Despite holding the school record for hits (189) and batting .403 in 2006, Wesleyan 3B/OF Jeffrey Maier will probably always be better known for his interference with a Derek Jeter fly ball in Game 1 of the 1996 ALCS. It was with the latter achievement —when Maier was 12 years old — in mind that the Washington Post’s Dave Sheinin coaxed Orioles owner Peter Angelos into claiming Baltimore might consider picking Maier in this Wednesday’s Amateur Draft. For some members of that ’96 Orioles team, forgiveness is slow in coming.
“I could still be in Baltimore if that didn’t happen,” said Davey Johnson, the Orioles’ manager at the time, whose departure from the organization at the end of the 1997 season came under disputed circumstances — he says he was fired; Angelos claims he resigned.
“It was a real big game, and we were going to win it,” Johnson said. “It changed a lot of things. It got me fired — not immediately, but it got me fired. I didn’t win [it all]. I won a little bit, but not enough.”
Maier worked out at Yankee Stadium yesterday, an occasion which gave the New York Daily News’ Sam Borden and Tracy Connor the wonderful opportunity to re-run the following quote from Sheinin’s original article :
Pitcher Scott Erickson, who would have won Game 1 if not for Maier and who is now with the Yanks, said he’d play a little chin music if he faced the kid.
“I’d maybe knock the hat off his head,” he said. “That’d be a little payback, I guess. I might get thrown out of the game, but oh well.”