ESPN continues MLB Encore Tuesdays, a series of classic game broadcasts, this week at 8 p.m. ET with Game 4 of the 2001 World Series between the Arizona Diamondbacks and New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.
The game was chosen by a vote of ESPN.com users from a selection of games highlighting Yankees legend Derek Jeter. The other options were 1996 ALCS Game 1 ("The Jeffrey Maier Game"); July 1, 2004, vs. the Red Sox ("The Diving Catch"); July 9, 2011, vs. the Rays ("3,000th Hit"); and Sept. 25, 2014, vs. the Orioles ("Bronx Farewell").
• What you need to know: The Diamondbacks were up 2-1 in the series, winning the first two games in Arizona, 9-1 and 4-0 behind Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson. The Yankees scratched out a 2-1 victory in Game 3 behind Roger Clemens and Mariano Rivera, setting the stage for Game 4.
Schilling would start on three days' rest for the first time in his career. Joe Torre went with Orlando Hernandez, who at that point was 9-2 with a 2.56 ERA in the postseason (always an underrated part of that Yankees dynasty). Schilling had made headlines before his Game 1 start when he was asked about the Yankees' "mystique and aura" that helped them win three straight World Series. Schilling responded by suggesting those were dancers at a nightclub.
• Did you know? Jeter had been 3-for-28 (.107) in the ALCS and World Series entering the game. Torre shuffled his lineup for Game 4, moving Jeter into the leadoff spot, in hopes of sparking New York's struggling offense.
• The view from the field: "The first time I faced him [Arizona closer Byung-Hyun Kim], I bunted the first pitch, so I didn't get an opportunity to see him. Anytime you have someone throwing sidearm or underarm, it is going to take a few pitches to pick up his release point. I think the second time I was able to see a lot of pitches, so I think that helped." -- Jeter after the game.
Years later, Jeter admitted, "I can say this now. For my entire career, I could never pick up the release point on sidearm pitchers. I just could never figure it out."
"This is a game that the 25 guys in this locker room will remember for a long time." -- Yankees outfielder Paul O'Neill postgame
• You probably forgot he was in this game: Shane Spencer made a huge splash for the Yankees in 1998, when as a 26-year-old rookie he hit .373 with 10 home runs in 67 at-bats, most of that damage coming in September, when he homered eight times in 38 at-bats. Then he added home runs in his first two division series games, becoming an instant Yankees legend. He hadn't come close to those numbers again, but had hung around as a part-time player. He hit .258/.315/.428 in 2001 and after making a crucial diving catch in Game 3, he got another start in Game 4.
• One thing you might miss: The big postgame controversy was Diamondbacks manager Bob Brenly pulling Schilling after seven innings, three hits, nine strikeouts and just 88 pitches with Arizona leading 3-1 after scoring twice in the top of the eighth. Brenly was wearing a microphone and the Fox broadcast picked up Brenly telling Schilling, "That's enough, that's enough," with Schilling responding, "No, no, I'm all right."
In a book published in 2016, Fox announcer Joe Buck wrote that Schilling had told catcher Damian Miller that he was running out of gas and that Schilling was just playing up for the mic that he knew Brenly was wearing. After the book came out, Schilling called Buck "a liar" and said Miller and Brenly "would say so as well."
It's also true, however, that after Game 4, Schilling told an ESPN reporter that he was so sore he might not be ready to pitch Game 7 (although he did end up doing so). Brenly also indicated he took Schilling out with the idea that he would still be strong enough if he was needed for Game 7. Of course, if the D-backs won Game 4, they'd have been up 3-1 -- with Johnson awaiting in Game 6.
''It was a very easy decision to take him out, considering he was starting on three days' rest,'' Brenly said after Game 4. ''We had a lead, six outs left in the ballgame, that's the way we hoped it would work out.''
• The aftermath: The Yankees posted another dramatic win in Game 5 and headed to Arizona needing one win to clinch their fourth straight World Series title. The Diamondbacks routed the Yankees in Game 6, then staged their own dramatics in Game 7, rallying against the indomitable Rivera to end New York's reign.