The Detroit Tigers had one of the worst records in baseball history, going 43-119, a .265 winning percentage.
The Chicago Cubs just missed advancing to their first World Series since 1945, as they blew a 3-1 series lead against the Marlins in the 2003 NLCS.
The Oakland Athletics blew a 2-0 series lead against the Boston Red Sox in the 2003 ALDS, making it four straight years they lost the ALDS in 5 games, including an 0-9 mark in games in which they could have clinched the series.
The Yankees beat the Red Sox in a thrilling ALCS, highlighted by Aaron Boone's walk-off home run in the 11th inning in Game 7 off of Tim Wakefield.
Click on any series score to link to that series' page.
Higher seed has home field advantage during Division Series and League Championship Series.
American League has home field advantage during World Series as a result of the American League victory in the 2003 All-Star Game.
American League is seeded 1-3/2-4 as a result of AL regular season champion (New York Yankees) and AL wild card (Boston Red Sox) coming from the same division.
National League is seeded 1-3/2-4 as a result of NL regular season champion (Atlanta Braves) and NL wild card (Florida Marlins) coming from the same division.
May 25 – The Toronto Blue Jays completed their first four-game sweep ever against the New York Yankees, winning 5–3 at Yankee Stadium and sending New York to its seventh consecutive home loss. The Yankees also dropped their season-high fourth in a row overall, a skid that has dropped them out of the American League East lead, while their slump at Yankee Stadium is their worst since they lost 10 straight in the 1986 season. Now New York has lost 11 of the last 12 at home.
The Boston Red Sox score a record-setting 10 runs in the first inning against the Florida Marlins before recording an out. Two Marlins pitchers, starter Carl Pavano and reliever Michael Tejera, pitch to a combined 11 batters and would not record an out. The Red Sox score 14 runs in the first inning which ties the American League record. Johnny Damon ties the modern-day record for hits in an inning with three.
July 29 – Against the Texas Rangers at The Ballpark in Arlington, Bill Mueller of the Boston Red Sox, in hitting three home runs, becomes the first player to hit a grand slam from each side of the plate in the same game. After hitting a solo home run off starter R.A. Dickey in the third, Mueller homers in the seventh with the bases loaded against left-hander Aaron Fultz. One inning later he hits his second grand slam, this time against right-hander Jay Powell. With the three home runs, Mueller drives in nine runs; the Red Sox defeat the Rangers 14-7.
September 20 – Unlike this season when the Montreal Expos play 25% of their home games in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the players vote to play their entire 2004 home schedule in Montreal. MLB owners, who collectively own the franchise, are still considering moving the Expos permanently to Washington, D.C., Portland, Oregon or Monterrey, Mexico, or continuing the present format by having the team split home games between different locations (Puerto Rico or Mexico and Montreal).
October 14 – In Game 6 of the NLCS, with the Chicago Cubs just five outs away from eliminating the Florida Marlins, Cubs fan Steve Bartman deflects a foul fly ball away from Cubs left fielder Moisés Alou, allowing Florida's Luis Castillo to continue batting. The Cubs then proceed to fall apart, allowing eight runs in the inning to lose Game 6; they go on to lose Game 7, to continue the "Curse of the Billy Goat". The Marlins go on to win the World Series, and Bartman becomes a pariah in Chicago.
October 22 - Roger Clemens of the New York Yankees starts Game 4 of the World Series and pitches seven strong innings before exiting the game to a standing ovation from both the crowd in attendance and the Florida Marlins (who left their dugout to join in), presumably because it was to be his final career start, having announced his retirement at the start of the season. The ovation would prove premature as Clemens came out of the retirement to sign with the Houston Astros before the 2004 season.
November 22 – 46–year old relief pitcher Jesse Orosco agrees to a minor league contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks and earns an $800,000 salary if he is added to the big league roster. He retires before the start of the 2004 season.
Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, written by Michael Lewis, is an examination of the present-day Oakland Athletics as run by their general manager Billy Beane, and how the application of sabermetric principles has allowed the A's to be competitive despite having one of the lowest payrolls in baseball.
Perfect I'm Not: Boomer on Beer, Brawls, Backaches, and Baseball, written by David Wells
January 3 – Joe Ostrowski, 86, pitcher for the St. Louis Browns and New York Yankees in five seasons from 1948-1952, who was also a part of three Yankees World Series Champion teams between 1950 and 1952.
January 3 – Jim Westlake,72, pinch-hitter for the 1955 Philadelphia Phillies.
January 6 – Jarvis Tatum, 56, center fielder who played from 1968 to 1970 for the California Angels.
January 7 – Ed Albosta, 84, pitcher who played for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1941 and the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1946.
January 9 – Don Landrum, 66, speedy center fielder who played for the Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants in part of eight seasons spanning 1957–1966.
January 13 – Ernie Rudolph, 93, relief pitcher for the 1945 Brooklyn Dodgers.
January 14 – Earl Lawson, 79, sportswriter who covered the Cincinnati Reds from 1949 to 1985, often drawing criticism for his harsh commentary on players.
January 14 – Johnny Ritchey, 80, catcher who is recognized as the first African American man to play organized baseball in the twentieth century, as he won batting titles in both the Negro Leagues and the Minor Leagues.
January 16 – Phil McCullough, 85, pitcher who appeared in one game for the Washington Senators during the 1942 season.
February 4 – Jim Mertz, 86, pitcher for the 1943 Washington Senators.
February 9 – Billy Parker, 56, second baseman who played from 1971 to 1973 with the California Angels.
February 10 – Chuck Aleno, 85, third baseman for the Cincinnati Reds from 1941 to 1944, who set the Major League record for the longest hitting streak to start a career with 17 hits.
February 10 – Ralph Beard, 73, pitcher for the 1954 St. Louis Cardinals.
February 12 – Haywood Sullivan, 72, general manager of the Boston Red Sox from 1977 through 1984, who was previously a catcher and manager for the Kansas City Athletics.
February 12 – Wally Burnette, 73, pitcher who played from 1956 through 1958 for the Kansas City Athletics.
February 12 – Dick Whitman, 82, outfielder who played from 1946 to 1956 for the Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies, as well as a member of the Dodgers and Phillies teams that clinched the National League pennant in 1949 and 1950, respectively.
February 17 – Steve Bechler, 23, pitching prospect who made three relief appearances for the 2002 Baltimore Orioles.
February 21 – Rusty Peters, 88, middle infielder and third baseman who played for the Philadelphia Athletics, Cleveland Indians and St. Louis Browns in a span of ten seasons from 1936–1947.
February 27 – Edythe Perlick, 80, three-time AAGPBL All-Star outfielder.
February 28 – Jim Fridley, 78, outfielder for the Cleveland Indians, Baltimore Orioles and Cincinnati Redlegs between 1952 and 1958, as well as one of 13 players involved in one of the largest transaction in major league history, which was made between Baltimore and the New York Yankees in December 1954.
March 2 – Joe Decker, 55, pitcher who played for the Chicago Cubs, Minnesota Twins and Seattle Mariners in a span of nine seasons between 1969 and 1979.
March 6 – Mickey Kreitner,80, catcher who played for the Chicago Cubs during the 1943 and 1944 seasons.
March 7 – Al Libke, 84, outfielder who played from 1945 to 1946 for the Cincinnati Reds.
March 11 – Alta Cohen, 94, outfielder who played with the Brooklyn Robins/Dodgers in the 1931 and 1932 seasons, and for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1933.
March 14 – Al Gionfriddo, 81, Brooklyn Dodgers outfielder who will always be remembered for his heroic post-season play in the 1947 World Series against the New York Yankees, when he caught Joe DiMaggio's drive to left field in Game 6, saving an 8–6 win for the Dodgers at Yankee Stadium.
March 14 – Ron Shoop, 71, 71, catcher for the 1959 Detroit Tigers.
March 19 – Joe Buzas, 84, reserve shortstop for the 1945 New York Yankees, who later operated 82 minor league franchises in his 47 years as an owner.
March 21 – Harry Eisenstat, 87, pitcher who played from 1935 through 1942 for the Brooklyn Dodgers, Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians.
March 28 – Sam Bowens, 64, outfielder who played from 1963 through 1969 for the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Senators.
April 9 – Ray Murray, 85, catcher who played for the Cleveland Indians, Philadelphia Athletics and Baltimore Orioles in part of five seasons spanning 1948–1954.
April 14 – Al Epperly, 84, pitcher who played for the Chicago Cubs in 1938.
April 18 – Lefty Sloat, 84, pitcher who appeared in nine games from 1948 to 1949 for the Brooklyn Dodgers and Chicago Cubs.
April 19 – Chris Zachary, 59, relief pitcher who played for the Houston Colt .45s/Astros, Kansas City Royals, St. Louis Cardinals, Detroit Tigers and Pittsburgh Pirates over nine seasons between 1963 and 1973.
April 24 – Fuzz White, 86, center fielder who played with the St. Louis Browns in the 1940 season and for the New York Giants in 1947.
April 26 – Danny Napoleon,61, outfielder who played from 1965 to 1966 with the New York Mets.
May 6 – Art Houtteman, 75, All-Star pitcher who won 34 games for the Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians in a span of two seasons from 1950–1954.
May 8 – Slick Coffman, 92, pitcher who spent 18 years in baseball, including four seasons with the Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Browns from 1937 to 1940, whose career highlight came in his major league debut, defeating the Boston Red Sox in an 11-inning, 4–2 victory, and winning a pitching duel with Lefty Grove.
May 8 – Dorothy Ferguson, 80, Canadian infielder and outfielder in the AAGPBL from 1945 to 1954.
May 8 – Sam Lacy, 99, sportswriter for several decades in Washington, Chicago and Baltimore, who championed the sport's integration and was one of the BBWAA's first black members.
May 14 – Dave DeBusschere, 62, pitcher for the Chicago White Sox from 1962–1963, who is one of only 13 athletes to have played in both Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association, being inducted to the Basketball Hall of Fame as player and the College Basketball Hall of Fame as coach.
June 1 – Johnny Hopp, 86, All-Star outfielder and first baseman who batted .300 or higher five times, while winning World Series rings with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1942 and 1944 and with the New York Yankees in 1950 and 1951.
June 6 – Ray Medeiros, 77, pinch runner who appeared in one game for the Cincinnati Reds in 1945.
June 7 – Greg Garrett, 56, pitcher who played for the California Angels and Cincinnati Reds in a span of two seasons from 1970–1971.
June 13 – Lefty Hayden, 68, relief pitcher who appeared in three games for the Cincinnati Redlegs in 1958.
June 18 – Larry Doby, 79, Hall of Fame center fielder and a seven-time All-Star, as well as the first black player in American League history in 1947, who posted a career .283 batting average with 253 home runs and 970 RBI in thirteen seasons, leading the AL in home runs twice and collecting 100 or more RBI five times, while guiding the Cleveland Indians to pennants in 1948 and 1954, and becoming the second African America to manage a Major League club after Frank Robinson.
June 22 – Harry Kinzy, 92, pitcher for the 1934 Chicago White Sox.
June 22 – Leonard Koppett, 79, sportswriter and author who worked both in New York and on the West Coast.
June 23 – Bob Smith, 75, pitcher who appeared in 30 games over parts of 1958 and 1959 for the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians.
June 24 – Jack Bruner, 78, pitcher for the Chicago White Sox and St. Louis Browns between the 1949 and 1950 seasons.
July 1 – Bill Miller, 75, who pitched from 1952 through 1955 for the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles.
July 6 – Ed Chandler, 81, pitcher for the 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers.
July 7 – Ribs Raney, 80, pitcher who played from 1949 to 1950 for the St. Louis Browns.
July 19 – Dorothy Stolze, 80, one of the most versatile utility players in All-American Girls Professional Baseball League history.
July 23 – Juan Delis, 75, Cuban third baseman and outfielder who appeared in 54 games for the 1955 Washington Senators.
July 23 – Grady Wilson, 80, shortstop who appeared in 12 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1948.
July 25 – Norm McRae, 55, pitcher who played from 1969 to 1970 for the Detroit Tigers.
July 27 – Bob Hope, 100, comedian and movie star who was part-owner of the Cleveland Indians in the 1950s, as he performed his signature song Thanks for the Memory in 1993 as the Indians ended 60 years of games played at Municipal Stadium.
July 27 – Rinty Monahan, 75, relief pitcher for the 1953 Philadelphia Athletics.
July 29 – Jim Pruett, 85, catcher who played from 1944 to 1945 with the Philadelphia Athletics.
July 30 – Gene Hasson, 88, first baseman for the Philadelphia Athletics in two seasons from 1937 to 1938.
August 7 – Mickey McDermott, 74, pitcher who won 18 games for the 1953 Boston Red Sox, but whose colorful personal life overshadowed his play.
August 9 – Billy Rogell, 98, shortstop for the Detroit Tigers during its first World Series title in 1935.
August 13 – Charlie Devens, 93, pitcher for the New York Yankees in three seasons from 1932–1934, who at the time of his death was the oldest surviving member of the famed 1932 World Championship Yankees team and recalled with great detail the now famous Babe Ruth's Called Shot.
August 15 – Red Hardy, 80, pitcher for the 1951 New York Giants.
August 21 – Ken Coleman, 78, radio and television sportscaster for 38 years from 1952 to 1989, who became the voice of the Boston Red Sox for 20 seasons after replacing legendary Curt Gowdy.
August 23 – Bobby Bonds, 57, three-time All-Star right fielder and three-time Gold Glove Award winner, who played for eight teams, most prominently with the San Francisco Giants, while recording five of the first ten instances of hitting 30 home runs and stealing 30 bases in a season, ending his career with 332 homers and 461 steals, being also part of one of the most prolific father-son duos in any sport, along with his son Barry Bonds.
September 1 – Héctor Rodríguez, 83, Cuban infielder who had a long career in the Mexican League and Negro League Baseball prior to the integration of organized baseball, until finally becoming the regular third baseman for the Chicago White Sox in 1952 as a 32-year rookie.
September 5 – Harley Grossman, 73, pitcher who played for the Washington Senators in its 1952 season.
September 13 – Johnny Welaj, 89, outfielder who played for the Washington Senators and Philadelphia Athletics in part of four seasons spanning 1939–1941.
September 14 – Allen Lewis, 86, sportswriter for the Philadelphia Inquirer for thirty years who also served twelve years as chairman of baseball's scoring rules committee.
September 18 – Pauline Crawley, 79, outfielder who played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.
September 25 – George Plimpton, 76, author whose forays into sports included pitching against the NL team prior to the second 1960 All-Star Game, who also wrote a fictitious story for Sports Illustrated in 1985 based on "Sidd Finch", a phenomenal pitching prospect.
September 27 – Red Barbary, 83, pinch-hitter in one game for the 1943 Washington Senators.
October 1 – Lillian DeCambra, 77, All-American Girls Professional Baseball League player.
October 10 – Johnny Klippstein, 75, pitcher who had an 18-year career in the Major Leagues with eight teams, winning a World Series ring with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1959 and leading the American League in saves while playing with the Cleveland Indians in 1960.
October 14 – Wil Culmer, 45, Bahamian outfielder who played for the Cleveland Indians in its 1983 season.
October 23 – Al Corwin, 76, pitcher who played for the New York Giants from 1951 through 1955, including the 1951 National League Champion Giants, and the squad that swept the highly favored Cleveland Indians in the 1954 World Series.
November 1 – Sonny Senerchia, 72, third baseman for the 1952 Pittsburgh Pirates.
November 5 – Dernell Stenson, 25, promising young outfielder who had played 37 games in 2003 with the Cincinnati Reds.
November 6 – Spider Jorgensen, 84, third baseman who debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers on the same day that teammate Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier.
November 15 – Earl Battey, 68, All-Star catcher and three-time Gold Glove winner for the Chicago White Sox, Washington Senators and Minnesota Twins, who batted a career-high .302 average in 1961.
November 17 – Pete Taylor, 75, pitcher who played for the St. Louis Browns in 1952.
November 18 – Ken Brett, 55, All-Star pitcher who played for ten teams between 1967 and 1981, who at age 19 became the youngest pitcher to appear in a World Series game while playing for the 1967 Impossible Dream Red Sox team, being also the elder brother of Hall of Famer George Brett.
November 22 – Joe Just, 87, Cincinnati Reds catcher in the 1944 and 1945 seasons.
November 24 – Warren Spahn, 82, Hall of Fame pitcher for the Boston and Milwaukee Braves clubs, whose 363 victories made him the fifth-winningest pitcher – and the winningest left-hander – in Major League history, while compiling thirteen 20-win seasons, including his Cy Young Award campaign in 1957 championship season, 14 All-Star Game appearances and two no-hitters. Besides, Spahn and led the National League in wins eight times, also in strikeouts, shutouts and innings four times each, and in ERA three times, as his career 2,583 strikeouts were record for left-handers until 1975, while his 5,244 innings pitched remained top mark among southpaws.
November 29 – Jim Carlin, 85, outfielder who played with the Philadelphia Phillies in the 1941 season.
November 30 – Jack Brewer, 85, pitcher who played from 1944 to 1946 for the New York Giants.
December 1 – Barbara Galdonik, 69, All-American Girls Professional Baseball League player.
December 3 – Jay Difani, 80, second baseman for the Washington Senators in the 1948 and 1949 seasons.
December 5 – Paul Busby, 85, outfielder who played for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1941 and 1943.
December 10 – Don Wheeler, 81, catcher who played for the Chicago White Sox in its 1949 season.
December 15 – Garvin Hamner, 79, middle infielder for the 1945 Philadelphia Phillies.
December 19 – Carmen Mauro, 77, outfielder who played for the Chicago Cubs, Brooklyn Dodgers, Washington Senators and Philadelphia Athletics in part of four seasons spanning 1948–1953.
December 23 – Charlie Bowles, 86, pitcher who played for the Philadelphia Athletics in the 1943 and 1945 seasons.
December 26 – Paul Owens, 79, general manager of the Philadelphia Phillies from 1972 to 1984, who also managed the team to the 1983 National League pennant.
December 27 – Iván Calderón, 41, Puerto Rican All-Star outfielder for four teams, who had three multi-home run games with the 1987 Chicago White Sox and batted .300 for the 1991 Montreal Expos.
December 31 – Max West, 87, All-Star outfielder who played for the Boston Bees, Boston Braves, Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates in a span of seven seasons from 1938–1948.
The 42nd Cuban National Series belonged to Industriales, who rode a 66-23 regular season into the playoffs, where they lost only two games before sweeping Villa Clara Naranjas in the final for their ninth title.
The 22nd Asian Baseball Championship was contested in Sapporo Dome, Sapporo, Japan in November 2003. The tournament is sanctioned by the Asian Baseball Federation. The top two teams of the tournament gained automatic entry into the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
The 2003 Atlanta Braves season marked the franchise's 38th season in Atlanta and 133rd overall. The Braves won their 12th consecutive division title, finishing 10 games ahead of the second-place Florida Marlins. The Braves lost the 2003 Divisional Series to the Chicago Cubs, 3 games to 2. The Braves finished 2003 with their best offensive season in franchise history, hitting a franchise record 235 home runs. Atlanta also had one of the most noteworthy combined offensive outfield productions in league history.
The Braves' starting rotation had new faces in 2003, but aged pitchers. Opposite of what they were traditionally known for in years earlier. Greg Maddux was joined by trade acquisitions Mike Hampton and Russ Ortiz, free agent Shane Reynolds and rookie Horacio Ramírez. Critics noted had Atlanta had a younger staff with this offense, they would've been more likely to win the World Series. Marcus Giles had an All-Star season as the Braves' second baseman and Gary Sheffield as the Braves' right fielder. Sheffield finished with a top 5 voting in NL MVP voting. 2003 also marked the last season for Maddux, ending his tenure in Atlanta after 11 seasons.
Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 2003 proceeded in keeping with rules enacted in 2001. The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) held an election to select from among recent players. The Veterans Committee held elections both for players who were active no later than 1981 and for non-players (managers, umpires and executives).
The induction ceremonies were held on July 27 in Cooperstown, with Commissioner Bud Selig presiding.
The 2003 Baseball World Cup (XXXV Baseball World Cup) took place in Cuba from October 12 to 25, 2003. Participating countries (15 in total) were split in two groups, with the first four of each group qualifying for the finals.
The forty-fifth edition of the Caribbean Series (Serie del Caribe) was held from February 2 through February 8 of 2003 at Roberto Clemente Stadium in Carolina, Puerto Rico. It featured the champion baseball teams of the Dominican Republic, Águilas Cibaeñas; Mexico, Cañeros de Los Mochis, and Puerto Rico, Indios de Mayagüez. This time Venezuela did not participate in the tournament due to a national general strike, being replaced by the second place team from Puerto Rico, the Criollos de Caguas. The format consisted of 12 games, each team facing the other teams twice.
The 2003 Little League World Series took place between August 15 and August 24 in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The Musashi-Fuchu Little League of Tokyo, Japan, defeated the East Boynton Beach Little League of Boynton Beach, Florida, in the championship game of the 57th Little League World Series.
The 2003 NECBL season marked the tenth season of the existence of the New England Collegiate Baseball League. The league expanded to thirteen teams with the addition of the Vermont Mountaineers of Montpelier, Vermont. The franchise was the league's first in the New England state of Vermont. This marked the fulfillment of the league's goal of having a franchise in each of the six New England states: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont.In the quarterfinal playoff rounds, Newport defeated Danbury 2-1, Torrington defeated Middletown 2-0, Sanford defeated North Adams 2-0, and Keene defeated Concord 2-0. In the semifinals, Keene defeated Sanford 2-0 and Torrington defeated Newport 2-0. In the championship round, Keene defeated Torrington 2-0 in game one and 7-1 in game two, capturing the NECBL title 2-0.
The 2003 Pittsburgh Pirates season was the 122nd season of the franchise; the 117th in the National League. This was their third season at PNC Park. The Pirates finished fourth in the National League Central with a record of 75–87.
The 2003 San Francisco Giants season was the Giants' 121st year in Major League Baseball, their 46th year in San Francisco since their move from New York following the 1957 season, and their fourth at Pacific Bell Park. The Giants finished in first place in the National League West with a record of 100 wins and 61 losses. They lost the National League Division Series in four games to the Florida Marlins.
The Canadian Baseball League was an independent minor league that operated in 2003. The league's only Commissioner was Major League Baseball Hall of Famer and Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame member Ferguson Jenkins. The league featured former major league players such as Francisco Cabrera, Floyd Youmans, Rich Butler, Steve Sinclair.
The CBL was based in Vancouver, British Columbia.
The championship trophy was the Jenkins Cup, named after the commissioner of the league, Ferguson Jenkins.
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