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#30 Greatest HR in Yankee History

October 17, 2012

Justice watches his blast disappear in the October night

David Justice | ALCS Game 6 | vs. Seattle Mariners | 10/17/2000

On a chilly night in the Bronx, the Mariners penetrated El Duque Hernandez’ postseason armor early, building a 4-0 lead going into the bottom of the 4th.  The Yanks found 3 runs of their own in their half of the 4th on a double by Jorge Posada and a single by Paul O’Neill, but in the last of the 7th the Yanks still trailed 4-3.  The deficit only helped set the stage for the newest Yankee to make his mark on the season.  On June 28th Yankees GM Brian Cashman finalized a deal with the Indians that sent Justice to the Big Apple, a transaction that tipped the balance of the pennant.

Jose Vizcaino led off the 7th with a single and, after a Chuck Knoblauch groundout, Derek Jeter singled as well.  With runners at the corners Arthur Rhodes replaced Jose Paniagua, tasked with holding the line against the heart of the Yankee lineup.  The patient Justice worked a 3-1 count and did not waste the hitter’s pitch he saw from Rhodes, putting a charge into the ball that 56,598 knew was gone the moment it was stroked.  The ball carried into the corner of the right field upper deck, a moonshot that propelled the Yankees into a 6-4 lead.  As Justice rounded 1st base his emotion was on display as he pumped his right arm again and again, basking in the moment.

O’Neill and Vizcaino followed with run scoring singles before the inning was out, pushing the lead to 9-4.  El Duque gave back 3 runs in the bottom of the 8th, but Mariano Rivera nailed down the save in the 9th for a 9-7 win.  Justice’s 3-run blast helped earn him the ALCS MVP award and set up a date with the New York Mets in New York’s first Subway Series since the Yankees and Dodgers met in 1956.

As soon as I hit it, it was one of those that you just know is gone.  There’s no chance it’s going foul, no question about the distance. I just turned to the dugout and saw the guys going crazy.

| David Justice |

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