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On This Day In History | 1998

October 21, 2012

Men turn into boys after the last out of the World Series (Sports Illustrated)

On this day 14 years ago the Yankees completed a 4-game sweep over the San Diego Padres in the World Series.  The game pitted Andy Pettitte against Kevin Brown and in the early going the marquee matchup lived up to its billing.  Brown was perfect through 3 innings with 4 strikeouts, and through 5 innings he allowed just 3 hits.  Pettite was just as overpowering, allowing only 4 hits scattered over 7 innings.

In the 6th the Yanks finally ended the stalemate when a Bernie Williams groundout scored Derek Jeter from 3rd.  Then, with Pettite still holding the vaunted Padre offense in check, the Yanks tagged San Diego’s ace for 2 more runs in the 8th.  Jeter walked to leadoff the inning and Paul O’Neill followed with an infield single.  After a Williams groundout that advanced the runners, Tino Martinez was intentionally walked to keep the double-play intact.  The strategic move by Padres skipper Bruce Bochy backfired, however, as Scott Brosius came to the plate.  The Yanks’ 3rd baseman, had hit 2 home runs in an unlikely game 3 victory, and was about to seal his World Series Most Valuable Player Award.  On the 1st pitch he saw from Brown he scorched a ball to left field that scored Jeter and kept the bases loaded for Ricky Ledee.  The rookie followed with a sacrifice fly to extend the Yankee lead to 3-0 with just 6 outs left before their 24th championship.

Jeff Nelson and Mariano Rivera, in relief of Pettite, ensured that his gem and the Yankee lead were protected, pitching 2 scoreless innings.  Appropriately, with Rivera on the mound, the final out of the 1998 season bounced to Brosius, New York’s newest postseason hero, who threw out Mark Sweeney before leaping up and down in pure, unadulterated euphoria.

It capped the greatest season in Major League history.  125 wins.  Their 1st Series sweep since 1950.  A record 24th title.  The club that had no starters in the All-Star game posted a .714 winning percentage, the highest since the “Murderers’ Row” Yankees of 1927.  They also performed at the highest level in the face of extreme difficulties.  Darryl Strawberry missed the end of the season with colon cancer and Pettite’s father underwent heart bypass surgery the week of the World Series, but they pushed their individual needs aside all year for a common goal and in doing so put together one of the most remarkable seasons in baseball history.

I think the biggest moment is that third out, throwing the ball and knowing it’s going to end the game and end the season.  There’s nothing better than coming up and seeing the players’ eyes and that sense of achievement and accomplishment and excitement.

| Scott Brosius |

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