12 Years Ago Today: The Greatest Moment in Phoenix Sports History
|Mariano Rivera's 0-1 pitch to Luis Gonzalez.|
It's been a dozen years since the greatest moment in Phoenix sports history.
Twelve years ago today, in a tie game in the bottom of the ninth inning in Game Seven of the World Series at Bank One Ballpark, Luis Gonzalez poked a Texas Leaguer just over the infield dirt off Yankees closer Mariano Rivera that scored Jay Bell for the walk-off victory.
Arizona hadn't had a major sports championship before that World Series victory and hasn't seen one since. No, arena football and WNBA championships don't count.
That ninth inning was nothing short of a miracle, too.
Rivera came in for a six-out save with a 2-1 lead. He got all three outs in the eighth inning on strikeouts, including a strikeout of Gonzalez.
In the ninth, all hell broke loose.
Mark Grace led off with a single (David Dellucci came in to pinch-run). Damian Miller bunted a ball back to Rivera in the next at-bat, but Rivera threw the ball wide of Derek Jeter at second base, and both runners were safe.
Jay Bell, pinch-hitting for Randy Johnson, who made a four-out relief appearance, also bunted. Rivera fielded that ball, and tossed it to third-baseman Scott Brosius, getting Dellucci out at third. However, Brosius failed to throw to first to try to get the double play.
With one out, Tony Womack slapped a double to right field, scoring Midre Cummings -- who pinch-ran for Miller -- tying the game, and putting Bell, who could have been thrown out the play before, on third base.
Rivera hit the next batter, Craig Counsell, loading the bases, with Luis Gonzalez at the plate. Anyone who's ever heard of the Arizona Diamondbacks knows what happens next.
Maybe November 4 needs to be some sort of annual state holiday, when we all stay home from work and reflect on how thankful we are for Luis Gonzalez. Call your legislators.
You can see that entire Game Seven -- yes, the entire game -- in the video below:
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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.