Torre, Rivera help make history at Game 3 of 2001 World Series
The record books show it as Mariano Rivera’s 24th career Postseason save, a 2-1 New York Yankees win over the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game 3 of the 2001 Fall Classic.
But history says it was much more.
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On Oct. 30, 2001, at Yankee Stadium, the World Series came to New York City seven weeks after the 9/11 attacks on the United States. President George W. Bush threw out the game’s first pitch, wearing a bulletproof vest under his FDNY jacket but striding alone to the mound amid chants of “U-S-A, U-S-A” from the 55,802 fans in attendance.
The healing had begun – and baseball provided a huge assist.
“This will probably be the safest place in America,” Diamondbacks first baseman Mark Grace said before the game.
The contest itself was a classic, as the Yankees – down 0-2 in the World Series – scratched out a 2-1 win behind the pitching of Roger Clemens and Rivera.
Clemens allowed just three hits and one run over seven innings, while Rivera set down each of the six batters he faced – four via strikeout.
The Yankees took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on a home run by Jorge Posada off of Diamondbacks starter Brian Anderson, but Arizona tied the game in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Matt Williams.
Then in the sixth, Scott Brosius’ single scored Bernie Williams to give the Yankees the lead for good.
The President watched the game from the suite of Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, witnessing a taut performance that brought the Bronx Bombers back into the series.
The Hall of Fame’s collection includes a 2001 World Series baseball signed by President Bush.
New York would go on to win Games 4 and 5 in walk-off fashion, setting the stage for an unforgettable return to the desert that saw Arizona win Games 6 and 7 to take the title.
But for one night in the Bronx, fans put aside their favorite team to root for the game itself.
“We’ve been spoiled in this country that we have been free to go here and there and do whatever we darn pleased,” said Yankees manager Joe Torre, who would be elected to the Hall of Fame in 2014 and welcome Rivera as a Hall of Fame teammate five years later.
“But now, I think we understand that life is a little bit different and may never be the same again. We have to stay vigilant.”
Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum