Those were the days: the 2003 Florida Marlins

Those were the days: the 2003 Florida Marlins


If you’ve been around baseball for more than a minute, there are certain years that go back to something special in the baseball mind. Whether it’s Don Larson’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series, Mookie’s touchdown pass past Bill Baker in the 86 Series, or Kirk Gibson’s 1988 game against A.J. Memories of the Greatest World Series.

In the year The 2003 World Series victory was the second time the Miami Marlins won as a wild card team.

For Miami Marlins (and then Florida Marlins) fans, who can easily forget the 2003 World Series against the ‘Evil Empire’ against the New York Yankees? For the Miami Marlins, just getting to the Fall Classic built a back-to-back win over the Chicago Cubs in seven games in the NLCS. The drama still haunts Cub fans, and under Steve Bartman (who may have been the most reviled man in Chicago history that night, poor guy), the Miami Marlins became an unlikely NL pennant winner. The Miami Marlins brought in veteran manager Jack McKeon to clean up the Marlins’ clubhouse after a disastrous start to the 2003 season. Who knew this would be the unlikely catalyst to propel the Marlins to their second World Series title?

The New York Yankees ended the 2003 World Series in an equally dramatic fashion with an emotional win over the Boston Red Sox in Game Seven of the ALCS, and now Yankees manager Aaron Boone has another walk. While many baseball fans around the country are looking for a historic Cub-Red Sox matchup in the World Series to perhaps allow one of these teams to break the collective “curse,” the baseball gods favored the 2003 Yankees and the upstart Miami Marlins. For the New York Yankees, it was their sixth World Series appearance in eight years and part of the Jeter era “dynasty.” For the Miami Marlins, this was their second World Series appearance in their franchise’s short history and their second appearance as a wild card team.

The American League won the 2003 All-Star Game with the New York Yankees as the home team, and when the stars aligned, the Marlins won the Series on the road at the venerable Yankee Stadium. Miami Marlins manager Jack McKeon walks with starting pitcher Josh Beckett in Game 6 on the road in New York. The gamble paid off as McKeon didn’t want to face the New York Yankees in the Bronx in the dreaded Game Seven, with the emotional pendulum swinging in favor of the Yankees. Just as impressive as the NLCS, the Miami Marlins pulled off an improbable shutout win over the Yankees to capture their second World Championship in 11 years.

Despite all the praise the Miami Marlins have received for winning the unlikely Yankee dynasty (it was Joe Torre’s swan song as the Yankees’ boss and his last World Series with them), the Marlins will forever be associated with another word known in sports: the fire sale. Just as the Marlins ownership did after the 1997 World Series win, the team’s front office let go of top Marlins Josh Beckett, AJ Burnett, Brad Penny and Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, along with many others, over the next two seasons. The Marlins have missed the Fall Classic since 2003 and as this season continues to show, fans can only hope for a better season in 2023.

NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 31: Florida Marlins manager Jack McKeon looks on against the New York Mets at Citi Field on August 31, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens, New York City. The Mets beat the Marlins 3-2. (Photo by Jim McSack/Getty Images)

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