Jeremy Giambi, the younger brother of ex-Yankee Jason Giambi who played a starring role in one of the most famous postseason plays ever, died Wednesday at his parent’s Southern California home, his agent Joel Wolfe told various media outlets.
Jeremy Giambi was 47. A cause of death was not revealed.
Giambi played six years in the majors as an outfielder, first baseman and designated hitter. He spent his first two years in the bigs with the Kansas City Royals, part of the 2002 season with the Philadelphia Phillies and the 2003 season with the Boston Red Sox.
But he was remembered mostly for his two and a half seasons seasons with the Oakland A’s, where he played alongside Jason in 2000-01
“We are heartbroken to learn of the passing of a member of our Green and Gold family, Jeremy Giambi,” the A’s wrote on Twitter. “We offer our condolences to Jeanne, Jason, and his family and friends.”
In his two and a half seasons in Oakland, Jeremy Giambi hit .272/.374/.445 with 30 home runs and 124 RBI.
His most memorable moment — or at least the one Yankee fans remember — was his role in Derek Jeter’s famous “Flip Play” on Oct. 13, 2001, in Game 3 of the American League Division Series in Oakland.
Giambi was on first when A’s teammate Terrance Long lined a Mike Mussina pitch down the right-field line. As Giambi lumbered around the bases, the ball rolled into the right field corner and Giambi was waved home.
Yankee right fielder Shane Spencer threw the ball back in but it went over the head of two Yankee cutoff men, rolling into foul territory toward the plate.
From shortstop, Jeter sprinted into foul territory, fielded the errant throw and flipped it backhand into the waiting glove of Jorge Posada, who slapped a tag on Giambi before he could touch home.
“I was where I was supposed to be. I’m not supposed to throw it home, but that’s where I’m supposed to be,” Jeter told MLB.com years later.
Giambi was criticized for not sliding. The Yankees, who were leading 1-0 at the time, went on to win by the same score to cut the A’s series lead to 2-1 before winning the series in five games.
“I didn’t want to slow down,” Giambi said afterward of his decision not to slide.
Giambi was born in San Jose, CA and, like his older brother, Jason, attended South Hills High School in West Covina, CA. He was drafted in 1996 by the Kansas City Royals and spent three years in their minor league system before getting called up to their big league team in 1998. The Royals traded him to the A’s on Feb. 18, 2000 for right-handed pitcher Brett Laxton.