Advertisement
jeffrey maier AP/Mark Lennihan
AP/Mark Lennihan

The only thing more exciting than a home run in an MLB playoff game is a home run robbery in that same situation.

Well, the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees witnessed a one-of-a-kind robbery during their 1996 ALCS showdown, and boy was it controversial.

The Orioles — who won the Wild Card over the Mariners, Red Sox, and White Sox, and advanced to the ALCS after an ALDS victory over the Indians — got the short end of the stick.

Jeffrey Maier is best known for his involvement in that AL East rivalry game. He’s the Yankees fan who helped take a Derek Jeter home run into the seats during Game 1 against the O’s.

Since that moment, his life has not been the same.

Jeffrey Maier’s Home Run Catch

RELATED: Remember ?The Kissing Bandit? Who Smooched Baseball?s Best Players?

After Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter lofted a fly ball out to right field off Armando Benitez, 12-year-old Jeffrey Maier reached over the right field wall at Yankee Stadium to catch the potential home run ball. Baltimore Orioles right fielder Tony Tarasco was livid as his opportunity to make a big catch was thwarted by a member of the audience.

While this was an obvious case of fan interference, Major League Baseball didn’t have access to video replay reviews in the mid-90s. Because Umpire Rich Garcia initially ruled the play a home run, his call stood.

It was one of the most controversial plays in baseball history, especially because it was in the postseason.

Advertisement

The eighth-inning home run helped the Bronx Bombers tie the American League Championship Series game. They’d eventually win in 11 innings via a Bernie Williams walk-off homer.

The Yankees went on to win the series 4-1, defeating the Orioles three times at Camden Yards, and then took down the Atlanta Braves in the 1996 World Series.

Maier became somewhat of a national sensation –or a talking point, at the very least. He interviewed with NBC after the game and was on national television in the following days.

Where Is Jeffrey Maier Now?

The Old Tappan, New Jersey native is one of the most unpopular individuals alive among Baltimore Orioles fans.

Sitting down with WFAN in 2020, Maier described the volume of hate mail and toxic phone calls he received. He even revealed that his own baseball career had been impacted by the incident.

Maier says he was intentionally thrown at several times as a hitter during his baseball career at Wesleyan.

Things weren’t all bad for Maier in the aftermath, however. He got to pose for a picture with Hall of Fame shortstop Derek Jeter. He even says he met Tarasco later on, and there were no hard feelings between the two.

Advertisement

Maier is now 36, residing in the New England area, and is a father to three children. He will forever be remembered by fans of both franchises and is one of a few individuals who can claim to have made a serious impact on a postseason game.

MORE: Steve Bartman’s Life Changed at Wrigley Field, But Where Is He Now?

Karl Rasmussen is a sports writer living in Brooklyn, NY. He studied journalism at the University of Oregon and is an avid fan of the Oregon Ducks, Portland Trail Blazers, New York Yankees and New York Jets.
View More Articles

Stories You Might Like