On This Date in D-Backs History: Gonzalez’s Walk-off Caps Historic World Series

By Matthew Hochberg

One of Mariano Rivera’s few career blemishes came against Luis Gonzalez and the Diamondbacks in the 2001 World Series. Credit: John Munson/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports

Where were you twelve years ago? November 4, 2001 was not only historic for the Arizona Diamondbacks but for the sport of baseball as well. The D-Backs beat the New York Yankees 3-2 and became the quickest expansion team to ever win the World Series.

After splitting the first six games of the series, it all came down to Game 7 at Bank One Ballpark (remember that place!?) on Sunday, November 4. The game was scoreless until the bottom of the sixth inning, when Danny Bautista‘s double brought home Steve Finley. The Yankees, however, responded in the following inning. Tino Martinez drove in Derek Jeter to even up the game 1-1.

The Bronx Bombers took the lead in the top of the eighth after Alfonso Soriano blasted a solo shot off Curt Schilling. The score remained 2-1 until the bottom of the ninth. Tony Womack‘s double scored Midre Cummings and, just like that, the game was tied 2-2. After Mo hit Craig Counsell, the bases were loaded for Luis Gonzalez. On an 0-1 pitch, Gonzalez blooped a single over the head of Jeter, who was playing drawn-in. The ball barely reached the outfield grass, but it was good enough to get Jay Bell to the plate.

It was the first major professional sports championship for the state of Arizona, and the D-Backs accomplished it in just their fourth year of existence. Randy Johnson and Schilling were named co-MVP’s of the Series.