Jeffrey "Jeff" Maier (born November 15, 1984) is an American baseball fan best known for an incident in which he was involved as a eleven-year-old at a baseball game, when he deflected a batted ball in-play into the Yankee Stadium stands during Game 1 of the 1996 American League Championship Series between the New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles. His action altered the course of Game 1, as the resulting home run allowed the Yankees to tie the score. They would go on to win the game and that series, four games to one.
On October 9, 1996, the Yankees trailed the Orioles 4–3 in the bottom of the eighth inning when shortstop Derek Jeter hit a deep fly ball to right field. Right fielder Tony Tarasco moved near the fence and appeared "to draw a bead on the ball" when the then-11-year-old Maier clearly reached over the fence separating the stands and the field of play 9 feet below, snatched the ball with a glove of his own. While baseball fans are permitted to catch (and keep) balls hit into the stands, if "a spectator reaches out of the stands, or goes on the playing field, and touches a live ball" spectator interference is to be called.
Right field umpire Rich Garcia immediately ruled the play a home run, tying the game at 4–4, despite the protest of Tarasco and Orioles manager Davey Johnson (the latter was ejected in the ensuing argument). The Yankees won the game in the eleventh inning on Bernie Williams' walk-off home run. The Orioles maintained their protest of the Maier play after the conclusion of the game, but their protest was denied by American League President Gene Budig because judgment calls cannot be protested. After viewing the replay, Garcia admitted that there was spectator interference, though he maintained the ball was not catchable. Garcia's contention that the ball was not catchable has been disputed. Had Garcia ruled it spectator interference, he would have then used his own judgment to determine what the most likely outcome of the play would be—either an out or awarding Jeter a given number of bases.
In right field, Tarasco, going back to the track, to the wall...(Maier steals ball, Bob Uecker
: "Oh!") AND WHAT HAPPENS HERE? HE CONTENDS THAT A FAN REACHES UP AND TOUCHES IT! BUT RICHIE GARCIA
SAYS NO...It's a home run! Here comes Davey Johnson
, out to argue as Jeter comes across to tie the game.
television, calling the controversial Jeter home run in Game 1.
There's a high fly ball to right, deep...Going back is Tarasco, to the warning track, to the wall, he's under it now...AND IT'S TAKEN AWAY FROM HIM BY A FAN, AND THEY'RE GONNA CALL IT...A HOME RUN! I CAN'T BELIEVE IT! Richie Garcia is calling it a home run, and Tarasco is out to argue! A terrible call by Richie Garcia! IT'S ALL TIED UP!
The Yankees went on to win the series against Baltimore, four games to one, as well as the World Series against the Atlanta Braves. As a result of the play, a railing was added behind the right field wall at Yankee Stadium to prevent fans from reaching over it.
Meanwhile, in New York, Maier became a minor celebrity. The New York Daily News allowed him to sit behind the Yankee dugout later in the postseason. The boy appeared on national talk shows.
Baseball career 
Maier grew up in Old Tappan, New Jersey and played baseball there at Northern Valley Regional High School at Old Tappan. He then played college ball at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, where he was a first-team all-NESCAC selection. He also played briefly for the Pittsfield Dukes in the New England Collegiate Baseball League in the summer of 2005.
In 2006, he became Wesleyan's career hits leader and was featured on ESPN. The New York Times reported that Maier hoped for a career in baseball. That spring, the Washington Post and MLB.com reported that, ironically, the Baltimore Orioles might draft him—though the team denied ever having an interest in him. Maier was also invited to a tryout for a number of prospects, held by the New York Yankees. However, he was not selected by any team in the 2006 Major League Baseball Draft. Maier worked in the summer of 2006 as a scout in the Cape Cod League for ESPN's Peter Gammons and also as an instructor for Frozen Ropes Baseball Training Center. Maier has since become a special consultant for the New Haven County Cutters. He has had several internships, including with the YES Network, and had several interviews (according to The New York Times) with MLB teams at baseball's winter meetings in search of a front-office job.
He served as an extra and assisted with baseball skills training for the actors in ESPN's miniseries about the 1977 Yankees, The Bronx Is Burning.
See also 
- ^ Sheinin, Dave (June 2, 2006). "From Way Out in Right Field". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 6, 2010.
- ^ In Rematch, Memories of a Stolen Moment, NYT. By Zach Schonbrun. Published: October 6, 2012. Retrieved October 14, 2012.
- ^ Baseball
- ^ The Official Site of Major League Baseball: Official info: Official Rules
- ^ Interview with Rich Garcia
- ^ The Official Site of Major League Baseball: Video: Baseball's Best
- ^ LaPointe, Joe (April 14, 2006). "Boy Who Helped Yankees Is a Hit Again". The New York Times. Retrieved August 18, 2008.
- ^ The Official Site of The Baltimore Orioles: News: Baltimore Orioles News
- ^ "Cutters Add Jeff Maier To Front Office Staff". OurSports Central. August 10, 2006. Retrieved April 10, 2012.
- ^ Steve Jacobson
External links 
Mon, 20 May 2013 09:27:57 -0700
Not even Jeffrey Maier could have slowed Baltimore's run. And, hey, maybe the Orioles could wear their new crown instead of that cap. And if not, well, at least the rest of the uniform is outstanding. So, congratulations, Baltimore fans. Our Fashion ...
Kansas City Star
Kansas City Star
Thu, 16 May 2013 09:19:20 -0700
Allowing fans to lean over the outfield wall can lead to a Jeffrey Maier moment: a fan can change the outcome of a game by getting involved. In many stadiums the solution has been to add a railing directly behind the outfield fence to prevent fans from ...
Bless You Boys (blog)
Tue, 14 May 2013 09:19:02 -0700
Jeffrey Maier changed the outcome of game one of a 1996 playoff game in favor of the Yankees. The umpires blew the call, and it is still shown in highlight reels. Armando Galarraga will be remembered for his near perfect game more than Philip Humber ...
Thu, 02 May 2013 12:39:13 -0700
It was a postseason that included getting past the Indians during the American League Division Series before succumbing to the Yankees during the American League Championship Series -- with the help of Jeffrey Maier during Game 1. While Alomar came ...
Bleeding Yankee Blue (blog)
Thu, 16 May 2013 04:05:18 -0700
(This includes 0-3 against the '96 Yanks, so since they couldn't protect their house, their fans can shut the hell up about Jeffrey Maier.) A beanball war at Yankee Stadium in 1998, in the midst of a Yankee sweep, marked the end of the O's would-be ...
Sat, 27 Apr 2013 15:46:07 -0700
With a baseball glove 12-year-old Jeffrey Maier reached over the edge of the wall and snatched the ball from Tarasco in one of baseball's most legendary and controversial plays, which the Orioles believed should have been overturned by fan interference.
Sun, 12 May 2013 12:16:33 -0700
The same is true of Richie Garcia in the Jeffrey Maier game in 1996 at Yankee Stadium. I have a lot of respect for those guys, as they owned up to their errors. I call on the league to protect the good ones by weeding out the bad. Can't get enough ...
Bleeding Yankee Blue (blog)
Mon, 13 May 2013 16:22:47 -0700
You know the details; he's the anti-Jeffrey Maier. He was sitting in Section 4, Row 8, Seat 113. Along with the red seat in Fenway Park's bleachers, where Ted Williams hit the (supposed) longest homer the park's history, it's probably the most famous ...
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