Throughout Yankee history there have many names that one will never forget. Babe Ruth. Mickey Mantle. Ron Guidry. But personally, I feel the need to talk about a certain five-time World Series champion who played shortstop for the Yankees during their amazing run in the 1990s.
Of course you know the guy that I am talking about.
Back in September of 2003 the Yankees were in crisis. Derek Jeter was suffering from a minor injury, meaning that Erick Almonte was going to start for a few games. This meaning that the Yankees did not have a back-up-back-up infielder for a small stretch of games. Media coverage and outrage ensued.
Brian Cashman had a truly brilliant idea to solve this minor inconvenience. He hired a gun. How this guy was still available no one will ever know, but Brian Cashman managed to get Luis Sojo to sign on the dotted line. This is the single signature that would change the future of the Yankees forever. At first many players were reportedly opposed to the signing. They thought that Sojo would make all the other Yankees look like frail girly-men in comparison to the Wilt Chamberlain of baseball. But after showing them his mad skills, they turned around.
“Sojo is ready. I can feel it. According to my statistical research, 38-year old overweight infielders who did not play the entire previous season, had a OPS of .404, OPS+ of 7, and a batting average of .165 have a long history of great success in the future. It’s just simple math,” Cashman said the day of the signing.
What a magical month September of 2003 was. I wish i could have been there to see his first at-bat of the year…I can just see it now.
I’m sitting in the upper deck of Yankee Stadium. The sun is out and the 50,000+ Yankee fans are in attendance. However, this is not like any other game; there is a certain aura floating around the ballpark. There are certain rumors, but it isn’t known if it’s true.
A man on a bench with a radio shouts, “It’s true. It’s true. Sojo signed. The legend is back.” Cheers and joyful songs are spread throughout the stadium. A little kid nearby throws his Enrique Wilson jersey on the floor yelling at it, “You will never be half the man that Sojo is!” Clay Bellinger was seen nearby crying.
Rumor is that Miguel Cairo and Cody Ransom were nearby shaking their heads in disappoint saying, “We can do it better.” Sinners.
If my memory is correct, this is the moment where Nelson Mandela declared that he was a Yankee and the Pope held mass at Yankee Stadium.
I don’t know if Luis Sojo actually had an at-bat that game. I don’t think he did as the game actually mattered, but I like to think it happened like this…
“The pitch to Sojo…it’s a weak groundball to the shortstop, should be an easy out. The shortstop…refuses to pick up the ball and Sojo arrives safety at first!” The shortstop gets on his right knee, removes his hat, and bow down towards Sojo, “Tis an honor to allow a hit to thee,” he says.
In reality, Luis Sojo may have gone hitless that month. He might not have been able to get a thousand-bouncer up the middle like in the 2001 World Series or one from one of his patented “closed-eyes” swings, but in my heart, he sure hit a homerun.
If loving Luis Sojo is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.