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Heroics net Ibanez Postseason Moment GIBBY

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- It appeared to be the boldest call Joe Girardi would make in his position as the Yankees' manager, stripping Alex Rodriguez of his at-bat in the final innings of a playoff game.

Raul Ibanez ensured that the move went down as a brilliant one, permanently etching his name in franchise lore with two lethal home run swings in Game 3 of the American League Division Series.

Ibanez's power display against the Orioles was unforgettable for anyone who was in the Bronx that night. It also stuck in the memories of readers, who found Ibanez worthy of a Greatness in Baseball Yearly (GIBBY) Award as this year's best Postseason Moment.

"Being in that situation and being part of something like this," Ibanez said, "this great team, and obviously all the legends that have come before you, it's an extraordinary feeling, and it's a great blessing."

Stepping in for A-Rod, who was quietly dealing with a left hip injury that wouldn't be revealed until November, Ibanez crushed a game-tying home run off Baltimore's Jim Johnson in the ninth inning and then blasted the game-winner off Brian Matusz in the 12th, lifting the Yankees to a stunning 3-2 victory.

"I don't know how he does it," Yankees captain Derek Jeter said. "I don't know how you sit around all day, then come up and hit a home run, especially off the closer. Johnson's been outstanding all year, and Matusz has been doing a great job. So it's unbelievable by Raul."

It was hardly Ibanez's first big moment of the season. On Sept. 22 against the Athletics, Ibanez homered twice in a 14-inning Yankees win after starting the game on the bench, and on Oct. 2 against the Red Sox, he hit a ninth-inning homer to tie the game before connecting for the game-winning hit in extra frames.

Major League Baseball's A-listers won 2012 GIBBY trophies -- the ultimate honors of baseball's awards season -- based on votes by media, front-office personnel, MLB alumni, fans at and the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).

This year's GIBBY Awards featured nominees in 21 categories. Individual honors went to the MLB Most Valuable Player, in addition to the year's best starting pitcher, hitter, closer, setup man, rookie, breakout hitter, breakout pitcher, comeback player, defensive player, manager and postseason performer.

GIBBY trophies were also awarded for the year's top play, storyline, hitting performance, pitching performance, oddity, walk-off and Cut4 topic, from's Must C highlight reels.

Though the postseason magic didn't carry all the way to the ultimate goal for the Yankees, the acknowledgement of a GIBBY should be a pleasant reminder for Ibanez of the moment he became the only player in history to homer twice in a postseason game that he did not start.

Currently a free agent, Ibanez has expressed hope that he'll be able to suit back up in pinstripes in 2013. Considering his flair for dramatic moments, it's easy to see why the opportunity would appeal to him.

"I really didn't get an opportunity to take it all in, so I did [look back at ALDS Game 3] a couple of weeks ago," Ibanez told the YES Network recently. "I just feel blessed to have the opportunity to take part in something so great. Unfortunately, we fell short, but next year, moving forward, great things can happen in New York."

New York Yankees, Raul Ibanez