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#47 Greatest HR in Yankee History

November 29, 2009

Jason Giambi | Ultimate Grand Slam | Yankees vs. Twins | 5/17/2002

The Yankees celebrate after Giambi's walk-off Grand Slam.

In a 5 hour, 45 minute slugfest that saw each team amass 20 hits, the Yankees prevailed 13-12 in 14 innings in one of the most rare and thrilling finishes in Yankee History. Trailing the Twins 9-8 in the bottom of the 9th inning Bernie Williams tied the game with a solo blast. The Yankees were unable to win it in regulation and a scoreless 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th followed as Friday night turned into Saturday morning. In the top of the 14th the Twins were finally able to break through, tagging Sterling Hitchcock for 3 runs on 4 hits. The 39,470 that began to file out of Yankee Stadium had no idea what was about to unfold. With Mike Trombley on the mound the Twins were looking to wrap up their 26th victory. The inning began with a single by Shane Spencer, but any hope of a miraculous rally for those faithful few that remained was surely snuffed out when Alfonso Soriano hit a fly ball to the left fielder; however, Derek Jeter followed with a single and Bernie Williams walked on five pitches, bringing up Jason Giambi with the bases loaded and a steady rain falling on the Bronx. On the first pitch the Yankee first baseman saw from Trombley, the 492nd of the game, he rocketed a fly ball to right-center field, the Yankees sixth home run of the day, ending the marathon in electrifying fashion. It was the 22nd “Ultimate Grand Slam” (a game-ending grand slam with a team down by 3 runs) in Major League history, and only the 2nd in Yankee history. The only other time the Bombers saw such a finish was 77 years earlier on September 24, 1925 when Babe Ruth finished off the White Sox 6-5. Said Giambi after the game, “I was just trying to keep the rally going, hit a single. I just got a ball out over the plate.”

“We thought we had this one in the bag, but once again the Yankees showed they can come back and bite you.” — Torii Hunter

Stat of the Day: 34

November 28, 2009

Hall of Famer Red Ruffing is 4th on the all-time home run list for pitchers with 34, trailing only Wes Ferrell (38) and Hall of Famers Bob Lemon (37) and Warren Spahn (35). His best season offensively was 1936 when he had 5 home runs, 22 RBIs and an impressive .291 average.

Red Ruffing

Images: The Captain

November 28, 2009

#48 Greatest HR in Yankee History

November 28, 2009

Joe DiMaggio | The Joe DiMaggio Show | Yankees vs. Red Sox | 6/28-30/1949

The Yankees were up 4.5 games over the Philadelphia Athletics in the pennant race going into a 3-game set at Fenway Park. Boston was tied for 3rd place in the American League with Detroit, but they had won ten of their last eleven games and were attempting to mount a comeback before the All-Star break. DiMaggio missed the first 65 games of the 1949 season with a bone spur and the Friday night in Boston was his first contest in eight months. In the first at bat since October 3, 1948 in Fenway Park, the Yankee Clipper stepped into the batter’s box to face Mickey McDermott. “He could throw hard,” remembered DiMaggio. “My timing was off. I kept fouling pitch after pitch to right field.” Then he lined a base hit over the head of shortstop Vern Stephens. In his second at bat of the 1949 season DiMaggio came up to bat with a man on and hit a 2-run home run. For perhaps the first and only time in the history of Fenway Park a Yankee received a standing ovation. In the bottom of the 9th inning with the Yankees clinging to a 5-4 lead DiMaggio ran down a sure extra-base hit by Teddy Ballgame to end the Red Sox rally and silencing the 36,228 on hand.

In the second game of the series on June 29th, DiMaggio singlehandedly brought the Yankees back from defeat. Down 7-1 after four innings the Bombers must have thought they were in for a nightmarish day until DiMaggio came up in the 5th inning with two men on and hit his second home run in as many days, cutting the defecit to 7-4. DiMaggio’s heroics were not done as he came up in the 7th inning and crushed a 2-run home run en route to a 9-7 come-from-behind Yankee victory.

DiMaggio’s incredible series was not over; however, as the Yankees sought a sweep of the Red Sox on Sunday, June 30th. In the 8th inning the Yankees were holding fast to a 3-2 lead when DiMaggio sent a colossal blast off of a light tower for a 3-run home run, a power surge that lead to a 6-3 Yankee victory. In the incredible series simply remembered as “The Joe DiMaggio Show,” his first three games of the 1949 season, the Clipper batted .455, hit 4 home runs and drove in 9 runs. It is perhaps the greatest individual performance in the 106 years of the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry.

Images: The Moose

November 27, 2009

1961 | Bill "Moose" Skowren fools around during spring training.

Stat of the Day: 55

November 27, 2009

Bob Sheppard’s first game as a public announcer for the New York Yankees was a home opener at Yankee Stadium on April 17, 1951. He did not miss a home opener until April 11, 2006, a string of 55 straight, when he threw out his hip the day before the game and was unable to attend. He was back for the Yankees next home stand, but in the meantime Derek Jeter requested that a recording of Sheppard announce each of his at bats.

Bob Sheppard's plaque in Monument Park.

On This Day in Yankee History: 1941

November 27, 2009

Joe DiMaggio edged out Ted Williams for the American League MVP award, his second in three years. Though the “Splendid Splinter” famously had a .406 batting average during the ’41 season, it was DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak that seemed to weigh more heavily with the voters as the “Yankee Clipper” beat out Williams 291-254. DiMaggio led the league in RBIs while Williams led in runs, home runs, walks and of course, batting average.

Joe DiMaggio’s 1941 Season Statistics:

122 R | 193 H | 43 2B | 11 3B | 30 HR | 125 RBI | 76 BB | 13 SO | .357 BA | .440 OBP | .643 SLG

Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio at Fenway Park.