Aug 4, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Former Florida Marlins manager Jack McKeon (left) catcher Ivan Rodriguez andt and left fielder Juan Pierre (right) watch highlights during the tenth anniversary celebration of the 2003 World Series Championship before a game against the Cleveland Indians at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
Welcome back to the Greatest Moments in Marlins History. The New York Yankees. When people think baseball they think the Yankees. Whether you hate them or love them they are what teams want to become. After all, who wouldn’t? They have 21 players inducted as Yankees in the Hall of Fame. They have 18 division titles. They have 27 World Series Championships and have 40 AL Pennants. What this means, though, is that they have lost 13 World Series and in 2003 one of those World Series losses was against the Marlins! This brings me to moment 4: Game 6 of the 2003 World Series.
On October 25, 2003 the Marlins went into Yankee Stadium with a 3-2 lead in the series. For the Marlins we had Josh Beckett on the mound. Even before he threw his first pitch, drama was at a high. Jack McKeon decided he wanted to claim the title today, pitching Josh on only 3 days of rest. How did the Yankees answer back? By having the all-time leader in playoff wins pitch, Andy Pettitte. The battle for MLB supremacy has begun!
Pettitte was on his game early, only giving up a single to Ivan Rodriguez in the 1st and getting the other 3 batters out. Not to be outdone, Josh got 3 of the 4 batters he faced out, only giving up a double to Bernie Williams. In the 2nd Pettitte gave up a double to Mike Lowell but the Marlins couldn’t get him home. Josh wanted to return the favor by only walking 1 batter and getting the other 3 he faced out. Man, déjà-vu because to start off the 3rd Pettitte did the exact same thing. In the bottom Josh got into a little bit of trouble. He had runners on 1st and 2nd with only one out and Bernie was coming up to the plate. Could this be the play that would give the Yankees the first run of the game? Nope! 4-6-3 double play! Inning and threat over!
Pettitte would pitch the first 1-2-3 inning in the 4th. Josh would follow suit and also pitch a 1-2-3 inning in the 4th. Neither pitcher wanted to give an inch. Something was going to have to give and it did in the 5th. Pettitte started the 5th with 2 quick outs, but that’s when something gave way. Alex Gonzalez singled, then Juan Pierre singled next. There were 2 outs and runners on 1st and 2nd for Luis Castillo. Luis got 2 quick strikes and fouled off the next 2 pitches. Luis would relax and take the next 2 pitches for balls. Pettitte set up and let the 7th pitch go. Contact… and the ball was lined to right field! Alex was coming home from 2nd. Karim Garcia picked it up and riffled it to Jorge Posada. Jorge went for the tag, but couldn’t get Alex! The Marlins had a 1-0 lead! Pudge ended up getting a free pass to first and Miguel Cabrera struck out to end the inning, but the damage was done: 1-0 Marlins.
Garcia started the bottom off with a single, but Josh would get the next 3 batters out. In the top of the 6th, Jeff Conine reached on an error and was moved to 2nd thanks to a Lowell walk. Derrek Lee then laid down a bunt that got Conine to 3rd but it got Lowell out at 2nd. Up came Juan Encarnacion. He stepped up to the plate and sent the ball to right field, a sac fly scoring Conine! The Marlins were up 2-0! Alex would get an infield single but Pierre would go down swinging. Onto the bottom of the inning. Josh had a 2 run lead and he wanted to close the game out. He went 1-2-3 with 2 strikeouts in the bottom of the 6th. Pettitte, trying to keep the Yankees in the game, went 1-2-3 in the 7th. Josh was not about to give up the ball and came out to pitch the 7th inning. Posada made him pay a little with a double to start off the inning, but Josh just went back to work and got the next 3 batters out. The Marlins were now 6 outs away from winning the World Series!
To keep the damage down to a minimum, the Yankees went to the pen and that song everyone in Yankee Stadium knows played over the speak. Here comes the sandman, and here came Mariano Rivera. Only giving up a single to Lowell, Mariano kept the Marlins at bay in the 8th. Josh came out and pitched the 8th, sitting the Yankees down 1-2-3. 3 more outs and the Marlins are World Series Champions! Mariano showed why he is going to be in the Hall of Fame someday, as he sat down the Marlins 1-2-3. Onto the bottom of the 9th and the Yankees’ last chance to send this Series into game 7. Who came out to the mound? Josh Beckett! If the Marlins were going to win this game, he wanted to be on the mound to win it. First batter… fly ball to left field, out! 2 outs away. Next batter… again fly ball to left field, out! 1 more out! Up came Jorge. First pitch he fouls off. He stepped up to the plate again, this time for a ball. Josh wound up for pitch 3, let it go and Jorge made contact. It went right back to Josh and he went for the tag and got out number 3! A complete game shutout series ending win at Yankee Stadium. The Marlins were World Series Champions again!
Josh would go on to be named the World Series MVP. Wasn’t there another World Series win for the Marlins? Join me tomorrow as we take a look at another World Series victory.