Monday, October 10, 2016
The Yankees dynasty of the late 1990s might have at least been slowed down a tad if not for the baseball glove of a 12-year-old boy in the right-field bleachers at Yankee Stadium.
New York — competing in its first ALCS in 15 years — trailed the Baltimore Orioles 4-3 in the bottom of the eighth in Game 1 of the 1996 edition when a rookie named Derek Jeter stepped to the plate. He did what Jeter would do so many times in his career — hit a ball to the opposite field. This one carried deep, all the way to the wall. It wasn’t quite deep enough to leave the park, though, and Orioles left-fielder Tony Tarasco was lined up for the harmless put-out. And then fortunes turned:
A boy, whose name we’d later learn was Jeffrey Maier, reached over the wall and caught Jeter’s fly ball. Right-field umpire Rich Garcia ruled it a home run, much to Tarasco’s dismay. He argued for what should’ve been ruled fan interference and was joined in protest by manager Davey Johnson and most of the rest of the team.
The call would stand, and the Yankees would go on to win on a Bernie Williams walk-off home run in the 11th to take a 1-0 series lead.
It doesn’t feel like it’s been 20 years, does it?
Page 1 of 1 pages: