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NEW YORK (WFAN) — The 2001 season didn’t end with a championship for the Yankees, but it did produce arguably the most iconic play of Derek Jeter’s illustrious career.
With the Yankees clinging to a 1-0 lead in the seventh inning of Game 3 of their ALDS against the A’s, Oakland’s Terrence Long doubled to right field, sending Jeremy Giambi sprinting from first to home. Yankees right fielder Shane Spencer rushed his throw, missing two cut-off men. But Jeter saved the day, running from his shortstop position to field the ball with his bare hand on a hop along the first-base line before quickly flipping it to catcher Jorge Posada, who tagged Giambi on the leg a split-second before he touched the plate.
Joe Buck immediately declared it “one of the most unbelievable plays you will ever see by a shortstop.”
The Yankees held on for the 1-0 victory.
“I’ve seen it a lot. I was where I was supposed to be,” Jeter said in 2014. “I’m not supposed to throw it home, but that’s where I’m supposed to be. I’ve never been one to sit down and sing my own praises. I’m happy it was at a big moment for us. Maybe years from now, but I’ve just never sat down and looked at it like that.”
Some have credited that play for changing the momentum of the best-of-five series, in which the A’s had won the first two games. The Yankees followed up Game 3 with two more victories. The Bombers went on to reach the World Series for the fifth time in six years, but lost in seven games to the Diamondbacks.