Trailing, 4-3, in the bottom of the ninth inning and facing a humiliating sweep at the hands of the Yankees, Kevin Millar worked a walk against Rivera. Roberts, who had stolen 38 bases in a season split between the Dodgers and Boston, trotted out of the dugout to pinch run. Everyone in the ballpark was aware of his assignment, including Rivera. Roberts drew one pickoff throw. Then a second. Rivera threw over third time. Finally, a pitch . . . and Roberts was off. He slid headfirst, his left hand clutching the bag just as shortstop Derek Jeter flashed a sweep tag. Safe, signaled umpire Joe West. Moments later, Bill Mueller singled up the middle, Roberts accelerated home with the tying run, and the Sox would go on to win in 12 innings, their first of four straight victories. Roberts's steal proved to be the catalyst of the greatest comeback imaginable.
(Globe File Photo / Stan Grossfeld)