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Happy Birthday to former Yankee Aaron Boone

Aaron Boone turns 42 years young today.The hero of 2003 was only in pinstripes for a single season, but he is beloved as if he were a lifelong Yankee.

Thursday, October 16, 2003. Game 7 of the ALCS against the Red Sox. Pedro Martinez and Roger Clemens squared off in a rematch of game 3. The Sox took an early 4-0 lead knocking Clemens out in the fourth inning with two on and nobody out. Mike Mussina came in for the first relief appearance of his career and bailed Clemens out by striking out Jason Varitek and causing Johnny Damon to hit into a double play. His three innings of scoreless relief kept the Yankees in the game with help from two solo home runs in the fifth and seventh innings by Jason Giambi. The eighth inning came around and Boston was still up 5-2. Martinez was still on the mound and proceeded to give up a double to Derek Jeter followed by a single by Bernie Williams. In a move that is still criticized to this day, Sox manager Grady Little went out to the mound but left a tiring Martinez in the game. He then gave up a double to Hideki Matsui and another double to Jorge Posada to tie the game and eventually send it to extras. Mariano Rivera came in for the ninth and pitched three shutout innings. Tim Wakefield pitched a scoreless tenth for Boston and in the bottom of the eleventh faced Aaron Boone, who had entered earlier as a pinch-runner. On Wakefield’s very first pitch of the inning, Boone launched a home run into the left field seats continuing the Red Sox World Series drought and lifting the Yankees to their sixth Fall Classic since 1996.

The New York Daily News dubbed the play the “Curse of the Boonebino.” This home run was rated the ninth best home run of all time on Baseball Tonight. Boone is affectionately known by Red Sox fans as “Aaron Fucking Boone.” On February 27, 2004, just four months after the most clutch homer in recent memory, Boone was cut from the Yankees after tearing a knee ligament in a pick up basketball game. He went on the play for the Indians, Marlins, Nationals and Astros before retiring in 2010.

He wasn’t the longest tenured Yankee. He didn’t have the most hits, the most home runs or have the best batting average, but with one swing of the bat Aaron Boone became a Yankee legend. Today we say Happy Birthday and thank you Mr. Boone.