More 2003 Baseball Season Headlines
Below are more headlines from the 2003 baseball season, including the Braves' 101 wins and the Cubs' continued failure to make it to the World Series.
2003 Red Sox No. 1 in Runs
In 2003, the Red Sox led the major leagues in runs with 961. David Ortiz belted 31 homers, while Manny Ramirez, Nomar Garciaparra, and batting champion Bill Mueller also bashed the cowhide. The pitching was thin, but Pedro Martinez led the league with a 2.22 ERA and finished second (by just one) in strikeouts despite making just 29 Starts. Boston earned a wildcard berth with 95 victories.
Alex Rodriguez Named American League MVP
Though his Rangers finished last in the American League West in 2003, Alex Rodriguez earned the American League MVP Award. A-Rod won his third straight home run title (47) and paced the league in runs (124) and slugging percentage (.600). He also captured his second Gold Glove, and on April 2 he became, at 27, the youngest player ever to reach 300 homers. A-Rod finished 2003 with 344 homers as a shortstop, trailing all-time record-holder Cal Ripken by just one.
Roy Halladay Cops American League's Cy
Toronto's Roy Halladay did not win a single game in April 2003, but he finished 22-7 thanks to 15 straight victories -- a performance that earned him the Cy Young Award. Halladay allowed the most hits in the league (253), but he walked only 32 men in 266 innings. His 3.25 ERA ranked fifth in the American League.
Albert Pujols Wears Bat Crown
Third-year man Albert Pujols of the Cardinals continued to scale new heights in 2003. Besides winning the batting title at .359, he clubbed 43 homers and led the National League in runs (137), hits (212), total bases (394), and doubles (51). Pujols, runner-up in MVP voting to Barry Bonds, shared with Ralph Kiner the major league record for most homers (114) by a player in his first three seasons.
Eric Gagne Saves 55 in 55
Dodgers closer Eric Gagne was an easy National League Cy Young winner. Gagne didn't blow a single save chance during the season, and through the end of the campaign had converted a major league-record 63 consecutive save opportunities. Fanning 137 men in just 82 innings in 2003, Gagne successfully completed his transformation from struggling starter to the game's most overpowering late-inning reliever.
2003 Braves Slug Way to 101 Victories
The Braves in 2003 won 101 games, the most in the National League, but did so -- surprisingly -- with great hitting rather than their usual pitching skill. Outfielder Gary Sheffield was the club's offensive star, rapping .330 with 39 homers and 132 RBI, but the attack was balanced. Catcher Javy Lopez, second baseman Marcus Giles, shortstop Rafael Furcal, and out-fielders Andruw Jones and Chipper Jones all helped make Atlanta's offense the league's most productive.
Cubs Curse Continues
Cubs fan Steve Bartman picked a bad time to test his fielding skills. Chicago left fielder Moises Alou claimed Bartman interfered with the ball in the eighth inning of game six of the 2003 NLCS. The flood-gates immediately opened, as the Marlins plated eight runs to win 8-3. They then beat Kerry Wood in game seven, 9-6, extending the Cubs' World Series drought to 58 years.
Aaron Boone's HR Dooms the Red Sox
New York third baseman Aaron Boone's 11th-inning walk-off homer extended the "Curse of the Bambino," as the Red Sox -- who appeared to have the game in hand in the eighth inning -- once again failed to bring home the bacon. The thrilling Yankees-Red Sox playoff featured three one-run games and several thrilling comebacks.
The next page highlights key events and details from the 2003 baseball season.