Yanks' 27th title caps long list of records
Utley's five homers, Pettitte's 18th win among newest entries
NEW YORK -- The 2009 World Series, and the postseason it climaxed, yielded numerous all-time records -- in addition to the big one, the Yankees' 27th championship.
We saw both sides of the immortality coin, hero and goat.The Yankees' 7-3 clincher over the Phillies on Wednesday night was keyed by a performance that tied one of the oldest World Series records on the books, with MVP Hideki Matsui's six RBIs matching Bobby Richardson's haul in Game 3 in 1960 against Pittsburgh. The other side of the coin went down to the Series' penultimate inning, as Philadelphia's Ryan Howard struck out in the eighth for the 13th time, breaking Willie Wilson's record of 12 in 1980. Howard was a two-sided coin all by himself. Having enjoyed torrid National League Division and Championship Series prior to being cooled off, his two-run homer in the sixth inning of Game 6 upped his postseason RBI count to 17 -- tying the record for a National League player set in 2002 by the Giants' Rich Aurilia and matched in 2003 by the Marlins' Ivan Rodriguez.
Carry a big stick
But the Phillies were just being consistent, after bringing 14 postseason home runs into the World Series: Their final total of 25 tied the 2004 Astros for the third-most long balls ever (the Giants struck 27 in '02, and the Rays 26 last October).Some merely extended their own standards: Derek Jeter raised his postseason career hits total to 175, Andy Pettitte posted his 18th postseason victory and Mariano Rivera, although finishing up in a non-save situation Wednesday night, went to 39 career postseason saves. Pettitte of course did more. He also fortified his postseason No. 1 ranks for starts (40) and innings (249) and moved up to No. 3 for strikeouts (164). Philadelphia's Chase Utley tied one notable record and set another that is slightly narrower. With five home runs, he tied the record for one Series set by Reggie Jackson in 1977 against the Dodgers. And Utley, who homered twice last year in the Phillies' five-game triumph over Tampa Bay, set a career Series record for second basemen with his seven home runs. The Yankees figured in a pair of "Ouch!" records, with the assistance of Phillies pitchers. Teixeira and Rodriguez were both hit by pitches three times, equaling the record for one Series set in 1925 by the Pirates' Max Carey, against Washington.
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Teixeira's and A-Rod's combined total of six added up to tying the team total established a century ago by the Pirates and first matched by the D-backs in 2001.Pettitte became the first pitcher to start and win clinching games at all three rungs of the playoffs -- Division Series, Championship Series and World Series. The Yankees and the Phillies posted other impressive performances that didn't go to the top of records charts but earned a prominent place on them: Rivera's 1 2/3 shutout innings on Wednesday lowered his career World Series ERA from 1.04 to 0.99, vaulting him into fifth among all pitchers with 30 or more innings. Matsui's MVP night crowned a remarkable "part-time" Series for the DH, who was benched for Games 3-5 in Philadelphia. Among players with 10-plus at-bats in a Series, Matsui posted the third-highest average with his eight hits (.615) and the second-highest slugging percentage (1.385). He also had 18 total bases in 13 at-bats. Only Lou Gehrig (1.727 in the Yankees' 1928 sweep of the Cardinals) has slugged higher. And only Babe Ruth (.625 in 1928) and Billy Hatcher (.750 in 1990) hit for a better average. Jeter's second three-hit game brought his Series total to 11 hits, one shy of the six-game record shared by Billy Martin (1953), Paul Molitor ('93), Roberto Alomar ('93) and Marquis Grissom ('96). The hat trick also pumped Jeter's career World Series average from .311 to .321, and only three players with 100 or more at-bats rank higher. Perhaps you've heard of them: Gehrig (.361), Eddie Collins (.328) and Ruth (.326). Notably, Jeter has maintained his average over a longer haul than any of those predecessors. His 156 World Series at-bats are 27 more than Ruth had, 28 more than Collins and 37 more than Gehrig.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.