WATCH: Derek Jeter Breaks Down 'The Flip'

Iconic Play Was Key In Yankees Winning 2001 AL Pennant

Ryan Chatelain
January 23, 2020 - 1:33 pm

It took more than 18 years, but Derek Jeter has finally discussed The Flip in depth.

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In a segment Wednesday night on MLB Network with Harold Reynolds, the Cooperstown-bound Jeter broke down the iconic play from the Yankees' 2001 American League Division Series against the Oakland A's.

With the Yankees clinging to a 1-0 lead in the seventh inning of Game 3, Oakland’s Terrence Long doubled to right field, sending Jeremy Giambi sprinting from first to home. Yankees right fielder Shane Spencer rushed his throw, missing two cut-off men. But Jeter saved the day, running from his shortstop position to field the ball with his bare hand on a hop along the first-base line before quickly flipping it to catcher Jorge Posada, who tagged Giambi on the leg a split-second before he touched the plate.

The Yankees won the game 1-0, went on to win the series and returned to the World Series before falling to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Jeter, who was elected into the baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday, said he was "doing my job. We work on this in spring training."

"My job is to watch the runner," he said. "Runner at first was Jeremy Giambi. And saw the ball down the line. And my job is to, one, see if there's going to be a play at third base. Right? But once you see that Giambi is going to go home, my job is to then be the third cut-off man to redirect the throw to third base."

The Yankees icon added that the team never practiced shovel passes. He also joked that he knew the Giambi family was not very fast. (Of course, Jeter and Jason Giambi, Jeremy's brother, were teammates for seven seasons.)

Jeter said that if Spencer had hit either of the first two cut-off men, Giambi would have easily been out. But the 14-time All-Star shortstop said he recognized instantly that Spencer's throw would sail over their heads. He also knew he had a play at the plate "because I looked at Giambi to see where he was before I actually got to the throw."

Jeter said he also believes he would've gotten Long out at third base for the final out of the inning.