From the New York Daily News’ Ben Widdecombe.

A homeless inventor is pursuing a quixotic, multimillion dollar claim against the New York Yankees, claiming the team owes their 1996 World Series victory to one of his devices.

(the real MVP of the 1996 World Series)

Phil Simkins is the creator of the Kool Rope – a rubber tube that can be frozen and worn around the neck as a personal cooler – prototypes of which he sent the Bronx Bombers nine years ago. He says the extra practice time they surely got in the gruelingly hot summer of ’96 allowed them to beat the Atlanta Braves – thanks to him.

This week he sent a letter to Yankees President Randy Levine demanding “A one time payment of 1.5 million dollars … a loan of 1 million dollars to get his cooling unit invention into production … a $200,000 donation to the Coalition for the Homeless … [and] a press conference to acknowledge his contribution to the team’s championship year and for his unparalleled sacrifice to the team.”

Yesterday, Simkins told us that Yankees trainer Gene Monahan acknowledged the use of the “personal air conditioners” in a 1996 conversation.

“Hearing those words, my heart began to pound heavily, since I knew that I was now a part of Yankee history by helping to keep the players cool,” Simkins says.

The Yankees, strangely, had no comment.