Bobby Valentine and Joe Torre: Courtesy of Jerry Coli / Dreamstime

July 8, 2000: Yankees defeat Mets twice in rare twin bill in separate ballparks

This article was written by Thomas J. Brown Jr.

Bobby Valentine and Joe Torre: Courtesy of Jerry Coli / Dreamstime

Mets manager Bobby Valentine and Yankees manager Joe Torre. (Courtesy of Jerry Coli / Dreamstime)


It was a once-in-a-century event for baseball fans in New York. The Mets and the Yankees were facing each other in two different ballparks on the same day.1

The Yankees started the day a half-game in front of Toronto in the American League East. The Mets came into the “subway series” 2½ games behind the Atlanta Braves. Both teams were excited about the series. Mets pitcher Turk Wendell said it was special because the teams were doing “something that nobody has done in 97 years. It’s pretty cool to be part of that.”2

The Mets lost the first game of the four-game set on Friday when Paul O’Neill jumped up and stole a home run from Derek Bell in the bottom of the eighth to give the Yankees a 2-1 win.

Dwight Gooden started for the Yankees in the first game on Saturday. It was the first time Gooden took the field at Shea Stadium as an opposing pitcher. “It was surreal seeing him on the mound in a Yankee uniform,” Todd Zeile said afterward. Gooden pitched five innings and surrendered the only two Mets runs in the Yankees’ 4-2 victory.

The first game was not without some controversy. Chuck Knoblauch led off the game with a single to center. Jay Paytonbobbled the ball and Knoblauch went for two. After he was thrown out, first-base umpire Rob Cook said that Zeile had interfered with Knoblauch and awarded him second. Mets manager Bobby Valentine argued the call, even pointing out Knoblauch’s path on the dirt. His arguing got him thrown out of the game and the Mets played the game under protest.

To make the afternoon even stranger, Zeile was called for interference again in the fourth. The second-base umpire, Mark Carlson, said that Zeile had interfered with Knoblauch as he ran to second. Zeile said later that the calls were “more than strange,” adding, “How many times do you see an obstruction play in a game, let alone with the same two players?”3

The first game ended at 4:30, with the next game scheduled for 8:05. After eating a team dinner at Shea Stadium and changing into their away uniforms, both teams were given a police escort across town while fans fought traffic or maneuvered the subway system. The Mets were greeted “with a lavish welcome from fans behind the barricade inside Yankee Stadium. They chanted ‘Let’s Go Mets’ as the team walked in.”4

Thirty-seven-year-old Roger Clemens started the second game for the Yankees. The right-hander entered the game with a 5-6 record. He had lost his first three starts against the Mets since joining the Yankees in 1999. Clemens almost hit Lenny Harris with the second pitch of the game. “It missed me by inches,” Harris said. “I thought, ‘Oh, God.’ A guy could lose his career.”5 The next Mets batter, Bell, was also brushed back by Clemens.

After Clemens retired the Mets in order in the first, he faced Mike Piazza to start the second. The 31-year-old catcher entered the game with a .354 batting average, 24 home runs, and 72 RBIs. He had been successful against Clemens in the past with 7 hits in 12 at-bats that included three home runs. Clemens’ first pitch was an inside fastball for a called strike.

The second pitch, a 92-MPH fastball, came high and inside. An observer described it: “Piazza realized the ball was coming at him and began ducking, but it hit him solidly on the helmet, just above the bill. He fell onto his back, eyes closed and then open, his expression blank.”6

The entire Mets team raced to the top of the dugout with bench coach and former Mets catcher John Stearns shouting at the umpires. “I didn’t hit Mike on purpose,” Clemens said after the game. “I was going to pitch him inside. I don’t know if I’ve pitched inside as much as I need to this year. Mike has obviously hit me well.”7

While Piazza remained on the ground surrounded by the trainers, manager Valentine was furious as he shouted at Clemens. Piazza was forced to leave the game. He was later diagnosed with a mild concussion. “He threw at Lenny’s head, he threw at Derrick’s head and he hit Mike,” Valentine said. “Clemens is going to the Hall of Fame. He doesn’t have that bad control.”8

While Piazza was being treated, Clemens stood in front of the mound, looking down. “I was shaken after I hit him,” he said. “That was not the way I wanted to get him out.” Meanwhile the Mets were shouting profanities at Clemens from the dugout steps. Todd Pratt, the Mets’ backup catcher, said of Piazza. “He’s our leader. You always want to watch out for a teammate, but he’s the No. 1 guy. There’s a lot of emotions with seeing him go down.”9

After the dust settled, both teams got back to baseball. Clemens retired the next seven Mets. In the fourth inning the Mets put a runner in scoring position on singles by Edgardo Alfonzo and Matt Franco (who had replaced Piazza). But Clemens struck out Robin Ventura and got Zeile to ground out, keeping the Mets off the board.

Left-hander Glendon Rusch started for the Mets. The 25-year-old Rusch entered the game with a 6-6 record. He had faced the Yankees five times when he played for the Kansas City Royals and lost each time. It was his first start against the Yankees since his trade to the Mets in 1999.

In the bottom of the second, Tino Martinez, who had homered in the first game, led off and Rusch hit him on the back with a fastball. Both teams were given a warning as “Martinez glanced at Rusch, flipped his bat away and jogged to first, while 55,821 roared.”10

The Mets took a two-run lead in the fifth. Melvin Mora hit a two-out single and stole second. Clemens walked Harris. Singles by Bell and Alfonzo scored two runs before Franco’s groundout ended the frame.

The lead did not last. David Justice and Shane Spencer singled to open the Yankees’ half of the fifth. Chris Turner’s sacrifice moved the runners up. Scott Brosius lined a single to right field to score Justice and advance Spencer to third.

Knoblauch then hit a liner to left. Harris drifted back toward the wall, jumped, and reached up. The ball landed in his glove for an instant but then the glove hit the wall and the ball bounced over the wall for a three-run homer. The Yankees were ahead 4-2.

“All those ghosts in left field, maybe they pulled the ball out of my glove,” Harris said later. “I thought I had it. Unbelievable.”11

Both pitchers were flawless the rest of the way. Rusch retired the next 11 batters but the damage was done. He struck out 10 batters and walked none in a losing effort. Clemens retired the next six batters. He left in the eighth inning with a man on base – Bell with a leadoff double – and one out. Clemens finished with four strikeouts and one walk. Yankees manager Joe Torre brought in Mike Stanton, who got the next two batters out on six pitches.

Mariano Rivera, who earned a save in the first game, came in to finish the second game as well. Payton reached base on an error but the Mets couldn’t capitalize. Rivera retired the next two batters to give the Yankees a sweep of the doubleheader and earn his second save of the day.

Valentine was still angry at Clemens after the game. He told reporters that he “hoped Roger Clemens would pitch a Subway Series in a National League park so that he would have to come to the plate against the Mets.” Torre, who defended his pitcher, said, “Bobby wants to get a bat against Clemens? Good, I’d like to see that.”12

Piazza was angry about the incident when he talked to reporters the following day. But then the catcher brought some levity to the situation when he said, “The only positive thing that would have come out of it is I would have been remembered as the best defensive catcher in baseball history. … You know how when someone is gone, how they always get pumped up? People would have said, ‘You know, he wasn’t that bad.’”13

Despite missing Piazza, the Mets won the final game of the series, 2-0, at Shea Stadium on Monday behind Mike Hampton’s seven-inning, eight-strikeout performance. The two teams eventually met in the World Series and Piazza’s and Clemens’ paths crossed once again – with both players almost coming to blows.14

In the end, it was about a memorable once-in-a lifetime doubleheader.15 Torre told reporters after the game that “the handful of fans who had tickets for both games – perhaps they rode the No. 7 train from Shea and transferred to the No. 4 to Yankee Stadium – put their stubs away for sons and grandsons perhaps yet unborn. Mets and Yankees, Shea and Yankee Stadium, all on one day and nostalgia for a lifetime.”16



In addition to the sources cited in the Notes, the author used the and websites for box-score, player, team, and season pages, pitching and batting logs, and other pertinent material.



1 The teams were playing a doubleheader to make up for a June 11 rainout of the final game of the first three-game series that season. There had been only one previous time when two New York major-league teams had played each other in two different ballparks on one day. It happened when the Brooklyn Superbas played the New York Giants on September 7, 1903. The Brooklyn team was known by several names in its early history: the Bridegrooms, Grooms, Superbas, Robins, and Trolley Dodgers. They officially became the Dodgers in the 1932. The teams split the doubleheader. New York won the first game, 6-4, at Washington Park, Brooklyn’s home field. Brooklyn won the second game, 3-0, at the Giants’ home park, the Polo Grounds.

2 Mark Herrmann, “Baseball Is Twice the Fun in Two Parks,” Newsday (Long Island, New York), July 10, 2000: C4.

3 Kit Stiers, “Mets Feel Obstructed by Umpire’s Ruling,” White Plains (New York) Journal News, July 9, 2000: 28.

4 Herrmann.

5 Roger Rubin, “Mets Take Aim,” New York Daily News, July 9, 2000: 44.

6 Buster Olney, “Clemens Stirs the Pot by Beaning Piazza,” New York Times, July 9, 2000: 290.

7 Ohm Youngmisuk, “Roger Says Pitch Was a Mistake,” New York Daily News, July 9, 2000: 45.

8 Rubin.

9 Rubin.

10 Olney.

11 Olney.

12 Mike Lupica, “Subway Sweep,” New York Daily News, July 9, 2000: 43.

13 Marty Noble, “Franco Calling Rocket Reckless,” Newsday, July 10, 2000: A37.

14 Thomas J. Brown Jr., “October 22, 2000: Clemens and Piazza clash as Yankees win Game Two.” SABR Games Project, accessed December 20, 2022.

15 The Mets and the Yankees played split doubleheaders again in 2003 and 2008. The Yankees won both games in 2003. The teams split the doubleheader in 2008 with the Mets winning the first game at Yankee Stadium and the Yankees taking the second game at Shea Stadium.

16 Steve Jacobson, “Doubleheader Provided Very Special Day,” Newsday, July 10, 2000: C5.

Additional Stats

New York Yankees 4
New York Mets 2
Game 2, DH

Yankee Stadium
New York, NY


Box Score + PBP:

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