With the Subway Series upon us, I thought it would be fun to take glance back at the 2000 World Series between the Yankees and Mets, a 5 game series that was actually a lot closer than that. Here are the key players with their WAR in that season. The Yankees are listed first at each position.
C: Jorge Posada (5.7), Mike Piazza (5.2)
1B: Tino Martinez (0.0), Todd Zeile (2.2)
2B: Chuck Knoblauch (0.1), Edgardo Alfonzo (6.7)
SS: Derek Jeter (4.4), Mike Bordick (2.1)
3B: Scott Brosius (-0.4), Robin Ventura (1.7)
LF: David Justice (5.0), Benny Agbayani (1.9)
CF: Bernie Williams (5.0), Jay Payton (2.2)
RF: Paul O’Neill (1.2), Derek Bell (1.3)
DH/Bench: Jose Vizcaino(-0.1), Todd Pratt (1.2)
SP #1: Andy Pettitte (3.3), Al Leiter (4.7)
#2: Roger Clemens (4.7), Mike Hampton (4.6)
#3: Orlando Hernandez (3.0), Rick Reed (2.4)
#4: David Cone (-1.3), Glendon Rusch (2.5)
#5: Denny Neagle (0.2), Bobby Jones (0.6)
RP #1: Jeff Nelson (2.0), Turk Wendell (1.0)
RP #2: Mike Stanton (0.9), John Franco (0.9)
RP #3: Ramiro Mendoza (1.4), Dennis Cook (-0.3)
CL: Mariano Rivera (2.9), Armando Benitez (2.5)
The Yankees took Game 1 at the Stadium 4-3 in thrilling fashion. The contest was scoreless headed into the 6th, with the lone excitement coming when Andy Pettitte picked Mike Piazza off first in the 4th inning. Timo Perez lead off the 6th with a single and was still at first with two outs when Todd Zeile hit a long fly ball to left. Perez, thinking the ball was a home run, slowed to a trot, only to have the ball bounce off the top of the wall and land right in the vicinity of David Justice. Justice relayed to Derek Jeter, who made a nice throw home to nail an embarrassed Perez at home plate.
In the bottom of the 6th, Justice knocked in two runs with a double off of Al Leiter, and the Yankees took a 2-0 lead into the 7th. However, Pettitte allowed two singles and a walk with one out in the 7th to load the bases, at which point singles from Bubba Trammell and Edgardo Alfonzo gave the Mets a 3-2 lead. The game went to bottom of the 9th with the same score, at which point Armando Benitez entered to close it out for the Mets. With one out, Paul O’neill fought back from a 1-2 count to work a walk in a 10 pitch at-bat, and Luis Polonia followed with a pinch hit single. Jose Vizcaino kept the line moving with a single to load the bases, and Chuck Knoblauch lofted a sac fly to LF to tie the score and send the game to extra innings.
The Yankees put runners on 2nd and 3rd with nobody out in the 10th, but a pop-up by Tino Martinez and an intentional walk followed by a double play from O’Neill killed that rally. They did the same with 2 outs in the 11th, but Glenallen Hill flew out to end the threat. Finally, in the 12th, the Yankees once again put runners at 2nd and 3rd, after Tino singled and Posada doubled with one out. O’Neill was walked and Sojo popped out, and once again it looked as if the Yankees would squander a fantastic opportunity. However, Jose Vizcaino finished a fantastic 5-5 night with a single to left, and the Yankees took home a very important victory.
This game was hyped as the Piazza v. Clemens game after Clemens had hit Piazza in the head during the regular season, and it did not disappoint. Piazza hit a foul ball in the first inning that resulted in bat shards flying at Clemens, who caught a shard and flung it up the first base line, just where Piazza happened to be running. Benches cleared, some harsh words were thrown about, and then things calmed down. Once they did, Clemens was masterful. He went 8 shutout innings, striking out 9 while allowing just two hits.
Meanwhile, the Yankees scored three times off Mike Hampton in the first 2 innings, and added 3 more runs in the game, with Tino and Scott Brosius knocking in 2 apiece. The game entered the 9th inning 6-0, and looked to be over. However, Jeff nelson allowed a two run homer to Piazza, and left with a runner on first and nobody out. Mariano Rivera entered, and notched two outs while allowing one hit to put runners at 2nd and 3rd for Jay Payton, who homered on a 1-1 pitch to narrow the gap to 6-5. The game ended with that score, as Rivera struck out Kurt Abbott to end the contest, and the Series moved to Shea with the Yankees up 2-0.
The Mets took game 3 by a 4-2 margin on the strength of 2 8th inning runs off of El Duque, who was fantastic up until that point. The Yankees lead 2-1 heading into the bottom of the 6th, when Hernandez allowed a run scoring double to Todd Zeile that also put runners at 2nd and 3rd with nobody out. After a walk loaded the bases, El Duque proceeded to get two strikeouts and a groundout to escape without further damage. With Rick Reed out of the game, the Yankees had a chance against the Mets bullpen, but Wendell, Cook, Franco, and Benitez were up to the task, allowing 4 baserunners but no runs in the final 3 innings. In the bottom of the 8th, El Duque allowed a single to Zeile and a run scoring double to Agbayani, who later scored as well on a sac fly, and suddenly we had a series.
With a thrilling pitching matchup of Denny Neagle against Bobby Jones, Game 4 was truly up for grabs. However, Derek Jeter set the tone early with a home run on the first pitch of the game, and the Yankees never trailed. Jeter tripled leading off the third and scored on a groundout to give the Yankees a 3 run lead. Neagle was on a very short leash, and was pulled with 2 outs and no one on in the 5th as Mike Piazza, who had homered in the 3rd to cut the lead to 3-2, came to the plate. Joe Torre went to David Cone, who put a bow on his Yankee career by getting Piazza to pop out. Nobody threatened much for the rest of the contest, as Nelson, Stanton, and Rivera pitched 4 innings of shutout ball, and the Yankees were one win from their 26th title.
The Mets lead for much of Game 5, taking a 2-1 lead in the second after a Bernie homer had given the Yankees an early lead. With two outs and runners on second and third, Pettitte made an error on a Leiter bunt that allowed one run to come in, and an Agbayani single gave the Mets the lead. The score held until the 6th, when Derek Jeter homered to tie the game and essentially clinch WS MVP for himself. Leiter, pitching a gem of a game, struck out the first two Yankee hitters in the 9th, and it looked like he would finish a complete 9 and give his chance to win it with a walk-off.
The next hitter was Jorge Posada, and he worked a walk after a 9 pitch at-bat. At this point, Leiter was at 138 pitches and the Met bullpen had pitched well in the series, but Bobby Valentine decided to stick with Leiter and it cost him. Brosius singled to put runners on first and second, and on the next pitch, Luis Sojo hit a 20 hopper through the middle. Posada scored on the play, and the throw hit him and bounded away, allowing Brosius to score as well. The Yankees handed the ball to Mariano Rivera to close things out, and he made things interesting by walking Agbayani with one out and Alfonzo and Piazza due up. Alfonzo flew out to right, and Piazza took a big hack that looked off the bat as if it might tie the game. However, Piazza just missed it, Bernie caught the ball in front of the track, and the Yankees were once again World Champions.