Yankees Vault: Bobby's off-the-bench slam

May 16th, 2021

MLB.com is digging back into its massive video vault to uncover classic plays that you have loved, forgotten about or, perhaps, are discovering for the very first time. Watch these moments and many, many more on the MLB Vault YouTube page.

April 9, 1981: Murcer's pinch-hit grand slam
Bobby Murcer's third and final stint with the Yankees is remembered most for his famous eulogy and huge performance in a nationally televised game following Thurman Munson's tragic death in 1979, but Murcer also enjoyed a quality season as a pinch-hitter in '81. He began that campaign with a pinch-hit grand slam on Opening Day at Yankee Stadium, entering the game in the seventh inning and crushing a ball to right field to blow open a rout against the Rangers. Murcer's clutch slam earned him a "Holy Cow!" from Phil Rizzuto in the booth and a "Bobby!" chant from the Stadium crowd.

May 14, 1996: Williams' catch aids Doc's no-no
No, that's not Bernie Williams, but Gerald Williams doing his best Willie Mays impersonation on this over-the-shoulder catch in center field. This play by Gerald Williams -- who was subbing for the injured Bernie Williams -- was impressive all on its own, but it also happened to come in the first inning of Dwight Gooden's famous no-hitter, recorded 25 years ago this week. Williams' play on Alex Rodriguez's line drive turned out to be one of the Mariners' best chances for a hit that night.

May 21, 1993: Boggs goes 4-for-4 in return to Boston
Wade Boggs hit .369 at Fenway Park and won five American League batting titles during his 11 seasons with the Red Sox, and while his Boston tenure didn't end on great terms, many fans were still eager to give Boggs a long standing ovation before his first Fenway at-bat in a Yankees uniform. Then, Boggs turned back the clock to his peak Boston days, knocking four singles in four at-bats as the Yanks lost, 7-2.

Oct. 4, 1961: Ford marches toward World Series record
In the 1950s and early 1960s, there was no better pitcher to set the tone in Game 1 of a World Series than the Chairman of the Board, Whitey Ford. In this clip, the late Yankees ace gets Reds outfielder Vada Pinson to pop out to shortstop Tony Kubek to wrap up a shutout in Game 1 of the 1961 Fall Classic. The gem marked Ford's third consecutive World Series shutout after he'd also put up goose eggs in Games 3 and 6 against the Pirates in the previous year's Series.

Ford's teammates Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle dominated the headlines in 1961, but it was arguably the biggest year of Whitey's career. He led the Majors with a career-high 25 wins, captured his lone American League Cy Young Award and passed Babe Ruth with a record 33 consecutive scoreless innings in World Series play.

Sep. 9, 2005: Posada wins collision with Varitek
Here's a play you just don't see much anymore, due to recent rules in place to protect catchers from home-plate collisions. In a 2005 matchup near the height of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry, Boston captain Jason Varitek rumbled home as Kevin Millar's double rolled into the left-field corner. After a textbook relay from Hideki Matsui to Derek Jeter to Jorge Posada, Varitek barreled into his catching counterpart in a big collision at home plate -- but Posada was ready and hung on for the out. The Yanks would go on to win that night, 8-4.

Oct. 14, 1978: Nettles saves two runs in World Series Game 3
The Yankees were already down 2-0 to the Dodgers in the 1978 Fall Classic, and it was clear that ace Ron Guidry didn't have his best stuff in a must-win Game 3. Enter third baseman Graig Nettles, who picked up Guidry by saving as many as four runs with a series of quick-twitch plays in New York's 5-1 victory.

Shown below is one of those gems, as Nettles somehow came up with a clean pick of this screamer off the bat of Dodgers second baseman Davey Lopes, then completed a forceout at second base to end the sixth. This play saved two runs and got Guidry out of his second consecutive bases-loaded jam unscathed. The Yankees never looked back after Game 3, sweeping the last three contests to secure their second straight World Series title.

June 28, 2009: Mo gets his only career RBI
Mariano Rivera retired with just seven combined regular and postseason plate appearances, but Mo does have one career RBI to his credit. And, because it's Mo, he made it look effortless.

With the Yankees already holding a 3-2 lead over the rival Mets on Sunday Night Baseball, the Bronx Bombers worked the bases loaded with two outs against Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez. Rivera borrowed a batting helmet from teammate Cody Ransom and worked a full-count walk that brought home Melky Cabrera, meaning he got his only career RBI with the bat on his shoulder. Rivera also happened to join Trevor Hoffman in the 500-save club that night, but he was more excited about that RBI.

July 7, 2014: Jeter fools Kipnis, turns fake DP into real one
Even in his 20th and final season in the big leagues, 40-year-old Derek Jeter still had a few tricks up his sleeve. Cleveland's Jason Kipnis found that out the hard way in a July 2014 game at Progressive Field after his teammate, Asdrúbal Cabrera, lofted a pop up by third base in foul territory. Instead of staying at first base, Kipnis took off for second because Jeter had faked as if he were receiving a throw to turn a basic ground-ball double play.

By faking one double play, Jeter had ingeniously created another. Kipnis was caught dead to rights in no man's land, and New York turned a brilliant, inning-ending 5-6-3 DP.

Aug. 25, 2011: Yanks club record three grand slams
A 7-2 deficit in the fifth inning is no problem when you're on the cusp of making history. Robinson Canó quickly cut into that Oakland lead with a grand slam to the bleachers in right field. An inning later, Russell Martin knocked a slam of his own to right-center that gave the Yankees their first lead of the afternoon.

That would have been a day's work for most offenses, but the Bronx Bombers weren't done. With New York holding a commanding 17-8 lead in the eighth, Curtis Granderson tacked on another grand slam to make the Yanks the first and -- as of 2021 -- the only team to belt three slams in one ballgame.

"You're not going to see it again, probably," said Derek Jeter, who himself came up four separate times with the bases loaded. "You can't explain it."

Sept. 15, 1988: Washington steals home off Clemens
How do you beat an all-world, in-his-prime ace like Roger Clemens in 1988? Well, a clean swipe of home plate certainly helps. That's what Yankees center fielder Claudell Washington was able to do with Clemens on the mound in the fifth inning of a September New York-Boston matchup at Fenway Park, adding insult to an already atypical night for The Rocket in a 5-3 Yankees victory.

Washington later revealed that he had a tell: Clemens had a habit of ducking his head before going into his famous power windup, and that's all the speedy Washington needed to take off.