As the New York Yankees prepare to honor the 1996 World Series team in a lavish ceremony on Saturday morning, it’s hard to forget all the trials and tribulations the team went through just to get to the top. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the 1996 season, let’s look back at some of the most memorable moments that year.
May 14, 1996: Dwight Gooden‘s No-Hitter
Dwight Gooden played for both the Yankees and the Mets in his early career, leading the Mets to a World Series championship in 1986. But the pitcher battled substance abuse and was coming off his second suspension prior to the 1996 season. George Steinbrenner decided to give Gooden another chance, which paid off when Gooden no-hit the Seattle Mariners on 135 pitches–something we’ll never see in modern baseball–with six walks and five strikeouts.
October 9, 1996: The Jeffrey Maier Catch
The Yankees trailed the Baltimore Orioles 4-3 in the eighth inning when Derek Jeter hit a long fly ball to right. 12-year-old Jeffery Maier leaned over the fence and knocked the ball in the stands while it was still in play. The Yankees later tied the score at 4-4 and went on to win the game.
October 23, 1996: Jim Leyritz turns the World Series around
The Yankees were down 2-1 to the Atlanta Braves in the World Series, and going into Game 4 the team trailed 6-0 entering the sixth. The Yankees rallied but Jim Leyrtiz delivered the final blow, hitting a three-run shot which would eventually lead the Yankees to an 8-6 win. Without the home run, the Yankees are down 3-1 in the World Series, and the 1996 title would have been in Atlanta.
October 26, 1996: Yankees win the World Series
The Yankees were underdogs. Derek Jeter was a youngster and didn’t have 3,000 hits to his name. Mariano Rivera was a set-up man for John Wetteland, and Bernie Williams wasn’t yet a household name. They defeated the Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles and the Atlanta Braves for their first World Series win since 1978, and would later go on to win the World Series in 1999 and 2000.