Editor’s Note: As part of WFAN’s 30th anniversary celebration, from May 29-June 9, we asked you to vote on the best local sports moments overthe past 30 years. Over the course of two weeks, we are revealing the top-10 vote getters.
NEW YORK (WFAN) — The Yankees’ goose was cooked.
Right up until the point that it wasn’t.
Playing in their first World Series since 1981, the Yankees entered the 1996 Fall Classic against the defending champion Atlanta Braves as the underdogs. And in games 1 and 2 in the Bronx it was clearly evident why as they were outscored by a combined 16-1 count in a pair of losses.
But manager Joe Torre and his players were far from done.
The Yankees staged one of the great comebacks in baseball history, winning all three games in Atlanta, closing the old Fulton County Stadium in the process, before capturing the franchise’s record 23rd world championship with a 3-2 victory in Game 6 at Yankee Stadium.
David Cone stepped up big in Game 3 on the mound, pitching six innings of one-run ball, and Bernie Williams launched a two-run home run in a 5-2 victory.
Those good vibrations disappeared quickly in Game 4, however, as the Braves knocked around Yankees starter Kenny Rogers on their way to a 6-0 lead through five innings. The Bombers responded, cutting into the deficit with three runs in the top of the sixth. Then in the eighth, Jim Leyritz’s now-legendary three-run homer off Mark Wohlers, a hanging 2-2 slider that was deposited over the left-field wall, tied the game.
New York would go on to win 8-6 in 10 innings.
Game 5 was all about Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte and Braves right-hander John Smoltz. Cecil Fielder drove in the only run of the game with a fourth-inning double. Closer John Wettleland, who would go on to be named World Series MVP, survived a stressful ninth by eventually getting pinch-hitter Luis Polonia to fly out to deep right with the tying run on third.
The Yankees clinched their first world championship in 18 years two days later, and have since added four more rings to their vast collection.