A team for all time
Braves congratulate counterparts on Series sweep
Posted: Friday October 29, 1999 08:51 AM
Reliever Mariano Rivera gave his signed spikes to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. AP
NEW YORK (AP) -- By the end, even the Atlanta Braves were applauding the New York Yankees.
Chipper Jones chuckled as he watched closer Mariano Rivera break three of Ryan Klesko's bats in the last inning of the World Series sweep.
Manager Bobby Cox found counterpart Joe Torre and congratulated him in a stadium tunnel.
And John Smoltz personally complimented batting coach Chris Chambliss on New York's patience at the plate.
Then, after reveling in the clubhouse, the Yankees took off for a party at the Oak Room at the Plaza Hotel.
Jeter hit .353 against the Braves and extended his postseason hitting streak to a record-tying 17 games. At just 25, won his third ring.
Clemens earned his first taste of the title at 37 -- the same age John Elway was when he won his first Super Bowl.
| CNN/SI On-Site |
| I thought one of the great things about this Yankees' championship was that they pretty much brought the same team back and won with the same players. That's going to be more difficult to do in the year 2000. They face lots of payroll questions -- beginning with trying to get people like Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera signed to long-term contract extensions. David Cone is their No. 1 priority as a free agent. There's just not enough room in the payroll to bring everybody back. I think the Yankees would like to get a little bit younger, but it's going to be very difficult. I think we are going to see more changes after this season than we did last. |
I think the Braves really have to look hard at this team and the formula that they used. Several pitchers said after Game 4 that they really have to re-look at the formula for this team. They rely so much on pitching and three-run homers in the regular season that when they have to manufacture runs in the postseason, they are unable to do it. That is a major difference between the Yankees and the Braves.
-- Sports Illustrated senior writer Tom Verducci
Charged-up on the mound but able to keep his pitches down, the five-time Cy Young winner threw shutout ball into the eighth inning. Clemens then watched from the dugout as Rivera closed out the title and earned the Series MVP award. The reliever gave his signed spikes to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.
"This must be what it's like to be a Yankee," Clemens said.
Torre told him later: "This is what you came here for."
Traded from Toronto to the Yankees in spring training, Clemens spent the whole season trying to prove himself to his new teammates and fans. He struggled, going 14-10 with a 4.60 ERA, and was occasionally booed in his own ballpark.
But that was all forgotten on his shining night. He began the evening by patting the Babe Ruth monument beyond the bullpen and walked off the mound to an enormous ovation, raising both arms to acknowledge the cheers.
Later, while other Yankees celebrated with champagne in the clubhouse, Clemens climbed onto the dugout roof and ran back and forth, slapping hands with everyone he could reach.
The Yankees became baseball's first repeat champion since Toronto in 1992-93 and posted the first set of consecutive Series sweeps since the Yankees in 1938-39.
Coming off last year's record 125-win season and sweep of San Diego, New York finished off a streak in which it won 18 of 19 postseason games.
The year began when Darryl Strawberry was beset by health and legal problems. Then came Torre's prostate cancer, and the deaths of Hall of Famers Joe DiMaggio and Catfish Hunter.
Scott Brosius' father died late in the season. Luis Sojo's father passed away right before the World Series began and Paul O'Neill's father died a few hours after Game 3 Tuesday night.
"Your dad got to see this one," Torre told O'Neill after the sweep. "He'd been so sick in the hospital, he hadn't been able to watch the games."
O'Neill, at 36, figures to be back next season, provided the Yankees exercise the $6.5 million option on his contract. But New York must make decisions on several potential free agents: 36-year-old pitcher David Cone, relievers Mike Stanton and Allen Watson, catcher Joe Girardi, Strawberry and backups Jim Leyritz and Sojo.
For the Braves, their record-tying eighth straight Series loss left them with little to show for their eight consecutive trips to the NL Championship Series.
They beat Cleveland to win it all in 1995 -- prompting them to engrave "Team of the 90s" on their rings -- but also became the first club to lose four World Series in a decade since the New York Giants of 1910-19.
Atlanta, which gets back injured first baseman Andres Galarraga and catcher Javy Lopez next year, also has some choices to make.
The Braves hold an option on Jones, and will likely try to work out a long-term deal. Possible free agents include shortstop Jose Hernandez, first baseman Brian Hunter, outfielder Gerald Williams, pitchers Russ Springer and Rudy Seanez and backups Otis Nixon and Greg Myers.
"We lost to the best team, simply put," Smoltz said.
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