Mar
18

To be 12 and a Yankee fan as the Mariners won

By

When I was 12 years old, the Seattle Mariners broke my heart. A perfectly-placed double by Edgar Martinez in the bottom of the 11th inning on a Sunday night in early October sent the Yankees home after a thrilling ALDS. It was the first Yankee playoff appearance of my life, and while the memories of it would be erased by a half a decade of World Series dominance, it was a crushing, stinging defeat for this young baseball fan.

Now, that series with Ken Griffey’s tremendous display of power, David Cone’s gutsy pitching, the emergence of Mariano Rivera, Don Mattingly’s last hurrah, the Martinezes’ — Edgar and Tino — constant bludgeoning of the Yankees and, of course, Randy Johnson’s relief appearance, has been immortalized by Chris Donnelly in a wonderful new book. Called Baseball’s Greatest Series, Donnelly explores how the 1995 ALDS match-up between the Yankees and the Mariners, in his words, changed history. It brought about key changes in New York that led to a dynasty and saved baseball as we know it in Seattle.

What most Yankee fans sitting 3,000 miles away from Seattle know about that 1995 series concerns the way it changed the Yankees. The Yankees left New York up 2-0 on the Mariners and had to return east losers of three straight, the first of the three great Yankee collapses during their magical dynasty run. That loss — with the shaky John Wetteland in the bullpen, with Mariano Rivera underutilized, with Jack McDowell on the mound, with a tight and tense Yankee clubhouse and a cantankerous owner — led to the ouster of Buck Showalter and the dawn of a new day. Getting to that point, though, was a battle.

Donnelly begins his tale in New York with a history of the Yankees from 1981 to 1995. It is a sad tale and one we’ve told in bits and pieces this winter. George Steinbrenner turned from a crazy win-now owner into a meddlesome and obsessed win-at-all-costs-yesterday owner. The Yanks fell just short of the playoffs in 1985 and couldn’t recover for nearly a decade after Steinbrenner was suspended from baseball and the Yanks’ baseball minds could put together a better team.

Necessarily, the New York part of the story focuses on Don Mattingly. A lynch pin for the Yanks throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, by 1995 he was a shell of his former self, and that 1995 ALDS was his only playoff appearance as a player. Mattingly hit .417/.440/.708 in his last games as a Major Leaguer, but with the likes of Dion James, Randy Velarde, Tony Fernandez and Ruben Sierra all faltering behind him, it wasn’t enough.

In Seattle, meanwhile, the story is more vital for the Mariners. While the Yanks’ loss led to a dynasty, the Mariners’ victory ensured the Pacific Northwest that baseball would survive there. Prior to 1995, the Mariners were a sad franchise that never enjoyed much success. They played in a dreary dome that remained mostly empty for decades, and as 1995 dawned, the team needed a new stadium or they would decamp for Tampa Bay.

As the Mariners climbed back from a late-season 12-game deficit to make the playoffs, Seattle became, in the span of one year, a baseball town. The story ends not with a Mariners’ loss to the Indians in the ALCS, but with a new stadium for the team and a decade-long rivalry with the Yanks. As hard as it is to believe now, but the Mariners were three outs away from leaving Seattle. The Yankees just couldn’t get those three outs.

The Yankees, meanwhile, blew it. As would be the case in the desert in 2001 and in Boston and New York in 2004, the Yankees were on the precipice of playoff victory and couldn’t seal the deal. They headed west triumphant with a two games to none lead in the best-of-five series. They went down against Randy Johnson in Game 3. The Big Unit, a playoff bugaboo both pitching against and for the Yankees through 2006, struck out 10. In Game 4, the team jumped out to a 5-0 lead and was outscored 11-3 over the last six innings. Scott Kamieniecki, Sterling Hitchcock, Bob Wickman, John Wetteland and Steve Howe just couldn’t get it done.

And then there was Game 5. It was a tense affair for the Yankees. George Steinbrenner had grown to hate the popular Buck Showalter, and Showalter’s tense managerial style clearly had an impact on the team. But the Yanks had a lead heading into the late innings. They went up 4-2 when a Don Mattingly double unfortunately bounced over the wall. Much as he could not when a Tony Clark double bounced over the wall in Fenway nine years later, Ruben Sierra was not allowed to score on Mattingly’s ball. It was the first bad bounce to change baseball history.

David Cone stayed in too long, and the Mariners tied it up in the 8th. Mariano Rivera came in to clean up the mess, and the Yankees finally recognized the weapon that would fully emerge in 1996. When the Big Unit came in to pitch in relief, the Yankees were in trouble. They eked out a run in the 11th, but Jack McDowell couldn’t hold it. Joey Cora singled, Ken Griffey singled, and Edgar Martinez roped a double down the line. It was all over.

Donnelly’s storytelling as the games unfold is a pleasure. More than once, I had to put the book down to gather myself when I knew the inning or the game wasn’t going to end for the Yankees. As the team gathered in tears in the visitors’ clubhouse in Seattle, I thought back to my frustrations as a young baseball fan. After the strike-shortened season of 1994, baseball needed a thrilling postseason, but Yankee fans wanted wins. We knew Mattingly would retire; we knew Showalter would be fired. But we didn’t know what glory awaited.

Baseball’s Greatest Series doesn’t dwell much on the game past 1995, and it doesn’t have to. It’s a great complement to Buster Olney’s The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty in that it dissects a transformative moment in baseball — and Yankee history — and shows how it led to a different era for the game. It’s heartbreaking to read about the stunning Yankee losses, and Edgar’s double burns just as badly as Luis Gonzalez’s single. But it’s a more interesting read than a profile of the 1990s dynasty teams.

Donnelly’s story, in the end, is about baseball’s redemption after a pointless strike. It’s about the way George Steinbrenner loomed over the Yankees and how the team’s loss in Seattle turned them into a winner despite the Boss’ crankiest moments. It’s about how the Mariners needed that win and how, with a bounding ball into left field, Seattle erupted, New York cried and we had to wait, without knowing what 1996 would bring, until next year yet again.

Chris Donnelly’s Baseball’s Greatest Series: Yankees, Mariners, and the 1995 Matchup That Changed History is available for sale at Amazon and your local bookstore. If you use the link in this paragraph to buy the book, we earn a few pennies on the sale. It’s a brisk 287 pages, and you’ll find yourself yet again cursing the Mariners by the end of it.

Categories : Reviews
  • http://www.itsaboutthemoney.net Jason @ IIATMS

    You’re too young. (or I’m too old).

    But wow, was Donnie good that series.

  • Kilgore Trout

    I was sitting Field Level down the 3rd base line at Game 2. When Donnie went deep in the 7th I was then soaked from the amount of beer thrown down from the upper deck. Damn I miss the old stadium.

    • gc

      I was in the upper deck on the first base side. I’ve never heard the Stadium louder, and was actually a bit scared for a moment as the upper deck rocked up and down with all the people going bonkers. Still, when that game ended, I can’t even count how many rounds of Sinatra we all sang. What a night.

      • Steve

        Does anyone know if there is video online of mattinglys home run in game 2? That might be my favorite old Yankee stadium memory. The place went crazy, didn’t they stop the game for a while because of the madness ?

        • gc

          Yeah, Lou took the Mariners off the field and the game was delayed as they cleared the field of hats and cups and other stuff thrown from the stands in the delirium.

          • danny

            that must of been an amazing sight, wish i was there, and not 4 years old… hahah

        • bexarama

          http://mlb.mlb.com/media/video.....id=2685722

          It says it’s Game 1, but I think it’s Game 2, no?

          • Kilgore Trout

            Definately Game 2.

          • gc

            Yes, game 2. The cool thing is that he hit that right after Ruben Sierra hit his. Funny, but every time I watch that clip, it brings back the one memory that stands out for me when I think back to being there that night. People’s arms just flailing everywhere I looked. No matter which direction I turned, there were just arms and bodies jumping to and fro, like an enormous mosh pit. Craziness!

            • bexarama

              I’m pretty crazy jealous that you were there!

          • rex manning day

            Whenever I rewatch that video, I always get a kick out of seeing Jeter be one of the first guys out of the dugout to greet Donnie.

            • MikeD

              …and Jeter wasn’t even on the active roster. I remember Showalter allowed Jeter (and one other rookie) to stay with the club during the playoffs for the experience. Little did Buck (or anyone else) know how much real experience Jeter was about to get.

      • http://twitter.com/riddering Riddering

        Damn, am I jealous. That game is high up on my list of “if you could go back in time” moments that I’d want to be part of. I can’t watch it on replays without getting into the moment after his homerun.

      • rex manning day

        I was in the upper deck too, over on the third base side (if I remember correctly).

        I was only 9 at the time, and that game is far and away my best baseball memory. I think I was too young to really be torn up about the way the series ended, especially after that game. It was just insane.

  • Rose

    Are all 3 of you (Ben, Joe, and Mike) roughly the same age?

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      More or less. I’m the youngest, followed by Joe and then Mike. But only about 18 months separates me from Mike.

  • http://www.soxandpinstripes.com JGS

    That series broke this nine-year-old’s heart too, and I remember yelling at Jim Evans on TV that Joey Cora was running out of the baseline to first.

    None come to mind offhand, but I’m sure that wasn’t the first bad bounce to change baseball history

  • BigBlueAL

    Good stuff Ben. I asked you about this book a couple of weeks ago and you said you would be writing a review on the book soon and sure enough you did.

    I will probably get this book sometime soon, I have read alot of good reviews about this book. I was 15 at the time and watching my first baseball postseason that included the Yankees and to this day this loss still hurts me more than even the 2001 and 2004 postseasons.

  • DanMizer

    I was 12 as well.. Don Mattingly was my hero.. btw i was born and have grown up my whole life in the heart of downtown Boston(get a ton of shit)…
    I remember this like it was lunch this afternoon.. I remember that double.. I actually cried.. probably top 3 worst memory in my baseball life.. I always wanted to see a title and Don Mattingly to hoist the world series trophy.

    Good Article.. it doesnt hurt as much now that ive seen 5 championships but I still feel all the time for my boy Donnie Baseball.

  • http://yanksgoyard.com Andy_C_23

    I got this book a few days ago and am halfway through it…it’s awesome so far. Don’t tell me how it ends though, I want to be surprised.

  • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

    That ’95 series was so crazy. I was too young during the early 80s to remember the playoffs, so ’95 was my first taste of the baseball postseason, and to have it come under those circumstances with it being Mattingly’s last hurrah, to boot, was pretty amazing. The last three games in Seattle might have caused heartbreak, but those first two games in the old Stadium will always be one of my favorite baseball memories – in particular, as others have mentioned, the Mattingly HR that seemed like it was going to bring down the Stadium itself. There was something fitting about Mattingly going out like that… The man gave a great personal performance, finally had his moments in front of the home crowd and did all he could to help the team win, but it just wasn’t meant to be for the Yankees, or for Mattingly, that season.

    • mustang

      I remember the early 80′s playoffs that made it hurt even more because I waited so long for that moment.

      • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        I don’t know that you can say it hurt more or less… The flip-side of your argument is that at least you’d seen the playoffs before. For those of us right around my age, we’d never even seen the Yanks play in the postseason before ’95, all we’d known had been postseason-less seasons (and some really bad seasons, to boot).

        Whatever, the comparison itself is silly. I’d rather not even get into who hurt more or less, it’s a totally subjective, made-up comparison.

        • http://www.audiencesounds.com/ Templeton “Brendog” Peck

          yeah. i’d never even seen them win a game live until 93. 4 years of losing in person. god. that made 95 so much sweeter…and then mroe painful…

  • Bo

    The Sherman book is a much better read about the series in 95 and birth of a dynasty.

    • bexarama

      I kind of recommended the same book as Bo. :|

      • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        Get a room.

        • bexarama

          ietc

  • ADam

    I was 12 as well, and i remember my dad yelling at me to stop watching because i was jinxing the game… we all had a good laugh that night… not about the yanks, but about my old man being so crazy

  • bexarama

    I was eight. I remember my mom was soooo excited that the Yankees were back in the playoffs that she promised I could stay up to see all the games. I don’t think she was expecting all the games to be like, five-hour long wars. She also complained a lot every time Showalter brought in Rivera in relief, because he’d been so bad as a starter…

    Still kind of hate the Mariners despite the ALCSes 2000 and 2001 because I remember her running out of the room and absolutely SOBBING after Edgar Martinez hit that double. Poor Donnie.

    It seems like most people have read Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty, but if you haven’t read Birth of a Dynasty, you really should. The entire thing is excellent and the first chapter is all about this ALDS.

    • bexarama

      But I gotta say, because I was so young, and because we went on that crazy run of success afterward, no way that series hurts more than 2004 or especially 2001. There’s still a mark on the wall from when I threw my shoe at it after 2001.

      • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        They all hurt… 2001 was awful because they came so close, and 2004 was just the worst case scenario of course… But ’95 was really rough in its own right. I’d say, due to the long absence from the postseason but, to me (and a lot of other fans I think), even more for the Mattingly factor, that the ’95 loss was probably the worst non-World Series loss I’ll ever experience. No DS match-up will ever mean as much to me as that series meant to me.

        And it’s hard to elevate a DS over a WS, they’re probably just in different classes… But I don’t know… At least in 2001 we had just won a bunch of championships, and you can kinda say the same for 2004 since the vast majority of that fanbase had, at least, gone through the good times, and we never lacked for playoff experiences or anything like that… But that ’95 DS was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, there’s something that elevates it for me. When the Yankees lost a World Series or an ALCS, we at least knew that we’d seen them win them before and that we’d see them get there again, but there’s no second chance after ’95, that was it for our hero. One chance, and it was gone forever.

        Whatever… All those losses sucked. For those of us who were invested in that ’95 team and, probably even moreso, invested in rooting for Mattingly, that ’95 loss was excruciating.

        • bexarama

          I can definitely understand this (and I think the “all those losses sucked” thing is probably where we can all agree). I was just soooo young, way too young to really understand the importance of the series like I do now, and though I loved Don Mattingly mostly because my mom did, he didn’t mean to me what Rivera and etc., did by 2001. Looking back, I feel terribly for him because of that series, and I love him for basically saying “f-ck you” to his injuries and kicking ass one last time.

          • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            Yeah… I hope it was clear I didn’t intend for that comment to argue with your perception of the whole thing… If you were too young to really be invested in the ’95 team, then it makes total sense for that loss to not compare to the ’01 or ’04 losses for you. I really was just trying to explain why for some people that ’95 loss hurts so much, even possibly worse than ’01 and ’04. I think those of us who care so much about ’95 are the outliers, I’m not trying to argue that we’re the norm or anything – it was just a Division Series, after all. The crux of it for us, I think, is that that loss ended that era… In a weird way, for me, the ’96 win didn’t really make up for ’95, if that makes any sense… It was awesome and I’ve loved every win of course, but, for me, there was a cut-off after that ’95 season, because of Mattingly’s loss in that series and subsequent departure, where things changed. So the ’95 thing couldn’t be fully remedied, it’s the loss whose resulting pain couldn’t really be mitigated by future victories.

            (I’m sure you got that, I just wanted to be sure I was clear.)

            • http://www.audiencesounds.com/ Templeton “Brendog” Peck

              they were completely different eras. incomparable.

              but seriously, i agree completely. that edgar double ended an era. granted it was one of futility and failure up until then but the personnel changed and a lot was different. i dont know if i can explain it but i totally agree with what you are saying

            • bexarama

              I totally understand what you’re saying here, even if I don’t have a personal connection to the 1995 team like I did to teams that came after it (that makes me sound so frontrunnery, I know =/ but I was really young!). Well put.

              • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                Ok cool, thanks. I just wanted to make sure I didn’t come off like one of those “the way you feel about your memories is wrong and I’m going to tell you why” people, I hate when people do that stuff.

      • mustang

        I could handled 2001 and 2004 because of the wins before then, but going into that winter after that lose and not really knowing what direction the team was heading it was tough.

      • http://www.audiencesounds.com/ Templeton “Brendog” Peck

        the second the winning urn crossed the plate in 2001 I immediately said “that sucks! but i can now say that i have seen one of the greatest world series of all time.” and then the next day when i was getting razzed by sox fans it didnt phase me because i knew we had just witnessed the greatest WS of our lifetimes.

        04…yeah, well. that sucked. but again, mondesi is right about the whole having been there before. even though the yanks lost in the ws in 03 they had just beeen there. so it was like, well, it wasnt losing, but the way it happened….

        95..man…coming off the strike where they had the 2nd best record at the time after so many years of futility…and the added intrigue of mattingly, and the comments buck had made about griffey being disrespectful to the game by wearing his hat backwards, and big stein, and mcdowell having given the fans the middle finger in july, just so much going on.

        • bexarama

          I didn’t quite have the rationality in 2001 to be like, “Wow, greatest World Series ever!” I’ll still take 1991, but yes, that was an amazing Series. It still makes me want to throw up when I see that bloop, though. The Mr. November home run is awesome, but it also hurts. I haven’t even watched Nine Innings from Ground Zero all the way through because I know it’ll only upset me.

          2004 was just annoying. The amount of Sox fans that think it MORTALLY WOUNDS Yankee fans to hear any discussion of it is pretty hilarious, though. Like, one time, someone at my college was rather obviously trying to start a fight with me about it, and I was like, “Yup. Sox were a better team that year. Sucks the Yankees had to lose that way, but the Red Sox were a better team.” They were shocked that I didn’t, like, burst out crying, I think.

          1995 I was just so young and not obsessed the way I was now. It’s an awful loss, but considering what happened after that, it didn’t personally affect me so much. I totally understand those that think it was the worst loss of these three, though.

          • http://www.audiencesounds.com/ Templeton “Brendog” Peck

            http://riveraveblues.com/2010/.....ent-806599

            just to be sure there is no confusion, i feel the same way mondesi does. just trying to give a diff perspective, not judge.

        • mustang

          “95..man…coming off the strike where they had the 2nd best record at the time after so many years of futility…and the added intrigue of mattingly, and the comments buck had made about griffey being disrespectful to the game by wearing his hat backwards, and big stein, and mcdowell having given the fans the middle finger in july, just so much going on”

          MIND BLOWN !!!!!

          • http://www.audiencesounds.com/ Templeton “Brendog” Peck

            AND the improbable september and october run to make the playoffs after having been 500 or below the first half coupled with the mariners huge comeback on the indians and subsequent victory in game 163 as mentioned below. CRAZINESSS

  • Hughesus Christo

    I was a little conflicted during that series because I loved Griffey. I was 9 and remember being confused about McDowell coming in before my favorite player did them in. I also remember being so happy to see Mattingly perform so well (even being that young, I knew about the “Donnie can’t win” crap). This all stands out in my mind.

    But the only time I cried after watching a game was the 1994 NBA Finals.

    • http://yanksgoyard.com Andy_C_23

      You and me both. 2-for-f***ing-18

    • mustang

      “But the only time I cried after watching a game was the 1994 NBA Finals.”

      That game still hunts me.

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

      But the only time I cried after watching a game was the 1994 NBA Finals.

      Big OJ fan?

  • dkidd

    i was watching the game at the spring street lounge (now shark bar) and for some reason drew barrymore was sitting at a back table with the owner. griffey scored, i cursed, the guy next to me threw a chair, and the bartender screamed at us to calm down because there was a celebrity in the room

  • mustang

    I remember tearing up on the last game not only for the lost, but also for Mattingly. Mattingly hadn’t play like that in a while it was heartbreaking to watch it unfold for him like it did. That winter wasn’t easy either watching Mike Stanley and Buck Showalter leave and bring in Joe Torre and Joe Girardi I’m thinking same old George. I remember Peter Gammons saying it would take a decade for the Yankees to recover from what George did.
    All of it every painful minute made 1996 that much sweeter that Championship will always be first in my heart cause of 1995.

    • bexarama

      I remember Peter Gammons saying it would take a decade for the Yankees to recover from what George did.

      He then assured everyone that Frankie Rodriguez could close in the NL.

      • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

        Was that before or after he predicted Dmitri Young would hit .400?

        • http://www.audiencesounds.com/ Templeton “Brendog” Peck

          DA MEAT HOOK!

    • Frigidevil

      I was six, and that was my second heartbreak moment in 2 years (Devils Rangers the year before) I’ll never forget how disappointed my dad was. But you’re right I’m pretty sure 95 made 96 that much better,

      • http://www.audiencesounds.com/ Templeton “Brendog” Peck

        so the word matteau is a curse in your household then?

        • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          What you wrote: “so the word matteau is a curse in your household then?”

          What I see: “so the words lucky no-talent assclown are a curse in your household then?”

          And the answer is a resounding fuck and yes.

          • http://www.audiencesounds.com/ Templeton “Brendog” Peck

            heh.

        • Frigidevil

          Well it would be if
          a. I knew any more than the devils lost and rangers won
          b. My dad wasn’t a rangers fan making fun of me. He was making a big deal about the whole ‘guarantee’, something my 5 year old mind couldn’t quite understand.

  • http://twitter.com/riddering Riddering

    I hadn’t yet learned to appreciate baseball as more than a game in 1995 but I’ve grown so much as a person since then that accounts of it from others always get to me. The whole landscape of baseball was so charged but especially for these two teams. It’s pretty amazing when one small period of time in history has such grand repercussions

    This is a great review and ancecdote of your personal experience, Ben. Kudos.

    • mustang

      Well said Kudos to you.

  • http://i.cdn.turner.com/si/multimedia/photo_gallery/0902/mlb.alex.rodriguez.through.the.years/images/1993.alex-rodriguez.jpg Drew

    I hated baseball as a kid, I was always a soccer/football/basketball kind of kid.

    I started watching baseball religiously in 2002, and first had my heart really broken in 2004(2009–first of many rings for me!) amongst a bunch of Red Sox fans down in Miami. As pissed as I was then, I couldn’t imagine what I would do if a was 10 years old and something like that happened.

    • Tom Zig

      As a kid I played sports (not particularly well), but I didn’t particularly care to watch professional sports. I really started watching the Yankees on the regular around 03. I also had a huge heart break in the strike shortened season of 04.

      As I grow older I regret not watching sports more often as a kid. So many moments, such as the Mattingly HR (but I did see the Epic Boone HR), I have missed.

  • mustang

    I seem to remember that getting into the playoffs in 1995 was not exactly a cakewalk. I think they got in the last week of the season as the first wild card. Can someone please check me on this?

    • bexarama

      they went 22-6 in September and October (well, it was one game) to get the WC. They were 49-29 in the second half overall; they were below .500 in the first half. They talk about the 1995 Yankees’ race to the end in Birth of a Dynasty a little if I’m not mistaken. Dunno if they do in this book because I haven’t read it yet.

      • http://yanksgoyard.com Andy_C_23

        Yeah they do. They also go into how the Mariners almost choked and had to go to a one-game playoff with the Angels to get the West title.

        • dkidd

          didn’t luis sojo score a key run for the angels in game #162?

          • dkidd

            i remember him sliding into and home and celebrating with his helmet falling down over his face

          • http://yanksgoyard.com Andy_C_23

            I think he was on the Mariners

            • dkidd

              you’re right. the mariner’s led game #163 1-0 in the 7th when sojo hit a bases clearing double off mark langston and ended up scoring on an error by the catcher. in one play, the game was blown open

              i miss luis

              • http://yanksgoyard.com Andy_C_23

                I miss him too. Who could forget the 2000 Series? He was the man.

                • dkidd

                  poor poor al leiter. that ball bounced 87 times before reaching the outfield

                • http://yanksgoyard.com Andy_C_23

                  My only gripe with that series is that it wasn’t a sweep. I know I’m being picky as hell here, but I HATE the Mets. They didn’t deserve to win a single game that series.

                • bexarama

                  Al Leiter threw 142 goddamn pitches in that game. I know it was likely his last start of the year and all that but that fact never ceases to make me go “oooouch.”

              • bexarama

                they only played 145 games that year cuz of the strike ;)

                • dkidd

                  memory fail! totally forgot that

        • bexarama

          I thought the Angels were the ones who TOTALLY choked. Didn’t they have like a double-digit lead with very few games to go, 2007 Mets style just worse?

          • http://yanksgoyard.com Andy_C_23

            Yeah the Angels choked away a big lead in August/September, but the M’s then lost their final 2 games of the season and had to go to that one-game playoff

        • mustang

          Totally forgot about that part which adds more to the 1995 playoffs because many saw the Mariners as a paper tiger especially after dropping the first 2 to the Yanks

    • http://www.audiencesounds.com/ Templeton “Brendog” Peck

      i forgot about this part too, add the late season run to my list of things that made it nuts from above

  • dkidd

    95 was the first wild card year. the yankees had to win like 11 of their last 12 games to get in. everyone was bitching about the wild card messing with the integrity of the game and i remember mattingly saying something like if people don’t think this (the last 12 games of the regular season) is playoff baseball, they’re full of crap

    • mustang

      Thank you

  • king of fruitless hypotheticals

    She also complained a lot every time Showalter brought in Rivera in relief, because he’d been so bad as a starter…

    Wow. To even think about that!

    • bexarama

      my mom was soooo worried going into the 1998 playoffs because of what had happened in the 1997 playoffs, too. Go figure. (She will happily admit that she was wrong and stupid.)

  • dkidd

    something i forgot about game 5 was that in the top of the ninth the yanks had men on first and second, no outs, with boggs/williams/o’neill coming up and couldn’t score off of norm charlton

    • http://www.audiencesounds.com/ Templeton “Brendog” Peck

      \nasty boy’d

    • BigBlueAL

      I believe that was when they brought in Randy Johnson so I dont think Charlton got them out of that jam it was the Big Unit.

      • bexarama

        Yup.

        I can’t even imagine what would happen if that series happened today. I think I would lock myself in my room for days and days and days and throw up a whole lot.

        Also, I’m pretty sure the Yankees have never won a playoff game where Randy Johnson pitched, either for them or against them. Yaaaay. =/

  • Pete C.

    I was in my late thirty’s when this happened, it hurt just as much regardles of age. You guy’s got your cherry popped on this one.

  • U Can’t Hit What U Can’t See

    Interesting to see when most of this crowd started rooting, and how that affects peoples’ POV…I was 23 during the ’95 playoffs, and as frustrating as the defeat to Mariners was, me and my friends were so happy to be back in the playoffs after 14 years. We had spent almost all of our childhoods w/o winning and watched NY kind of become, dare I say, a Mets town, that it took away a lot of the sting.

    By comparison, 2001 was not that painful to me. For one thing, we’d just won 4 of 5 WS. For another, we got beat in the 9th with 2 outs and the best reliever in history on the mound.

    2004??? That’s another story. Possibly the most painful thing I’ve watched as a Yankee fan–almost as bad as 14 years w/o making the playoffs.

  • Kirby Jones

    I know how you feel bro but the next year i will never forget, the yankees won the series on october 26 1996 the day of my Bar Mitzvah jeffrey meyer got nothing on me! it was the best birthday present a young die hard yankee fan could ever get.

  • bennyprofane

    Okay, so I’m late to the party, and no one will read this, but I wanted to share an anectdote which certainly illustrates how important this was/is to Seattle baseball.

    I was 17 when this happened, and like most, Mattingly was my hero. Seeing him excel in that series was one of my greatest baseball memories. The defeat in Game 5 is easily one of the most heartbreaking. The range of emotion indeed.

    Moving on…

    Last year I was out in Seattle, in December and took a tour of Safeco. Waiting in the gift shop for the tour to begin 3 Boston natives, and Red Sox fans mill about, eyeing the memorobilia, wearing Red Sox jerseys. In Seattle. In December. An ominous beginning for sure.

    The tour begins, we exit the gift shop, and on the wall in front of me (just behing home plate if I recall correctly) is that iconic image of Griffey chest down on the plate ready to be piled on, Joey Cora just off left, and the look of unbridled joy on all those surrounding, and The Kid with a smile that seemed to split his cheeks. Our tour guide launches into the tale of the 1995 ALDS and how it saved baseball in Seattle. He even said “The Yankees have the House that Ruth Built, and we (the Mariners) have the House that Junior Built. He asked if we recognized the players in the photo. I said nothing even though an 18-year-old Alex Rodriguez was clear as day. He asked if we knew who got the game winning hit, to which one of the Bostonians piped up and said “Jay Buhner!” He asked if we knew what they called Randy Johnson, who picked up the win. “The Big Unit” the gaggle said in unison. I was quiet, feigning ignorance, while that game 5 replayed in perfect clarity in my mind. This is how every tour begins he said. All I could think about was Mattingly, how his leg kick had allowed him to rediscover some of the power he’d lost due to back injury, how he’d sent 57,000 people into a frenzy with one swing (“Hang on to the roof” were Gary Thorne’s words) and how similar joy felt less than a week later 3,000 miles across the country, and now being retold to me 15 years after the fact, surrounded by Red Sox advertisers, summoned heartache and the image of my father on the couch behind me, head in hands and me standing staring blankly at the Kingdome on a 27 in. RCA Colortrak.

    /longwinded/oversentimentalized>

    On another note Safeco is beautiful and the ticket prices are beyond reasonable. My wife and I are headed back out there this May and I fully intend to spend as many nights as possible taking in the game from the $15 UD seats behind homeplate.

  • Jake

    That 1995 Mariners/Yankees game ….. I don’t know of any other baseball park that was as ever loud as the Seattle Kingdome (yes, I know not a real baseball ‘park’ in this era but it served its time) during that game 5, 1995 series. A combination of game 5 hoopla, 62,000+ fans, a full concrete domed stadium known for loud noise for the Seahawks, cheap Seattle beer, and the excitement of Seattle’s first ever major post-season win. I’m not being bias here, it was extremely loud. I worked for ABC’s television crew that game and our system ops had to consistently adjust microphones due to the noise and were not prepared for . It was sort of a shame they had to tear down the Kingdome and not put it to use as a convention center or other mutlipurpose building. It wasn’t a shame to see the Mariners get a new stadium as a result of Edgar Martinez big hit!