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2000 World Series

"It is often said that the Mayor of New York City wears many hats, while this may be true, I can assure you that for the duration of this World Series I'll be wearing a Yankees hat." - New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani

PINSTRIPE PERSPECTIVES: Events off the field

"Y2K" spawned a paranoid phenomenon due to the impending threat of the world's computers crashing. Despite millions of dollars and countless man-hours spent in preparation, the impending cyber-disaster amounted to nothing.

The U.S. presidential race between Republican candidate George W. Bush and Democratic hopeful Al Gore ended amid controversy. The world watched as the most powerful nation on earth used the courts to sort out what was the most evenly divided recent presidential election of the United States.

After years of delays, the International Space Station was finally operating in orbit thanks to a combined effort of technological resources from the U.S., Canada, Japan, Russia, eleven nations of the European Space Agency and Brazil.

FALL CLASSIC: New York Mets (1) vs. New York Yankees (4)

After a forty-four year absence (1956) the Subway Series finally returned to the Big Apple, matching the ever-present New York Yankees against their cross-town rivals, the New York Mets. The American Leaguers had continued to dominate the postseason, winning three out of the last four titles, and the Nationals were determined to finally end their reign. While manager Joe Torre's Yankees were focused on becoming the first team in twenty-six years to win three titles in a row, Mets skipper Bobby Valentine was spending time at St. Patrick's Cathedral looking for some divine intervention.

Game 1 opened in the "House That Ruth Built" with Andy Pettitte taking on Al Leiter. The contest remained scoreless (with two outs in the sixth inning) when the first break of the Series occurred. With Timo Perez on first base, Todd Zeile drilled an 0-and-2 pitch to deep left field, but it ricocheted off the top of the fence and was fielded by David Justice - who relayed to Derek Jeter - who pegged home plate to retire the runner. More of an offensive blooper than a defensive gem, Perez's inexperience on the base path clearly cost his team a prime run-scoring opportunity. Aware that they had just "dodged a bullet," the Yankees responded with Justice launching a two- run double to the left-centerfield gap (in the bottom of the inning) for the go-ahead score. The Mets' Benny Agbayani and Jay Payton answered with singles in the seventh inning and Todd Pratt walked. Then Bubba Trammell hit a clutch two-run pinch-single that tied it up at three all. Three innings later, Jose Vizcaino's single to left against Turk Wendell with two outs in the twelfth inning ended the longest game ever played in the World Series (four hours, fifty-one minutes).

The second meeting found the Mets still trying to catch up to their counterparts and they would come close - very close. Clemens started strong and threw two-hit shutout ball for eight innings, striking out nine and walking none. But the Nationals threatened to comeback with a five-run rally in the ninth inning. Ace closer Mariano Rivera struggled initially (surrendering a homer) but managed to regain his composure long enough to seal a clutch 6-5 win that sent the heartbroken Mets crawling back home.

In Game 3, the Mets went ahead quickly (on Robin Ventura's leadoff homer in the second), but the visitors didn't stay behind for long. They tied it against Rick Reed in the third, as Derek Jeter hit a two-out single, followed by a Justice double to the right field corner. Then they sprinted ahead in the fourth as Paul O'Neill tripled to right-center driving home Tino Martinez. The Mets surged ahead and tied it at two in the sixth on a Todd Zeile double. Rick Reed (six innings, six hits, two runs and eight strikeouts) did his part to keep up with Orlando Hernandez, who had always struggled at Shea Stadium. "El Duque" struck out twelve in 7 1/3 innings and was at the top of the game when he got out of a bases-loaded none-out jam in the sixth inning without allowing another Mets player run to score. However, the home team managed to add two more in the eighth and emerged with a clutch 4-2 victory.

Both rotations earned their paychecks in Game 4, as a combined nine pitchers went at it on the mound. The night had a promising start and finish for the Yankees, who set the pace with Derek Jeter's homer on the first pitch and ended it with two scoreless innings by Rivera. Scott Brosius made it 2-0 with a sacrifice fly that drove home Paul O'Neill in the second inning and Jeter led off the third with a triple to right-center field and came home on Luis Sojo's groundout. When the Mets' Mike Piazza came up again (with two on and no outs in the fifth inning) Torre lifted the left-handed Denny Neagle in favor of the right-handed David Cone. The surprising move proved brilliant as the Yankees ace forced the All-Star catcher to pop out. The American League champs bullpen continued to shine while holding the Mets quiet for 4 1/3 innings. The result was 3-2 decision that pushed the Nationals to within nine innings of elimination.

Pettitte, Mike Stanton and Rivera ended the Mets' misery in Game 5, allowing a meager two hits that resulted in two runs. Bernie Williams and Jeter both hit homers as the Yanks netted their third consecutive World Series and their fourth in the five years. A two-out single in the ninth inning by Luis Sojo, was the deciding factor and led the Yankees to celebrate their twenty-sixth World Championship. Only three times in Major League history has any club won as many in a row. (The Yankees won five straight between 1949 and 1953 and four straight from 1936 to 1939; the Oakland Athletics won three in a row from 1972-74). And only two other times has the club won as many championships in as short a period of time, (the Yankees won five of six from 1936 to 1941 and six of seven from 1947 to 1953).


The last Subway Series was the 1956 World Series. During that Fall Classic, Yankees coach Don Zimmer was sitting in the Brooklyn Dodgers dugout. Zimmer was not able to play due to a fractured cheekbone, but remembered it well and said; "I guess I would call myself a professional cheerleader that year. Like I would today."

Forty-four years of change (between 1956 & 2000): subway ride was 15 cents versus $1.50 and box seats were $5 versus $160.00.

When Game 5 of the 2000 World Series was over, Rick White of the New York Mets said, "At the end of the game, when that run scored, it felt like an elephant had stepped on my heart, like my guts were coming out."


2001 World Series

"Focus. Just being focused on the task at hand. It's one inning, one out, one pitch at a time. In these situations, it's easier to do when it's the end of the year. This is it. You're playing for all the marbles." - Curt Schilling (Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher)

PINSTRIPE PERSPECTIVES: Events off the field

For the second time in the nation's history, a president's son followed in his father's footsteps as George W. Bush (Jr.) was sworn in as the United State's 43rd leader.

On September 11 the world changed forever as two hijacked airplanes were flown into the World Trade Center's twin towers and a third airplane hit the Pentagon in Washington DC. A fourth plane was brought down before reaching its intended target by a heroic group of passengers in a field in western Pennsylvania. In the end, over 3,300 innocent people were killed and the United States along with a coalition of over sixty countries declared war on terrorism.

The New York Yankees weren't the only baseball team from the Bronx that played well in 2001, only to come up short in the end. The Little League team from the South Bronx stole the show at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, but was later disqualified after it was discovered that star pitcher Danny Almonte was actually a fifteen year-old ringer.

FALL CLASSIC: Arizona Diamondbacks (4) vs. New York Yankees (3)

Major League Baseball in 2001 will always be remembered, not for the games that took place during the regular season, but for the patriotism and heroic tributes that took place in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It somehow seemed fitting that the city of New York, led by Mayor Rudy Giuliani, would show immeasurable strength and host the event after suffering such devastating loss a few months earlier. Perhaps no other time and place in American history required the World Series more than the Big Apple did in 2001.

As the city of New York struggled to remove miles of rubble that had been the Twin Towers and bury thousands of innocent civilians, heroic fireman and police officers, baseball became a welcome distraction for a city on the mend. The President of the United States, George W. Bush, sent a comforting message to the country and a defiant message to her enemies by proudly standing on the pitcher's mound at Yankee Stadium and throwing out a first pitch for a perfect strike. It was an unforgettable moment in American history that went well beyond the realm of baseball.

As usual, the Yankees remained on top of the American League as baseball's most storied franchise and prepared to face one of its newest challengers, as the National League's Arizona Diamondbacks had just won their first pennant in their fourth year of existence. Many fans felt that this was the year to beat the perennial champions and as a banner hung at Arizona's Bank One Ballpark stated: YANKEES = HISTORY - DIAMONDBACKS = FUTURE. The simple, yet bold statement was well written and foretold the future as the youngest expansion team in Major League history would come from behind during the ninth inning to dethrone the kings of baseball.

Midway through Game 1 it was difficult to tell who were the three-time defending champions and which was the franchise making its Classic debut. Arizona ace Curt Schilling continued his remarkable postseason with seven superb innings and Luis Gonzalez homered, drove in two runs and scored twice, as the Diamondbacks stunned the Yanks, 9-1. Taking advantage of a rough start by New York's Mike Mussina and some sloppy defense, the Diamondbacks seized the opening advantage that resulted in titles nearly 60 percent of the time.

Nothing changed in Game 2 the following day, as Randy Johnson tossed a three-hitter and Matt Williams added a three-run homer in the seventh inning for a 4-0 victory. The "Big Unit" was dominant from the start, allowing only one walk and one single over the first seven innings. He struck out eleven batters and improved to 3-1 in the postseason. In his last three outings, he allowed just two runs and thirteen hits in twenty-five innings.

New York finally bounced back in Game 3, as Roger Clemens and Mariano Rivera combined on a three-hitter and Scott Brosius snapped a sixth-inning tie with an RBI single for the 2-1 triumph. Leading two games to none, Arizona had a chance to put a stranglehold on the Series with a win. The Diamondbacks got a great outing from starter Brian Anderson, but committed three crucial errors, three wild pitches and ran themselves out of the opening inning. Despite the win, the Yankees continued to struggle offensively. They got only seven hits, including a home run by Jorge Posada in the second inning, but the 1-2 combination of Clemens and Rivera prevented an Arizona attack that scored thirteen runs in the first two games.

Shutdown by the return of Schilling (on three days of rest), the defending champions were staring at the possibility of a three-games-to-one deficit in Game 4. With one out, Paul O'Neill shot an opposite-field single in front of left fielder Luis Gonzalez and after Bernie Williams struck out, Tino Martinez hit the first pitch he saw from reliever Byung-Hyun Kim over the wall in right-center field. As the ball cleared the outfield barrier, the hometown crowd of 55,863 erupted, as the invigorated Yankees spilled out of the dugout. The stadium that had fallen deadly silent after the Diamondbacks scored two runs (in the eighth inning) was cheering thunderously and would not stop celebrating until Martinez came out on the deck for a curtain call. Rivera (1-0) cruised through the tenth inning and improved to 2-0 with five saves and a 0.71 ERA in nine postseason appearances. Derek Jeter completed the cycle, in what had evolved into one of the most memorable games of all time, by lining a 3-2 pitch over the right field wall for the game-winner.

Game 5 looked to go the distance as well with Mussina returning to save face against Miguel Batista. The veteran right-hander improved greatly and allowed only five hits (including a pair of solo home runs in the fifth) while walking three and striking out ten. One of the two solo homers hit in the fifth came off the bat of little-used backup Rod Barajas (a .160 hitter in the regular season) who was in for starter Damian Miller (a late scratch with a strained calf). With the Diamondbacks holding a 2-0 lead, Arizona manager Bob Brenly returned to Kim to start the ninth. Jorge Posada opened the inning with a double but the Korean sidearmer easily retired the next two batters. With one out to go, things finally appeared to go in Kim's favor, but Scott Brosius begged to differ with a clutch, two-run blast that tied the game at two apiece. Needles to say, the repentive reliever was removed immediately in favor of Mike Morgan, who lasted two-innings himself before being replaced by Albie Lopez in the 12th. Despite Arizona's fresh arm, Game 4's finale was replayed after Alfonso Soriano singled (with one out) scoring Chuck Knoblauch with the 3-2, game-winning run. After sprinting to a two game lead, the National League champs were now forced into a do-or-die situation for Game 6. Once again, Johnson returned for Arizona to extend the race and responded with a brilliant six hitter that was sweetened with seven strikeouts. At the plate, Johnson's teammates dominated as well, scoring fifteen times over the first four innings for a shocking 15-2 massacre.

After sprinting to a two game lead, the National League champs were now forced into a do-or-die situation for Game 6. Once again, Johnson returned for Arizona to extend the race and responded with a brilliant six-hitter that was sweetened with seven strikeouts. At the plate, Johnson's teammates dominated as well, scoring fifteen times over the first four innings for a shocking 15-2 massacre.

Game 7 looked to extend the Yankees consecutive-win streak, but the "never-say-die" Diamondbacks rose to the challenge and put together one of the greatest late-game comebacks in World Series history. After Kim had surrendered the trio of heartbreaking home runs in New York, the Diamondbacks returned home and rallied against the incomparable Rivera, who had converted twenty-three straight postseason saves and struck out the side in the eighth inning (with a 2-1 lead). As Luis Gonzalez stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the ninth, the Yankees infield moved in to prevent base runner Jay Bell from scoring. The positional strategy proved disastrous as "Gonzo" connected for a shallow looping single (that just cleared the infield in center) sending home the winning run and sealing the World Series title. The Diamondbacks (many of them veterans getting their first taste of the World Series) exploded from the dugout as the "neighborhood bully" Yankees had finally fallen to the "new kids on the block."


At the completion of Game 5 Yankees third-baseman Scott Brosius told the media, "You can't draw up two better endings than what we had."

Andy Pettitte was the only left-handed batter in the lineup during Game 2 when the New York Yankees faced-off against Randy Johnson.

The attendance during Game 6 of the 2001 World Series was 49,707 - the largest of any game (including those in the regular season) ever played at Bank One Ballpark.


2003 World Series

"The bruise from the (2003) World Series loss to the Florida Marlins is still smarting, and some wounds from a difficult year working for George Steinbrenner remain open. (New York) Yankees manager Joe Torre is thinking about the end." - The Star Ledger (November 1, 2003)

PINSTRIPE PERSPECTIVES: Events off the field

After the U.N. repeatedly failed in its efforts to uncover weapons of mass destruction or identify links between Saddam Hussein and international terrorists, the United States and a group of coalition forces joined together for a pre-emptive strike aimed at disarming Iraq. On March 19th, the U.S. launched what would become known as Operation "Shock and Awe" as a "decapitation attack" aimed at the Iraqi President and other top members of the country's leadership. More than forty satellite-guided Tomahawk cruise missiles were fired from U.S. warships in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf with support from multiple squadrons of F-117 stealth fighters, carrying 2,000-pound bombs. Although the initial attack failed to eliminate Saddam, it only took twenty-one days for coalition forces to eliminate the Republican Guard and take the capital city of Baghdad. For the first time in history, people from around the world were able to watch the war effort live via embedded war journalists and strategically placed web cams.

Tragedy struck the NASA Space Program after the space shuttle Columbia broke up during re-entry fifteen minutes before its scheduled landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Those killed on the ill-fated flight were commander Rick D. Husband; pilot William C. McCool; payload commander Michael P. Anderson; mission specialists David M. Brown, Kalpana Chawla and Laurel Clark; as well as Israel's first astronaut, Ilan Ramon. An investigation into the explosion later revealed that a piece of foam designed to protect the vehicle from heat had dislodged during take-off, striking the left wing. Columbia, the oldest of NASA's shuttle fleet, had first launched in 1981 and was completing its twenty-eighth mission. Ironically, the accident occurred less than a week after the anniversaries of two other deadly space program disasters: the seventeenth anniversary of the explosion of the shuttle Challenger (January 28) and the thirty-sixth anniversary of a launch pad fire that killed three Apollo astronauts (January 27).

FALL CLASSIC: Florida Marlins (4) vs. New York Yankees (2)

The biggest story of the 2003 World Series may not have been the actual Fall Classic, but more so the dramatic pennant race that led up to the Series itself. After years of less-than-stellar ratings, record audiences finally tuned in to the Major League Baseball postseason, making it the most-watched playoffs ever on cable. Fans also flocked to the ballparks, setting a new attendance mark with over 1,858,979 tickets sold. Many attributed this renewed interest to the playoff's storybook backdrop that featured two of baseball's most beloved underdogs, the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs. Both teams had surprised the experts by making it to the postseason competition and each continued to shock their opponents by battling back in their respective leagues time and time again. After surviving the Divisional round, generations of long-suffering fans from both ball clubs reveled in the possibility that the curse of both "The Bambino" and "The Goat" was finally coming to an end. The baseball gods apparently had other plans and both teams fell just five heartbreaking outs short of making it to the Series.

Unlike the similarities shared between their tragic opponents, both league champions were as diametrically opposed as two teams meeting on the same diamond could be. On the American League side, the New York Yankees, recently nicknamed "The Evil Empire," surprised no one after posting the best record in baseball en route to their 39th Fall Classic. The National League champion Florida Marlins however, had managed to sneak undetected under everyone's "radar" after falling ten games under .500 on May 22. Amazingly, the moderately popular Florida franchise was making a second Fall Classic appearance in only its tenth year of existence. After the emotionally exhausting playoffs, in which almost every game literally came down to the final pitch, many fans believed that the Series was a foregone conclusion and could not possibly live up to the drama of its predecessors. Little did they know that another battle of "David vs. Goliath" was about to unfold and that neither team would ever be the same again.

In Game 1 the Yankees opened the Series in the same fashion that they had opened both the American League Divisional Series and America League Championship - with a loss. The 3-2 decision snapped the Yankees' ten-game home-winning streak (in the World Series), dating back to Game 2 of the 1996 Fall Classic. Despite the setback, the pinstripe faithful refused to panic, as the "Bronx Bombers" were 7-1, in which they had lost Game 1, under manager Joe Torre. Starting pitcher David Wells had surrendered a run in the first inning, after Florida's Juan Pierre laid down a perfect bunt single that was followed by Luis Castillo's flare single to right, putting runners at the corners. Ivan Rodriguez lifted a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Pierre and giving him a playoff-best seventeen runs-batted-in. The Yankees tied the game in the third inning against Brad Penny, after Derek Jeter came up clutch with an RBI single to center field, scoring Karim Garcia from second and injecting some life into the crowd of 55,769 that was still suffering from an ALCS "hangover". Pierre later put the Marlins back on top in the fifth inning with a two-run single to left, giving Florida a 3-1 lead. But Bernie Williams answered with a solo home run with one out in the sixth. It was the eighteenth postseason home run of his career and tied him with fellow Yankees Mickey Mantle and Reggie Jackson for the most round-trippers in Major League playoff history. Taking no chances, Florida pulled Penny in favor of closer Ugueth Urbina, who struck out Jorge Posada and Alfonso Soriano, before inducing Nick Johnson to pop out to center, nailing down the win.

Game 2 evened the score as Andy Pettitte brought the Yankees back to life (for the third consecutive Series) with a near-perfect 6-1 outing. Pitching on three days of rest, Pettitte allowed only one unearned run during 8 2/3 innings for his ninth consecutive win. Japanese import Hideki Matsui gave the pitcher all of the offensive support he would need, belting a three-run homer in the first inning. Alfonso Soriano, who had been struggling at the plate throughout the playoffs, added a two-run shot in the fourth inning that sealed the deal.

Marlins right-handed prodigy Josh Beckett was given the start for Game 3 and the twenty-three- year-old Texan worked through a lengthy rain delay and an imposing lineup, striking out ten batters while giving up three hits and two runs. However, Yankees starter Mike Mussina proved better, giving up a single run in seven innings. After one hundred eight pitches through 7 1/3 innings, Beckett was pulled in favor of the left-handed Dontrelle Willis who struggled with his control due to the wet weather. Once again, Matsui came through at the plate, snapping a tie with a two-out RBI single in the eighth inning. From there, ALCS Game 7 hero Aaron Boone and Bernie Williams both added home runs in the ninth inning, capping off another 6-1 decision over the Marlins.

The fourth game in the Series held a special significance, as the fans in attendance witnessed the final appearance on the mound by one of baseball's greatest pitchers, Roger Clemens. The future Hall of Famer came on strong sitting down the first two Marlins in the opening frame. However, things quickly turned sour after Ivan Rodriguez's two-out single sparked an early Marlins rally. Following Rodriguez's lead, Miguel Cabrera, a twenty year-old rookie, drilled a 2-2 pitch the opposite way from the forty-one year-old Clemens deep into the right-field seats, giving Florida a 2-0 lead. Jeff Conine and Mike Lowell followed with singles, putting runners at the corners. Derrek Lee then scored Conine, putting the Yankees in a three-run hole after only one inning. Taking their turn, New York rallied around their struggling pitcher and responded by loading the bases with three singles to open the second inning. Aaron Boone kept the drive alive with a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Bernie Williams, cutting the lead to 3-1. Determined to "save face" for his forty-two pitch first-inning debacle, "The Rocket" settled in, needing just fifty-four pitches to get through the next five innings.

Clemens returned for the seventh inning to face Luis Castillo as flashbulbs began to pop with each pitch. Falling behind on the count 1-2, Castillo battled the Yankee ace for five more pitches before looking at strike three on a fastball that tailed over the inside corner. The 65,934 fans in attendance gave Clemens a standing ovation as he walked off the field for the last time, honoring him for his twenty seasons of pitching supremacy. As the Marlins took the field to start the eighth inning some of the classier players tilted their caps to the Yankees dugout. Clemens, who came back on to the field for a curtain call, returned the gesture by waving to the fans and to his opponents. Once again, Ugueth Urbina was summoned from Florida's bullpen but the Marlins reliever stumbled and surrendered two tying runs, after Ruben Sierra lined a pitch down the right field line for a triple, scoring both Williams and pinch-runner David Dellucci. Jose Contreras tossed two scoreless innings of relief for New York, while Florida's Chad Fox, after getting through the tenth inning, ran into trouble in the eleventh. With runners in scoring position, Juan Rivera was sent in to pinch-hit for Contreras. Braden Looper took the mound. After intentionally walking Rivera, Looper proceeded to strike out Aaron Boone and force John Flaherty to pop out to third, leaving all runners stranded on base. As the Yankees prepared to take the field, Torre made a call to his own bullpen that would prove both controversial and costly. The Yankees' skipper elected to go with Jeff Weaver in the eleventh inning, despite the fact that he had not appeared on the mound in twenty-eight days. Weaver, who had been demoted from a starter to a relief role, held the Marlins at bay with a series of well-placed fastballs. After Looper tossed a scoreless top-of-the-twelfth, Alex Gonzalez worked to a full count to lead off the Marlins' half of the twelfth. Swinging for the bleachers, the shortstop drilled the payoff pitch down the left field line, barely clearing the 330-foot-sign on the wall, nailing a 4-3 win and setting off a celebration both on the field and in the stands. In retrospect, many fans felt that Torre's gamble on Weaver had not only cost the Yankees Game 4, but in the end, the Series.

New York caught another bad break in Game 5, after losing starting pitcher David Wells to a "freak" back injury after just one inning. Florida went on to hit reliever Jose Contreras for four runs in three innings, after clearly taking control in the second. Then things went from bad to worse as the Yankees struggling bullpen allowed six runs from the second inning through the fifth. Marlins starter Brad Penny took care of the rest, while holding the "Bombers" to only one earned run over seven innings. Once again Florida had defeated the mighty Yankees and moved within one win of a second World Series championship.

Game 6 maintained the Marlins' momentum as Josh Beckett, starting on three days of rest for the first time in his young career, dominated the Yankees with a complete-game five-hit shutout. His rival, Andy Pettitte, who had won eleven consecutive games following Yankees losses, gave New York a valiant effort, holding the Marlins to two runs (one earned) over seven innings. Pettitte sat down the first two Marlins in the fifth, but Alex Gonzalez and Juan Pierre put together consecutive singles to keep the inning going. Pettitte got ahead of Luis Castillo, 0-2, but the second baseman worked the count to 2-2 before lining a single to right field. Outfielder Karim Garcia fielded the hit and went for home, but his throw was slightly up the first base line, allowing Gonzalez to score with a heads-up slide, avoiding the tag and touching the plate with his left hand. Beckett remained focused and sat the Yankees down in order in the sixth inning, striking out Bernie Williams (looking) and Hideki Matsui (swinging) to put the Marlins nine outs away from the championship. Jorge Posada led off the seventh inning with a double to left field, but Beckett got Jason Giambi to groundout to third before striking out Garcia and pinch-hitter Ruben Sierra. As a testament to Florida's defensive play, New York remained 0-for-7 on the night with runners in scoring position. After Yankees closer Mariano Rivera came in to prevent any additional runs, Beckett returned to the mound to finish the job, forcing both Williams and Matsui to fly out to left field. He then got Posada to squib an inside pitch down the first base line, which he appropriately fielded himself, tagging the catcher for the final out.

The "routine play" seemed almost anti-climatic, as one of baseball's most dramatic postseasons abruptly came to an end. While Marlins players mobbed each other on the field in celebration, the stands of Yankee Stadium remained silent, as fans were coming to grips with another World Series Championship lost. Much like the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks, Florida had managed to beat the odds AND the favored Yankees to become the best in baseball. Unlike the '97 franchise of free-agent "mercenaries," the '03 Marlins boasted a young team that looked to remain intact for future seasons. Things did not look as bright in the Big Apple however, where a dynasty was about to see several changes - and a lot of pink slips.


Josh Beckett, who pitched a complete game shutout on three days rest during Game 6 of the 2003 World Series (which helped him earn the World Series Most Valuable Player Award), had never pitched a complete game shutout during his Major or Minor League career before that game.

In the history of the World Series there have been thirteen (13) walk-off home runs. Alex Gonzalez joined that "club" when he became the seventh (7th) player to connect in extra innings and leave the opposing team on the field.

The Florida Marlins, following the 2003 World Series, were undefeated in championship play (2-0) while the perennial New York Yankees fell to 26-13 in world titles.

MORE HERE: George Steinbrenner: Leader of the "Evil Empire"



Copyright 2006 by Michael Aubrecht
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