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1997 World SeriesDolphin Field
"1997 World Series Champions"
The Florida Marlins are a Major League Baseball team based in the Miami, Florida metro area and play their home games in Dolphin Stadium, a stadium in the suburb of Miami Gardens. They are in the Eastern Division of the National League.
In only a decade since their inception into the majors, the Marlins have been highly fortunate in that they played in the era where 2nd place teams can win the World Series. The team has never finished first, yet won two World Series, in 1997 and in 2003.
The Marlins started the year strong hiring Jim Leyland as manager, signing Bobby Bonilla, White Sox pitcher Alex Fernandez and Expos outfielder Moises Alou as free-agents, and raising expectations to levels far beyond they had ever been in franchise history.
The Marlins' franchise got its second no-hitter from ace Kevin Brown on June 10. Brown nearly had the perfect game, but he hit the Giants' Marvin Benard with a pitch in the 8th inning. With Brown, Leiter and Fernandez heading the rotation and Robb Nen closing out games, the Marlins' staff was almost systematic during their regular season run. In 1997, the Florida Marlins led by Jim Leyland finished 9 games back of the Division Champion Atlanta Braves. But in spite of this shortcoming were still handed the wild card. RF Gary Sheffield followed his 40 HR 120 RBI season with a .250 average. Veteran additions such as LF Moises Alou, 3B Bobby Bonilla, and trade-deadline addition Darren "Dutch" Daulton added experience and clutch hits. Talented young stars and starters Luis Castillo (2B) and Edgar Renteria (SS) were one of the best double play combos in the League. Castillo was replaced by Craig Counsell before the '97 playoffs.
The Marlins swept the San Francisco Giants 3-0 in the National League Division Series, and then went on to beat the Atlanta Braves 4-2 in the National League Championship Series, in which the Marlins overcame the loss of Alex Fernandez to a torn rotator cuff and Kevin Brown missing two scheduled starts. His place was taken in Game 5 by rookie pitcher Liván Hernández, who had earned a spot in the rotation in the second half of the season, but was not in the rotation during the postseason.
Hernandez would proceed to strike out 15 Braves and outduel multiple Cy Young award-winner Greg Maddux to a 2-1 victory and a 3-2 series lead. Brown would return to the mound for Game 6, pitching a complete game victory to secure the Marlins their first-ever National League pennant.
The underdog Florida Marlins went on to face the Cleveland Indians in the 1997 World Series and won in seven games. It ended with a two-out walk-off 11th-inning single by shortstop Edgar Rentería off of Cleveland pitcher Charles Nagy, which barely cleared his glove on its way to center field, scoring Craig Counsell to win the deciding game 3-2. The Marlins had tied the game with 2-out in the bottom of the ninth when Craig Counsell drove home Moises Alou. Liván Hernández was named the MVP.
Rob Arra captured both the game and the moment as the celebration begins with his panoramic photograph "1997 World Series Champions", and "Game 7" of the 1997 World Series.