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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(an interesting fact given the Marlins had the highest paid roster in MLB that year filled with free agents - - tagged "the best team money could buy" by one local sports writer), 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. It is sometimes called "The Latino Series," "The Hispanic Series" and "The Latin Series" because of the many players of Latin-American descent that figured prominently in this World Series.
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.
|1||Cleveland Indians - 4, Florida Marlins - 7||October 18||Pro Player Stadium||67,245|
|2||Cleveland Indians - 6, Florida Marlins - 1||October 19||Pro Player Stadium||67,025|
|3||Florida Marlins - 14, Cleveland Indians - 11||October 21||Jacobs Field||44,880|
|4||Florida Marlins - 3, Cleveland Indians - 10||October 22||Jacobs Field||44,887|
|5||Florida Marlins - 8, Cleveland Indians - 7||October 23||Jacobs Field||44,888|
|6||Cleveland Indians - 4, Florida Marlins - 1||October 25||Pro Player Stadium||67,498|
|7||Cleveland Indians - 2, Florida Marlins - 3 (11 innings)||October 26||Pro Player Stadium||67,204|
HRs: CLE – Manny Ramírez (1), Jim Thome (1) FLA – Moisés 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 1st 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 3rd, they scored 4 runs in the 4th. 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 5th 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 9th 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.
HRs: CLE – Sandy Alomar, Jr. (1)
Game 2 matched up Florida ace Kevin Brown against little known Chad Ogea, who had lost 2 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 5th 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 6th.
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 Template:As of 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 1st, 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 3rd and four walks allowed by Indians starter Charles Nagy in the 4th. However, the Indians got a gift in the bottom of the 4th, 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 2-run blast to right in the 5th inning. His home run was nullified in the 6th by Jim Eisenreich's 2 run homer that cut the lead to 7–5. In the 7th, the Marlins finished their comeback with Edgar Rentería and Sheffield each driving in a run, making the score 7–7. In the 9th, 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 4 runs of their own in the 9th, it was not enough.
HRs: FLA – Moisés 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 1st, 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 8th to close the scoring.
HRs: FLA – Moisés 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 3rd. Indians catcher Sandy Alomar then turned the game around by launching a towering 3-run bomb. It remained 4–2 until the 6th, when Moisés Alou hit his second 3-run homer off Hershiser in as many games and his 3rd home run of the series. Livan pitched terrifically in the middle innings, not allowing any runs until the 9th. 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 9th 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 two 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 20 RBIs throughout the playoffs and 4 in the game. Sandy flied out to right field to end the game thus giving the Fish a 3–2 series lead.
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 2nd, and Manny Ramírez hit a sacrifice fly in the 4th and the 6th. With the Tribe leading 4–1 in the 6th, 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 1st base just before Johnson arrived. The play ended the threat and broke the Marlins spirits. In the 9th, closer Jose Mesa wrapped up the win, tying the series at 3–3.
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 2-run single to center. Indians starter Jaret Wright was dominant for 6 innings, holding the 2–0 lead. But in the 7th, 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 9th, when with 1 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 9th, 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 2, sending the contest into extra frames.
The bottom of the 11th 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. 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).
<tr><td style="text-align:left;" colspan="15">Total Attendance: 403,627 Average Attendance: 57,661</td></tr> <tr><td style="text-align:left;" colspan="15">Winning Player’s Share: – $188,468 Losing Player’s Share – $113,226</td></tr>
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 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 aligator 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 Marlins ace Al Leiter, who was traded to the New York Mets. World Series MVP hurler Liván Hernández was lucky enough to stay with the team for two more years.
Liván Hernández's brother Orlando Hernández would enter the United States about a month later, and sign with the New York Yankees. His major league debut would be on June 3, 1998 at Yankee Stadium in New York, he would win three World Series with the Yankees (1998, 1999, 2000) he would also win his fourth World Series ring with the Chicago White Sox in 2005.
Jim Leyland, responding to reports that he may retire if we won the World Series, told NBC during the celebration, "My wife doesn't like me that much. I can't retire."
In the meantime, the Indians have not made it back to the World Series. The closest they came in recent years was in 2007, when they led 3 games to 1 in the ALCS, but lost to the eventual champion Boston Red Sox (who themselves ended a long title drought 3 years earlier).
The fall-out from Indians' closer José Mesa failure to save Game 7 ignited a heated feud between Mesa and his teammate Omar Vizquel. In Vizquel's autobiography, the Indians' shortstop blamed Mesa for being a "choker" and blowing the 1997 World Series for the Cleveland Indians. Soon afterwards, 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, now a member of the San Francisco Giants, Mesa, now 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 coverageEdit
- For more details on this topic, see 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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
- ↑ 1997 World Series Game 1 - Cleveland Indians vs. Florida Marlins. Retrosheet. Retrieved on 2008-06-16.
- ↑ 1997 World Series Game 2 - Cleveland Indians vs. Florida Marlins. Retrosheet. Retrieved on 2008-06-16.
- ↑ 1997 World Series Game 3 - Florida Marlins vs. Cleveland Indians. Retrosheet. Retrieved on 2008-06-16.
- ↑ 1997 World Series Game 4 - Florida Marlins vs. Cleveland Indians. Retrosheet. Retrieved on 2008-06-16.
- ↑ 1997 World Series Game 5 - Florida Marlins vs. Cleveland Indians. Retrosheet. Retrieved on 2008-06-16.
- ↑ 1997 World Series Game 6 - Cleveland Indians vs. Florida Marlins. Retrosheet. Retrieved on 2008-06-16.
- ↑ 1997 World Series Game 7 - Cleveland Indians vs. Florida Marlins. Retrosheet. Retrieved on 2008-06-16.
- Forman, Sean L.. 1997 World Series. Baseball-Reference.com - Major League Statistics and Information.. Retrieved on 2007-12-09.