In life we do a lot of looking back and over the course of life we say things like “Wow that was ten years ago” this is one of those times. In the year of 2003 I was 8 years old attending Dania Elementary with not a care in the world. It was also the year that My childhood's favorite baseball team captured a World Series when the underdog Florida Marlins shocked the World by beating the powerhouse New York Yankees in 6 games. It has already been 10 years and I remember it like yesterday celebrating in the streets of Miami.
The 2003 Florida Marlins are one of the reasons I fell in love with sports they proved the world wrong and made the media look like idiots who thought the match up between them and the Yankees was a mismatch. Looking back on it now that Team was very well structured from top to bottom in all facets of the game.
At the Top you had the Speed Duo of Luis Castillo and Juan Pierre who combined for 391 Hits 76 stolen bases 199 runs scored while batting well over 300. They were Perfect table setters for guys Like Mike Lowell Pudge Rodriguez,Derek Lee to Knock them in and they did. They were a productive line up who played small ball and manufactured runs.
But things didn't start all fine and dandy for the fish they got off to a 16-22 start which led to the firing of Jeff Torberg. Jack Mckeon was summoned to take place of Torberg, “Trader Jack” as he is known had been in Baseball longer then most of the Young Marlins roster had been alive. The team went an Impressive 75-49 under Jack which added up to a 91-71 record and a Wild Card Birth. They got there by playing loose, Hard and more importantly playing the game the right way.
In the Middle of that 75-49 record for Jack Mckeon were 2 young mid-season rookie Call-ups named Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis that Heavily contributed to the success of the 03 Marlins. Cabrera a 20 year old kid at the time exploded on the Scene with an 11th inning walk off Homerun off of Al Levine. Dontrelle Willis Electrified South Florida and the rest of the MLB with his high unorthodox leg kick which led him to a 14-6 record, All-Star Appearance and the 2003 Rookie of the year award. The Kid from Oakland was a fan favorite, The Kid from Venezuela was a young superstar in the making. The 2 kids were some of the best players to ever put on a Marlins jersey.
The Post season for the 2003 Marlins was filled with Signature moments. From the Collision at the plate between Pudge and J.T Snow in the Division series to Steve Bartman the Marlins seem to have everything going for them. If you look at the 3 teams the Marlins beat in the post season they feature the Games most prolific stars of the last 15 years (Derek Jeter, Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa). All 3 series had the opposing teams heavily favored over Florida but we all know how that ended.
The success of the team was short lived though as owner Jeffery Loria had most of the team gone before the start of the 2006 season. The Legacy of this team still remains though.
- 2003 World Series Champions
- Stolen base leader (Juan Pierre-65)
- 3 Gold gloves (Luis Castillo, Derek Lee, Mike Lowell)
- 3 All-Stars (Dontrelle Willis, Mike Lowell, Luis Castillo)
- Rookie of the year (Dontrelle Willis)
- Manager of the year (Jack Mckeon)