12. Jim Leyritz Jumpstarts a Dynasty
The greatest home run in Yankee history? It's got stiff competition, but hear us out. In Game 4 of the '96 World Series, the Yankees were down 2-1 in the Series, and had fallen behind 6-0 entering the 6th inning. The Bombers rallied for three runs that inning, and Leyritz's 3-run dinger in the 8th completed the comeback; the Yanks won the game 8-6 and swept the final two games of the Series to take their first title since '78. But if Leyritz doesn't hit that home run? The Yankees likely lose Game 4. Down 3-1 on the road, it's easy to see them losing Game 5 and the Series as well. Frustrated at the Bombers' lack of run production in the Series, George Steinbrenner signs Albert Belle in the offseason, and trades Derek Jeter and set-up man Mariano Rivera to the Red Sox for Mo Vaughn. The rest is a haze of fan-assault lawsuits, destroyed buffet spreads, and Red Sox titles. Yeah, that's how important Leyritz's homer was.