MLB: Jorge Posada Delivered in His Two Most Critical Plate Appearances

Jorge Posada had one of the most important hits in the glorious history of the New York Yankees.

Mention the come-from-behind victory against the Boston Red Sox in the seventh game of the 2003 ALCS and fans immediately think of Aaron Boone’s home run.

Who tied the game in the fateful eighth inning?

With the Yankees trailing 5-2, Nick Johnson led off the eighth with a pop-up to shortstop Nomar Garciaparra. Derek Jeter doubled off Pedro Martinez and Bernie Williams singled Jeter home.

In what Posada referred to as the game’s most important hit, Hideki Matsui smashed a ground rule double to right field to put the potential tying runs in scoring position. To this day, Red Sox manager Grady Little is questioned for not taking out Pedro in favor of left-hander Alan Embree.

Jorge Posada was the batter. Martinez remained on the mound to face the switch-hitting future Hall of Famer.

The count went to two balls and two strikes.

Pedro got the signal from his catcher, nodded assent, went into the windup and delivered a fastball in on Posada’s hands.

The pitch broke Posada’s bat as he swung and lifted a blooper into short center field. Johnny Damon raced in as fast his he could, but it was to no avail.

The ball fell softly onto the grass at Yankee Stadium as Williams scored the Yankees fourth run and Matsui raced home from second with the tying run.

After the game, Posada spoke to the media about his situation.

Speaking about Pedro, Posada said “I didn’t think he was losing it. He made some tough pitches. With one out, I couldn’t strike out. I’ve got to put the ball in play, and that ball found a lot of grass.”

Three years earlier, New York’s teams were tied 2-2 in the ninth inning of the fifth game of the World Series at Shea Stadium.

New York Mets left-hander Al Leiter retired the first two Yankees, bringing up Posada, who was quickly in an 0-2 hole.

Posada never gives up. He fouled off Leiter’s next three pitches and on Leiter’s 138th pitch, Posada drew a walk. It was a gritty, gutsy at-bat that produced the World Series winning run.

Scott Brosius singled to left field, moving Posada to second. Luis Sojo was the scheduled batter.

If Mets manager Bobby Valentine had removed Leiter in favor of John Franco, Glenallen Hill would have hit for Sojo. Leiter stayed in the game.

Yankees first base coach Lee Mazzilli told Sojo “Stay back, trust your hands, try to hit the ball up the middle.”

Sojo bounced Leiter’s 142nd pitch up the middle, over second into center for a base hit.

Posada rounded third as he looked over his left shoulder toward center field to see if he should try to score on Jay Payton’s throw home.

Mike Piazza planted himself on the baseline, forcing Posada to veer toward the mound as the ball arrived. The ball hit Posada and went into the Mets dugout as he scored the World Series winning run.

Don’t underestimate a determined Jorge Posada.


Kepner, T. (2003, Oct 17). For red sox, heartbreak in 11 innings. New York Times (1923-Current File), pp. A1-A1. Retrieved from

Olney, B. (2000, Oct 27). Subway series. New York Times (1923-Current File), pp. A1-A1. Retrieved from

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