4 Jul 2000: David Justice #28 of the New York Yankees swings at the pitch during a game against the Baltimore Orioles at the Yankees Stadium in New York. The Orioles defeated the Yankees 7-6.Mandatory Credit: Jamie Squire /Allsport
BRONX, N.Y. — On this date in 2000, the New York Yankees acquired outfielder David Justice from the Cleveland Indians. Searching for a big bopper, the Bronx Bombers had inquired about the likes of Sammy Sosa and Juan Gonzalez but ultimately found their man in Justice.
The trade came somewhat out of the blue, with those aforementioned marquee names garnering attention and given how the Yankees and Indians were usually jockeying for the top record in the American League. At the time of the trade, the Yankees were 37-35, three games behind the Toronto Blue Jays in the AL East.
After sending outfielder Ricky Ledee and pitching prospects Jake Westbrook and Zach Day to the Tribe, Justice and his sweet lefty swing was an instant fit in pinstripes.
In 78 games, Justice swatted 20 home runs, ranking third on the team, behind Bernie Williams and Jorge Posada. Justice also posted a slash line of .305/.391/.585.
There were a number of additional roster tweaks made by general manager Brian Cashman but Justice was the difference-maker in lifting the Yankees to a third consecutive AL East crown.
Bringing his postseason pedigree from the Atlanta Braves and Indians, Justice also lifted the Yankees to greater heights, earning the ALCS MVP with a pair of big home runs. Get your tokens ready!
From there the Yankees would defeat the New York Mets in the Subway Series World Series and earn the three-peat.