NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — They walked in from left-center field one by one, starting with Jorge Posada and ending with John Wetteland.
As the New York Yankees turned toward youth this weekend, they also honored their past Saturday when the 1996 World Series championship team returned for a 20th anniversary celebration.
On a busy weekend in the Bronx, the Yankees followed Alex Rodriguez’s finale Friday night with a 30-minute tribute. The loudest cheers were for Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, who will return Sunday for the dedication of Rivera’s plaque in Monument Park. Core Four members Posada and Andy Pettitte also drew big ovations from the crowd of 41,862, as did Bernie Williams.
“Even though it’s been 20 years, we’re in the back waiting to come on the field, people are joking around and laughing. I always love to see these guys,” Jeter said. “It feels good because we feel like we are young again — except for Bernie.”
Joe Torre, who managed the Yankees to four titles from 1996-00, noticed players’ faces had changed less than his own.
“You add 20 years to guys in their 20s and early 30s, it’s no big deal. But when you start at 56, now all of a sudden it’s a little more imposing,” he said during the team’s YES Network telecast.
Each player walked to their on-field position, wearing their 1996 game jersey over dress trousers. Players included current manager Joe Girardi, who walked onto the field from the dugout wearing the No. 25 jersey of his playing days rather than his current No. 28. Torre and his coaches entered in golf carts. There was a tribute to bench coach Don Zimmer, who died in 2014.
New York’s ’96 title was its first since 1978. The Yankees beat the Atlanta Braves in six games.
“The 1996 team brought back that atmosphere of ‘these are the Yankees — this is the team that’s supposed to be on top,”‘ Williams said. “It set the precedence for the rest of the teams that came after that.”
Some players took selfies; David Cone tweeted from the field.
“It’s like we never left,” Posada said.
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