Baltimore Orioles fans will always remember the name Jeffrey Maier. New York Yankees fans will always remember it as another clutch moment from Derek Jeter instead.
The O's held a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the eighth inning in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series in New York City on Oct. 9, 1996. With one out, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter stepped up to the plate to face Orioles reliever Armando Benitez. On the very first pitch, Jeter drove the ball deep to right field forcing O's outfielder Tony Tarasco to make his way to the warning track. Tarasco positioned himself right next to the wall and reached up to make the catch. But that's when Maier got in the way. The then-12-year-old reached over the wall and corralled the ball, pulling it beyond the wall for a home run to tie the game.
"The contention by Tarasco is that the ball is descending and the fan touches it," NBC announcer Bob Costas said during the instant replay. "He's right. He's right."
The Orioles, of course, were furious with right-field umpire Richie Garcia for sticking with his ruling of a home run. Unfortunately for Baltimore, replay review was not an option. The Yankees went on to win in extra innings thanks to a home run hit by outfielder Bernie Williams.
"It’s a play that whether or not it matters to me, it’s a play that’s important to the Yankees and it has a place in the history of the game,” Maier told the New York Daily News in 2012. "I’ve embraced that. I’m not looking to write a book about it or anything. But I think it’s a unique play."