By Ron Griffitts
In 2003, the New York Yankees 101-61 managed by Joe Torre with general manager Brain Cashman appeared in the fall classic for the sixth time in eight years to face the Florida Marlins, 91-71, making their second World Series appearance, managed by Jack McKeon with general manager Larry Beinfest.
The Yankees were led by Jorge Posada 30 HR, 101 RBI, Jason Giambi 41 HR, 107 RBI, 97 RS, Alfonso Soriano 38 HR, 91 RBI, 114 RS, 35 SB, Derek Jeter 87 RS, .324 BA and Hideki Matsui 106 RBI.
Their pitching staff was anchored by Mike Mussina 17-8, David Wells 15-7, Roger Clemens 17-9, and Andy Pettite 17-9 and in the bullpen Mariano Rivera 5-2, 1.66 ERA, 40 SV.
The Marlins were led by catcher Juan Rodriguez 16 HR, 85 RBI, 90 RS, .297 BA, Derrek Lee 31 HR, 21 SB, 91 RS, Luis Castillo .314 BA, 21 SB, 97 RS, Mike Lowell 32 HR, 105 RBI, Juan Pienne .305 BA, 65 SB, 100 RS, 204 HS and 20 year-old rookie Miquel Cabrera who in 87 games had 12 HR, 62 RBI.
The pitching staff was led by Brad Penny 14-10, Mark Redmond 14-9, Dontrelle Willis 14-6, Josh Beckett 9-8, 3.04 ERA and Brad Looper 6-4, 28 SV, Uqueth Urbina 3-0, 1.41 ERA and Nate Bump 4-0.
Game one was in Yankee Stadium in the Bronx with David Wells and Brad Penny as the starters. It was a tightly pitched game with a two RBI single by Juan Pierre in the fifth inning off of Wells being the deciding factor in the game and the Marlins win 3-2 with Bernie Williams having a home run for New York.
The Yankees bounced back behind a six hit, eight and 2/3 inning performance by Andy Pettie who was helped by a three run homer by Hideki Matsui and a two run home run by Alfonso Soriano for a 6-1 win and the Yanks tie the series 1-1.
Game three switched to Pro Player Stadium in Miami and in another tightly pitched game, this time between Mike Mussina and Josh Beckett the Yankees led 2-1 going into the top of the ninth inning. However home runs by Aaron Boone and Bernie Williams gave the Yankees a 6-1 lead and victory and they go up 2-1 in the series.
Game four was one of those pivotal games that occurs in a World Series other than the seventh game which determines the series outcome.
In another closely pitched game, the Marlins scored three runs in the first inning off of Roger Clemens including a two-run home run by rookie Miquel Cabrera and led 3-1 with the Yankees batting in the top of the ninth inning.
A two-run triple by Ruben Sierra tied the game and the two teams went into extra innings until Luis Gonzales added a solo run home run in the bottom of the 12th inning and the Marlins win 4-3 to even the series at two games each.
Having gained momentum with the game four win the Marlins, helped by a two RBI single by pitcher Brad Penny got out to a 6-1 lead after six innings and held on to win game five 6-4 in spite of a home run by Jason Giambi.
The Marlins were up three games to two and needed one more win to win their second World Series.
Josh Beckett provided that win with a complete game 2-0 victory allowing only five hits as the Marlins win the World Series and Beckett gets the series MVP award.
This was a changing of the guard series as it would be the last World Series for Joe Torre after six pennants and four World Series titles with the Yankees. For the Marlins it was the start of a brilliant career by young Miquel Cabrera who got a World Series home run and is still playing in the major leagues for the Tigers.
Cabrera has not been in a World Series since 2003 which shows how difficult it is to get to the Fall Classic.
Yankee’s third baseman Aaron Boone who is presently the Yankees’ manager, played 12 seasons in the major leagues, his brother Bret played 14 seasons, his dad Bob Boone spent 19 seasons as a player and Bob’s father Ray Boone played 13 years from 1948 to 1960 for total of 58 seasons as a player for the three generations of Boones.
Both Aaron and Bret played for the Reds and Bob managed the Reds for two years.
Statistics for this article were from Baseball-reference.com. and Wikipedia.
Ron Griffitts a contributing columnist for The Daily Advocate.