Yankees’ 10 best moments to remember, 5 to forget

The greatest moments of the Yankees

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The New York Yankees are the most famous face of American baseball. They boast the largest fan base, the longest record of championships, the highest number of titles, and the greatest players ever known in baseball history. Here are 10 of the best moments every Yankees fan loves to cherish and five worst moments to forget.

10 most memorable moments of the Yankees

Jeter’s Hollywood ending

Joe Girardi said he wasn’t surprised when Derek Jeter hit a home run for his 3,000th hit in July of 2011 “Derek is a movie. His life is like a film.”

Everyone knew what he meant, but a few years later, even moviemakers might have thought the end of Jeter’s career was a little too silly to be believable. Yet, on September 25, 2014, when the Yankees blew a 5-2 lead in the ninth inning, it was as if it were written for him. He was able to come to the plate one last time at home, hit an opposite-field single, and win the game.

It wasn’t the best ending for Jeter, since it was only the third time in his career that the Yankees didn’t make the playoffs. But he always had a flair for the moment, and as it turned out, he did this right up until the end.

Rivera’s made an exit in tears

When the Captain and Andy Pettitte went to Mariano Rivera to escort him out in his last big league game on September 27, 2013, the crowd enjoyed the moment. But soon it turned into an emotional and unforgettable goodbye. Rivera hugged Pettitte for a long time with tears running down his cheeks, and then he did the same with Jeter. The Stadium crowd roared in honor of baseball’s best closer.

Pettitte’s return for the final act

While it is true that the early 2010s were primarily about closing the book on the stars of the Joe Torre glory years, in contrast to Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte’s final chapter is remembered less for his final act than for his unexpected return to the New York Yankees.

After sitting out the 2011 season as a retired player, Pettitte got the itch to come back in March 2012, in part because he had been throwing batting practice as a spring training coach for celebrities. So, at age 40, he came back and pitched well for two more seasons, including a couple of strong starts in the postseason of 2012. It was almost like he’d never left.

Aaron Judge scripted rookie HR record 

Aaron Judge, a 6-foot-7 slugger, is the best example of the change from old to new in the Bronx. He quickly became the face of the so-called “Baby Bombers” because of his incredible power, which seemed to have no limits.

He broke Mark McGwire’s rookie record of 49 home runs by hitting 52 in 2017. The Yankee right fielder was praised for his loving personality and natural leadership skills as well as his amazing power.

Gerrit Cole’s Yankees record deal

Even though Gerrit Cole hasn’t played a game for the Yankees in this decade, his recent nine-year, $324 million contract seems important enough to include on this list.

Cole’s amazing talent and the Yankees’ lack of a championship for 10 years were enough to get Hal Steinbrenner to open the vault, Evil Empire-style, and outbid everyone in baseball in a way that his father made famous for so many years.

Then, in a rare departure from his usually calm comments, Hal imitated George’s bluster by saying that signing Cole won’t be worth it unless the team wins multiple championships.

The Chapman-Torres trade that ignited hope

When Brian Cashman made the trade that sent Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs in exchange for Gleyber Torres in July of 2016, the only thing that anyone really knew was that the Yankees were selling their players and rebuilding for the first time in over 20 years.

It didn’t last long. Cashman got back the reliever after he became instrumental in Chicago’s NLCS and World Series win, the first in 71 years. He also persuaded Theo Epstein to give up the young infielder who has already become a star and looks like he could be a perennial MVP candidate.

Stunning ALDS Comeback against Cleveland

The Yankees were playing in their first playoff series since 2012, and they were facing the reigning American League Champions, who were coming off of a late-season winning streak of 22 games. The Yankees were led by young, homegrown stars in 2017, who re-energized a fan base that had become jaded.

When they fell behind 0-2 in Cleveland, they didn’t look ready for the big time. Girardi even admitted in public that he made a big mistake by not challenging a costly missed call in Game 2. However, the young Yankees made a brave comeback to win the five-game series and then took the powerful Astros to Game 7 of the ALCS.

It all felt very much like an official handing off of the baton to a new era, one that holds the promise of championships in the years to come.

A-Rod went for redemption

A-Rod got his 3,000th hit just a few weeks after hitting his 661st home run, which moved him past Willie Mays into fourth place on the all-time list and helped the Yankees’ star to remove the PED stain.

What was surprising, though, was how well the front office and A-Rod got along a little more than a year after they were at odds, with the player threatening to sue almost everyone in the organization as he tried in vain to avoid a PED suspension.

Remember that the fan who caught A-Rod’s home run/3,000th hit at first wouldn’t give it up. It wasn’t until the Yankees offered to give $150,000 to a charity the fan supported that he gave it up a few days later. It turned out to be the first big step in an unlikely makeover of A-Rod’s image, which turned him from a possible outcast like Jose Canseco into a TV host, corporate pitchman, and social media presence.

LeMahieu’s greatest clutch hit

It was Game 6 of the 2019 ALCS. DJ LeMahieu made history with one of the greatest clutch hits in postseason history staving off elimination with a ninth-inning, two-out, game-tying home run against Astros closer Roberto Osuna.

Even though it couldn’t save the series, LeMahieu’s home run was a great way to end his first season as a Yankee. He finished fourth in the AL MVP voting and had a knack for coming through when it mattered all year, hitting .389 with runners on base, which was the best in the majors.

Raul Ibanez’s day

The opponents were the Orioles and it was Game 3 of the 2012 ALDS. In the bottom of the ninth pinch hitter Raul Ibanez, who only played one season in the Bronx, tied the game with a big homer. The game was won by Ibanez in the 12th inning against left-handed pitcher Brian Matusz. This gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead in the series, which they went on to win in five games.

5 most forgettable Yankees moments

Chapman allowed Altuve a walk-off homer

For hanging a slider, Aroldis Chapman had to pay. Altuve’s home run in the bottom of the ninth inning was enough to win Game 6 and eliminate the Yankees from the 2019 ALCS.

Jeter’s injury played havoc

When Jeter broke his ankle while diving hard to his left to catch a ground ball in Game 1 of the 2012 ALDS (the Yankees were swept by the Tigers), this was the unofficial end of the Core Four era. Jeter was never the same after the injury. He only played 17 games in 2013 and had a poor last season in 2014.

A-Rod becomes a villain

Rodriguez first said that he had used PEDs in 2009, but he said that he had stopped in the early 2000s. By 2013, he was going all-out against the Yankees and MLB to avoid a suspension related to the famous Biogenesis case. This made for some ugly back-and-forth, but it didn’t save him from a season-long ban in 2014, which added to the team’s fall from prominence at the time.

Rivera’s athleticism ended in a long injury

Rivera liked to show off his athleticism by catching fly balls during batting practice, but in May 2012, he tore his ACL trying to catch a fly ball at the wall in Kansas City. This meant he had to have surgery and missed the rest of the season and what would have been his last chance to pitch in October. He came back to finish his career with a great 2013 season. At age 43, he had 44 saves and a 2.11 ERA, but the Yankees missed the playoffs for only the second time since 1996.

Big-ticket Stanton flopped 

Giancarlo Stanton didn’t do well in his first playoff game. In the 2018 ALDS against the Red Sox, he went 4-for-18, all of his hits were singles, and he struck out six times, including three times against Craig Kimbrel when the Yankees could have won the series. After injuries kept him out of the playoffs in 2019, Stanton has eight more years left on his contract to prove that he can hit elite pitchers.

Do you have any other moment to add? Let’s know in your comment below.

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