NEW YORK, UNITED STATES: Members of the New York Yankees celebrate on the pitchers mound after beating the Atlanta Braves to win the World Series at Yankee Stadium in New York 26 October. The Yankees won the game 3-2 to claim the series four games to two. AFP PHOTO/Henny Ray ABRAMS (Photo credit should read HENNY RAY ABRAMS/AFP/Getty Images)
This season the New York Yankees are commemorating the twentieth anniversary of the 1996 World Series championship team. Folks upstate around my neck of the woods in the Capital Region remember that squad had a distinctly Albany feel to it. In fact, 15 of the players on the club spent some time with the old Eastern League, Double-A, Albany-Colonie Yankees. Here’s a look back.
Derek Jeter: SS (1994)
Before winning AL Rookie of the Year in 1996, Jeter batted .377 with Albany-Colonie in 1994.
Gerald Williams: OF (1990-91)
Prior to preserving Dwight Gooden’s no-hitter in 1996, “Ice” played parts of two seasons with Albany-Colonie, batting .286 for the 1991 Eastern League champs.
Bernie Williams: CF (1989-90)
In 1996, “Bernie Baseball” was ALCS MVP. Williams also had a championship pedigree with A-C, hitting eleven home runs with the 1989 Eastern League title team.
Jim Leyritz: C (1988-89)
Known for his signature blast in Game 4 of the 1996 World Series, “The King,” was the Eastern League batting champ, hitting .315 as Albany-Colonie won the crown in 1989.
Andy Fox: 2B (1993-94)
Fox was a versatile infielder with speed in New York and at Albany-Colonie in 1994, Fox hit eleven home runs and stole 22 bases.
Pat Kelly: 2B (1990, ’92, ’94)
Kelly, known for his defense, speed and bunting ability was injured most of 1996. With Albany, PK was an Eastern League All-Star in 1990, batting .270 with 32 stolen bases.
Robert Eenhoorn: IF (1992-93)
Eenhoorn played just 12 games with the Yankees in 1996. Eenhoorn batted .280 with A-C in 1993.
Jorge Posada: C (1993)
While the aforementioned Leyritz and Joe Girardi shared the bulk of the catching duties, Posada appeared in eight games in 1996. In 1993 with Albany-Colonie, Posada batted .280 across seven games.
Matt Luke: OF (1994)
Luke got into one game and scored a run as a pinch runner in 1996. In 1994, Luke hit eight home runs and batted .284 with Albany-Colonie.
Andy Pettitte: SP (1993-94)
In 1996, Pettitte led the AL with 21 victories, was an AL All-Star and ranked second in AL Cy Young voting. Pettitte’s first win at a major-league ballpark came in 1993, as he and Albany-Colonie defeated the Bowie Baysox at Memorial Stadium. In 1994, Pettitte went 7-2 with a 2.71 ERA for A-C.
Mariano Rivera: RP (1994)
In 1996, Mo finished third in AL Cy Young voting, whiffing 130 in 107.2 innings, with a 2.09 ERA and a record of 8-3. When he was a starting pitcher with Albany-Colonie in 1994, Rivera went 3-0 with a 2.27 ERA in nine outings.