Relive Yankees winning 27th World Series title

May 3rd, 2020

Hideki Matsui's swollen knees presented an issue to manage throughout the 2009 season, and a shift to National League rules in the middle of the World Series provided an opportunity to rest those aching joints. When the Fall Classic returned to the Bronx for Game 6, the Yankees slugger was ready to erupt with an otherworldly performance.

Matsui set a record by driving in six runs, earning World Series MVP honors as the Yankees defeated the Phillies 7-3 and christened the new Yankee Stadium by celebrating the 27th World Series championship in franchise history.

"Even looking back to this day, what I did in Game 6 -- I know it was me, but it didn't feel like it was me," Matsui has said. "I felt like it was some kind of mystical powers that was behind all that performance. But coming back from Philadelphia and being penciled back into the lineup again, it felt good. And to be able to have that kind of performance in the game that decides the world championship, it felt very surreal. I felt like there was something mystical that was working behind me."

Matsui homered, doubled and singled in the clincher, highlighting a World Series in which he batted .615 with three home runs and eight RBIs. Matsui's second-inning two-run homer off Pedro Martinez opened the scoring, supporting starter Andy Pettitte and giving the Yankees a lead that they would not relinquish.

With ailing principal owner George M. Steinbrenner watching from his Florida home, the Yankees had adopted the rallying cry of "Win It For The Boss." It was to be the fifth World Series title for the Yankees' "Core Four" of Pettitte, Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera, and ultimately the last time they would hoist the trophy as players.

"You just remember the excitement, the joy, the feeling of accomplishing something that you set out to do eight months before that," Pettitte said. "It was even more gratifying for me and Jeet and Mo and Jorgie, because it had been so long since we had won. It seemed like, 'Man, are we ever going to be able to pull this off again?' -- especially as we were all getting older."

After Philadelphia's Jimmy Rollins halved the advantage with a third-inning sacrifice fly, Matsui responded with a two-run single in the home half of the frame. New York added three more runs in the fifth; Mark Teixeira laced a run-scoring single off Chad Durbin and Matsui greeted J.A. Happ with a two-run double to right field.

"He was a monster that series, I remember that," Happ said. "The one thing I remember was hanging a slider and I think he hit a double with a couple guys on base. When I saw it go in the gap, I knew it was not the place I'd like that ball to end up."

Ryan Howard hit a sixth-inning homer off Pettitte, but sharp relief by Joba Chamberlain and Damaso Marte placed the bubbly on ice in the home clubhouse. Mariano Rivera entered for the final five outs, notching out No. 27 by inducing Shane Victorino to roll a ground ball to second baseman Robinson Canó.

"I was going to bite that ball if I had to," Canó said. "The last thing you want is to make an error right there. So that's what I was thinking from the beginning: 'Robbie, be ready if it comes to you.'"

An accurate throw plopped into the pocket of Teixeira's glove, and that special baseball was stuffed into the first baseman's back pocket -- destined for the trophy case of Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner -- as an epic on-field celebration began. That revelry would later spill into the streets around Yankee Stadium and continue downtown through the doors of one of New York's most exclusive nightclubs, where many of the Bombers and celebrity chums partied the night away.

"It was so loud in the stadium, you literally couldn't hear yourself think," Nick Swisher said. "I feel like the ghosts from across the street came on over and really hooked us up, because to be able to do that the first year that the stadium was open, it's something no one can ever take away from us. We will always be remembered as champions."