The 1997 National League Division Series (NLDS), the opening round of the 1997 National League playoffs, began on Tuesday, September 30, and ended on Friday, October 3, with the champions of the three NL divisions—along with a "wild card" team—participating in two best-of-five series. They were:
The Atlanta Braves and Florida Marlins went on to meet in the NL Championship Series (NLCS). The Marlins became the National League champions, and defeated the American League champion Cleveland Indians in the 1997 World Series.
|1997 National League Division Series|
|Dates||September 30 – October 3|
|Television||ESPN (Games 1–2)|
NBC (Game 3)
|TV announcers||Chris Berman and Ray Knight (Games 1–2)|
Bob Costas, Joe Morgan and Bob Uecker (Game 3)
|Radio announcers||Jerry Coleman and Hank Greenwald|
|Dates||September 30 – October 3|
|TV announcers||Jon Miller and Joe Morgan (Game 1)|
Jon Miller and Reggie Jackson (Games 2–3)
|Radio announcers||Gene Elston and Gary Cohen|
|Umpires||Mark Hirschbeck, Gary Darling, Tom Hallion, Dana DeMuth, Terry Tata, Brian Gorman (Giants–Marlins, Games 1–2; Astros–Braves, Game 3)|
Greg Bonin, Ed Rapuano, Charlie Reliford, Steve Rippley, Harry Wendelstedt, Angel Hernandez (Astros–Braves, Games 1–2; Giants–Marlins, Game 3)
Florida won the series, 3–0.
|1||September 30||San Francisco Giants – 1, Florida Marlins – 2||Pro Player Stadium||2:48||42,167|
|2||October 1||San Francisco Giants – 6, Florida Marlins – 7||Pro Player Stadium||3:12||41,283|
|3||October 3||Florida Marlins – 6, San Francisco Giants – 2||3Com Park at Candlestick Point||3:22||57,188|
Atlanta won the series, 3–0.
|1||September 30||Houston Astros – 1, Atlanta Braves – 2||Turner Field||2:15||46,467|
|2||October 1||Houston Astros – 3, Atlanta Braves – 13||Turner Field||3:06||49,200|
|3||October 3||Atlanta Braves – 4, Houston Astros – 1||Astrodome||2:35||53,688|
|WP: Dennis Cook (1–0) LP: Julián Tavárez (0–1)|
SF: Bill Mueller (1)
FLA: Charles Johnson (1)
Game 1 was a matchup between Kirk Rueter and Kevin Brown. Both pitchers were on even terms, allowing one run and four hits through seven innings. Both teams struck in the seventh with leadoff homers by Bill Mueller and Charles Johnson. The game was tied 1–1 in the bottom of the ninth. With the bases loaded, Édgar Rentería singled to right to give the Marlins their first ever postseason win with a walk-off.
|WP: Robb Nen (1–0) LP: Roberto Hernández (0–1)|
SF: Brian Johnson (1)
FLA: Bobby Bonilla (1), Gary Sheffield (1)
Shawn Estes faced Al Leiter in an exciting Game 2. An RBI single by Mark Lewis made it 1–0 Giants in the first. The Marlins would strike back in the bottom half. Bobby Bonilla hit a two-run homer to make it 2–1 Marlins, but a \homer by Brian Johnson tied the game in the second. Then Barry Bonds hit a sacrifice fly to give the Giants a 3–2 lead in the third. The Marlins tied it in the bottom half with an RBI single by Bonilla. Stan Javier's infield hit gave the Giants the lead back in the fourth. Hits by Alex Arias and Kurt Abbott gave the Marlins the lead in the bottom half. The Marlins would add another run on a homer by Gary Sheffield in the bottom of the sixth. It was 6–4, but the Giants refused to concede. An RBI double by Bonds made it a one-run game in the seventh. The one-run lead would stand into the ninth. With Robb Nen pitching, the Giants managed to tie the game thanks to a key error by Craig Counsell. However, the Marlins would not wait until extra innings to try to win. Sheffield led the inning off with a single; then he stole second. After Bonilla walked, Moisés Alou hit the game-winning single to center field. The ball was scooped up by Dante Powell, whose throw home was in line with home plate, but the ball hit the mound, allowing Sheffield to score easily. This play would be the defining moment of the series, being replayed many times on highlights, as well as mainstream shows such as Live with Regis and Kathie Lee. The Marlins took the series lead, 2–0.
|WP: Alex Fernandez (1–0) LP: Wilson Álvarez (0–1)|
FLA: Devon White (1)
SF: Jeff Kent 2 (2)
In Game 3, the Giants looked to Wilson Álvarez to keep them alive. Opposing him would be Alex Fernandez, hoping to close out the series. The game was scoreless until the bottom of the fourth, when Jeff Kent hit a home run with one out to make it 1–0 Giants. Later, however, the Marlins would put the series away when Devon White hit a stunning grand slam into the left field bleachers in the top of the sixth. Kent would hit another home run in the bottom half, but two RBI doubles by Charles Johnson and Craig Counsell put any hopes of a Giants comeback out of reach. Robb Nen got Damon Berryhill to ground out to end the series. In response to their team being swept, Giants fans littered the field with garbage as the Marlins players celebrated. This was the final MLB playoff game at Candlestick Park. Until 2016, this was the last time the Giants lost a postseason series at home. In their next 7 appearances, including the wildcard tiebreaker in 1998, they either lost the series on the road or won the World Series until finally losing at home in the 2016 NLDS. As of the 2016 season, this series is the last time the Giants were swept in the postseason.
|San Francisco Giants||1||1||1||2||0||1||2||0||1||9||22||0|
|Total attendance: 140,638 Average attendance: 46,879|
The Houston Astros finally made it back to the postseason for the first time since the 1986 National League Championship Series. The Atlanta Braves were hosting their first postseason series at Turner Field.
|WP: Greg Maddux (1–0) LP: Darryl Kile (0–1)|
ATL: Ryan Klesko (1)
Game 1 was a matchup between Darryl Kile and Greg Maddux. Kenny Lofton led off the bottom of the first with a double, the first postseason hit at Turner Field. Keith Lockhart flied to right, putting Lofton at third. Then Chipper Jones hit a sacrifice fly to left field to make it 1–0 Braves in the first. Then Ryan Klesko homered to lead off the second, a homer which would prove to be the game winner. The Astros would strike for a run in the fifth, thanks to an RBI single by Kile. Maddux and Kile dueled for seven innings. Kile allowed only two hits and Maddux pitched a complete game. The Astros left five men on base, a fatal error, as the Braves won 2–1.
|WP: Tom Glavine (1–0) LP: Mike Hampton (0–1)|
ATL: Jeff Blauser (1)
The Astros sent Mike Hampton to the mound against Tom Glavine. The game was quiet through the first 2 1⁄2 innings, but, in the bottom of the third, Jeff Blauser hit a three-run homer to put the Braves ahead. The Astros, however, would tie the game thanks to a two-run double by Brad Ausmus and an RBI single by Mike Hampton that scored Ausmus. The Astros would make a game of it, but only for the moment. With two outs in the bottom of the fifth, Hampton would surrender four consecutive walks to give the Braves the lead. Hampton would leave, but Mike Magnante gave up two more runs thanks to a two-run single by Greg Colbrunn. Next inning, Magnante allowed three singles, the last of which to Fred McGriff scoring a run. Ramon Garcia walked Javy Lopez to load the bases before first baseman Jeff Bagwell's error on Andruw Jones's ground ball allowed two runs to score and put runners on second and third. Danny Bautista's two-run single extended the Braves' lead to 11–3. In the eighth, Lopez's two-run double off of Billy Wagner made it 13–3 Braves. Glavine pitched six innings for the win while Mike Cather and Mark Wohlers pitched three scoreless innings of relief to give the Braves a 2–0 series lead.
|WP: John Smoltz (1–0) LP: Shane Reynolds (0–1)|
ATL: Chipper Jones (1)
HOU: Chuck Carr (1)
Game 3 was a battle between John Smoltz and Shane Reynolds. Chipper Jones got the Braves started with a two-out homer in the top of the first. An RBI single by Jeff Blauser made it 2–0 in the second, and another RBI single, by Michael Tucker, made it 3–0 in the seventh. John Smoltz pitched brilliantly, allowing only three hits and one run, a homer by Chuck Carr, in a complete-game victory. A passed ball allowed one final insurance run to make it 4–1 Braves in the eighth. Bill Spiers grounded out in the bottom of the ninth to end the series.
|Total attendance: 149,355 Average attendance: 49,785|
Their first ever postseason game is a scintillating one, as they win it in the bottom of the ninth two to one!
Here comes the runner home, oh, it hits the mound, the Marlins win! [Gary] Sheffield scores!!!
In the air to left, [Barry] Bonds goes back, Bonds to the track, this ball is a grand slam home run!
And this could do it...[Craig] Counsell...throws him out! The Marlins sweep and the Braves are next!— Bob Costas, calling the final out in Game 3, Florida vs. San Francisco
The 1997 Atlanta Braves season marked the franchise's 32nd season in Atlanta and 127th overall. The Braves won their sixth consecutive division title, taking the National League East title by 9 games over the second place Florida Marlins. However, the Marlins would later defeat the Braves in the 1997 National League Championship Series. 1997 was the first year that the Braves played their home games in Turner Field, which originally served as a venue for the 1996 Summer Olympics.Darryl Hamilton
Darryl Quinn Hamilton (December 3, 1964 – June 21, 2015) was an American professional baseball outfielder who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Milwaukee Brewers (1988, 1990–95), Texas Rangers (1996), San Francisco Giants (1997–98), Colorado Rockies (1998–99) and New York Mets (1999–2001). Hamilton prepped at Louisiana State University Laboratory School in Baton Rouge and then attended Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana.Darryl Kile
Darryl Andrew Kile (December 2, 1968 – June 22, 2002) was an American Major League Baseball starting pitcher. He pitched from 1991 to 2002 for three teams. In his first season for the Cardinals, he won 20 games in 2000 as the team reached the postseason for the first time in four years. They advanced to the playoffs in the next two seasons. Kile was known for his sharp, big-breaking curveball. He died of coronary disease in Chicago, where he and the Cardinals were staying for a weekend series against the Chicago Cubs. He was the first active major league player to die during the regular season since 1979, when the New York Yankees' Thurman Munson died in an aviation accident.Eddie Pérez (baseball)
Eduardo Rafael Pérez (born May 4, 1968) is a Venezuelan-American former professional baseball player and coach. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a catcher for the Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Indians and the Milwaukee Brewers. He batted and threw right-handed. During his tenure with the Braves, Pérez was notable for being the personal catcher for Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux and, for being named the Most Valuable Player of the 1999 National League Championship Series.Jeff Conine
Jeffrey Guy Conine (; born June 27, 1966) is a former Major League Baseball player who played 17 seasons with six teams primarily as an outfielder. An inaugural member of the Florida Marlins who was with the franchise for both of its World Series titles, he earned the title Mr. Marlin for his significant history with the club, and his ties to South Florida.Conine was born in Tacoma, Washington, played baseball at UCLA, and was drafted in the 58th round of the 1987 Major League Baseball draft by the Kansas City Royals. After two cup of coffee stints with the Royals, Conine was selected by the Marlins in the 1992 Major League Baseball expansion draft. Becoming the team's first star, he played five seasons with the Marlins, earning the most valuable player award at the 1995 Major League Baseball All-Star Game and earning a World Series title in 1997.
A victim of a fire sale after the 1997 season, Conine was traded to the Royals where he played in 93 games. He was traded to the Baltimore Orioles prior to the 1999 season, where he had several productive seasons. Traded back to the Marlins in 2003 for a couple of prospects, he helped the team win a second World Series title. He remained with the team until 2005, returning to the Orioles as a free agent. He became a journeyman outfielder near the end of his career, signing a one-day contract to retire as a member of the Marlins in 2008.Kenny Lofton
Kenneth Lofton (born May 31, 1967) is a former Major League Baseball (MLB) center fielder. Lofton was a six-time All-Star (1994–1999), four-time Gold Glove Award winner (1993–1996), and at retirement, was ranked fifteenth among all-time stolen base leaders with 622. During his career, he played for the Houston Astros, Cleveland Indians (three different times), Atlanta Braves, Chicago White Sox, San Francisco Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Texas Rangers.
Lofton attended the University of Arizona on a basketball scholarship. The Wildcats made it to the Final Four in 1988. He did not join the school's baseball team until his junior year.
Lofton made 11 postseason appearances, including World Series appearances in 1995 and 2002 with the Indians and Giants, respectively. From 2001 to 2007, Lofton did not spend more than one consecutive season with a team. For his career, the Indians were the only team he played with for longer than one season and the only franchise he played for more than once. Lofton played 9 1⁄2 seasons with the Indians, helping the organization win six division titles. In 2010, he was inducted into the Cleveland Indians Hall of Fame.
During his professional baseball career, Lofton's single-season stolen base count led the American League (AL) on five occasions and three times MLB. In 1994, he led the American League in hits. Lofton broke Rickey Henderson's record of 33 career post-season stolen bases during the 2007 post-season. Of his base running, Frank White said, "Lofton has out-thought a lot of major-league players" and later, "a smart, complete baseball player."Stan Javier
Stanley Julián Antonio Javier [hah-ve-ERR] (born January 9, 1964) is a former Major League Baseball outfielder. He is the son of long time St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Julián Javier, and was named after his father's teammate and close friend, Stan Musial.
A switch-hitter with good production from both sides of the plate, he also had a strong arm with the ability to play all three outfield positions exceptionally well.Édgar Rentería
Édgar Enrique Rentería Herazo (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈeðɣaɾ renteˈɾi.a]; born August 7, 1975), nicknamed "The Barranquilla Baby," is a Colombian former professional baseball shortstop. He threw and batted right-handed. He played for the Florida Marlins, the St. Louis Cardinals, the Boston Red Sox, the Atlanta Braves, the Detroit Tigers, San Francisco Giants and Cincinnati Reds.
Born in Barranquilla, Colombia, Rentería was signed by the Florida Marlins in 1992. He debuted with them in 1996, and he finished second to Todd Hollandsworth in Rookie of the Year Award balloting. In 1997, his RBI single off Charles Nagy in the eleventh inning of Game 7 of the 1997 World Series won the first World Series in Marlins' history. He was selected to his first All-Star Game in 1998, and he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals following the season. He was the starting shortstop for the Cardinals for six years, and he was selected to the All-Star Game in 2000, 2003, and 2004. In 2002 and 2003 he won the Silver Slugger and Gold Glove Awards. Following the 2004 season, he signed with the Boston Red Sox. After a year with them, he was traded to the Atlanta Braves. He was selected to another All-Star Game in 2006, but following the 2007 season he was traded to the Detroit Tigers. After 2008, he became a free agent, and he signed with the San Francisco Giants. In the 2010 World Series, Rentería won the World Series Most Valuable Player Award after he hit game-winning home runs in Game 2 and Game 5. He became a free agent again after the season, and he signed with the Cincinnati Reds.
|American League teams|
|National League teams|