Number 1: Feliz Strikes out Alex Rodriguez
This is a moment that was years and decades in the making. The Yankees have tormented the Texas Rangers since 1995. The Rangers made the playoff three times in the 1990s. They were rewarded with series against a Yankees team that would be a dynasty that reigned from 1996-2000. Winning World Series in 1996,1998,1999, and 2000. In 1996, 1998, and 1999 they began World Series runs by beating the Rangers. The Yankees beat the Rangers in 9 of the 10 playoff games.
The Rangers decided to shake things up after 1999. They started by trading Juan Gonzalez. Then in December of 2000 they signed Alex Rodriguez to a record-setting 10 year/$252 million contract. After three seasons and no playoff appearances, they traded Rodriguez to the New York Yankees. Rodriguez would go on to finally win his first World Series in 2009.
The 2010 season the Rangers were once again competitive. They outbid the Yankees for Cliff Lee in July 2010. The Rangers won their first division title since 1999. They beat the Tampa Bay Rays in a competitive five game AL Division Series. That setup an AL Championship series matchup between the Texas Rangers and the New York Yankees.
The Rangers had lost the previous 9 playoff games against the Yankees. They jumped out to an early lead in game 1 and looked like they would break that losing streak. They were up 5-1 in the 8th inning. Then a bullpen meltdown occured. CJ Wilson pitched to two batters, Darren Oliver faced 2 batters, Darren O'Day faced 1 batters, and Clay Rapada faced one batter and none of them were retired. The Yankees quickly scored 5 runs to go ahead 6-5 and would hold onto that lead and win game 1 and extend their winning streak to 10 playoff games.
The Rangers faced a must-win game 2 and did so. They won the first two in Yankee Stadium and lost game 5. The team came back to Arlington one win away from their first World Series appearance in team history. It was a sellout crowd, standing room only on that October night. Colby Lewis started and pitched the game of his life as he went eight innings, giving up only one run, striking out seven. He left with the score 6-1 and the Rangers were three outs away from a World Series.
Ron Washington brought in Neftali Feliz to close it out. He was part of the Mark Teixeira trade that was made in July 2007 which helped rebuild this team and helped them get to this point. Feliz would be facing Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano, and Alex Rodriguez. He struck out Granderson swinging and forced Cano into a groundout. That brought former Ranger Alex Rodriguez to the plate. The crowd was as loud as it has ever been. That is when this happened.
It is a moment that will live forever. Forgotten will be that the Rangers lost that World Series. Forgotten will be that Feliz did not have a long career in Texas. What will be remembered forever by Ranger fans is where they were when Feliz dropped that curveball on Rodriguez and struck him out looking to send the Rangers to their first World Series in franchise history.