Well I am not old enough to recall the play itself, but its significance to the Yankees and the game of baseball is very notable. Back in the archaic days of no instant replay, a home run was ruled instead of fan interference. The ball was caught by a 12 year old boy named Jeffrey Maier, who reached over the wall to snag the home run, hit by Derek Jeter on October 9th 1996. That home run would tie Game 1 of the ALCS, thanks to umpire Rich Garcia declining to call fan interference. Maybe he was just concerned about the reaction of the Yankees fans around the poor little boy, he might have been looked at in the same way that Steve Bartman was for so many years.
Regardless the Yankees won that game in extra innings, and then the Orioles filed a protest. Their protest was denied by AL President Gene Buding, and the rest is history. The glove that Jeffrey Maier used to prevent Orioles outfielder Tony Tarasco from catching that fly ball was sold at an auction recently. The glove was sold for 22,705 according to Heritage Auction. It was purchased on Saturday by an anonymous collector.
The Yankees defeated the Orioles in 5 games, and would win their 1st World Series since 1978. It would be the 1st title of 4 in a 5 year span. From 1998 to 2011, the Orioles had 14 consecutive losing seasons. It seems strange that it took over a decade for instant replay to be implemented after this blown call. Maybe Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga would have had his perfect game if MLB utilized the last technology for the benefit of the sport. Regardless, Jeffrey Maier’s “home run” snag is a memorable piece of Yankee history. Maybe in due time he will honored in Memorial Park.