(Robin Ventura’s Grand Slam Single – October 17, 1999 – Wikipedia)
October 17th has been an eventful day in baseball history, with a lot of big moments involving the Mets and Yankees.
Perhaps the greatest game on this date occurred in 2004. The Yankees were three outs away from sweeping the Boston Red Sox to win the American League Championship Series for the second straight year over Boston. Mariano Rivera, who the Red Sox had success against in the regular season, was on the mound. Kevin Millar worked out a walk against Rivera to open the bottom of the ninth. Dave Roberts went in to run for Millar and stole second base. Bill Mueller, who homered against Rivera to win a game at Fenway in July that year, lined one back up the middle to score Roberts and tie the game at 4. The game went on to the 12th inning, and David Ortiz hit a two-run homer off Yankee Paul Quantrill to win it for the Red Sox. This started the greatest comeback in baseball history, as the Red Sox won four games in four days to capture the American League pennant. They are still the only team in baseball history to win a series after being down 3-0.
Let’s take a look at the other big moments on October 17th:
1960: The National League owners voted to admit Houston and New York teams. They would become the Mets and Astros, and both debuted in 1962. The Mets became possible due to the efforts of attorney William A. Shea and the team was awarded to a group headed by Joan Payson. Judge Roy Hofheintz became the owner of Houston.
1964: The Yankees fired Yogi Berra after they lost the World Series in seven games to the Cardinals despite having a 99-63 record in the regular season. Ironically, Johnny Keane resigned as manager of the Cardinals to take the Yankees job. Keane was rumored in August to be replaced by Leo Durocher, but the team surged to win the World Series. Keane wrote the resignation letter to Cardinals owner Gussie Busch and General Manager Bob Howsam at the end of September at the height of the pennant race with the Phillies (who blew a big lead), Giants, and Reds.
1967: Red Sox Manager Dick Williams is named Manager of the Year after taking the Red Sox to the World Series in what became known as the “Impossible Dream.” The Red Sox came out of nowhere to go 92-70 and win the American League pennant before losing to the Cardinals.
1971: The Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Baltimore Orioles in Game 7 to win the 1971 World Series. Pirates starter Steve Blass threw a complete-game four-hitter, outdueling Baltimore’s Mike Cuellar. Roberto Clemente hit a home run off Cuellar in the fourth inning to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead. Clemente hit safely in all seven games of the series, just as he had done in 1960 against the Yankees, extending his World Series hitting streak to 14 games.
1978: The Yankees beat the Dodgers 7-2 in Game 6 in Los Angeles to win their second straight World Series. Bucky Dent, who hit the famous home run in the one-game playoff in Boston, was named the World Series MVP.
1979: Just as they did in 1971, the Pirates beat the Orioles in Game 7 to win the World Series. The Pirates won 4-1, led by Willie Stargell, who went 3-for-4 and hit his third home run of the series. the Pirates came back from a 3-1 deficit to take the Series.
1982: Robin Yount of the Milwaukee Brewers became the first player to have two four-hit games in a World Series, as he went 4-for-4 in Game 5 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Yount also had four hits in Game 1, as he went 4-for-6 in a Brewers’ 10-0 win over the Cardinals.
1985: Billy Martin was replaced by Lou Piniella as Yankees Manager. Martin was in his fourth stint as Manager, having replaced Yogi Berra early in the 1985 season and led the Yankees to a 97-65 record, and they finished in second in the American League East behind Toronto. Berra was so angered by his firing that he did not return to Yankee Stadium until 1999.
1987: In Game 1 of the World Series, the Minnesota Twins beat the St. Louis Cardinals 10-0 in the first World Series game played indoors at the Metrodome in Minnesota.
1989: An earthquake struck the Bay Area in California right before the start of Game 3 of the World Series between the San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics in San Francisco. The earthquake struck at 5:04 p.m., just minutes before the first pitch. The game was postponed, as the area suffered heavy damage. They finally played Game 3 ten days later, on October 27th, and the Atlhletics swept the series.
1998: The Yankees won Game 1 of the World Series against the San Diego Padres at Yankee Stadium. Yankees first baseman Tino Martinez hit a grand slam in a seven-run seventh inning to lead them to the 9-2 win. Tony Gwynn also homered in the game. The Yankees went on to win the World Series and cap a 125-win season.
1999: Mets third baseman Robin Ventura hit what came to be known as the “Grand Slam Single.” In the 15th inning of Game 5 of the National League Championship Series against the Atlanta Braves, Ventura hit a game-winning grand slam in the 15th inning, but he was mobbed by his teammates at second base, so he was credited with just a single. The Mets cut the Braves’ lead in the NLCS to 3-2 after losing the first three games, but Atlanta won the series two days later when Mets lefty Kenny Rogers, a starter coming out of the bullpen, walked in the winning run in the 11th inning.
That same day, the Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park 9-2, including 6 runs in the ninth inning, to take a 3-1 lead in the series. The Yankees won the American League pennant the next night, and they beat Atlanta in the World Series.
2000: The Yankees won the American League pennant for the second straight year on this date. They beat the Seattle Mariners in 6 games in the ALCS, and Game 6 was marked by a David Justice home run into the upper deck. This set up the first-ever Subway Series with the Mets, which the Yankees won in five games.
2001: The Yankees met Seattle again in the American League Championship Series, and won Game 1 in Seattle 4-2 with Andy Pettitte getting the win and Mariano Rivera the save. The Yankees won the series in five games, knocking off Seattle, who won 116 games in the regular season.