The last major-league baseball game of the century was won, fittingly, by the team of the century.
The New York Yankees made it look easy, reports CBS News Correspondent Randall Pinkston, defeating the Atlanta Braves 4-1 Wednesday night to become the first team to sweep back-to-back World Series since 1938 and 1939. The team that did it back then? The Yankees, of course.
At City Hall Thursday, mayor Rudolph Giuliani announced that a tickertape parade for the Yankees will be held Friday beginning at noon on lower Broadway. Following the parade, the mayor will hold a rally for the team at City Hall for 5,000 invited guests.
The end of the 1999 season came Wednesday night in a stadium that showcased the technological achievements of the last 100 years: It was a baseball game ending under bright lights near midnight, with a video-enhanced scoreboard run by computers and surrounded by stereo sound.
For 85-year-old Leo Fischman, the game was not as good as in the old days.
"They are not Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth and Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio," Fischman said. "Those guys played with heart. Today they play more for money."
Scores of brooms were raised by some of the 56,752 paying fans in anticipation of the four-game sweep of the Atlanta Braves. Most of those brooms were inflatable and were sold at the stadium.
People raised and lowered their brooms, groaning in mockery of the "Tomahawk Chop'' chant made famous over the last decade by Braves fans.
With one out in the ninth and the Yankees up 4-1, the crowd began a chant of "Sweep, sweep, sweep.''
Seconds after left-fielder Chad Curtis caught a fly ball to end the game, streamers were tosed onto the field and the Yankee players came together and collapsed on each other near the pitcher's mound. Hundreds of police officers, some on horseback, ringed the field.
"This must be what it's like to be a Yankee," said winning pitcher Roger Clemens"This is what everybody said it was all about."
Fans continued waving their brooms, many reluctant to leave the stands even 20 minutes after the game's end.
A far quieter celebration took place on the streets of Manhattan, where several hundred fans gathered to watch the game live on a massive television at Times Square.
Emerging theater patrons mingled with fans for the final innings and joined in the clapping as the Yankees drew closer to victory. The win drew loud cheers from the crowd and honking horns from passing cars.
"This is the most exciting victory, back to back after last year and closing out the century,'' said 47-year-old Elly Kleinman, of Brooklyn. "Tonight is history, because none of us are going to be around for the end of the next century.''
By early Thursday morning, the police department reported few disturbances and the issuance of a single summons for disorderly conduct.
Owner George Steinbrenner's team finished off a week in which it simply overwhelmed the club that had best record in the majors. Along the way, the Yankees also:
- Became baseball's first repeat champion since Toronto in 1992-93.
- Posted the first set of consecutive Series sweeps since the Yankees in 1938-39. New York beat San Diego four straight last year, capping off a record 125-win season.
- Completed an incredible run in which they won 18 of 19 postseason games. The only loss came when Clemens was beaten by Pedro Martinez at Fenway Park 11 days earlier.
- Overcame a year of adversity, from manager Joe Torre's prostate cancer in spring training to the death of outfielder Paul O'Neill's father early Wednesday. Scott Brosius and Luis Sojo also lost their fathers, Hall of Famers Joe DiMaggio and Catfish Hunter died and Darryl Strawberry was beset by health and legal problems.
- The Yankees won 12 straight in the Series in 1927, 1928 and 1932.
- The Yankees also share the Series record of eight consecutive losses, doing it in 1921-23. The Phillies also lost eight in a row in 1915-50.
- Derek Jeter has a 17-game postseason hitting streak, tying the record set by the Yankees' Hank Bauer in the World Series in the 1950s.
- Roger Clemens is 3-3 in 12 postseason starts.
- John Smoltis 12-4 in postseason play.