Year in Review: 1997


Re-rank the list of top sports stories of 1997


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Tiger Woods takes
golf world by storm

Pedro Martinez signs
record deal with Sox

Latrell Sprewell
assaults coach, gets ax

Rick Pitino becomes
Celtics coach, president

Bill Parcells quits after Patriots' banner year

Martina Hingis
rules women's tennis

Florida Marlins win World Series

Women's pro hoop
meets with success

A Patriots surprise:
Super Bowl XXXI berth

Wil Cordero charged
with assaulting wife

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Check out the top news stories of 1997

No fish story - Marlins win it

Renteria's single proves decisive in 11th for Florida

By Gordon Edes, Globe Staff, 10/27/97

The Florida Marlins celebrated after beating the Cleveland Indians 3-2, in 11 innings in the deciding game of the World Series. It was the longest Game 7 in 73 years. (AP Photo) The Florida Marlins celebrated after beating the Cleveland Indians 3-2, in 11 innings in the deciding game of the World Series. It was the longest Game 7 in 73 years. (AP Photo)


5-year-old franchise stuns Atlanta to reach World Series

Pieces from two weeks on the trail with the Marlins and Indians . . .

Building a winner child's play for Dombrowski

Link to the Florida Marlins' Web site

MIAMI - What began as a matchup of the ages - 21-year-old Jaret Wright, the Cleveland Kid, vs. the 5-year-old Florida Marlins - took its place among the memorable World Series games for the ages.

In the longest Game 7 played in 73 years, fledgling Florida defeated the Indians, 3-2, in 11 innings to win the 93d World Series, 4 games to 3, before a crowd of 67,204 that included Miriam Carreras, the mother of Cuban defector Livan Hernandez, the Series Most Valuable Player.

Carreras, who had not seen her son in more than two years, had left the ballpark by the finish, when the Marlins, winning for the 27th time in their last at-bat, scored the winning run in the bottom of the 11th on Edgar Renteria's two-out bases-loaded single up the middle.

Renteria's hit, which came off Charles Nagy, the Indians' sixth pitcher, scored Craig Counsell, whose sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth tied the score at 2.

Tony Fernandez, the Indians' second baseman whose 11th-inning home run against the Baltimore Orioles put Cleveland in the World Series, last night made the 11th-inning error that assured the Indians of going at least a half-century between World Series titles.

After Bobby Bonilla led off the inning with a single, Fernandez failed to glove Counsell's softly hit bouncer between first and second. Bonilla took third on the error. Nagy, relieving for the first time in seven years, issued an intentional walk to load the bases, and Devon White grounded into a force play at the plate.

But Renteria, the Colombian shortstop who is only the fourth player from his country to play big-league baseball, bounced a ground ball over the mound for the winner.

This was only the fourth Game 7 in Series history to carry into overtime. The last two Game 7s have been decided in extra innings. The Twins beat the Braves, 1-0, in 10 innings to win the 1991 edition.

Five Marlins relievers pitched five scoreless innings, allowing just two hits, to preserve the victory. Jay Powell, who worked the 11th, was the winner.

Hernandez, who also was the MVP of the NLCS, is just the second rookie to be named Series MVP, joining Larry Sherry of the 1959 Dodgers.

The Marlins, already the youngest expansion team ever to advance to the Series, won a Series in less time than all but one franchise in major league history: your very own Olde Towne Team, the Red Sox, who were 3 years old when they won the first World Series ever played, in 1903.

The Marlins, held to one hit through six innings by Wright, the 21-year-old rookie whose father, Clyde, was 7 years old when the Indians last won a Series in 1948, broke through in the seventh when Bonilla hit a first-pitch, high changeup into the right-field seats for a leadoff home run.

They tied the score in the bottom of the ninth against Indians closer Jose Mesa on singles by Moises Alou and Charles Johnson and the sacrifice fly by Counsell, who didn't become a Marlin until he was traded by the Rockies on July 27 and had never started a big-league game until two days later.

Until Bonilla's home run, Wright was bidding to become the first Indians pitcher to throw a World Series shutout since another rookie, Gene Bearden, blanked the Boston Braves, 2-0, in Game 3 of the '48 Series. Bearden was 28 years old when he beat Vern Bickford; Wright was the second-youngest pitcher ever to pitch a Game Seven. He was just over three months older than Bret Saberhagen was when he pitched a Game 7 shutout for Kansas City to beat St. Louis in 1985.

The Indians have lost all three World Series in which they have appeared since then, falling to the Giants in a four-game sweep in 1954, in six games to Atlanta in 1995, and now in seven to the Marlins.

Three times this October, the Indians had faced elimination; three times they responded with victories, beating the Yankees twice in the division series before their 4-1 win over the Marlins in Game 6 of this Series. But it was not to continue last night.

For the first time in the Series, the Indians failed to score in either of the first two innings, as Al Leiter, who had walked six batters in 4 innings in Game 3, threw first-pitch strikes and set down the first half-dozen Indians in order.

But Leiter fought a losing battle with his control in the third, when the Indians took a 2-0 lead. Jim Thome opened with a full-count walk and stopped at second when Marquis Grissom grounded a single past third baseman Bonilla into left. Wright fouled off two bunt attempts, then put one down right to first baseman Darren Daulton, who would have had a force play at third but couldn't get the ball out of his glove.

Daulton had to settle for the out at first, the runners moving up. Leiter was an out away from a damage-free inning after Omar Vizquel popped to shortstop Renteria in shallow left, but Fernandez nudged a broken-bat single into center, scoring Thome and Grissom.

Leiter, who had gone to a full count on five of the game's first eight batters, then walked Manny Ramirez on four pitches, which prompted manager Jim Leyland's first call to the bullpen, where Antonio Alfonseca, the six-fingered man, began to warm up.

But Leiter struck out David Justice on a checked swing to end the inning.

After having Bonilla bat cleanup in the first 15 games of this postseason, Leyland demoted his slumping third baseman to the sixth spot, inserting Daulton in the No. 4 hole.

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