Celebrating Bernie Williams

Today is Bernie Williams Day at Yankee Stadium and I thought it would be fun to take a look back at some of his biggest moments in Pinstripes (or: the only ones I could find on YouTube).

July 14, 1991: His first career home run against Chuck Finley and the California Angels.

October 6, 1995: Williams becomes the first MLB player to homer from both sides of the plate in a playoff game.

October 4, 1996: He robs a home run from Rusty Greer.

October 5, 1996: He homers from both sides of the plate in Game 4 of the ALDS against the Rangers.

October 9, 1996: The walk off in Game 1 of the 1996 ALCS against the Orioles.

October 13, 1999: The walk off in Game 1 of the 1999 ALCS against the Red Sox.

April 23, 2000: Bernie and Jorge Posada become the first teammates to homer from both sides of the plate in the same game.

October 26, 2000: He gets the Yankees on the board and ends an 0-15 slide in Game 5 of the 2000 World Series against the Mets.…

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Flashback: May 17, 2010

The game on Monday night, May 17, 2010 was your typical Yankees-Red Sox affair: It was high scoring, had a few lead changes and included ninth inning fireworks.

Phil Hughes and Daisuke Matsuzaka were your starters and it was one of those two-game, weekday sets. Hughes fared well in the early going while Matsuzaka was victimized by a bit of an offensive explosion in the bottom of the first.

Derek Jeter and Brett Gardner hit back-to-back singles to start the game and Mark Teixeira walked to load the bases with no outs. Alex Rodriguez hit a two-run single which sent Teixeira to third. Robinson Cano followed up with a single of his own which scored Teixeira and advanced A-Rod to second. Francisco Cervelli hit a double which scored A-Rod but Cano was nailed at home for the first out of the inning and Cervelli advanced to third on the throw to home. Marcus Thames hit a sac fly to score Cervelli and Randy Winn struck out to end the inning.…

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Jorge Posada Belatedly Declares Jorge Posada the 2003 MVP!

CBS Sports

CBS Sports

Did a steroid-addled pre-redemption Alex Rodriguez steal Jorge Posada‘s 2003 MVP award? Jorge said so, or at least implied it in a rambling tirade:

“The only thing that I can think is 2003. You know, I was close to the MVP. Didn’t happen. Alex won the MVP and, you know, I think second, either Carlos Delgado or David Ortiz, I don’t remember. But you know, I was almost there,” Posada said. “You know what could have happened if, you know it’s tough.”

All respect to Jorge, whom I still like a lot – but there’s no way he was the best in the league in 2003, with or without A-Rod’s pharmaceutical adventures.

Posada had a great 2003, his best year by WAR – 5.9, a level that’s usually not best-in-league, and was fifth among position players, but is as good as that of many MVPs. Posada’s offensive WAR was actually 0.4 better in 2007 than 2003, but the defensive WAR stats comport with what we all remember: by age 35, his defense had declined badly.…

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The Only Ever Split-Level Outfield: Texas’s Clark Field

I am now a PhD student at the University of Texas at Austin. An older colleague, upon learning of my love of baseball, told me about the craziest thing I have ever learned about the sport. Until 1974, the University of Texas played in this ballpark:

Clark_Field_Austin

Take a look at center field. First, you’ll see a 12 foot cliff that looks a lot like a (rather close) outfield fence. But, a closer look reveals that there is a green space above that 9 foot cliff. That space? In Play! The left fielder would have to run up the small path, called the “Billy Goat Trail” in order to catch the ball:

clarkfieldcenterfieldsc

Unfortunately, I can’t find a lot of information on old Clark Field: I’ve found a few grainy black and white photos, one amazing article from Texas Monthly, and zero video. When I’m a little less busy, I may go on an archival search for more information. For now, we have these great anecdotes from that article:

“The cliff has contributed to some unusual baseball moments.

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Flashback: May 5, 2000

So I can admit that I had absolutely no idea what to write about for my 1:00 slot, right? Can I also admit that I forgot I actually had the 1:00 slot today until 11:59 a.m.? Okay, now that I’ve let that out, on to the subject of the post which is a game from 15 years ago today!

Is this a significant game? Not really, but I like to look back at 5, 10, 15, 20 years ago to see if I can find interesting boxscores and this one was pretty amazing.

The 19-8 Yankees were facing off against the 15-13 Orioles at Yankee Stadium on a warm Friday evening. El Duque was making the start for the Yanks while Scott Erickson took the mound for the O’s.

Here are your starting lineups:

startinglineups5500

It was one of those back and forth games. The Yankees scored three in the bottom of the first, the O’s scored one in the bottom of the second and two in the bottom of the third to tie the game.…

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Taking a look back at April 27

I’ve been blogging about the Yankees for four years now and there are times when I know exactly what I want to write about and there are other times when I’m completely stumped. Today was a day when I was stumped. You’d think with the Yankees winning two out of three against the Mets that I’d have a lot to say but I actually didn’t. Anyway, when I’m struggling for content, I sometimes look to my music collection to help me out. So as I sat down to start writing, I said to myself, “I will write about April 27, pick the years of the first five songs that play in iTunes on shuffle and write about the games that happened on those days.” Easy enough. And luckily for me, my iTunes shuffle did a nice job.

First up, 1993. The song was “If I Ever Lose My Faith In You” by Sting.

The Yankees played the California Angels in Anaheim on a Tuesday and won the game 5-0 behind a complete game, one-hitter by Jimmy Key and an offensive breakout by Mike Gallego, who had two home runs.…

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Happy 10th Anniversary, A-Rod!

arod2005

Ten years ago tonight, Alex Rodriguez had himself quite a game.

That day, April 26, 2005, the Yankees were facing the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on a seemingly ordinary Tuesday evening in the Bronx. Carl Pavano (I know, I know) was starting for the Yankees and looking for his second win of the season while Bartolo Colon was starting for the Angels.

Pavano, who didn’t get injured in this game, got the first two outs, gave up a single to the third batter of the night, Vladimir Guerrero, and then got Garret Anderson to groundout to first for the final out.

Colon started things off in the bottom of the first by walking Derek Jeter but got two quick outs after Bernie Williams popped out to foul territory by third base and Gary Sheffield hit a fly ball to centerfield. He gave up another walk to Hideki Matsui which set the stage for A-Rod.

With the count 2-2, Rodriguez hit Colon’s fifth pitch of the at bat out of the park for a three-run home run.…

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Open thread: Looking back at April 18, 2005

The 2005 Yankees - Courtesy of the NYT

The 2005 Yankees – Courtesy of the NYT

As some of you know, I like to look for games from previous years to write about. Sometimes they’re significant like playoff games and sometimes they’re just your average, run of the mill, regular season games. But when I looked up April 18 and went back to 2005, I was actually giddy at what I saw because the Yankees completed a feat so amazing in that particular game that when it was happening live, I kept saying to myself, “Is this actually happening?” And even more amazing is that they would actually repeat that same exact feat just over two months later against the same team.

Okay, enough with the suspense.

Going into the game on the evening of April 18, 2005, the New York Yankees found themselves in fourth place with a 5-8 record. Right behind them were their opponents for the night, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, who were 4-9.…

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IIATMS Top Moment #7: Derek Jeter’s 3000th Hit

Corutesy: Rober Deutsch USA Today

Corutesy: Rober Deutsch USA Today

It’s no secret that Derek Jeter had a certain flare for the dramatic during his Yankees career (it feels so weird to write about Jeter in past tense now). So why would his much hyped 3,000th hit be any different?

Jeter needed two hits going into the July 9, 2011 game against the Rays to get his 3,000th hit. Jeter was struggling throughout much of the 2011 season and was hitting under .270. It was really the first time he actually started to look like his age.

David Price was the Rays’ pitcher that day and even though he’s a lefty it was hard to see Jeter doing much against his 97 MPH fastball at his age. Logic would dictate that if Jeter would have success against Price it would be with his patented inside out swing with singles to right field.

After getting a single to left in the first inning to put him one away, Jeter faced Price again in the third inning and worked the count to 3-2.…

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