Bottom of the third inning. The New York Yankees had fallen into a 1-0 deficit thanks to Steven Kwan’s home run against Gerrit Cole at the top of the frame. Seeing yourself down in the score could represent a mental burden for the rest of the game, but Harrison Bader made sure his teammates didn’t have to carry that pressure on their backs with just one swing.
Bader, who was acquired by the Yankees before the trade deadline in exchange for starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery – who was sent to the St. Louis Cardinals – figured Cleveland Guardians starter Cal Quantrill out and drilled a ball over the left center field fence to tie the score at one run apiece.
The 28-year-old Bronxville, N.Y. had a dream start to his postseason career with the Yankees. The Yankees ended up winning 4-1: a Jose Treviño sac fly and a two-run shot by Anthony Rizzo represented the other runs.
A historic performance by the Yankees center fielder
Bader made history with the blast, becoming the first player in Yankees history to have his first career home run with the team come in the playoffs.
“The energy from the fans, it was just amazing,” Bader said. “When you have such an incredible fan base, fans that are just rabid and want to win as badly as Yankees fans do, it’s almost like you’re playing with them on the field. They are on your team as you go into the dugout, as the opposition feels pressure with two strikes. That’s the type of energy that is a part of a winning history of a city.”
As a child, Bader used to go to games at the old Yankee Stadium across the street, so he knows and understands how important the Yankees uniform is.
Per Betelhem Ashame of MLB.com, Bader is just the sixth New Yorker to hit a home run for the Yankees in postseason play, after Lou Gehrig, Alex Rodriguez, Raul Ibanez, Phil Rizzuto and Joe Pepitone.
Bader told that his his mom, dad, sister and several friends were in attendance last night. It’s fair to say they were impressed with his play.
“I want to show them all why I earned that uniform, there’s no doubt,” Bader said.