After 17 years and 415 home runs there is still a sense of discovery about Sheffield as the Yankees begin their quest for a fifth World Series title in nine years with a Division Series against the Twins. "He's been everything we could have hoped for and more," says Cashman. "He's a better defensive player than I thought. He's been a perfect fit."
Late at night, after road games, Sheffield and reliever Tom (Flash) Gordon, his closest friend on the team, order in food and play cards. The games last longer if one of them had a bad night at the park. One night Sheffield interrupted the card game for a moment and said, "Flash, this is the happiest year I've had in baseball."
Sheffield, the iron now upright in his hand, a black linen shirt spread out on the board, is reminded of that comment and asked if he really meant it. "Yeah," he says, "because you can't hide anything playing in New York, you can't pretend. You can't hide what kind of player you really are."
He drops his head and gets back to work, back to ironing out the wrinkles, setting things straight. ?