There have been endless memorable home runs in Yankee history in the past twenty years, from Derek Jeter‘s game tying HR in the 1996 ALCS (thank you Jeffery Maier), to Tino Martinez‘s tying HR with one out left in the 2001 World Series, leaving it up to Derek Jeter’s HR in the 10th inning of the same game when the calender had turned to November. However, none may have been greater than the ball off the bat of Aaron Boone.
Most Yankee fans remember the situation: Bottom of the 11th, Game 7, ALCS against the Boston Red Sox. Tim Wakefield was brought in as a reliever to start the 10th inning and the Yanks went down in order. Boone, who entered the game in the 8th as a pinch-runner, led off the 11th. On the very first pitch, Boone turns on it and sends a bomb to left field into the night, clinching the series for the Yankees, sending them to World Series number 39, and elongating the Red Sox World Series win drought to 85 years. The Yankees would lose the World Series 4-2 to the Florida Marlins.
The following offseason, Boone did what we would later find out was a favor to the Yankees. While playing a pick-up basketball game, he tore a knee ligament, which was against his contract. Consequently, he was released. In need of a third baseman to replace Boone, the Yankees pulled off one of the biggest blockbuster trades in MLB history. The Yankees sent then-second baseman Alfonso Soriano and RHP Joaquín Árias to the Texas Rangers for then-shortstop Alex Rodriguez, who was the highest paid baseball player at the time (and still is). It has paid off to be a beyond-fantastic deal for the Yankees, as Soriano spent just two seasons in Texas and Árias never reached full potential. Since then, Rodriguez has given the Yanks two MVP seasons, and more importantly, a World Series Championship.
So, on the day where Aaron Boone has retired after 12 big league seasons to become an ESPN baseball analyst, we should all say thank you. Thank you Aaron Boone, for allowing us to remember such a great home run off of your bat, and thank you for allowing us to obtain one of the greatest players in MLB history, Alex Rodriguez. Although you only served us for half a season, you have given us a lasting memory.