Page 2 staff

It has become an annual tradition since the most recent Yankees' dynasty ended after their 2000 World Series win.

The New York Yankees' season ends without another World Series title, and Yankee haters everywhere rejoice. Doesn't matter whether it's the Angels, Red Sox, Marlins, Diamondbacks or now the Tigers eliminating New York, all that matters to Yankee haters is the premature demise of the team with MLB's biggest payroll.

David Ortiz
This man became Public Enemy No. 1 in New York in 2004.

In the past few Octobers, we've had to make several updates to Page 2's list of the 10 best moments ever for Yankee haters. After this year's collapse in Detroit, we submit our new top 10.

And, if you're a Yankee fan, you might want to avoid this list ... and go back to dreaming of the day when the Bronx Bombers will finally add that elusive 27th world championship.

1. Yanks complete biggest choke of all time (2004)
Bill Simmons has used the phrase only about 1,561 times in the last two years: "the worst collapse in playoff history in any sport."

On the morning of Oct. 17, 2004, the Yankees woke up with a 3-0 lead on the Red Sox, poised for a sweep after a 19-8 thrashing of the Red Sox at Fenway Park the night before.

Four days later, the baseball world woke up to a Yankees-Red Sox rivalry that would never be the same again.

What happened to that powerful team with a $185 million payroll? Well, in case you've forgotten, here's a quick recap: David Ortiz, Dave Roberts, David Ortiz (again), Curt Schilling's bloody sock, Johnny Damon's grand slam and the ultimate demise of the "1918" chant.

Oh, yeah, and the 2004 Yankees go into the history books as the biggest flop of all time.

2. Maz's ninth-inning homer (1960)

Bill Mazeroski
Bill Mazeroski finished off the Yankees with one mighty swing in 1960.

With the Pirates leading the 1960 World Series 3-2, the Yankees came back in Game 6 with a statement, a 12-0 blowout to force a seventh game. The statement turned out to be: We can outscore the Pirates big time, but we can't beat 'em.

In Game 7, it looked like the Yankees were on the way to victory, leading 7-4 going into the bottom of the eighth. The Pirates then rallied for five runs, which included a three-run blast by catcher Hal W. Smith. Broadcaster Jack Brickhouse described the crowd's reaction: "Forbes Field at this moment is an outdoor insane asylum."

Behind 9-7, the Yankees came back with two runs in the top of the ninth to tie the score. It wasn't enough.

The first batter up against Yankees pitcher Ralph Terry in the bottom of the ninth was Bill Mazeroski. He was an unlikely home-run hero. Maz had hit only 11 goombahs during the regular season. But this was his moment. On a 1-0 count, Maz's blast over the left-field wall gave the Pirates a 10-9 victory and their first world championship in 35 years.

Red Smith described the moment in his column the day after: "Terry watched the ball disappear, brandished his glove hand high overhead, shook himself like a wet spaniel, and started fighting through the mobs that came boiling from the stands to use Mazeroski like a trampoline."

3. D-Backs beat the unbeatable (2001)

Luis Gonzalez
Luis Gonzalez's bloop single registered like the Shot Heard 'Round the World.

For sheer drama, not many World Series topped the 2001 edition. You probably remember most of the details, so we'll just recount those final sweet moments, the ones that warmed the hearts of Yankee-haters all winter long.

It's November. The series is knotted at three games apiece. AL Cy Young winner Roger Clemens starts for the Yankees, and Curt Schilling, who finished second in the NL Cy Young voting behind teammate Randy Johnson, starts for the D-Backs. Naturally, it's a pitcher's duel. The Yankees take a 2-1 into the bottom of the ninth and stand three outs away from another world championship. Mariano Rivera, he of 23 consecutive postseason saves, is on the mound to wrap things up.

"I thought the game was over," New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said. "When you have Mariano Rivera in to pitch the ninth inning, most people are thinking about spring training."

As the mayor admitted, the D-Backs weren't most people.

Back to the BOB, present tense. Mark Grace leads off with a single to center field. Damian Miller lays down a sac bunt in Rivera's direction. He fields it, and tries to get pinch runner David Dellucci on a force at second. It's a bad throw, off Derek Jeter's glove and into center. Men on first and second, no outs. Jay Bell, pinch-hitting, lays down an ineffective bunt.

Dellucci is forced out at third. Tony Womack doubles, driving in a run. Score's tied at 2-2. Men on second and third. Rivera hits the next batter, Craig Counsell, to load the bases. Luis Gonzalez comes to the plate. The Yankees move the infield in. Rivera jams Gonzalez, who manages to hit a little blooper over Jeter's head. Bell scores. Diamondbacks win. Yankees denied their four straight World Series title.

4. Brooklyn's long wait ends (1955)
After the first two games of the 1955 World Series, it looked like it was "wait till next year" again for the Dodgers. They trailed two games to none against the Yankees, who had beaten them four times since the end of World War II -- in 1947, 1949, 1952 and 1953. But Johnny Podres was too young to remember what was supposed to happen. Pitching in Game 3 on his 23rd birthday, the Brooklyn hurler shut down the Yankees 8-3. The Dodgers won the next two games, but Whitey Ford pitched a four-hitter in Game 6 to keep the Yankees alive.

It would be a last gasp. Podres returned to the mound for Game 7 and kept his cool in front of a Yankee Stadium crowd of 62,465. The Yankees would get eight scattered hits, but the result would be a complete game shutout for the young pitcher.

The game-saving play, the magic moment for Dodger fans and Yankee-haters everywhere, came in the sixth inning. With Brooklyn clinging to a 2-0 lead, Dodgers manager Walter Alston sent Sandy Amoros to left field as a defensive replacement. Good thing. Billy Martin, leading off for the Yankees, walked. Gil McDougald bunted for a single. Men on first and second, Yogi Berra at the plate. Amoros shaded toward center to better defend against the left-handed pull hitter. But Berra didn't pull -- he sliced. McDougald and Martin were off and running -- no way Amoros could get to it. But he did, sprinting to make an improbable grab near the left-field line. He then fired to Pee Wee Reese, who threw to Hodges, who stepped on first to complete the double play. The Dodgers went on to win the game 2-0, and with it the Series.

In the immortal words of Red Smith, "That's how it went because that's how it was meant to go."

5. Martinez and Griffey send the Yankees packing (1995)

Edgar Martinez
Edgar Martinez was the toast of Seattle, while the Yankees drowned their sorrows in 1995.

The Mariners became only the fourth team in major league history to win after being down 2-0 in a five-game series. There was drama galore for Seattle fans in Games 3 and 4, but we'll focus on the final innings of the fifth game. The Yankees led 4-2 going into the bottom of the eighth.

Ken Griffey Jr. made it a one-run game by hitting his fifth home run of the series, off David Cone. Then Cone gave up a walk, a single, a walk and another walk to force home the tying run. The game went into extra innings knotted at 4-4.

With Randy Johnson, in fine form despite little rest, pitching in relief, the Yankees managed to scratch out a run in the top of the 11 and take a 5-4 lead. Facing Jack McDowell in the bottom of the inning, Joey Cora drag-bunted a single. Griffey hit a high hopper out of the infield, putting runners on first and third. Then up came Edgar Martinez, who got his bat around a high, inside splitter and drove it into the left-field corner, driving in both Cora and a sprinting Griffey. The Mariners won the game 6-5, and the series.

Inside the Kingdome, 57,411 fans went nuts. "Edgar! Eddddd-gar!" the chant went on, even after the Mariners left the field. Outside the stadium, it was "Ed-gar! Ed-gar!" also, long into the night and into the next day.

6. Josh Beckett sticks it to Yankees (2003)
After the Yankees had completed their improbable comeback in Game 7 of the ALCS, it was assumed they were headed to their fifth World Series title in eight years. Instead, Marlins right-hander Josh Beckett dominated the Yankees in a series-clinching shutout in Game 6. Beckett pitched a five-hitter at Yankee Stadium, striking out nine and walking two. Series over.

7. The Collapse (1981)
Sometimes, it's fun for Yankee-haters when a pinstriper breaks a World Series record. Which is precisely what Yankee relief pitcher George Frazier did in Game 6 of the 1981 Yankees-Dodgers matchup.

Fernando Valenzuela
Fernando Valenzuela and the Dodgers overcame a 2-0 deficit to stun the Yankees in the 1981 World Series.

The Series started in the Bronx, and the Yankees, as they so often do, made it look like it would be easy. They won the first two games, with Ron Guidry winning the opener and Tommy John winning Game 2. But then they had to go to Dodger Stadium.

The Bronx boys couldn't get used to West Coast time. In Game 3, the Dodgers won 5-4, thanks to a messy complete-game victory by Fernando Valenzuela and a three-run homer by Ron Cey. George Frazier, pitching in relief of Dave Righetti, took the loss.

In Game 4, Yankees starter Rick Reuschel blew a four-run lead, the Dodgers came back, the Yankees rebounded. Then it was the Dodgers' turn. First, Jay Johnstone pinch-hit a two-run blast. Then, Ron Cey hit a fly to right. Mr. October, Reggie Jackson, got blinded by Mr. Sun, and Cey reached second. Then he stole third and scored on a Bill Russell single. Score tied again.

Fortunately, dependable George Frazier was called out of the bullpen, the Yankees third reliever. He promptly allowed the Dodgers to load the bases with none out. He was on his way to the showers, and his Dodgers runners were on their way to home plate. Frazier took the loss. The Dodgers took the win, 8-7.

Game 5. Dodgers win their third one-run ball game in a row, 2-1, with Pedro Guerrero and Steve Yeager hitting back-to-back solo shots off starter Ron Guidry.

Back to Yankee Stadium. With the score tied 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth, Bob Lemon decides to pinch-hit Bobby Murcer for starter Tommy John. Bad decision. John thought so, as the TV cameras caught him clearly mouthing the words, ''I can't believe that," from his perch in the dugout. Murcer flies out to end the inning. Then Lemon makes another counterintuitive move. He brings in ... George Frazier to pitch the fifth. Frazier, who had been, in part, the victim of some sloppy play and bad bounces in his previous losses, must have forgot his rabbit's foot again. He let in three Dodgers' runs, on a single, a sac bunt, a bad bouncer that got by Willie Randolph, a bloop single and a Guerrero triple. The Dodgers go on to win 9-2. Frazier ties the World Series record of three consecutive losses and also sets a mark for most losses in a World Series that's shorter than seven games.

Frazier's series ERA: 17.17. The only bad part for Yankee-haters was the class Frazier displayed after Game 6. He didn't duck reporters. He said he was happy with his regular season 1.29 ERA, happy to be with the Yankees. "At least I was in the World Series," he said. ''This is the greatest year I ever had."

8. Brother, can you spare a run? (1963)
From a fan's point of view, the biggest drawback to watching a masterful pitcher at work is that there is no "magic moment." Instead, there is, on the mound, one beautiful brushstroke after another. And the opposing batters are like a blank canvas, doing nothing, really, but standing there.

Such was the case in 1963, when Dodgers starter Sandy Koufax threw complete-game victories in Games 1 and 4 for the Dodgers, silencing the Yankees' bats with 23 strikeouts. Don Drysdale, the Game 2 winner, and Johnny Podres, victorious in Game 3, also proved themselves masters. The Bronx Bombers didn't talk during the 1964 series, they whispered. Four games. Four runs. The Dodgers' bullpen barely stirred.

Sweep. Sweet.

9. Tigers oust favored Yankees in four games in ALDS (2006)
Alex Rodriguez offered a pretty simple assessment: "I sucked."

A-Rod wasn't alone, however, as baseball's most high-powered offense was shut down by the young Tigers. If you want more on the demise of the $200 million ballclub, click here for full details on the series.

10. "Go home, Yankees!" (2002)
It seems like only yesterday that 45,067 fans in Anaheim, on their feet in the ninth inning for every pitch thrown by reliever Troy Percival, chanted those magical words to the tune of the Bronx cheer, "Let's go, Yankees!" They shouted "Go home, Yankees! Go home, Yankees!" What they meant was this: Your season is over, Bronx boys. No World Series for you!

When the Yankees won the first game of this year's ALDS at the Stadium, we heard lots of talk -- the Angels had been a nice September story, but October was a time for experience. The Yankees had a lot. The Angels had almost none. End of story.

Then, the Angels came from behind to win Game 2. And came from behind again to win Game 3. And in front of a home crowd in Game 4, the Halos, behind again 2-1, served up a heavenly feast of fifth-inning runs. Eight of them, to be exact. Shawn Wooten led off the inning with a mouthwatering appetizer, a solo blast to tie the score. Before the inning ended, the Angels sated Yankee-haters everywhere, adding eight singles and a double to the 10-hit onslaught that put them ahead for good.

A league-best 103 wins. World champs four of the last six years. It didn't matter to the Angels. "We never cared about history," Anaheim first baseman Scott Spiezio said. "We're trying to rewrite history."