It was twenty years ago this morning when Derek Jeter stepped to the plate in the bottom of the tenth inning before a raucous but weary Yankee Stadium crowd in game four of the 2001 World Series against the upstart Arizona Diamondbacks. The D-backs held a two games to one lead and New York desperately wanted to avoid going down three games to one. The Yankees had avoided that fate in the bottom of the ninth when Tino Martinez belted a thrilling two-out, two-run homer to tie the game at 3-3. But as the clock struck midnight on this Halloween night the game’s outcome was far from certain.
As Jeter came to the plate it would be the first time that a World Series game was played in November. Derek glared out at Arizona’s star reliever Byung-Hyun Kim and then in typical Jeter fashion lashed an outside pitch to right field. The screaming liner easily cleared the right-field wall for a dramatic game-winning, walk-off home run tying the series at two games apiece.
For his heroics that night Jeter justly earned the moniker Mr. November, but his Hall-of-Fame career was full of other clutch hits and postseason records. While winning 5 World Series rings Jeter has played in a Major League record 158 postseason games. He also holds the postseason records for most plate appearances (734), most at-bats (650), most total bases (302), most hits (200), most singles (143), most runs scored (111), most doubles (32), and most triples (5). In addition, he has an impressive .321 lifetime World Series batting average in seven Fall Classics and is fourth all-time in World Series runs scored with 32 and fifth in hits with 50. He was the 2000 World Series MVP. And as might be expected Mr. November has a .300 lifetime batting average in his seven November World Series games. A true champion for any month.