The Atlanta Braves 103-59 managed by Bobby Cox with general manager John Schuerholz met the New York Yankees 98-64 managed by Joe Torre and general manager Brain Cashman in a repeat of the 1996 series.
The Yanks were led by all-star shortstop Derek Jeter 24 HR, 102 RBI, .349 BA, 19 SB, Tino Martinez 28 HR, 105 RBI, Chuck Knoblauch 28 SB, .292 BA, 120 RS, Bernie Williams 25 HR, 115 RBI .342 BA, 116 RS.
Their pitching staff was headed by Orlando Hernandez 17-9, David Cone 12-9, Andy Pettite 14-11, Roger Clemens 14-10 and Hideki Irabu 11-7. The bullpen was led by perennial all-star Mariano Rivera 4-3, 1.83 ERA, 45 SV and Jason Grimsley 7-2.
The Braves were led by National League MVP Chipper Jones 45 HR, 110 RBI, 116 RS, 26 SB .319 BA, Ryan Klesko 21 HR, 80 RBI, Bret Boone 21 HR, 80 RBI, Andruw Jones 26 HR, 84 RBI, 24 SB, 97 RS, and Brian Jordan 23 HR, 115 RBI, 100 RS.
Their pitching staff was anchored by Greg Maddux 19-9, Kevin Millwood 18-7, 2.68 ERA, Tom Glavine 14-11, John Smoltz 11-8 with John Rocker in the bullpen with 38 SV, 2.49 ERA, Mike Remlinger 10-1 and Rudy Seanez 6-1.
Game one opened in Atlanta at Turner Field with Warren Spahn throwing out the first pitch. In a pitching duel between Greg Maddux and Orlando Hernandez, the Braves led 1-0 after seven innings but the Yankees got to Maddux for four runs in the eighth and went on to a 4-1 win with Mariano Rivera getting the save and Chipper Jones a solo home run for the Braves.
In game two still in Atlanta after Hank Aaron threw out the first pitch the Yankees jumped on Brave starter Kevin Millwood for three runs in the first inning and went on to a 7-2 victory behind the pitching of David Cone and the Yankees extend their World Series winning streak to 10 games and lead the series two games to none for Atlanta.
Game three in the new Yankee Stadium in New York was the closest game of the series. The Braves had a 5-3 lead with Tom Glavine pitching in the bottom of the eighth inning until Chuck Knoblauch belted a two run homer to tie the score and send the game into extra innings.
With Mike Remlinger pitching for Atlanta Chad Curtis who had only five home runs during the regular season belted his second home run of the game to give the Yankees a 6-5 win with Rivera on for the save and the Bronx Bombers take a three games to none lead in the series.
Game four was still in New York and with Whitey Ford throwing out the first pitch the Yankees behind the pitching of Roger Clemens went on to a 4-1 win over John Smoltz and the Atlanta Braves for their twelfth straight World Series win and Joe Torre’s third World Series title with the Yankees.
Jim Leyritz had a home run for New York and Mariano Rivera got his third save of the series as well as the series MVP award.
The Yankees returned the next year to the fall classic while the Braves have not been back to the World Series since 1999.
For Joe Torre who spent 18 years as a player and 30 years as a manager for a total of 48 years in major league baseball the victory was sweet after his many losing years as a manager with the Braves, Mets and Cardinals.
He started out as a catcher and as a young catcher with the Milwaukee Braves actually caught Warren Spahn who threw out the first pitch in game one.
And, according to the Society for American Baseball Research, Torre caught Spahn’s 300th win in 1961. What it must have been like to play on the same team with Eddie Mathews, Hank Aaron and Spahn.
Statistics for this article came from the Baseball-reference.com. and baseball-almanac.com.
Ron Griffitts a contributing columnist for The Daily Advocate.