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Baseball's Greatest Series

Yankees, Mariners, and the 1995 Matchup That Changed History

Chris Donnelly

Publication Year: 2010

Baseball's Greatest Series details what many believe to be the most exciting postseason series in baseball history: the 1995 Division Series between the New York Yankees and the Seattle Mariners.

This division series was not simply about two teams playing five postseason games. It was about Ken Griffey Jr., Lou Piniella, Buck Showalter, Gene Michael, Jim Leyritz, Randy Johnson, Wade Boggs, Tony Fernandez, Pat Kelly, Dion James, Darryl Strawberryùand many others who changed the course of baseball history . . .
A team playing to keep baseball alive in the Pacific Northwest
A manager who was literally managing for his job
A New York sports icon who for one week reminded everybody of the dominating player he had been a decade earlier

Chris Donnelly's replay of this entire season reminds readers that it was a time when grown men cried their eyes out after defeat, and others, just a few hundred feet away, poured beer and champagne over one another while 57,000 people in Seattle's Kingdome celebrated. Five games they were. Five games that reminded people, after the devastating players' strike in 1994, how great a game baseball is because comebacks are always possible, no matter how great the obstacles may seem.

From Don Mattingly's only postseason home run, which caused a near riot, to Edgar Martinez's legendary eleventh inning series-clinching double, Donnelly chronicles the earlier struggles of both teams during the 1980s, their mid-1990s resurgence, all five heart-stopping games of the series, and the dramatic and long-lasting effects of Seattle's victory. Simply stated, Baseball's Greatest Series hits a home run.

Published by: Rutgers University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. viii-ix

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Preface

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pp. ix-x

Of all the places to be on Sunday, October 8, 1995, I, a lifelong Yankee fan, was in Boston. It was Columbus Day weekend, and I spent it visiting my aunt in New England. For the first time since I began following baseball, the Yankees were in the playoffs, going...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xii

This book would not have been possible without the help and support of many people: my mother, Sandy, who took me to my first World Series victory parade; my father, Tim, who took me to Cooperstown every summer for Hall of Fame weekend; my brothers...

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1. Don-nie Base-ball

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pp. 1-6

The crowd was still in a frenzy as Donald Arthur Mattingly strode to the plate moments after his teammate, Ruben Sierra, homered into the right-center-field bleachers. It was the second game of the 1995 Division Series between the Yankees and the Mariners, and it...

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2. Winless in Seattle

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pp. 7-33

In 1969, there was scant evidence of the skyscrapers that would dot the city streets of Seattle in the years to come. From Puget Sound, one could see the world-famous Space Needle hovering above the city’s northern side. To the southeast, with Mount Rainier...

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3. Bronx Summers

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pp. 34-60

For the New York Yankees, fate had chosen a far different course than that of the Seattle Mariners. The Yankees had already won a record twenty world championships before Marty Pattin threw the first pitch for the Pilots in...

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4. Strike

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pp. 61-68

On August 12, 1994, the Major League Baseball players went on strike. It was the eighth time in twenty-three seasons that a work stoppage occurred, so the strike itself was not a rare occurrence.1 Still, this one seemed...

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5. Baseball Returns

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pp. 69-90

For one beautiful April day in the Bronx, the hurt feelings and fallout from the strike all but disappeared. Coaches, managers, and players suited up and played ball. A crowd of 50,245 showed up for opening day between the Yankees and the...

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6. Game 1: The Bronx, Baseball, and Beer Bottles

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pp. 91-119

The evening of October 2, 1995, was cool, comfortable, and pleasant in the South Bronx. It betrayed the electric buzz swirling around New York City that day. For the first time in fourteen years, the Yankees were playing in the postseason. The...

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7. Game 2: A Classic in the Bronx

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pp. 120-152

Andy Pettitte was not nervous. He should have been, but he wasn’t. The left-handed rookie pitcher had lost out on the number-five spot in the Yankees’ rotation in spring training. Now he was the starting pitcher for New York in Game 2 of the...

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8. Game 3: Playoff Baseball in Seattle [Contains Image Plates]

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pp. 153-180

Two days later, people were still talking about Game 2 and wondering if there was any way the rest of the series could possibly live up to what had occurred in New York. The first two games had been a war on the field. Now the war spilled into the...

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9. Game 4: Saint Edgar

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pp. 181-211

Despite the euphoria in Seattle on the morning of October 7, the fact remained that the Mariners were on the brink of elimination heading into Game 4. The odds once again were stacked against them, at least on paper. Chris Bosio would take the mound on only...

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10. Game 5: Warriors, Heroes, and Heartbreak

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pp. 212-250

On Sunday, October 8, 1995, the city of Seattle woke up in a frenzy. Edgar Martinez’s seven-RBI performance was the talk of the town, eclipsing even Seahawks football. He had nearly singlehandedly propelled his team to victory in Game 4. Left for dead at...

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11. Deconstructing the Yankees

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pp. 251-264

Paul O’Neill stood dazed in right field. He’d been the only Yankee not involved when Edgar Martinez doubled, and he’d helplessly watched as the entire season collapsed before his eyes. His blank expression conveyed a feeling of incredulity. How could...

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12. Safeco is Born

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pp. 265-276

It was pandemonium inside the Kingdome. The stands shook, the walls vibrated, and the press box swayed back and forth. “We won, and all hell broke loose,” said Lou Piniella.1 Beneath a pile of teammates at home plate lay Ken Griffey Jr., smiling from...

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Epilogue

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pp. 277-287

Buck Showalter found a job just four months after his “resignation.” The expansion Arizona Diamondbacks hired him as manager, even though they didn’t begin play until 1998. In 1999, they won the National League West. Showalter, however, endured heartache again...

Notes

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pp. 289-318

Index

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pp. 319-330


E-ISBN-13: 9780813549132
E-ISBN-10: 0813549132
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813546629

Page Count: 352
Illustrations: 10
Publication Year: 2010