January 1, 1997
The 12 Year Old Angel In The Outfield!By Sally Field, Mother Wired Staff Writer
STOCKTON - On October 10th the New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles were facing each other down. Suddenly, it seemed like a fantasy had happened.
During the game the New York Yankees got the help of an Angel in the outfield grandstand. It was like the famous baseball story made into a 1994 Disney film about an 11-year-old who prays for success of the California Angels baseball team. The baseball team wins the pennant when the players magically (with the help of an Angel) start hitting home runs.
That's about the way it worked-out in the real world when the New York Yankees were helped to victory when a very real 12-year old reached out and snatched a victory from the Baltimore Orioles. The action resulted in a nationwide controversy at the opening of the American League Championship Series.
Baltimore players were of the opinion that twelve-year-old Jeff Maier of Old Tappan, N.J., was no angel . Bur for Jeff it was the American Dream come true! The young Yankee fan, came up with the dramatic clutch play during the post-season to help the Yankees win in a 5-4, 11-inning shocker!The umpire ruled the play a home run.
Jeff was just waiting when he suddenly stuck his glove over the right-field wall of Yankee Stadium on the long fly-ball coming right at him.
Baltimore right-fielder Tony Tarasco went into a rage after umpire Garcia's ruling, and manager Davey Johnson was then ejected.
Television replays of the incident showed clearly Jeff Maier reaching over the outfield wall, but Garcia failed to see the inference with the flight of the ball before ruling the hit a 'home run.'