It was a transition almost too on point to believe. One night, the Yankees said goodbye to one of the most decorated players of his generation. The next afternoon, two guys who inspire hope in the future, Tyler Austin and Aaron Judge, homered in their first plate appearances with the club.
And in between, as if to link them in reverse, the 1996 World Series championship team reconvened on the Yankee Stadium grass, a 20th anniversary celebration that simultaneously seemed to close the book on one era and introduce another.
During the Aug. 13 ceremony, members of the team entered from center field, then walked to their positions on the diamond. While waiting to parade in, they reminisced about the incredible feats of that magical 1996 season, when the Yankees re-established themselves as the class of baseball and began a run that would ultimately yield four world championships in five years. But most meaningful, perhaps, was what came just before the on-field celebration -- when the champions of the last generation spent some time with the current team in the clubhouse.
If it was a changing of the guard, it was more effective than anyone could have dreamed. In this photo essay, take a look back at this unforgettable afternoon in the Bronx, a festival 20 years in the making.
This article appears in the September issue of Yankees Magazine. Get this article and more delivered to your doorstep by purchasing a subscription at yankees.com/publications.