The Tuesday Discussion: What Was The Greatest Moment in Yankees’ History?
Lincoln Mitchell: The greatest moment in Yankees history occurred on January 5, 1920 when they purchase of Babe Ruth to the Red Sox was finalized. At that moment the Yankees, up until then more or less of an also ran in the American League, became the Yankees as the world knows them a century later. The success and fame Ruth brought to the Yankees began a trajectory that changed baseball and the franchise. There have been many great on the field moments, but for the impact it had on the Yankees, baseball and America, nothing else is close.
Ed Botti: Very difficult question with many deserving moments to choose from. Even though I was not around at the time, I’m going role 56 games into 1 moment, and go with Joe DiMaggio’s 56 Game hit streak.
I am not sure of what specific moment in time it became a such a widespread phenomenon.
Between May 14 and July 16, DiMaggio played in 56 games, and got at least one hit in every game. In the 79 years since, only one player, Pete Rose, has gotten within 12 of DiMaggio’s mark.
History also shows that during the streak the entire nation was captivated by it, and DiMaggio put an exclamation point on being the greatest player of his generation, and one of the all-time greatest players.
While the Red Sox were being led by Ted Williams and his .406 batting average, DiMaggio pulled the Yanks out of an early season slump, and led them to the World Series, and won the Most Valuable Player Award.
Honorable mention as a “great moment “would be the day the Yankees drafted Mariano Rivera!!
Patrick Gunn: This is a loaded question, because I could easily pick one of many moments. If I have to chose just one, I would say that the greatest moment in Yankees’ history is Yogi Berra leaping into Don Larson’s arms at the end of his perfect game. The moment encapsulates everything about the Yankees into one image: greatness, success, and joy. It features the culmination of arguably the best single game moment in Yankees history, and possibly the greatest pitching performance in World Series history. A Yankees’ Hall of Famer, Berra, is actively involved in the moment. To top it all off, the win was crucial to the Bombers locking down another World Series championship over the rival Brooklyn Dodgers. All of those factors make that hug the single greatest moment in Yankees History.
Derek McAdam: In what is probably the toughest discussion question I have ever had to answer, I would say that there is one event that comes to mind; August 25, 2011. If you’re wondering what happened on this day, this was the day that the Yankees would hit three grand slams in one game, which became the first, and only, time that any team has been able to accomplish that. Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano and Russell Martin each hit a grand slam to defeat the A’s 22-9. There are many great moments in Yankee history, but this is one accomplishment that has never been broken.
Matthew Cohen: I’d have to say Gehrig’s “Luckiest man on the face of the earth” speech. It set the standard for what the Yankees should be.
Paul Semendinger: I’ll say the biggest moment in Yankees history was when Col. Jacob Ruppert took control over the team. He was the first Yankees owner totally committed to winning and he invested in that, building a great team, a great stadium, and a great farm system. The Yankees became who they are because of Ruppert’s willingness to invest in the team. Without Jacob Ruppert, there probably would never have been Babe Ruth on the Yankees. Along with the Babe came so many other players (many from the Red Sox) acquired with the purpose of building a winning team in the Bronx. From that point on, the rest is (glorious) history.
Mike Whiteman: I think the single greatest moment in Yankee history was the game of October 17, 1978 – the Yankees had won game six of the 1978 Word Series, clinching another championship. This series was the culmination of a perfect season. After their historical rival Boston took a fourteen game lead in July, the Yanks came back to win the division. They then beat the hated Kansas City Royals in the ALCS, and topped it all off by beating their onetime city rival the Dodgers to win it all. In my opinion, this was the highest height of the Yankee dynasty. Yankee inevitability was put on full display, in view of their most hated rivals. Afterwards they became a bit more human. They lost to the Royals in the 1980 playoffs, the Dodgers in the 1981 series, and then came the desert of the 1980s and early 1990s. But in 1978, the Yankees were truly on top of the world.
Andy Singer: Part of what draws people to professional sports is the personal connection people make with teams and events to moments in their own lives. For that reason, it is difficult to maintain perspective when trying to decide what the greatest moment in Yankee history is on a global scale. For me, great moments in Yankee history are personal events, such that is difficult for me to put an event that occurred outside my lifetime above something I witnessed. It is likely that my answer will surprise many.
The greatest moment I have ever witnessed in Yankee history was David Wells’ perfect game. Boomer was an integral part of the Yankee Dynasty that I grew up adoring. A perfect game in a Yankee uniform had not occurred since Don Larsen accomplished the feat in the World Series nearly a half century prior. Perfect games occur so rarely, that I never considered the possibility that a Yankee would throw one. The day that Wells threw his perfect game, I was mesmerized. I was at a family barbecue, but for the life of me, I would not leave the couch, even in the early innings. I can’t explain it, but there was a just a feeling in the air. By the 7th inning, I was not alone on the couch. When Paul O’Neill caught the final pop fly to shallow right field, the Yankees (and I) reacted like a World Series was on the line.
While I know that there are more historically significant events that have occurred in Yankee history, this was the greatest Yankee-related event I ever witnessed in my lifetime.