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Cole shows off sign he brought to 2001 WS

@BryanHoch
December 18, 2019

NEW YORK -- Informed that a minor internet controversy had been sparked by the faded 18-year-old poster board that he hoisted at his introductory news conference on Wednesday, the newest Yankee had to chuckle. Welcome to life in the Big Apple spotlight. Yes, Gerrit Cole insists, that was the same

NEW YORK -- Informed that a minor internet controversy had been sparked by the faded 18-year-old poster board that he hoisted at his introductory news conference on Wednesday, the newest Yankee had to chuckle. Welcome to life in the Big Apple spotlight.

Yes, Gerrit Cole insists, that was the same crinkled piece of cardboard that he was photographed holding prior to Game 6 of the 2001 World Series. The once-blue letters now appear tan, but they are still clearly legible: “YANKEE FAN TODAY TOMORROW FOREVER.”

How do projections see Cole's Yanks tenure?

“It's the same one,” Cole said. “It's 18 years old. I had it on my wall for a few years and I think that's why it faded. I tucked it in my closet and my folks brought it down. I think after we came to terms, at least initially when everyone else found out about it, we went to dinner and they dropped the sign off. I just decided I should probably bring it to New York.”

Cole said that if you were to inspect the sign closely, you would see Elmer’s glue holding the letters on. He recounted the sign’s origin, revealing that it had been created on a concierge level of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Phoenix, where the Coles (along with George M. Steinbrenner and his visiting Yankees) were staying for Games 6 and 7 of the World Series.

“I actually didn't make it,” Cole said. “There was another family that was there. We were staying on the same floor. There’s a little club area where you can get yogurt parfaits or something like that. They'd actually set up a little arts and crafts area and they'd made a sign, and they brought the sign to one of the games earlier, and then they didn't have tickets.

“So they left the sign with me since we were kind of all hanging out at the park. I wish I could remember their names. I talked to my dad this morning to see if he could remember, but we couldn't. I kept the sign; I love the sign.”

Unfortunately for Cole and the Yankees, the placard did not witness a Bombers victory that November night. Arizona trounced New York 15-2 in Game 6 and the D-backs rallied for a 3-2 victory in Game 7 on Luis Gonzalez’s decisive broken-bat hit off Mariano Rivera.

“It was really a wonderful opportunity to go to the 2001 World Series,” Cole said. “I think it was probably the only time the entire nation was rooting for the Yankees after the unfortunate events earlier in the year. What a franchise, with tradition and its success. It kind of embodies the true American dream.”

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and Facebook.