On This Day In 1996: Orioles Were Robbed Of Game 1 ALCS Win By Yankees Fan Jeffrey Maier
BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- October 9, 1996 is a date that is still seared into the memory of many Orioles fans. It was on that date, in Game 1 of the ALCS against the New York Yankees, that things went sideways in the team's big for a World Series.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, leading 4-3, Armando Benitez faced a young Derek Jeter. Benitez had struck out the previous hitter, Jim Leyritz on five pitches. On the first pitch to Jeter, the 22-year-old hit a deep fly ball towards the short porch in right field at the old Yankees Stadium.
Right fielder Tony Tarrasco, in to replace Bobby Bonilla, seemed to have a bead on the ball as he backed up onto the warning track. Then, well, O's fans know what happened next.
Young Jeffrey Maier reached over the wall and snagged the ball and umpire Richie Garcia ruled it a home run. The Yankees would go on to win in extra innings thanks to a Bernie Williams homer off of Randy Myers in the bottom of the 11th. While the Orioles would go on to win the next game at Yankees Stadium 5-3, they headed back to Camden Yards with the series tied at 1-1 rather than a potential 2-0 lead.
That's not to say that the Orioles winning Game 1 definitely would have changed the outcome of the series. The team had gone just 3-10 against the Yankees that season. But, the logic of the situation doesn't change the feeling of being robbed of a playoff win. The Yankees would go on to win the World Series that year, their first of four in the next five seasons. The Orioles, they came back with a vengeance the following season, winning 98 games and the A.L. East before falling in the ALCS to the Cleveland Indians.
24 years later, the loss still stings.
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