Once upon a time October meant World Championships for New York City, and this great 1996 Yankee team has once again made October in New York City a magic time of heroic achievement, a Championship Season.
The New York Yankees are the greatest franchise in sports, and New York is the greatest city in the world--and the Capital of the World.
The Yankees have created much of the history and legend of baseball, and now this 1996 Yankee team has written a new and glorious chapter in that history and legend.
Like New Yorkers themselves, this team plays best under pressure. Remember just one week ago today, the Yankees trailed the Braves 2-0, and all the experts said the Yanks couldn't do it.
Well, as they did against Texas, and against Baltimore. As they did all year, the Yankees came from behind and they won four of the most exciting games ever.
And their victory is an inspiration for all of us. It is a metaphor for a city whose people perform best under pressure. It is a metaphor for a city that is undergoing a great renaissance.
Today we celebrate the achievement of an entire team. They won as a team. Today we thank George Steinbrenner for bringing to our city yet another Yankee World Championship. And we thank George Steinbrenner for his commitment, his vision, and his courage in sticking with his ball players, even against the advice of many of the critics and experts.
Indeed, even as we celebrate the greatest victory in the world of baseball, and a terrific season, it is the human victories that most capture our hearts and our imaginations.
The victory of manager Joe Torre....Joe Torre from Brooklyn, New York, whose calmness, courage, love and never-say-die attitude set the tone for his entire team. The entire Torre family symbolizes the spirit of New York with their commitment, and their love of each other and of this Yankee ball club. From Joe's brothers, the dearly loved and departed Rocco Torre, and Frank, who has just received a new heart, to Joe's sisters, Marguerite Torre and Rae Torre, this family is a New York family--a Brooklyn family--it represents to all of us the very best of what New York City is all about.
And Bob Watson, the general manager, who had to undergo so much second guessing. It was all worth it as the players he acquired helped to make this great victory possible.
And most of all, we honor the players. This is a team where everyone contributed and no one complained. All the players put their private interests aside in the true team spirit and pulled together to capture the biggest prize of all. And as the pressure increased they just kept getting better, growing in confidence, and realizing that they have the talent to always come back.
This is a great day for the Yankees and their fans, and a great time to be a New Yorker. We are the Capital of the World, and the Champions of the World, and it just doesn't get any better than that.
To our heroes in pinstripes we say thank you for giving us a season we'll never forget and another October to remember.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Atlanta Braves. The Braves are a very talented organization that has enjoyed tremendous success, competing in four of the last five World Series.
I believe a lot of their success has to do with class. A perfect example of that class is seen in their gracious remarks about the Yankees after the series was over. Atlanta general manager John Schuerholz tipped his cap to the Yanks by saying, "the Yankees battled back. Call it tenacity, fight or grit... We battled our hearts out and so did the Yankees. And the Yankees prevailed."
The Braves are a great team. They were the champions of the world. When Greg Maddux left in the ninth inning of the sixth game, many Yankee fans applauded him because they, as baseball fans, admired his great performance. The Yankee victory means even more because this Yankee team was victorious over a great Braves team, and it makes the Yankee victory and achievement the stuff of which legends are made.
And so I would like everyone here to please join me expressing our admiration for a great team, organization and city...Atlanta.
I also want to thank Mayor Bill Campbell for sending me all the things I won...a case of Diet Coke, an order of ribs, and an Olympic warm-up suit. Today, Mayor Campbell is wearing a New York Yankee hat... in Atlanta.
And even though I won and he lost the bet, we're still sending Mayor Campbell a cheesecake from "Junior's" in Brooklyn. And we're also sending him two tickets to a performance of "Carmen" at the Metropolitan Opera on October 30th, starring that great Yankee fan, Placido Domingo.
Today I also want to pay special tribute to our New York Yankee fans. You are the very best. There will be many tributes to you today. You deserve them all. Even the opposing team recognized just how awesome you are. The Braves fine third baseman, Chipper Jones said, "The Yanks have got probably the best fans I've ever seen...almost willing their team to make things happen."
He's right. You are the best fans in baseball. In all of sports. And so today, I would like to present official "Certificates of Appreciation" to five Yankee fans who represent all Yankee fans. They not only represent the Yankee spirit of '96, they also represent the spirit that brings different generations together--fathers and sons, mothers and daughters--whole families root for the Yankees.
Our first fans are John Fahy and Megan Fahy. John and Megan are the son and daughter of NYPD Captain Margaret Fahy, who succumbed to cancer last February, and NYPD Deputy Inspector John Fahy, who tragically died with their son James during a fire at the Fahy home in Queens last April. John and Megan, we honor you today as proud members of a wonderful family, and as great Yankee fans. This World Series victory was for the Fahy family.
Next, Ed Pinsky. Ed is a teacher and Yankee fan from the Bronx, whose son shares his longtime love of the Yankees.
Next, Andrew Jappe. Andy is a professor at Mercy College. Andy and his son are longtime Yankee fans.
And finally, Gloria McMahon. Gloria is a great fan who shares her love of the Yankees with her daughter. Gloria represents the millions of women who love and root for the Yanks.
I would now like to ask you all to please step forward and receive your certificates of appreciation for being loyal and extraordinary Yankee fans. And now, I would like to ask Mr. George Steinbrenner to please come forward.
George, in honor of the Yankees championship season, I am honored to present you and the entire team with an official proclamation naming Tuesday, October 29, 1996, as "New York Yankees Day" in the City of New York.
Photos provided by the Mayor's Photo Unit