MLB postseason: The ten best playoff MVPs

Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports
Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports /
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Bernie Williams, 1996 ALCS MVP, is called safe at home during the third game. JEFF HAYNES/AFP via Getty Images)
Bernie Williams, 1996 ALCS MVP, is called safe at home during the third game. JEFF HAYNES/AFP via Getty Images) /

7. Bernie Williams, 1.099, 1996 ALCS

The 1996 ALCS was a battle between the AL East champion Yankees and their season-long rivals, the wild card Baltimore Orioles. New York entered with a ton of confidence having beaten Baltimore 10 times in 13 meetings.

Game 1 was the famous Jeffrey Maier game, when the young Yankee fan reached over the field of play to turn Derek Jeter’s fly ball into a home run. That home run, coming in the bottom of the eighth, tied the game at 4-4.

But potentially lost in all the controversy over the Maier play was what happened three innings later. With the game still tied in the bottom of the 11th, Williams turned around a Randy Myers pitch and sent it over the wall down the left field line for a game-winner.

The series was tied when the Yanks came to bat in the top of the eighth inning of Game 3, trailing 2-1. With two out and a runner on second, Williams lined a base hit to left that tied the game. When Tino Martinez lined a double down the left field line, Williams scored the go-ahead run.

One day later, Williams’ first inning home run started the Yanks on their way to an 8-4 victory. In the first game, Williams contributed two hits. But his most important play was a simple ground ball to second base in the top of the third of a game New York led 1-0. When Orioles second baseman Roberto Alomar threw the ball away, a run scored and the door was opened for a six-run Yankee inning that wrapped up the pennant.

For the series, Williams batted .474 with three doubles and two home runs.