2003 World Series
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|2003 MLB Postseason|
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The New York Yankees and Florida Marlins reached the World Series in dramatic fashion. Aaron Boone hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 11th inning to give the Yankees a win over the Red Sox in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS, while the Marlins overcame deficits in Game 6 and Game 7 of the NLCS to beat the Chicago Cubs. Aside from the heroics, the two teams were very different. The Marlins had taken a fairy tale route to the World Series, winning with a young starting rotation and small payroll. The four pitchers in the Yankees' postseason rotation had an average of 214 career wins, while the Marlins pitchers averaged just 33. Joe Torre's lineup was filled with some of baseball's brightest stars, some of whom had collected four championships with the Yankees.
The series made stars of "Trader Jack", the Marlins Manager, and Josh Beckett, a former high school phenom who made it big on baseball's most glamorous stage. The series also belonged to Ivan Rodriguez who grabbed his first ring, and Mr. Marlin himself, Jeff Conine. Many thought America was getting a last glimpse of the "Rocket", Roger Clemens. In a series that matched a team of rookies, castoffs, and journeymen against baseball's 26-time world champions, the underdogs came out on top.
The Florida Marlins
The Marlins' rotation was built on young talent. Josh Beckett won 9 games with a 3.04 ERA and was considered one of baseball's most promising young arms. Brad Penny was a strong prospect with the Arizona Diamondbacks and was beginning to come into his own with Florida. Already traded by the Boston Red Sox and Montreal Expos, Carl Pavano looked like a bust until he won 12 games in 2003. The final piece of the October rotation was Mark Redman, a former member of the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers. Dontrelle Willis won 13 games as a rookie, but served out of the bullpen in the World Series. Ugueth Urbina was the Marlins' closer.
The lineup was headed by Juan Pierre and Luis Castillo; both were punch and judy hitters with good speed. Derrek Lee, Ivan Rodriguez, Juan Encarnacion and Mike Lowell each hit 15+ home runs with 80+ RBI's. Miguel Cabrera hit .268 and drove in 62 runs as a 20-year-old rookie. Alex Gonzalez hit 18 home runs and provided solid defense at shortstop.
The New York Yankees
The Yankees won 101 games behind a veteran starting rotation and a powerful offense. Andy Pettitte won 21 regular season games in 2003, most on the staff. Roger Clemens won 17 games at the age of 40, and it appeared he was going to retire after the World Series. Mike Mussina led the starters in ERA, 3.40, and strikeouts, 195. Southpaw David Wells won 15 games and entered the series with a postseason record of 10-2. The Yankees' closer was former World Series MVP Mariano Rivera.
Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Alfonso Soriano and Jorge Posada were all familiar faces in the Yankee lineup. Jason Giambi was in his second season with New York, and was still searching for his first championship. Former Japanese star Hideki Matsui racked up 106 RBIs in his first major league season; a ring would be the perfect close to the year. Aaron Boone was acquired from the Cincinnati Reds and earned his stripes in the ALCS, by striking the blow that had eliminated the rival Red Sox.
Game 1 @ Yankee Stadium
Marlins: 3, Yankees: 2
|WP: Brad Penny (1-0), LP: David Wells (0-1), SV: Ugueth Urbina (1)|
|HR: NY - Bernie Williams (1)|
- Attendance: 55,769
David Wells took the mound for the Yankees in the first game of the 99th World Series. The big lefty finished the 2003 season with exactly 200 career wins, second-most on the staff. Florida's starter, Brad Penny, led the Marlins' rotation with 40 career wins. The Yankees had a 3-to-1 edge in payroll, but the Marlins had a knack for doing the little things. A little bit of "small ball" put Florida ahead in the 1st inning. Juan Pierre led off the game with a bunt single. Luis Castillo singled to move Pierre to third. Ivan Rodriguez hit a sacrifice fly to score Pierre and give the Marlins an early 1-0 lead.
The Yankees tied the game in the 3rd inning. Karim Garcia singled off Penny, then made it to second base on an error. A Derek Jeter single scored Garcia and evened the score at 1-1. The Marlins bounced right back in the 5th inning. A walk, single, and sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third for Pierre. The Marlins' center fielder drove in both runners with a single. The Fish had a 3-1 lead in the 5th.
Dontrelle Willis replaced Penny in the 6th inning after Bernie Williams hit a home run and Hideki Matsui knocked a single to right. Willis got the next two outs to end the inning. The rookie left-hander pitched a perfect 7th before being relieved by Ugueth Urbina with two outs in the 8th inning. Urbina shut down the Yankees for four outs to get the save in a 3-2 Florida victory.
Game 2 @ Yankee Stadium
Yankees: 6, Marlins: 1
|WP: Andy Pettitte (1-0), LP: Mark Redman (0-1)|
|HR: NY - Alfonso Soriano (1)|
- Attendance: 55,750
Two southpaws took the mound in the second game of the 2003 World Series. The Marlins started Mark Redman (37 career wins) for his first-ever World Series appearance, while the Yankees turned to Andy Pettitte - winner of 149 games in his nine-year career. The Bronx Bombers had no problem with Redman, but the Marlins did not have an answer for the Yankees' veteran pitcher. Pettitte pitched 8 2/3 innings and did not allow a single earned run.
Redman walked Alfonso Soriano to start off the bottom of the 1st inning. After Derek Jeter struck out and Soriano was picked off, it looked like the Marlins were going to escape the 1st inning without yielding a run. Redman then hit Jason Giambi, gave up a single to Bernie Williams, and surrendered a home run to Hideki Matsui. The two-out rally gave the Yankees a 3-0 lead after one inning. An RBI double off the bat of Juan Rivera made the score 4-0 through two innings. Rick Helling took over on the mound for Redman in the 3rd.
Alfonso Soriano hit a two-run homer off Helling in the 4th inning to give the Yankees a 6-0 lead. With Pettitte dealing his best stuff, the game was sealed. The Marlins did not put up a run until the 9th inning, when they managed to score a single unearned run. Jose Contreras pitched the final out for the Yankees.
Game 3 @ Pro Player Stadium
Yankees: 6, Marlins: 1
|WP: Mike Mussina: (1-0), LP: Josh Beckett: (0-1), SV: Mariano Rivera: (1)|
|HR: NY - Aaron Boone (1), Bernie Williams (2)|
- Attendance: 65,731
Before 2003, the last World Series game played in Pro Player Stadium was a Game 7 classic against the Cleveland Indians in 1997. Just like that year, the gigantic stadium filled to capacity to see the Marlins play for a title. Mike Mussina took the hill for the Yankees, while young Texan Josh Beckett started for Florida. Mussina entered the postseason with 199 career wins and played for five All-Star teams. Beckett had totaled just 17 wins in his young career. Mussina was known both for his fine repertoire and for his intelligent pitching style. Beckett was a 23-year-old with a cannon of an arm.
On this wet Florida night, the veteran came out ahead. Mussina delivered 7 innings, allowing 1 run and striking out 9. Beckett was just as impressive, giving up 2 runs in 7 1/3 innings with 10 strikeouts. The Marlins jumped ahead 1-0 when Miguel Cabrera tallied an RBI single in the 1st inning. The Yankees tied the game in the top of the 4th when Beckett walked Jorge Posada with the bases loaded. It was a crucial error for the young pitcher, but he did get the next batter out to end the inning.
The game remained tied until the 8th inning. Not even a 39-minute rain delay cracked the pitchers' momentum. In the top of the 8th, Derek Jeter cracked a double off Beckett. Dontrelle Willis came in from the bullpen and recorded the second out before giving up an RBI single to Hideki Matsui. Aaron Boone and Bernie Williams padded the lead with home runs in the 9th. The final score was 6-1 in favor of the Yankees.
Game 4 @ Pro Player Stadium
Marlins: 4, Yankees: 3
|WP: Braden Looper: (1-0), LP: Jeff Weaver: (0-1)|
|HR: FLA - Miguel Cabrera (1); Alex Gonzalez (1)|
- Attendance: 65,934
Looking to take a decisive edge in the series, the Yankees turned to one of the sport's legends, Roger Clemens. "The Rocket" was believed to be headed for retirement after the 2003 season (he signed with the Houston Astros instead), and even the Florida fans applauded Clemens during the game. Sticking to a theme in the series, Florida's starter looked overmatched on paper. Clemens had 310 career wins and 4,099 strikeouts. Opponent Carl Pavano entered the series with 39 wins and 478 Ks. The discrepancy did not deter the Marlins' young pitcher and he delivered an excellent performance.
Clemens was roughed up early, but soon settled in. Florida scored three runs in the 1st inning on a two-run homer from Miguel Cabrera and three consecutive singles, the last by Derrek Lee. It was an impressive assault against the Hall of Fame-caliber pitcher. As expected, Clemens made the necessary adjustments and gave up just three hits over the next six innings. The Yankees tagged Pavano for a run in the 2nd on three consecutive singles and an RBI sacrifice fly. Like Clemens, Pavano then settled into a groove. He yielded just one run in eight innings on the night.
Down 3-1 in the 9th, the Yankees offense went into attack mode. Ugueth Urbina got Jason Giambi to make the first out of the inning. He then gave up a hit and a walk before getting Jorge Posada to force out Hideki Matsui at second base for out number two. With runners on first and third, Ruben Sierra replaced Karim Garcia at the plate. Sierra drove in both runners with a triple. Urbina retired Aaron Boone to end the inning, but the damage was done. The game was tied at 3-3 and headed for extra innings.
The Yankees had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the top of the 11th inning, but with the bases loaded and one out, Chad Fox struck out Boone and got John Flaherty to pop out. Alex Gonzalez ended the game with a home run against Jeff Weaver in the bottom of the 12th inning. It was a dramatic win to even the series at two games apiece.
Game 5 @ Pro Player Stadium
Marlins: 6, Yankees: 4
|WP: Brad Penny (2-0), LP: Jose Contreras (0-1), SV: Ugueth Urbina (2)|
|HR: NY - Jason Giambi (1)|
- Attendance: 65,975
In an era in which baseball players spent more time weight training and building up their bodies than ever before, David Wells was known for being out of shape. "Boomer's" mystique came from guzzling beers, eating carelessly, and showing up to pitch with a big gut. This image crumbled when a back injury cost him his season with the Chicago White Sox in 2001. Though he tried to better his health, Wells was still of ample size. He paid again for years of neglecting his body when back spasms cut his outing short in Game 5 of the 2003 World Series. He was removed after one inning, and was replaced by Jose Contreras.
When Wells left the game, the Yankees had a 1-0 lead thanks to a sacrifice fly from Bernie Williams. Contreras gave the game right back to the Marlins. The Cuban defector walked three batters and gave up two hits. The result was three runs for Florida. Brad Penny brought his best stuff to the yard and held New York in check for seven innings. Contreras gave up another run in the 4th on an RBI double from Juan Pierre. Chris Hammond surrendered two more in the 5th on a two-run single by Mike Lowell. The Marlins had a 6-1 lead and never looked back.
The Yankees tried to claw their way into the game in the 7th inning. Derek Jeter hit a run-scoring single to make the game 6-2. Enrique Wilson walked to load the bases for Williams, but the Yankee veteran flied out to right field. Braden Looper surrendered two runs in the 9th on a Jason Giambi home run and a Wilson double. Ugueth Urbina came in to relieve Looper and retired the next two batters. The Marlins won, 6-4. By taking two of three at Pro Player Stadium, the team was prepared to win the series in the Bronx.
Game 6 @ Yankee Stadium
Marlins: 2, Yankees: 0
|WP: Josh Beckett (1-1), LP: Andy Pettitte (1-1)|
- Attendance: 55,773
Andy Pettitte was 3-0 in the 2003 postseason entering Game 6 of the World Series. His counterpart, Josh Beckett, was dominating in three of his previous four starts, but only had a record of 1-2. Jack McKeon elected to use Beckett on three days' rest rather than start Mark Redman, who was pounded early in Game 2. The move worked to perfection. On a cool New York night, Beckett delivered the start of his life. With nine shutout innings, the Texan jumped from "rising star" to "October legend".
Bernie Williams continued his strong series with a double in the 2nd inning, but the Yankees were not able to drive him home. The crowd at Yankee Stadium settled in for a pitchers' duel, as the game was scoreless through four innings. The Marlins crossed the plate first in the top of the 5th. Three consecutive singles from Alex Gonzalez, Juan Pierre, and Luis Castillo put Florida ahead, 1-0. Pierre was one of the unsung heroes of the series, hitting .333 with 5 walks. His ability to get on base sustained countless rallies. The second Marlins run came in the top of the 6th. Jeff Conine reached base on a rare error by Derek Jeter. Conine advanced to second on a Mike Lowell walk. Derrek Lee bunted into a fielder's choice for the first out. With runners on first and third, Juan Encarnacion hit a sacrifice fly that scored Conine.
Beckett did not need the cushion. The young gun dazzled America with his unshakeable poise. Jorge Posada led off the bottom of the 7th with a double, but Beckett didn't waiver. Posada never even advanced to third as Beckett induced a ground out and then tallied two strikeouts. The Yankees got another leadoff hit in the 8th, but once again, the runner failed to advance. Beckett put the game away in the 9th on a grounder up the first base line. The Marlins pitcher tagged Posada himself to secure the win. It was the Marlins' second World Series title.
2003 All-Star Game • 2003 World Series
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