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#25 Greatest HR in Yankee History

October 18, 2012

Alfonso SorianoALCS Game 4 | vs. Seattle Mariners | 10/21/2001

The Seattle Mariners had one of the best regular seasons in Major League history.  Their 116 wins broke the American League record set by the Yankees in 1998 and tied the 1906 Chicago Cubs, but down 2 game to 1 in the ALCS, game 4 became a virtual must win.  Brett Boone took matters into his own hands, hitting a 2-out solo home run off of Ramiro Mendoza, who had pitched 2 shutout innings in relief of Roger Clemens, to give Seattle a 1-0 lead.

With only 5 outs left, Bernie Williams dug in with 1 out in the 8th and hit a game-tying home run to right field off of Arthur Rhodes, setting up a dramatic 9th inning.  After a Shane Spencer groundout, Scott Brosius reached on an infield single, bringing Alfonso Soriano to the plate.  The rookie had had a surprisingly impactful season and was looking to be the latest in a long line of Yankee postseason heroes.  On the 2nd pitch he saw from Kazuhiro Sasaki he stroked a pitch with his long uppercut swing to deep right-center and over the wall for a thrilling 3-1 win.  The homer helped Soriano atone for a few gaffs earlier in the series.  In game 1 he neglected to run after hitting what he thought was a home run.  The ball hit off the left field wall at Safeco Field and he ended up on 1st base.  Then, in a game 3 defensive blunder, he failed to cover 2nd base, aiding the M’s victory.  None of that mattered as Joe Torre took Soriano’s face in his hands and kissed him on the cheek.  New York in October can be a cleansing place.

I was sitting in left field with my friend Louis Gabel and I can tell you that the Stadium was actually shaking.  I found myself standing on my seat and hugging the guy behind me.  We didn’t know each other, but we were both Yankee fans, and that’s all that really mattered in that moment.

Soriano’s blow not only knocked out the Mariners in game 4, but in the series as the Yankees claimed the pennant a day later in a 12-3 victory at the Stadium.

I don’t know if you can get any higher than this.  We’re going to have to calm down for a game tomorrow.

| Joe Torre |

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