2001 World Series
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"We had the lead and we had 'Mo' in the game and that's all we really wanted" - Joe Torre
The 2001 World Series was an emotional seven-game engagement between two evenly matched teams. President George W. Bush threw out the first pitch of Game 3, receiving a standing ovation from the New York crowd. The three games at Yankee Stadium were played in the presence of the World Trade Center's tattered flag. The scene at Yankee Stadium was as powerful as any that sports could ever provide, as the battered fans waved American flags and chanted "U-S-A" in support of their city and country. All eyes turned to the Arizona Diamondbacks and New York Yankees, and the teams delivered great baseball.
In addition to the colossal human weight of the series, the games featured exciting baseball. The Diamondbacks were led by Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling, but the Yankees had won the past three World Series. The teams fought to the bitter end, but the Diamondbacks pulled through in the bottom of the 9th inning of Game 7. A series that had several great starting pitchers was decided by the closers, Byung-Hyun Kim and Mariano Rivera.
The Arizona Diamondbacks
The key component of the Diamondbacks was their pitching duo of Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling. The two hurlers combined to win 43 regular-season games and totaled only 12 losses. Miguel Batista also enjoyed regular-season success, posting an 11-8 record with a 3.36 ERA. The ace of the bullpen was Byung-Hyun Kim, he had a 2.94 ERA and struck out 113 batters in 98 innings.
The offense was powered by Luis Gonzalez and his career-high 57 home runs. Reggie Sanders hit 33 dingers and stole 14 bases. Matt Williams was on the downside of his career, but managed to hit .275 with 16 homers. Mark Grace and Steve Finley were both veterans with decent offensive numbers. Tony Womack provided speed at the top of the lineup, but struggled to reach base with a .307 OBP.
The New York Yankees
A familiar cast of characters led the Yankees' offense into October. Tino Martinez was the team's leader in home runs (34) and RBIs (113). Derek Jeter hit 21 home runs and stole 27 bases. Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, and Paul O'Neill each hit 20+ home runs during the regular season. Alfonso Soriano was one of the few new faces on the team. The young second baseman saw little action during the 2000 season, but delivered 18 home runs and 43 stolen bases in 2001.
Mike Mussina won 17 games, posted a 3.15 ERA, and struck out 214 batters. Roger Clemens won 20 games with 213 strikeouts. Andy Pettitte's record was 15-10 in 31 starts with two complete games. There were question marks at the back end of the staff, however. Orlando Hernandez was 4-7 with a 4.85 ERA in 17 games. Sterling Hitchcock made relief appearances in the postseason after posting a 4-4 regular season record as a starter. Mariano Rivera held down the bullpen and led the league with 50 saves.
Game 1 @ Bank One Ballpark
Diamondbacks: 9, Yankees: 1
|WP: Curt Schilling (1-0), LP: Mike Mussina (0-1)|
|Home Runs: ARI - Craig Counsell (1), Luis Gonzalez (1)|
- Attendance: 49,646
Curt Schilling took the mound for the first game, his first World Series start since tossing a complete game shutout in Game 5 of the 1993 World Series. The entire postseason schedule was pushed back by the events of 9/11, making October 27th the latest date ever for the start of the World Series. Barry Bonds threw out the first pitch, in recognition of his setting the single-season home run record that season, and Jewel sang the national anthem.
Schilling got Chuck Knoblauch to pop out to start the game, but hit the second batter, Derek Jeter. Bernie Williams followed with a double that scored Jeter and the Yankees took an early 1-0 lead. It did not last long. Craig Counsell hit a home run in the bottom of the 2nd to tie the game. Mike Mussina had pitched well in the first two rounds of the series, but that did not show on this night.
Tony Womack was hit by a pitch to start the bottom of the 3rd. Luis Gonzalez homered to drive home Womack and give the D'Backs a 3-1 lead, but the inning was not over. Reggie Sanders singled and Steve Finley reached on two-base error. With Sanders on third and Finley on second, Matt Williams hit a sacrifice fly to give Arizona a 4-1 edge. Damian Miller hit a double to drive in the final run of the inning. The score was 5-1 after three innings.
The Diamondbacks continued to pound the Yankees in the 4th. Randy Choate replaced Mussina on the mound. Gonzalez hit a double with two outs to spark the barrage. Sanders walked to put runners on first and second for Finley. The veteran center fielder hit a single to drive in Gonzalez. An error by Scott Brosius allowed Williams to reach base and scored Sanders. A Mark Grace double drove in Finley and Williams to put Arizona ahead 9-1. Schilling did not give up any runs after the 1st inning, while Mike Morgan and Greg Swindell each pitched a scoreless inning of relief to hold the 9-1 victory.
Game 2 @ Bank One Ballpark
Diamondbacks: 4, Yankees: 0
|WP: Randy Johnson (1-0), LP: Andy Pettitte (0-1)|
|Home Runs: ARI - Matt Williams (1)|
- Attendance: 49,646
A pair of seasoned southpaws faced off in the second game of the series, Randy Johnson for the Diamondbacks and Andy Pettitte for the Yankees - a 6' 11" hard-throwing stick-figure against a Cajun that stared down opponents from beneath the pulled-down brim of his cap. Johnson was making his first ever World Series appearance, while it was Pettitte's seventh.
Arizona took a 1-0 lead in the 2nd inning when Danny Bautista doubled to score Reggie Sanders. Meanwhile, the Yankees could not even get a man on base until the 4th inning. Johnson was lights out. He pitched a complete game shutout, striking out 11 Yankees while giving up just three hits and a walk. Only one Yankee player even managed to get to second base when Shane Spencer did so in the 8th inning.
The Diamondbacks' 1-0 lead grew to 4-0 in the 7th inning. Pettitte hit Luis Gonzalez then got Sanders to hit into a fielder's choice. Bautista singled on a ball that hit Pettitte to give Arizona runners at first and second with one out. Matt Williams hit a three-run blast to put the game out of reach. Mike Stanton pitched a scoreless bottom of the 8th, but the Yankees could not manage to rally against Johnson.
In their first-ever World Series, the Diamondbacks had jumped out to a two game lead against the three-time defending champions. The series was headed back to New York, NY where everything would turn upside down.
Game 3 @ Yankee Stadium
Yankees: 2, Diamondbacks: 1
|WP: Roger Clemens (1-0), LP: Brian Anderson (0-1), SV: Mariano Rivera (1)|
|Home Runs: NY - Jorge Posada (1)|
- Attendance: 55,820
President George W. Bush threw out the first pitch in front of an upbeat Yankee Stadium crowd. American flags were present across the park. Roger Clemens was pitching for the Yankees against left-hander Brian Anderson. Anderson had gone only 4-9 with a 5.20 ERA during the regular season. Clemens, on the other hand, posted a 20-3 record. It was an epic mismatch on paper, but Anderson would not go down without a fight.
The Yankees scored first on a Jorge Posada home run that led off the bottom of the 2nd inning. Clemens held Arizona scoreless for the first three innings, but surrendered a run in the top of the 4th. Steve Finley walked and Luis Gonzalez followed with a single. After getting Reggie Sanders to fly out, Clemens walked Erubiel Durazo. It looked like the Diamondbacks were on the verge of breaking the game open, but the veteran ace hunkered down and allowed just one run, a Matt Williams sacrifice fly.
Anderson threw three scoreless frames after the 2nd inning, but the streak was broken in the 6th. Bernie Williams tallied a base hit, then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Anderson walked Posada to give the Yankees runners at first and second with one out. Bob Brenly pulled Anderson and turned to veteran Mike Morgan. Morgan struck out David Justice for the second out, but gave up a run-scoring single to Scott Brosius - making the score 2-1. A wild pitch moved the runners to second an third for Alfonso Soriano. The Yankees' second baseman grounded out to end the inning.
Down a run with three frames left, the Diamondbacks seemed to be easily within striking distance. Clemens and Mariano Rivera did not even let Arizona get a sniff of a run. The two pitchers were perfect over the game's final three innings to close the door on a 2-1 win. Clemens gave up 3 hits, 3 walks, and struck out 9 over 7 innings. Rivera struck out 4 in 2 perfect innings of relief.
Game 4 @ Yankee Stadium
Yankees: 4, Diamondbacks: 3
|WP: Mariano Rivera (1-0), LP: Byung-Hyun Kim (0-1)|
|Home Runs: NY - Shane Spencer (1), Tino Martinez (1), Derek Jeter (1); ARI - Mark Grace (1)|
- Attendance: 55,683
Curt Schilling took the mound for Arizona in Game 4 hoping to push the Yankees to the brink of elimination. He had been dominating in Game 1 of the series, and Bob Brenly could only hope to get a similar performance from the power righty in Game 4. His opponent was Orlando Hernandez, the Cuban defector with an arm that had always seemed to deliver in October. A match-up of two veterans in a game that would go down in history.
"El Duque" Hernandez loaded the bases with one out in the 1st inning, but retired Matt Williams and Steve Finley to escape the jam. He ran into trouble again in the 3rd, walking Tony Womack and Luis Gonzalez, but once again managed to pitch out of trouble. Schilling was perfect for the first two innings, but gave up a solo home run to Shane Spencer in the 3rd. After three, the Yankees had a 1-0 lead.
It didn't take long for the Diamondbacks to respond to Spencer's dinger. Veteran lefty Mark Grace pulled a home run off Hernandez in the top of the 4th to even the score, 1-1. Hernandez was replaced in the 7th inning, and Mike Stanton pitched into the 8th. The southpaw reliever gave up a hit to Gonzalez and an RBI double to Erubiel Durazo with one out in the top of the 8th, giving Arizona a 2-1 lead. Ramiro Mendoza took over for Stanton and induced a grounder from Williams. Midre Cummings was running for Durazo and was called safe on a play at the plate. The D'backs took a 3-1 lead.
Byung-hyun Kim came in to pitch the 8th inning for Arizona; he struck out the side. The Korean closer came back out for the bottom of the 9th. He retired Derek Jeter, gave up a single to Paul O'Neill, then struck out Bernie Williams. Tino Martinez stepped in with O'Neill on first and two outs. The 33-year-old first baseman hit a home run to even the game at 3-3.
Mariano Rivera pitched a perfect top of the 10th, and Kim came back out to pitch the bottom half of the inning. He nailed down the first two outs of the inning, to bring up Jeter. Jeter has long been known for his clutch postseason performances, but those were all in October. When he stepped up to the plate, the game had carried on past midnight, October 31st was over. Jeter hit a home run to win the game. Newspaper headlines declared the Yankee shortstop "Mr. November". the series was even at two wins apiece.
Game 5 @ Yankee Stadium
Yankees: 3, Diamondbacks: 2
|WP: Sterling Hitchcock (1-0), LP: Albie Lopez (0-1)|
|Home Runs: ARI - Steve Finley (1), Rod Barajas (1); NY - Scott Brosius (1)|
- Attendance: 56,018
Game 5 was the first World Series game to start in November. Veteran Mike Mussina was the Yankees starter, while Miguel Batista took the hill for the Diamondbacks. Yankee Stadium was once again packed to capacity, but this time the fans were hoping to see the Yanks take a lead in the series.
Batista ran into trouble in the 1st inning. Derek Jeter flied out to start off the inning, but the next batter, Paul O'Neill, walked. With two outs, Tino Martinez singled to give the Yankees runners at first and third. Jorge Posada stepped up to the plate. Batista struck out Posada and the Diamondbacks were out of trouble.
The game was scoreless until the top of the 5th inning. Steve Finley swatted a lead-off homer to give Arizona a 1-0 lead. Mussina retired the next two hitters before giving up a home run to Rod Barajas. The game remained 2-0 until the 9th. Batista had done an admirable job in his first-ever World Series game, tossing 7 2/3 scoreless innings.
Byung-hyun Kim came in to close out the game in the 9th. Just like the night before, he could not get the job done. Posada doubled to start off the rally. Kim retired the next two hitters to bring up Scott Brosius. Brosius hit a home run to tie the game at 2-2. Kim was beside himself on the mound.
There were few runs to be had in extra innings. The Diamondbacks failed to score with the bases loaded in the top of the 11th, and the Yankees did not even reach base in the 10th or the 11th. Chuck Knoblauch broke that streak with a base hit in the 12th. Brosius bunted him to second. Alfonso Soriano singled in Knoblauch to give the Yankees a 3-2 win and a 3-2 advantage in the series.
Game 6 @ Bank One Ballpark
Diamondbacks: 15, Yankees: 2
|WP: Randy Johnson (2-0), LP: Andy Pettitte (0-2)|
|Home Runs: none|
- Attendance: 49,707
Randy Johnson and Andy Pettitte locked horns for the second time in the seven-game series. And, for the second time, Johnson came out on top. It was not Pettitte's night, and certainly not the Yankees' night. The team had a chance to win the World Series, but instead they were obliterated, hung out to dry in the Arizona desert.
The Diamondbacks scored their first run in the bottom of the 1st inning. Tony Womack led off with a double. Danny Bautista drove him home with a single. Womack picked up a two-run single in the 2nd and Bautista followed with another RBI single. After two innings, the Diamondbacks were already up 4-0.
Four runs is a large deficit to overcome against Randy Johnson, but Arizona was not content. The team pieced together nine hits and eight runs against Pettitte and Jay Witasick in the 3rd inning. Even Johnson hit an RBI single. In one inning, the Diamondbacks scored more runs than they had totaled in the previous three games. Three more runs in the bottom of the 4th inning gave the Diamondbacks an insurmountable 15-0 lead.
The Yankees mounted a small charge in the 6th inning. Bernie Williams singled, Todd Greene walked, Shane Spencer drove in Williams with a single, and Luis Sojo drove in Greene. The score was 15-2, and remained that way. Both teams played reserves for the second half of the game. Johnson gave up a pair of runs in seven innings of work and logged an easy win.
Game 7 @ Bank One Ballpark
Diamondbacks: 3, Yankees: 2
|WP: Randy Johnson (3-0), LP: Mariano Rivera (1-1)|
|Home Runs: Alfonso Soriano (1)|
- Attendance: 49,589
The final game of the series was a highly anticipated match of dominating power right-handers: Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling. It was Schilling's third start in the series. He had pitched well in Games 1 and 4, while Clemens dominated the Diamondbacks in Game 3. The two went head-to-head in what would become one of baseball's all-time great Game 7 battles.
Through five and a half innings, the game was scoreless. The two starters were at their absolute best. They combined to strike out 19 batters in the game. The first run came in the bottom of the 6th inning. Steve Finley led off the frame with a single. Danny Bautista doubled him home to give the Diamondbacks a precious 1-0 lead.
Schilling did not have any time to get comfortable. The Yankees pounced in the top of the 7th. Derek Jeter and Paul O'Neill both singled. Tino Martinez drove in the Yankee shortstop with a base hit. The game was tied, 1-1. Clemens was pulled by Joe Torre in the bottom of the 7th after giving up a hit to Tony Womack. Mike Stanton came on to pitch, and Womack was caught stealing.
The Yankees came up big in the 8th. Schilling was still working for Arizona. He gave up a home run to the first batter of the inning, Alfonso Soriano. David Justice picked up a one-out single, but the Yankees could not add to the lead. Miguel Batista and Randy Johnson, the two previous starters for Arizona, pitched in relief during the inning, as the moments called for all hands on deck to help out. It was 2-1 heading to the bottom of the 8th.
The Diamondbacks came up empty in their half of the 8th, but Johnson pitched a pefect top of the 9th. The game's most dominating postseason closer, Mariano Rivera was brought in to lock up the Yankees' fourth consecutive title. Only this time, things did not go as planned. Mark Grace led off the inning with a single, then was replaced on the bases by David Dellucci. Damian Miller laid down a bunt, but Rivera threw the ball away. The error allowed Dellucci and Miller to advance safely. With no outs and runners on first and second, Jay Bell tried to sacrifice the runners over, but instead Dellucci was out at third. Midre Cummings ran for Miller at second base. Womack doubled home Cummings and tied the game at 2-2. Runners were at second and third with Craig Counsell coming up to bat. Rivera hit Counsell with a pitch to load the bases. Luis Gonzalez stepped up to the plate. He blooped a Rivera cutter over the infield for a base hit. Bell scored from third. The Diamondbacks had won their first ever World Series title with a dramatic finish.
It was only the second time that the World Series Most Valuable Player Award was given to more than one player. The previous instance had been in the 1981 World Series, when three members of the Los Angeles Dodgers - Ron Cey, Pedro Guerrero and Steve Yeager - had shared the award.
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