By Ron Griffitts
In 2000 the New York Yankees 87-74 managed by Joe Torre and general manager Brian Cashman returned for their third consecutive World Series appearance to face their crosstown rivals the New York Mets 94-68 managed by Bobby Valentine and general manager Steve Phillips.
The Mets were paced by catcher and future Hall of Famer Mike Piazza 38 HR, 113 RBI, .324 BA, 90 RS, Todd Zeile 22 HR, 79 RBI, Edgardo Alfonzo 25 HR, 94 RBI, .324 BA, 109 RS and Robin Ventura 24 HR, 84 RBI.
Their pitching staff was led by Mike Hampton 15-10, Al Leiter 16-8, Rick Reed 11-5, Bobby Jones 11-6 and in the bullpen Armando Benitez 2.61 ERA, 41 SV, and Pat Mahomes 5-3.
The Yankees offense was led by Derek Jeter .339 BA, 119 RS, 22 SB, Bernie Williams 30 HR, 121 RBI, 108 RS, .307 BA, Jorge Posada 28 HR, 86 RBI, 92 RS, Paul O’Neill 18 HR, 100 RBI and Tino Martinez 16 HR, 91 RBI.
For starting pitching they had Andy Pettite 19-9, Roger Clemons 13-8, and in the bullpen Mariano Rivera 7-4, 2.85 ERA 36 SV, and Jeff Nelson 8-4, 2.45 ERA.
The series opened in the new Yankee Stadium in the Bronx with Andy Pettite and Al Leiter as the starters but neither would be around at the end of the twelve inning game.
The Yankees took an early 2-0 lead but the Mets scored three runs in the seventh inning and had a 3-2 lead going into the bottom of the ninth inning with their closer Armando Benitez having replaced John Franco on to pitch the bottom of the inning.
He got the first out but walked the second batter and gave up two singles before Chuck Knoblauch lofted a sacrifice fly with Paul O’ Neill scoring the tying run and the game went into extra innings.
In the bottom of the twelfth inning Jose Vizcaino singled in Tino Martinez for the winning run and the Yanks take a 1-0 lead in the series with a 4-3 win to start a string of close games as no team won a game by more than two runs in any of games.
In game two the Yankees built a 6-0 lead behind Roger Clemens with Jeff Nelson on to pitch the ninth inning. He gave up a single and home run to Mike Piazza and another single before he was replaced by Mariano Rivera.
Rivera got the first out on a fly ball before giving up a single putting two runners on with one out. He got the second out on a fielder’s choice with the runner being out at home before surrendering a three run home run to Jay
Payton to bring the score to 6-5. He then struck out Kurt Abbot to end the game and the Yankees go up two games to one for their fourteenth straight World Series game win.
The teams switched across town to Shea Stadium in the Queens borough of New York City and the Mets pitching staff led by Ron Reed held the Yankees to only two runs on their way to a 4-2 Mets’ win with a Benny Agbayani double in the eighth inning scoring Todd Zeile for the winning run.
Former Red John Franco got the win in relief and Armando Benitez picked up the save, Robin Ventura added a solo home run, and the Mets pull to within one game of the Yankees who lead the series 2-1.
Game four was another tightly pitched game in which the Mets could manage only a two run home run by Mike Piazza while the Yankees strung together three runs, one on a solo home run by Derek Jeter, and a two inning save by Mariano Duncan for a 3-2 victory to go up 3-1 in the series.
Continuing the pattern of close games, in game four the two teams were tied 2-2 going into the ninth inning. The Yankees got their runs on solo home runs by Derek Jeter and Bernie Williams both off of Al Leiter who in the tie game was still pitching in the ninth inning.
In the top of the inning he struck out the first two hitters before giving up a walk and a single before Luis Solo singled in a run and another scored on a throwing error and the score was 4-2 Yanks.
Rivera retired the Mets in the bottom of the inning and the Yanks win their third consecutive World Series title being the first team since the Oakland A’s in 1972-74 to do that and winning their fourth in five years.
Derek Jeter got the series MVP and the Yankees returned the next year while the Mets returned in 2015.
Baseball-reference.com and baseball-almanac.com were used for the statistics for this article.
Ron Griffitts a contributing columnist for The Daily Advocate.