The 2000 World Series featured the first ever postseason meeting between the New York Yankees and the New York Mets, and the first New York “Subway Series” with playoff implications since the Yankees met the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1956 Fall Classic.  The Yankees advanced to the World Series for the third straight year by edging out the Oakland Athletics in five games in the ALDS, and then defeating the Seattle Mariners in six games in the American League Championship Series.  The Mets, who were making their first appearance in the Fall Classic since 1986, earned the right to face their crosstown rivals in the Series by defeating the San Francisco Giants in four games in the NLDS, before disposing of the St. Louis Cardinals in five games in the National League Championship Series.

The Yankees captured the A.L. East title during the regular season, finishing 2 ½ games ahead of the second-place Boston Red Sox, with a record of 87-74.  They finished sixth in the junior circuit with 871 runs scored, 205 home runs, a .277 team batting average, and a 4.76 team ERA.  The duo of Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens headed their pitching staff, combining to win a total of 32 games between them.  Mariano Rivera anchored the Yankee bullpen, winning seven games, saving 36 others, and compiling a 2.85 ERA.

Jorge Posada, Bernie Williams, and Derek Jeter led the Yankees on offense.  Posada hit 28 home runs, knocked in 86 runs, scored 92 others, batted .287, and compiled a .417 on-base percentage.  Williams led the club with 30 home runs and 121 runs batted in, and he also placed second on the team with 108 runs scored and a .307 batting average.  Jeter finished among the league leaders with 119 runs scored, 201 hits, and a .339 batting average, en route to earning a 10th place finish in the A.L. MVP voting.

Meanwhile, the Mets initially entered the postseason tournament as the National League’s wild-card representative, finishing the regular season just one game behind first-place Atlanta in the N.L. East, with a record of 94-68.  The Mets placed seventh in the National League in runs scored (807), sixth in home runs (198), 10th in team batting average (.263), and third in team ERA (4.16).  

Featuring a deep starting rotation that rivaled that of their World Series opponents, the Mets had five pitchers who won at least 11 games.  Al Leiter led the staff with 16 victories and 200 strikeouts, and he finished second on the team with a 3.20 ERA and 208 innings pitched.  Mike Hampton won 15 games and led the staff with a 3.14 ERA and 218 innings pitched.  Glendon Rusch, Rick Reed, and Bobby Jones each posted 11 victories.  Armando Benitez served as the team’s closer, saving 41 games and compiling a 2.61 ERA.

On offense, Robin Ventura hit 24 homers and drove in 84 runs.  Edgardo Alfonzo finished second on the club with 25 home runs and 94 runs batted in, and he led the team with 109 runs scored and a .324 batting average.  Mike Piazza was New York’s top offensive threat, tying Alfonzo for the team lead with a .324 batting average, scoring 90 runs, and finishing first on the club with 38 home runs and 113 runs batted in, en route to earning a third-place finish in the N.L. MVP balloting.

The World Series opened up at Yankee Stadium, with Game One remaining scoreless until the bottom of the sixth inning, when the Yankees scored twice against Al Leiter on a two-run double by David Justice.  However, the Mets quickly responded by scoring three runs off Andy Pettitte in the top of the seventh.  Bubba Trammell and Edgardo Alfonzo delivered the Mets’ runs with RBI singles.  The Mets retained possession of their slim 3-2 lead until the bottom of the ninth inning, when Chuck Knoblauch tied the game with a sacrifice fly off Armando Benitez.  The score subsequently remained knotted at 3-3 until Jose Vizcaino drove in Tino Martinez with the winning run in the bottom of the 12th inning with his fourth hit of the game.  Turk Wendell took the loss for the Mets, while Mike Stanton, who worked two perfect innings for the Yankees, got credit for the 4-3 victory.

Game Two saw the Yankees gradually build a 6-0 lead over the first eight innings, with Derek Jeter, Tino Martinez, and Paul O’Neill each collecting three hits.  The Mets made the contest interesting by scoring five times against relievers Jeff Nelson and Mariano Rivera in the top of the ninth, to close the gap to 6-5.  Home runs by Mike Piazza and Jay Payton drove in the Mets’ five runs.  But Rivera prevented the Mets from doing any further damage, giving the Yankees a 2-0 Series lead with a 6-5 victory.  Roger Clemens got the win for the Yankees, although he also created a considerable amount of controversy early in the contest by stirring up memories of an incident that occurred during the regular season.  During an Interleague game between the two clubs, Clemens had hit Mike Piazza in the head with a fastball that resulted in the Mets catcher getting a concussion and going on the disabled list.  In Piazza’s first at-bat against Clemens in Game Two, the Yankee right-hander shattered Piazza’s bat with a pitch.  The ball went foul, but a sharp edge of the bat came towards Clemens, who stalked off the mound and threw the bat remnants in Piazza’s direction as the latter jogged towards first base.  Clemens later offered an unconvincing explanation for his actions.  Nevertheless, his overzealousness put a damper on an otherwise brilliant performance.  Clemens shut out the Mets over the first eight innings, allowing them just two hits in the process.  

The Mets broke into the win column when the Series shifted to Shea Stadium for Game Three.  Entering the bottom of the eighth inning with the score tied 2-2, the Mets scored twice against Orlando Hernandez to take a 4-2 lead.  Armando Benitez got the final three outs in the top of the ninth to preserve the Mets’ victory, which ended the Yankees’ 14-game winning streak in World Series play that dated back to the 1996 Fall Classic.  The Mets’ win also snapped Hernandez’s undefeated postseason record (6-0).

Derek Jeter got the Yankees off to a flying start in Game Four with a leadoff homer against Mets’ starter Bobby Jones.  The Yankees also scored single runs in each of the next two innings, to take an early 3-0 lead.  The Mets countered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the third on a two-run homer by Mike Piazza off Denny Neagle.  However, neither team scored again, with both bullpens pitching exceptionally well the rest of the way.  The Mets’ bullpen held the Yankees to no runs on four hits the final four innings, while, in 4 1/3 innings of work, Yankee relievers allowed the Mets just two hits.  The 3-2 victory gave the Yankees a 3-1 Series lead.

Looking to clinch the Series with a win at Shea Stadium in Game Five, the Yankees scored first on a solo home run by Bernie Williams in the top of the second inning.  However, the Mets responded with two unearned runs off Andy Pettitte in the bottom of the inning.  The score remained 2-1 in favor of the Mets until Derek Jeter tied the game with a solo homer in the top of the sixth.  The two teams entered the ninth inning still tied at 2-2.  The Yankees, though, mounted a two-run rally, scoring their runs on a two-out single by Luis Sojo and a subsequent throwing error.  Mariano Rivera later faced Mike Piazza with two men out in the bottom of the ninth inning, with the Mets’ catcher representing the tying run.  Piazza hit a fly ball to deep center field that Bernie Williams gathered in for the final out.  The 4-2 victory gave the Yankees their third consecutive world championship, and their fourth in five years.  Derek Jeter earned Series MVP honors by batting .409, with two home runs, two runs batted in, and six runs scored.   

By Bob_Cohen
2000 World Series, Al Leiter, Andy Pettitte, Armando Benitez, Bernie Williams (New York Yankees), Bobby Jones, Bubba Trammell, Chuck Knoblauch, David Justice, Denny Neagle, Derek Jeter, Edgardo Alfonzo, Glendon Rusch, Jay Payton, Jeff Nelson, Jorge Posada, Jose Vizcaino, Luis Sojo, Mariano Rivera, Mike Hampton, Mike Piazza, Mike Stanton, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Orlando Hernandez, Rick Reed, Robin Ventura, Roger Clemens, Tino Martinez, Turk Wendell


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