritz rocked the South with an booming three-run homer in the eighth inning off Braves closer Mark Wohlers to tie Game 4 of the 1996 World Series. Atlanta had led the game 6-0 in the fifth, but five outs from taking a commanding 3-1 series lead, it all vanished. The Yankees won the game in extra innings, then took the next two to win their first World Series title in 18 years, kickstarting the late-'90s dynasty.
According to Mark Feinsand, dominant Yankees setup man Dellin Betances just narrowly missed winning the inaugural Mariano Rivera Award for the AL's best reliever. C'mon guys, he was better than Greg Holland. Regardless, congrats to Dellin on an awesome season!
On this day in Yankees history 14 years ago, the Subway Series got weird. Roger Clemens faced the Mets in Game 2 of the World Series, and four months after giving star catcher Mike Piazza a concussion on a ball to the head, the tension reached new heights. Piazza broke his bat on a foul ball, and when Clemens reached the broken bat that went in his direction, he chucked it at Piazza. He... was not amused. The benches cleared, but no punches were thrown. Clemens went on to threw eight brilliant innings of two-hit shutout ball and the Yankees won their record 14th straight World Series game. What an odd night though.
On this day in Yankees history 18 years, PSA favorite David Cone completed his inspiring comeback from a life-threatening shoulder aneurysm that required surgery. Coney was out for several months recovering before defying the odds to return to the team in September. Now in Game 3 of the 1996 World Series with his team trailing the series 0-2 and on the road in Atlanta, Coney came up big as he so often did, pitching six innings of one-run ball while the offense scratched out five runs against Tom Glavine and the Braves' bullpen. The dominant Yankees 'pen preserved the lead, and the Yankees officially began their own comeback with a 5-2 victory. Love you, Coney.
On this day in Yankees history 13 years ago, rookie Alfonso Soriano came up big for his team, as he blasted a two-run walk-off homer against lockdown Mariners closer Kaz Sasaki to give the Yankees a 3-1 lead in the ALCS. The Mariners broke the '98 Yankees AL record with 116 wins, but they could not stop the 2001 Yankees, who dismissed them in five games. Sori not Sori.