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Sunday, May 30, 2010
The top Yankees moments on 'Seinfeld'

By Mark Simon
ESPNNewYork.com

Monday marks the 20th anniversary of the first episode of the first true season of "Seinfeld." (The pilot episode, viewed in original form by very few, aired nearly a year earlier.)

Yankees fans were able to watch the episode, titled "Male Unbonding," since their team was off that day. They would know, if they saw the pilot, that the show's namesake was a Mets fan. But co-creator Larry David gave Yankees fans their voice through George Costanza.

The Yankees were mentioned in name more than 20 times over the show's nine seasons, and Costanza's employment as the team's assistant to the traveling secretary became a major subplot.

In tribute to the show's anniversary, and with help from both Wikipedia and Seinfeldscripts.com, we offer up our five favorite Yankees-related references:

No. 5: Upon meeting Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, Costanza decides to do the opposite of what his instincts tell him. He utters a nasty monologue upon Steinbrenner's greeting, concluding with the following:

"In the past 20 years you have caused myself, and the city of New York, a good deal of distress, as we have watched you take our beloved Yankees and reduced them to a laughingstock, all for the glorification of your massive ego!"

Steinbrenner's reply: "Hire this man!"

No. 4: Costanza's misadventures with the Yankees were documented throughout the latter part of the show's run. Among his most notable pieces of bad advice was persuading then-manager and current "Baseball Tonight" analyst Buck Showalter to switch the team's uniforms from polyester to cotton. Of course, Costanza didn't consider the key to why the Yankees weren't previously wearing cotton.

Cotton shrinks.

It was this kind of blunder that led to Costanza's eventually being "traded" by Steinbrenner to the Arkansas-based business Tyler Chicken.

No. 3: In "The Caddy," Steinbrenner -- mistakenly believing that Costanza died -- goes to break the news to Costanza's parents. Upon hearing this, Frank Costanza decides that he now has the perfect audience to vent, asking, "What the hell did you trade Jay Buhner for?!"

No. 2: Yankees legend Joe Pepitone was referenced on multiple occasions, including one suggestion by Costanza that the team honor him with a day at Yankee Stadium. In "The Visa," Kramer tells of beaning Pepitone during a game at a Yankees fantasy camp, leading to an all-out brawl that featured Moose Skowron, Clete Boyer and Hank Bauer, and culminated with Kramer decking Mickey Mantle.

Later, in "The Rye," Kramer gives a tour of Central Park to the parents of George's fiancée, erroneously noting that it was built by Pepitone in 1850. By sheer coincidence, Pepitone's great-great-grandfather was involved in the park's construction, as multiple websites note that he carried out the evictions of the working-class residents of the area in which the park was built.

No. 1: Kramer had a knack for interacting with notable Yankees, none more so than the legendary Joe DiMaggio, whom he spotted in "Dinky Donuts" in the fall of 1991. Jerry, George and Elaine didn't believe the story until the group all spotted DiMaggio in Monk's, their favorite coffee shop hangout. The most dignified Yankee was seen dunking his doughnuts, which shocked his onlookers. In an attempt to get DiMaggio's attention, Kramer yipped and pounded on the table, until the star of stars gave the group an unseen glance.

For those wanting to read about the top tie-ins between "Seinfeld" and sports (with a few references to the other New York baseball team), follow this link.

Mark Simon is a researcher for "Baseball Tonight" and a frequent contributor to ESPNNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @msimonespn or e-mail him at WebGemScoreboard@gmail.com.