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Champs of the Recent Past (2 of 5)

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We continue our look over the past World Series championship rosters with the condensed 2003 Florida Marlins.

The Basics
Record: 91-71
Pythagorean Record: 87-75
Manager: Jack McKeon
General Manager: Larry Beinfest
Inspirational Symbol(s): Steve Bartman, Alex Gonzalez, Kyle Farnsworth

Where as the Angels were centered around their defensive excellence, the Marlins relied less on their 23rd ranked defensive efficiency, and far more heavily on their pitchers, who ranked sixth in the league in total strikeouts.

The Roster
Catchers
Ivan Rodriguez gets far too much credit for being the difference maker in culture, but he was still a really good player. Coming off of a shortened season Rodriguez had to settle on a one year deal from the Marlins in hopes of proving his value. He would do that and more, landing himself a long term deal with the Tigers.  Mike Redmond would catch in 37 games. Like the current version Redmond’s bat wasn’t his strong point. Ramon Castro also made a cameo and hit the ball very hard in his limited appearances.

First Base
Derrek Lee would end up hurting his 2004 team in the NLCS as the Cubs/Marlins would swap first basemen. Lee remained one of the more underrated players in the game until 2005 when he had an absolutely monstrous season.  Brian Banks was an okay reserve, but nothing special.

Second Base
The speedy Luis Castillo had a great season at the top of the lineup with a .381 on-base percentage. He didn’t have a repeat 35 game hitting streak performance, but his season was overall better.  Andy Fox currently serves as the Marlins first base coach. On this team he was another veteran presence (blah, blah, ect.) with not much to show performance wise.

Third Base
Mike Lowell, often coming up in trade rumors to the Cubs amongst others, ended up going nowhere and yet still making the playoffs. The Marlins would end up moving that certain phenom to left field just to ensure getting both in the lineup.

Shortstop
Alex Gonzalez faced the other Alex Gonzalez in the 2003 NLCS – which really has been one of the more memorable LCes in recent memory. Former Expo Mike Mordecai acted as the middle infield reserve.

Outfield
Todd Hollandsworth had an okay, if not good, season before being replaced by one Miguel Cabrera. Not many 20 year olds make debuts by hitting grand slams, but Cabrera did just that. Gerald Williams was awful but Juan Pierre and Juan Encarnacion were useful.

Pitching Staff
Lead by what amounts to an awesome rotation of Carl Pavano, Brad Penny, Dontrelle Willis, A.J. Burnett, Josh Beckett, and Mark Redman the Fish found a few sleepers in the bullpen with Rick Helling, Chad Fox, Braden Looper, and of course Ugueth Urbina. Uggie would bolt with Pudge to Detroit only to find himself in prison years later for some really screwed up stuff with machetes.