Top 10 Subway Series moments
Clemens-Piazza run-ins highlight rivalry's history
Posted: Friday May 18, 2007 1:34PM; Updated: Friday May 18, 2007 2:31PM
For the first time in the 11 years since interleague play began, the New York Mets head into the first of two annual Subway Series meetings as clearly the better team. Both teams are old -- the average age for the Mets is 31.3 to the Yankees 30.2, but the Mets have pitched better, fielded better and shown more life and cohesiveness than their counterparts in the Bronx, who bring a losing record into the series for the first time.
The Yankees are 32-22 against the Mets during the regular season since 1997, and 4-1 in the postseason. Here's a look at 10 of the most memorable Subway Series moments:
Rocket Clemens vs. the Mets
This covers the span of three games, the first coming on July 8, 2000. The Mets and Yankees played a crosstown doubleheader that day and Dwight Gooden earned the win for the Yankees at Shea in the afternoon. In the second inning of the nightcap in the Bronx, Roger Clemens beaned Mike Piazza.
It was the first time that true acrimony erupted in the rivalry. But for the next couple of months the Mets simmered as the Clemens-Piazza story became a true tabloid sensation. In the second game of the World Series that October -- a real Subway Series --Clemens struck out the first two Mets he faced and then jammed Piazza with an 0-2 fastball in on the hands. Piazza's bat split in two. Clemens fielded the barrel and threw it toward the Yankees dugout, just as Piazza had started up the first base line. Clemens was fired up; Piazza was puzzled. Benches cleared but no punches were thrown. Then Clemens allowed two hits over eight innings, and the Yankees bullpen survived a late charge to take a 2-0 Series lead.
Met fans were still seeking justice the following summer when Clemens pitched at Shea. It fell on the shoulders of soft-tossing Shawn Estes to exact revenge. But when Estes tried to plunk Clemens with a pitch, he threw the ball behind him. Clemens looked at Estes like, "You idiot, can't you do anything right?" But Estes had the last laugh when he launched a home run off Clemens in the fifth inning as the Mets rolled 8-0.
Game 1, 2000 World Series
Timo Perez's baserunning gaffe -- coupled with a fine relay by Derek Jeter -- cost the Mets an early run, a play that came back to haunt them as the Yankees won in extra innings. Ex-Met Jose Vizcaino got the game-winning single.
Mr. Big Stuff
In a wild game at Shea Stadium, the Yankees hit six home runs, including two by Jorge Posada, and still lost. Piazza hit a legendary blast off reliever Ramiro Mendoza, over the tent in left-center field, but utility infielder Matt Franco was the unlikely hero. Batting for Melvin Mora with the bases loaded and two out with the Mets trailing by a run, Franco looked to be completely overmatched by Mariano Rivera. But he fisted a soft single to center, two runs scored, the Mets won, and Franco had something to tell his grandkids.
Shut 'Em Down
The Mets shut the Yankees out in the inaugural game of interleague play behind a masterful performance by Dave Mlicki, who posted half of his career shutouts on June 16, 1997. His Mets tenure was one of disappointment and frustration, but nobody in Flushing recalls that as much as the day he mowed down the Yankees.
The target of the relentless and increasingly vicious boo birds in the Bronx, Alex Rodriguez gave Yankees fans something to cheer about when he homered twice against the Mets in a 16-7 romp. Down 4-1 in the third the Yankees scored eight runs. Nick Green, batting under .100 entering the game, even homered. But Rodriguez's grand slam was the crushing blow. In the fifth he crushed a three-run job for good measure and temporarily got the fans off his back.