Edgar Renteria Sends Them Home
Way back in 1997, the Florida Marlins took home their first World Series Championship, backed by an array of colorful characters. The rotation was anchored by Kevin Brown, Alex Fernandez, and Livan Hernandez, and the lineup featured Charles Johnson, Moises Alou, Bobby Bonilla, Devon White, Gary Sheffield, Luis Castillo, and Mr. Marlin Jeff Conine. The then little-known 20-year-old shortstop Edgar Renteria led that bunch with 154 games played.
Florida’s 92-70 regular season record was not good enough to claim the National League East title, but it was the second best record in the NL, behind only their division-mate rival Atlanta Braves, at 101-61. As such, they were invited to the big stage as a wildcard team. After sweeping the Giants in a best-of-five, they then topped Atlanta in six games to challenge the Cleveland Indians for the title.
Renteria also led the Marlins with 171 hits, and led the NL with 19 sacrifice hits. All that to say, he was hardly a bit-player in all of this. Although he only ranked 13th on the club with a 0.9 WAR, he certainly had a moment there, didn’t he?
The Tribe and the Fish each won three games through the first six games of the 1997 World Series. Game seven was played at Pro Player Stadium, in front of 67,204. Al Leiter kept the Indians to two runs over six innings, then Dennis Cook, Antonio Alfonseca, Felix Heredia, and Robb New kept Cleveland off the board long enough for the Marlins to finally crack Indian’s starter Jaret Wright. Bonilla connected for a leadoff homer in the seventh to halve Cleveland’s lead.
With one out in the bottom of the ninth, and trailing by a run, Craig Counsell drove home Alou with a line-drive sacrifice fly. After Nen and Jay Powell pitched scoreless 10th and 11th innings respectively, Charles Nagy took the hill to send it to the 12th. Bonilla started things off with a single, then Gregg Zaun popped out harmlessly on a bunt attempt to the pitcher. Counsell reached on an error that also sent Bonilla to third, then Jim Eisenreich was intentionally walked to load the bases with one out.
Devon White smacked the ball right at second, and a 4-2 putout left the bags loaded with two outs. Renteria’s call to be a hero wouldn’t go unanswered. On an 0-1 pitch, he laced a single right through the middle, scoring Counsell and earning his spot in World Series lore.
So did I get this right? Do you agree? Did I miss something? Let me have it in the comments, and thanks for reading.