Embed from Getty ImagesRiver Ave. Blues just wrapped up its fantastic Retro Week that covered the Yankees’ 1998 season. As a seven year-old turning eight in September, I was still pretty young at the time and don’t have too many vivid memories of that year. I recall watching the Sportscenter before school to find out about the home run race between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, and also remember watching McGwire’s 62nd blast, but my Yankees-specific memories are pretty limited.
I have three distinct memories from that year: two games I attended over the summer and the moment Tino Martinez hit his famed grand slam against Mark Langston in the World Series.
For Tino’s World Series blast, all I remember was jumping up and down on my parents’ couch. I was going wild, for an eight year-old.
I also remember sitting in the upper deck, third base side, at a mid-September game (for my birthday) against the Blue Jays on September 12th. I don’t remember any details of the game except that David Wells pitched. Pretty nondescript.
Out of everything in 1998, though, it was a game between the Yankees and Rangers on August 13th that I have the fondest memory of. Orlando Hernandez pitched and was magnificent, striking out thirteen batters while falling just two outs short of a complete game. I was sitting with family in the upper deck behind home plate, slightly off center to the left if I recall correctly. The gradually growing excitement of the crowd as each and every strikeout amassed was something I hadn’t yet experienced in person, which left a lasting impression. Reading this great piece about El Duque on RAB last week reminded me of that game, even though it wasn’t mentioned in that particular post.
I’ve seen the 1998 team’s highlights countless times and even remember one playoff moment well, but it’s still a random game in August that has stuck with me the most. I often wish that I was a little bit older at the time so I could have appreciated what was accomplished, but I’ll gladly take what I suppose I should call my indoctrination to a Yankee Stadium crowd.