1997 World Series — Indians and Marlins

The Cleveland Indians 86-75 managed by Mike Hargrove with general manager John Hart faced the Florida Marlins 92-70 managed by Jim Leyland with David Dombrowski as general manger.

The Indians were led by Sandy Alomar .324 batting average, 21 home runs, 83 runs batted in, Jim Thome 40 HR, 102 RBI, 104 runs scored, Matt Williams 32 HR, 105 RBI, Manny Ramirez 26 HR, 88 RBI, 99 RS, .328 BA, and Marquis Grissom 22 stolen bases.

Cleveland’s pitching staff was led by Charles Nagy 15-11, Orel Hershiser 14-6, and Jaret Wright 8-3 with Jose Mesa 16 saves, 2.40 ERA, Micheal Jackson 15 saves and Paul Assenmacher 5-0, 2.94 ERA in the bullpen.

Miami was led in batting my Moises Alou (his dad and two uncles were major leaguers) 23 HR, 115 RBI and Gary Sheffield 21 HR, 71 RBI.

Pitching was their strong point and they were led by Kevin Brown 16-8, 2.09 ERA, Alex Fernandez 17-12, AL Leiter 11-9 and Livan Hernandez 9-3 with Robb Nen in the bullpen with 35 saves, Jay Powell 7-2 and Felix Heredia 5-3.

Twenty-two year old Livan Hernandez was the big name for the Marlins as only a year earlier he had left Cuba to join the Marlins.

He opened the series against Orel Hershiser (the series MVP in 1988 for the Dodgers) in Pro Player Stadium in Miami and in a game in which most of the runs were scored by home runs, Florida’s Moises Alou’s three run homer in the fourth off of Hershiser gave the Marlins a lead which they did not surrender.

Charles Johnson also had a solo home run for the Marlins and Jim Thome and Manny Ramirez had solo home runs off Hernandez but the Marlins win 7-4 to take an early lead in the series.

Game two turned Cleveland’s way as starter Chad Ogea together with Micheal Jackson and Jose Mesa on for the save held the Marlins to one run while with the help of a two run home run by Sandy Alomar the Indians tie the series up at one game each with a 6-1 win.

Game three at Jacobs Field in Cleveland was one of the more unusual in the series. With the score tied 7-7 after eight innings the Marlins scored seven runs in the top of the ninth for a 14-7 lead but Cleveland answered with four runs of their own in the bottom of the inning to make the final score 14-11 in favor of Florida as the Marlins take a two games to one sereis lead.

Miami had home runs by Jim Eisenreich, Darren Daulton and Gary Sheffield while Jim Thome homered for Cleveland.

In game four the Indians scored early with three runs in the first and third innings and helped by home runs by Manny Ramirez and Matt Williams, Jaret Wright and Brian Anderson combined for a five hitter and the Indians even the series at two games each with a 10-3 win.

Moises Alou had his second home run of the series for the Marlins.

Game five was a game that was close at the end as the Marlins behind Livan Hernandez built an 8-4 lead going into the bottom of the ninth inning but the Indians erupted for three runs before reliever Rob Nen retired the side and Florida takes a three games to two lead in the World Series with an 8-7 win.

Moises Alou had another home run for the Marlins and Sandy Alomar had one for Cleveland.

Game six was back in Florida and Indian starter Chad Ogea together with three relievers held the Marlins to just one run in a 4-1 victory as the Indians tie the series at three games each to set up the deciding seventh game.

In an indication of just how closely matched the two teams were, the Indians led 2-1 going into the bottom of the ninth inning with Jose Mesa on to pitch. But the Marlins put together two singles and a sacrifice fly, started by a leadoff single by Moises Alou, to score a run and tie the game at 2-2.

The game went to the bottom of the eleventh inning with Bobby Bonilla leading off with a single and advancing to third base as Craig Counsell reached base on an error with Bonilla going to third and two batters later Edgar Renteria singled to drive in Bonilla and the Marlins win their first World Series with a 3-2 victory.

Bobby Bonilla had a home run for the Marlins and Livan Hernandez got his second win and the series MVP. The Marlins would be back in 2003 and the Indians in 2016.

Baseball-reference.com was used for the statistics in this article.

More Thoughts

In a note on the current baseball season the Cincinnati Reds have been a fun and entertaining team to follow. I have listened to most of the games on radio and have heard a triple play (Joey Votto), a no hitter thrown by Wade Miley, and two three home run games by Jesse Winker, home runs in seven consecutive games by Joey Votto as well as their bullpen give up leads in several games.

After Tuesday’s game they are eight games over .500 but have lost the last two and are chasing the Brewers for the Central Division title as well as the Padres for the second wild card place.

They play the Brewers three more times and would probably need to win all three games to have a chance to pass them in the standings.

The two new relievers Gibbons and Wilson seem to have helped so far.

It has been enjoyable to watch the two rookies Tyler Stephenson and especially Jonathan India develop into solid players as the season went along.

It would be much more advantageous for them to win the Central Division title as they would go into a five game playoff with the Mets, Braves or Phillies, giving them a better chance to advance than the one game wild card game the winner of which would likely face the Giants in the Divisional Series.