Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Which of these Yankee games is the most essential?

Squawker contest alert: We're giving away four A&E Essential Games DVD sets - two of Yankee Stadium's best, and two featuring Shea Stadium's top games. Go here for further details, and enter the contest.

Here are the six games on the Yankees' DVD set (details courtesy of A&E Home Video):
  • 1976 ALCS GAME 5 VS. KANSAS CITY ROYALS: Chris Chambliss' walk-off HR sends the Yankees to their first World Series since 1964.
  • 1977 WORLD SERIES GAME 6 VS. LOS ANGELES DODGERS: "Mr. October" Reggie Jackson's historic three home run-game propels the Bronx Bombers to another World Series Championship.
  • 1995 ALDS GAME 2 VS. SEATTLE MARINERS: This 15-inning drama ended with Jim Leyritz's walk-off home run and featured home runs from Don Mattingly, Paul O'Neill, and Ruben Sierra. WIth 3 &1/3 innings in relief a young Mariano Rivera notched the win.
  • 1996 WORLD SERIES GAME 6 VS. ATLANTA BRAVES: After New York lost the first two games of the 1996 World Series, they won the next four and finished with a Game 6-celebration that shook Yankee Stadium with delight.
  • 2001 WORLD SERIES GAME 4 VS. ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS: History unfolded when Tino Martinez hit a 2-out, bottom of the 9th, two-run homer to tie the game. Then in the 10th, "Mr. November" Derek Jeter's game-winning home run ended another remarkable victory.
  • 2003 ALCS GAME 7 VS. BOSTON RED SOX: With a World Series appearance at stake, aces on the mound, and white knuckles everywhere, Aaron Boone stroked the game-winning home run to seal the Yankees' 11-inning victory.
So, I'm curious which of these games Yankee fans treasure the most. For me, Reggie Jackson's three home run game is number one. And, much like Chris Chambliss' home run was the first great moment of the George Steinbrenner era, Aaron Boone's homer was the last great moment of that era.

But what do you think? Tell us your favorite game, and enter our contest!


Uncle Mike said...

If we're talking about most essential in wanting to have, it's the 1977 clincher. Not quite all the greats of that era -- the Goose wasn't there yet, and neither Catfish nor Guidry nor Sparky got into the game, hence the '77 box set is equally "essential" -- but it validated the era, and that's more important than Reggie's particular achievement, spectacular though it was.

But of those games, easily the most essential to have happened was the '76 Pennant clincher. If the Yankees hadn't won that Pennant, it might've begun a very different kind of era, one of nasty, gut-wrenching near-misses, a la 2002-08, or even 1985-88. Maybe the acquisition of Reggie doesn't fully take hold, and instead of becoming Mr. October, he becomes his era's A-Rod, the big talent without the big results. And maybe George leaves a considerably newer (or so to speak) Yankee Stadium a lot sooner, bringing the 1921-64 legacy (which is all they've got, really) to Governor Tom Kean's proposed diamond addition to the Meadowlands. The very idea of the Yankees playing ball on an artificial-turf field at a retrofitted Giants Stadium while waiting for said facility to be built is sickening.

That '95 Playoff Game, a.k.a. Leyritz Game I (Game 4 of the '96 Series being Leyritz Game II) was our "1975 World Series Game 6": It was spectacular, but in the end meaningless, because we didn't win the series. So I'm not sure it should even be in this package. Besides, even with his homer in this game, do we really need to see Ruben Sierra in Pinstripes again?

There were so many significant games at Yankee Stadium, that even if you use 1976 as a cutoff point -- probably for the best, because there aren't many surviving broadcasts of entire games in MLB's vaults from before that -- you'd need to have two packages, so this would have been my proposition:

Set 1: 1976, the Chambliss homer; 1977, Reggie's trifecta; 1978, Guidry's 18 Ks; 1978, Nettles' third base clinic in Game 3 of the World Series; 1979, the Munson Memorial game; 1983, Righetti's 4th of July no-hitter.

Set 2: 1996, the Series clincher; 1998, Wells' perfecto; 1999, Cone's perfecto; 1999, the Series clincher; 2000, that mindblowing Game 1 of the World Series against The Other Team; 2003, the Boone walkoff. Those last two, along with the '78 Bucky Dent Playoff at Fenway, are the three greatest games I've ever seen, and I'm not really sure which is the best. No, I'm not including any of the 2001 games in my set: We lost that Series.

All of these games have been shown on YES' "Yankees Classics," and so are easily available.

Anonymous said...

For me, the Aaron Boone shot in 2003 has to be the best, but living in the South among all of the Braves fans, 1996 is also a classic.

anonymous said...

That Boone HR was awesome. The last great moment in Yankees history-so far.

"Nutball Gazette" said...

I have to go with the Chambliss HR as #1 I was 20 and it was really the first vivid memory of the Yankees winning a Pennent, The Pennent was a really big thing at one time.
#2 Reggie 3 Home Runs..Winng the 1st series in my memory
#3 Guidry 18 Ks
#4 Nettles Clinic Game 3 78 WS
# 5 Aaron F Boone Game
# 6 Game 4 of the 2001 WS
Bonus game Old Timers day 1965 Yankees vs Cleveland, My first game at age 9

Uncle Mike said...

Your first game was the year the Auld Dynastie collapsed? And you DIDN'T switch to the Mets when they had their Miracle? That is the mark of a true Yankee Fan. I'm not worthy, I'm not worthy.

"Nutball Gazette" said...

I did pull for the Mets back then and enjoyed them winning,
But my family never pushed any team on Me, My Dad was a Brooklyn Dodger fan but hated them for leaving, He rooted for the Mets but always had alot of respect for the Yankees, Him and his friends hated the Giants,
My Brother rooted for the Mets but never was passionate on any team and My Mom while a Brooklyn fan Just loved Baseball and always encourged me to root for who I wanted to.

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