1997 World Series: Wikis


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1997 World Series
1997 World Series.gif
Team (Wins) Manager Season
Florida Marlins (4) Jim Leyland 92–70, .568, GB: 9
Cleveland Indians (3) Mike Hargrove 86–75, .534, GA: 6
Dates: October 18–October 26
MVP: Liván Hernández (Florida)
Television: NBC
TV announcers: Bob Costas, Joe Morgan and Bob Uecker
Radio: CBS
Radio announcers: Vin Scully and Jeff Torborg
Umpires: Ed Montague (NL), Dale Ford (AL), Joe West (NL), Greg Kosc (AL), Randy Marsh (NL), Ken Kaiser (AL)
ALCS: Cleveland Indians over Baltimore Orioles (4–2)
NLCS: Florida Marlins over Atlanta Braves (4–2)
 < 1996 World Series 1998 > 

The 1997 World Series featured the Cleveland Indians, who were playing in their second World Series in three years. Their opponents were the Florida Marlins, who had set a record by reaching the Series in only their fifth season. The Marlins were underdogs, but they capped a stunning season by beating the Indians in seven games, becoming the first ever wild card team to win the Series. The final of Game 7 was decided in extra innings on an Edgar Rentería single. Renteria's single is one of several classic moments—The Catch, Red Right 88, The Drive, The Shot and The Fumble—that came against Cleveland teams.



NL Florida Marlins (4) vs. AL Cleveland Indians (3)

Game Date Score Location Time Attendance
1 October 18 Cleveland Indians – 4, Florida Marlins – 7 Pro Player Stadium 3:19 67,245[1]
2 October 19 Cleveland Indians – 6, Florida Marlins – 1 Pro Player Stadium 2:48 67,025[2] 
3 October 21 Florida Marlins – 14, Cleveland Indians – 11 Jacobs Field 4:12 44,880[3] 
4 October 22 Florida Marlins – 3, Cleveland Indians – 10 Jacobs Field 3:15 44,887[4] 
5 October 23 Florida Marlins – 8, Cleveland Indians – 7 Jacobs Field 3:39 44,888[5] 
6 October 25 Cleveland Indians – 4, Florida Marlins – 1 Pro Player Stadium 3:15 67,498[6] 
7 October 26 Cleveland Indians – 2, Florida Marlins – 3 (11 innings) Pro Player Stadium 4:10 67,204[7]


Game 1

Saturday, October 18, 1997 at Pro Player Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Cleveland 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 4 11 0
Florida 0 0 1 4 2 0 0 0 X 7 7 1

WP: Liván Hernández (1–0)  LP: Orel Hershiser (0–1)  SV: Robb Nen (1)  
HRs:  CLE – Manny Ramírez (1), Jim Thome (1)  FLA – Moises Alou (1), Charles Johnson (1)

The first World Series game in the state of Florida, Game 1 featured a youngster and a veteran facing each other on the mound. Fresh off his NLCS MVP performance, Liván Hernández took the hill for the Marlins and quickly gave up a run in the first thanks to a double by leadoff man Bip Roberts and an RBI single by David Justice. Indian starter Orel Hershiser got by the first two innings unscathed. However, after the Marlins tied the game in the third, they scored four runs in the fourth. The inning climaxed when Moisés Alou and Charles Johnson hit back-to-back homers (Alou's was a three-run shot off the left field foul pole). The Marlins added two in the fifth to knock Orel out of the game. The Indians crept back in the game slowly thanks to solo shots by Manny Ramírez and Jim Thome and entered the ninth inning down only 7–4. Florida closer Robb Nen came in and was able to get out of a jam by striking out Sandy Alomar, Jr. and Thome with two men aboard.

Game 2

Sunday, October 19, 1997 at Pro Player Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Cleveland 1 0 0 0 3 2 0 0 0 6 14 0
Florida 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 8 0

WP: Chad Ogea (1–0)  LP: Kevin Brown (0–1)  
HRs:  CLE – Sandy Alomar, Jr. (1)

Game 2 matched up Florida ace Kevin Brown against little known Chad Ogea, who had lost two games in the ALCS. Both teams scored in the first, thanks to RBI singles by Justice for the Indians and Jeff Conine for the Marlins. Ogea barely escaped further damage when Alou got under a hanging curveball, but merely flied out to the warning track, missing his second three-run homer in as many nights by inches. After that, Ogea settled in and did not allow any more runs. Brown pitched well until the fifth when the Indians strung together three straight singles by Matt Williams, Sandy Alomar, Jr., and Marquis Grissom. Later in the inning, with runners on second and third, Bip Roberts drove in a pair of runs with a single up the middle giving the Tribe a 4–1 lead. The three-run lead ballooned to five when Alomar hit a laser into the left field stands for a two-run homer in the sixth.

Game 3

Tuesday, October 21, 1997 at Jacobs Field in Cleveland, Ohio

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Florida 1 0 1 1 0 2 2 0 7 14 16 3
Cleveland 2 0 0 3 2 0 0 0 4 11 10 3

WP: Dennis Cook (1–0)  LP: Eric Plunk (0–1)  
HRs:  FLA – Gary Sheffield (1), Darren Daulton (1), Jim Eisenreich (1)  CLE – Jim Thome (2)

Game 3 was a wild affair that ended with the Marlins grabbing a 2–1 series lead. Both teams were greeted by snow during batting practice and freezing temperatures throughout this contest. The official gametime temperature of 38°F (3.3°C) remains as of 2008 the coldest recorded in World Series history, while as the game progressed media outlets reported wind chill readings as low as 15°F (-9.5°C). In the top of the first, Gary Sheffield started the scoring with a solo shot to left. In the bottom half, the Indians retaliated with two runs thanks to two broken bat RBI singles by Matt Williams and Sandy Alomar. Florida took the lead 3–2 on a Darren Daulton homer in the third and four walks allowed by Indians starter Charles Nagy in the fourth. However, the Indians got a gift in the bottom of the fourth, when they drew four consecutive free passes from Marlins starter Al Leiter, and then a throwing error by third baseman Bobby Bonilla allowed two more runs to score. The Tribe went up 7–3 on Jim Thome's two-run blast to right in the fifth inning. His home run was nullified in the sixth by Jim Eisenreich's two-run homer that cut the lead to 7–5. In the seventh, the Marlins finished their comeback with Edgar Rentería and Sheffield each driving in a run, making the score 7–7. In the ninth, it all fell apart for Cleveland thanks to three errors and seemingly one hit after another by the Marlins, with Bonilla and Sheffield driving in a pair of runs each. When the carnage was over the Marlins led 14–7. Even though the Indians came back with four runs of their own in the ninth, it was not enough.

Game 4

Wednesday, October 22, 1997 at Jacobs Field in Cleveland, Ohio

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Florida 0 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 3 6 2
Cleveland 3 0 3 0 0 1 1 2 X 10 15 0

WP: Jaret Wright (1–0)  LP: Tony Saunders (0–1)  SV: Brian Anderson (1)  
HRs:  FLA – Moises Alou (2)  CLE – Manny Ramírez (2), Matt Williams (1)

This back-and-forth World Series continued that way in Game 4. Two rookies opposed each other on the mound this night; Jaret Wright for the Indians and Tony Saunders for the Marlins. The Indians stormed out of the gate with three runs in the first, highlighted by Manny Ramírez's opposite field two-run homer. The Indians got three runs in the third inning as well and never looked back. Matt Williams turned out to be the offensive hero by reaching base six times, which included a two-run blast in the eighth to close the scoring.

Game 5

Thursday, October 23, 1997 at Jacobs Field in Cleveland, Ohio

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Florida 0 2 0 0 0 4 0 1 1 8 15 2
Cleveland 0 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 3 7 9 0

WP: Liván Hernández (2–0)  LP: Orel Hershiser (0–2)  SV: Robb Nen (2)  
HRs:  FLA – Moises Alou (3)  CLE – Sandy Alomar, Jr. (2)

Game 5 was a rematch of Game 1's starting pitchers Liván Hernández and Orel Hershiser. The Marlins jumped out to a quick 2–1 lead heading into the third. Indians catcher Sandy Alomar then turned the game around by launching a towering three-run bomb. It remained 4–2 until the sixth, when Moisés Alou hit his second three-run homer off Hershiser in as many games and his third home run of the Series. Livan pitched terrifically in the middle innings, not allowing any runs until the ninth. Florida scored what seemed at the time to be two meaningless runs late in the game to extend their lead to 8–4 (Alou scored one and drove in the other). However, the ninth inning was a nailbiter with Livan and Robb Nen struggling to hold the lead. Omar Vizquel drove in one run with a hit, then Justice drove in another with a single up the middle. Jim Thome smashed a double in the left-center field gap to drive in Justice and make the score 8–7. With Thome at second, Alomar came up, having already driven in twenty RBIs throughout the playoffs and four in the game. Sandy flied out to right field to end the game thus giving the Fish a 3–2 Series lead.

Game 6

Saturday, October 25, 1997 at Pro Player Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Cleveland 0 2 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 4 7 0
Florida 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 8 0

WP: Chad Ogea (2–0)  LP: Kevin Brown (0–2)  SV: José Mesa (1)  

Game 6's attendance of 67,498 was the highest single-game attendance for the World Series since Game 5 of the 1959 World Series, when 92,706 people filled the football-oriented Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Series returned to the warmer climate of Miami for Game 6. Kevin Brown opposed Chad Ogea again and again Brown inexplicably struggled while Ogea flourished. Chad himself drove in the first two runs with a bases loaded single in the second, and Manny Ramírez hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth and the sixth. With the Tribe leading 4–1 in the sixth, Ogea ran into serious trouble. The Marlins put runners on second and third with two out as reliever Mike Jackson replaced Ogea. Marlins catcher Charles Johnson stepped to the plate and proceeded to hit a sharp grounder that was headed for left field. Indians gold glove shortstop Omar Vizquel dove for the ball, grabbed it, sprung to his feet, and hurled a perfect strike to first base just before Johnson arrived. The play ended the threat and broke the Marlins spirits. In the ninth, closer Jose Mesa wrapped up the win, tying the Series at 3–3.

Game 7

Sunday, October 26, 1997 at Pro Player Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 R H E
Cleveland 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 6 2
Florida 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 1 3 8 0

WP: Jay Powell (1–0)  LP: Charles Nagy (0–1)  
HRs:  FLA – Bobby Bonilla (1)

Game 7 turned out to be a classic World Series seventh game with the Marlins capturing the Crown. Cleveland drew first blood in this game when in the third inning, starter Al Leiter allowed a walk to Jim Thome and a hit by Marquis Grissom. A sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third and with two outs Tony Fernández laced a two-run single to center. Indians starter Jaret Wright was dominant for six innings, holding the 2–0 lead. But in the seventh, Bobby Bonilla blasted a titanic home run from Wright cutting the lead to 2–1. The Indians blew a golden chance for insurance in the top of the ninth, when with one out and Alomar on third, Grissom grounded to short. With the infield drawn in, shortstop Edgar Rentería fired home to catcher Charles Johnson who tagged out Alomar trying to score. In the bottom of the ninth, Jose Mesa was brought in to close out the series and bring Cleveland its first title since 1948. Moisés Alou led off the inning with a single. With one out, Charles Johnson lined a single to right that advanced Alou to third base. Then, Craig Counsell hit a sacrifice fly to right that tied the score at two, sending the contest into extra frames.

The bottom of the eleventh started with a leadoff single by Bobby Bonilla off Game 3 starter Charles Nagy. Gregg Zaun lined to Nagy after two failed bunt attempts for the first out, and Bonilla was able to beat the throw back to first. Counsell then hit a roller between first and second. Fernandez moved in and to his left to field the ball, but it skipped under his glove for an error. As the ball headed for right field, Bonilla scampered to third. A necessary intentional walk filled the bases with one out. Devon White then hit into a fielder's choice, forcing Bonilla out at home for out number two of the inning. But the next batter was Edgar Rentería, who had come through all season long for Florida in clutch situations, hitting five walk-off hits in extra-innings situations in the regular season. He bounced a Nagy slider over the pitcher's head. The ball skipped off Nagy's glove, up the middle and into center field for a hit. Counsell charged to home plate with both fists raised in the air as the Marlins took the Series and the Championship.

After Game 7, the trophy presentation, usually taking place in the winning team's locker room regardless of venue, took place on the field before the crowd of 67,204. It was presided over by then-Chairman of the Executive Committee Bud Selig, who last did the honors in 1995 and would officially become Commissioner of Baseball in 1998. This is now a standard procedure whenever the champions are the home team of the deciding game (the only exception being 1999 when the New York Yankees chose to celebrate in their locker room).

Composite box

1997 World Series (4–3): Florida Marlins (N.L.) over Cleveland Indians (A.L.)

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 R H E
Florida Marlins 2 2 2 6 3 8 3 1 9 0 1 37 68 8
Cleveland Indians 7 3 9 3 7 4 1 3 7 0 0 44 72 5
Total attendance: 403,627   Average attendance: 57,661
Winning player’s share: $188,468   Losing player’s share: $113,226[8]


Even though Liván Hernández was named the Most Valuable Player of the 1997 World Series, Moisés Alou in retrospect, was the true star as he led the Marlins by hitting .321 with three home runs and nine RBIs. If the Indians had held on to win, the MVP likely would have been either Sandy Alomar, Jr. (.367 batting average, 2 home runs, 10 RBIs) or Chad Ogea (2 wins, 1.54 ERA). Chad Ogea became the first pitcher since Mickey Lolich in 1968 to have at least two hits and two RBIs in a World Series.

Soon after Game 7 was complete, rumors on the internet started to spread that the 1989 (four years before the Florida Marlins made their debut) film Back to the Future Part II accurately predicted their 1997 World Series victory. In reality, the movie stated that, in 2015, a Miami team with an alligator mascot would lose to the Chicago Cubs.

On October 31, 1997, most of the fan favorites of the 1997 Marlins were traded, including Moisés Alou, who was traded to the Houston Astros, and Al Leiter to the New York Mets, in a fire sale so infamous that it has come to synonymize the term "fire sale" in the baseball world. World Series MVP hurler Liván Hernández was lucky enough to stay with the team for two more years. The Marlins had a record of 54–108 in 1998, the worst performance ever by a defending World Series champion.

Jim Leyland, responding to reports that he would retire if the Marlins won the World Series, told NBC during the celebration, "My wife doesn't like me that much. I can't retire." However, he quit in the wake of their pitiful performance in 1998. He managed the Colorado Rockies in 1999, then scouted for several years before joining the Detroit Tigers as manager in 2006 and taking them to the World Series.

Marlins owner H. Wayne Huizenga, who dodged questions about selling the team during the on-field celebration, ultimately sold the team to John W. Henry after the 1998 season. Henry in turn sold it to former Montreal Expos owner Jeffrey Loria in 2001 as part of a deal to purchase the Boston Red Sox.

Loria would return the team to a World Series victory in 2003. That season started with only one of the 1997 World Series players left on the roster: pitcher Rick Helling. Helling was traded mid-season to the Texas Rangers. However, the team traded with the Baltimore Orioles for Jeff Conine. Conine would be the only 1997 Marlin to participate in the 2003 World Series victory.

Huizenga continued to be the team's landlord at what is now Sun Life Stadium until 2008, when he sold it with the Miami Dolphins to Stephen M. Ross.

The Indians have not made it back to the World Series since 1997. The closest they came in recent years was in 2007, when they led the Red Sox three games to one in the ALCS, before losing in seven games.

The failure of José Mesa to save Game 7 ultimately ignited a heated feud between Mesa and his teammate Omar Vizquel. In Vizquel's autobiography, the Indians' shortstop called Mesa a "choker" for blowing the 1997 World Series. Mesa and Vizquel ended their longtime friendship. Mesa has since vowed to "...hit him every time he faced him" and also stated that he wanted to kill Vizquel. On April 22, 2006, when pitching to Vizquel, then a member of the San Francisco Giants, Mesa, then a member of the Colorado Rockies, made good on his promise and plunked Vizquel in the back. As of June 11, 2006, Mesa has kept his promise and beaned Vizquel twice.

Radio and television coverage

This marked the first time since 1988 that NBC televised a World Series in its entirety. In 1995, NBC televised Games 2, 3, and 6, while rival ABC televised Games 1, 4, and 5, having split that series since ABC was promised the strike-cancelled 1994 World Series. Both networks had announced prior to the 1995 season, that they were bailing out what was initially, a six year long revenue sharing joint venture with Major League Baseball called "The Baseball Network".

NBC's West Coast president Don Ohlmeyer disturbed Major League Baseball when he publicly wished the World Series to end in a four game sweep so that it wouldn't derail NBC's fall entertainment schedule. (Game 5 fell on a Thursday, which had long been the highest rated night on NBC's schedule, if not on all of television.)

Midway through Game 2, "surprise guest" Joe DiMaggio joined NBC's Bob Costas, Joe Morgan and Bob Uecker in the television booth. DiMaggio joked that Morgan was a "Hall of Famer", Costas was a "Future Hall of Famer", but he didn't know what to think of when it came to Uecker. Ironically enough, the Baseball Hall of Fame would present Uecker with its Ford C. Frick Award several years later.

Also working for NBC's coverage were Jim Gray, who served as field reporter. Meanwhile, Hannah Storm and Keith Olbermann served as pre-game hosts, and Storm along with Jim Gray covered the celebration on the field following Game 7.

This was the last World Series to date to be broadcasted by the CBS Radio Network, who had covered the World Series consecutively since 1976. Vin Scully and Jeff Torborg called the 1997 World Series for CBS Radio (the latter had once managed the Indians and would later manage the Marlins). ESPN Radio would take over the national radio contract for Major League Baseball.

Game 7 was the final Major League Baseball game called by longtime Indians radio announcer Herb Score, as he retired at season's end.

Series quotes

Thome hits it into deep right field, Gary Sheffield is back, at the wall, leaps, he caught it!!....it's the play of the series, it's the play of the 1997 World Series.
Bob Costas (NBC Sports) commentating on Marlins right fielder Gary Sheffield robbing a home run from Cleveland Indians first baseman Jim Thome.
Tony Fernández, who has worn hero's laurels throughout the postseason including earlier in this seventh game of the World Series, now cruel as it may seem, perhaps being fitted for goat horns.
Bob Costas, after Fernández misplayed a Craig Counsell ground ball in the bottom of the 11th inning of Game 7.
Well, he got another chance right away. And that's what it means to be a professional ballplayer.
Bob Costas, after Fernández threw out Bobby Bonilla at home plate for the second out in the bottom of the eleventh inning of Game 7, following his earlier error.
A liner...off of Nagy's glove, into center field! The Florida Marlins have won...the WORLD SERIES!!!
NBC's Bob Costas calling Edgar Rentería's Series clinching base hit in Game 7.
The men of teal are for real!
Bob Costas during the Marlins' ensuing celebration after winning Game 7.
I love you Miami!
Liván Hernández while lifting the 1997 World Series MVP Award.
A five-year old child becomes king!
Marlins radio announcer Joe Angel, as Craig Counsell scored the winning run of the World Series
Conventional baseball logic dictates bunt, but Alomar
Bob Costas
Sacrifice. What Sacrifice?
Bob Costas calling a sac-bunt turned home run by Alou in Game 1.



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