Tonight, the New York Yankees will be playing their first Postseason game in San Diego since October, 21st 1998. While today is the first round of the ALDS, nearly 22 years ago the Yankees were clinching their 24th World Series victory over the San Diego Padres. When looking at that championship team, you can’t help but look at the incredible run of Yankees third baseman Scott Brosius.
Finding A Hidden Gem
Brosius joined the Yankees from Oakland following the 1997 season in a trade for the underperforming Kenny Rogers. The trade, which was the first for A’s general manager Billy Beane, was a pure salary dump as the Yankees agreed to retain half of Rogers’ contract just to get him out of New York. At the time, Brosius was seen as a light hitting utility infielder that could provide the Yankees with infield depth.
Instead, Brosius immediately rewarded the Yankees and swatted a career best .300/.371/.472 while earning his only all-star nod in 1998. The Yankees dominated that season as they roared into October. During the playoffs, Brosius would turn into a Yankees legend.
In the ALDS the Yankees found themselves against a pesky Texas Rangers team. In his first taste of the postseason Brosius had 4 hits in 10 at-bats including a home run as the Yankees overwhelmed Texas and moved to the ALCS against Cleveland. Against Cleveland, Brosius continued his dominant play with another home run while hitting .300.
1998 World Series
While Brosius was dominant all of October, he really stepped up against the Padres in the World Series. After a quiet game one, Brosius would hit three singles, score a run and drive in another as the Yankees took a 2-0 series lead. As the World Series shifted to San Diego, Brosius was just getting started. Leading off the top of the 7th, the Yankees found themselves trailing 3-0 as Brosius stepped into the box. Facing Padres reliever Sterling Hitchcock, Brosius started the Yankees rally with a home run.
The Yankees would cut the lead to 3-2 to set up Brosius’ next at bat in the 8th. This time, facing Padres Hall of Fame closer Trevor Hoffman, Brosius deposited a three-run bomb over the center field fence.
Brosius would add another clutch RBI in game four as the Yankees swept San Diego. Brosius would play a few more seasons with the Yankees, and while he never quite matched his 1998 heroics, he will always be a fan favorite in the Bronx.
As the Yankees move to face the top seeded Tampa Bay Rays, there is an opportunity for a new Yankee to fill the role of Brosius. To win in October you need your stars to play like starts but you also need key at-bats from guys hitting in the bottom of the order. Could fan favorite Gio Urshela be this year’s Brosius? Maybe it’s an opportunity for Clint Frazier or Kyle Higashioka to cement themselves in the Yankees lineup.