Welcome back to the Greatest Moments in Marlins History. What more can I say about 1997? I can say plenty as we still have a few moments from that season to get to, but moment 27 takes us back to the 157th game of that magical season. September 23, 1997 the day the Marlins clinched their first wildcard berth (Déjà-vu?).
Going into this game against the Montreal Expos the Marlins were coming off a 3 game losing streak. If they would have won any of those games, they would have clinched the wildcard sooner. For this game the Marlins came out swinging early with a sac fly from Gary Sheffield scoring Devon White to give the Marlins an early 1-0 lead. The Expos, however, would answer back scoring 1 run in each of the first 3 innings to make it 3-1. It would look like the Marlins would have to wait another day before they would clinch the wildcard. Or would they?
In the 5th inning the Marlins offense came alive. Bobby Bonilla would single in Edgar Renteria to cut the lead to 3-2. Two batters later Moises Alou would single in Sheffield to tie the game at 3-3. Charles Johnson would then come up and score Bonilla on a single for the Marlins to take a 4-3 lead. Just for safety, Jeff Conine would hit a 2 run blast in the 9th to give the Marlins a 6-3 lead (Conine hitting a home run in a clinching game… that sounds familiar). In the 9th Robb Nen came in and sat the Expos down 1-2-3 to help the Marlins clinch their first wildcard berth!
1997 was a great year. Join me tomorrow as we go way back to the distant year of 2013!