It’s been a long drought since the last time the Marlins were one of the teams in the MLB postseason, in 2003. That year, though, was a remarkable one as they defeated the almighty New York Yankees for their second World Series title.
Baseball has changed a lot—icons have retired, the MLB commissioner is no longer Bud Selig, and the Fish now have a new stadium, new logo, and new owners.
So in case you were wondering (as we were) what happened next to all of the players involved in that magical October run, here we go one by one in alphabetical order...
- 1B/OF Brian Banks: The versatile bench player ended up his MLB career in style, by winning it all. 2003 was his last season as a big leaguer even though he spent 2004 as a Marlin, playing in Triple-A.
- RHP Josh Beckett: By the time of that Fall Classic, in which he was the Most Valuable Player, Beckett was just 23 years old. He went on to have a very distinguished career. Won 20 games and another ring for the Red Sox in 2007, a tournament that left him as the runner-up for the American League Cy Young award. He put up great numbers in 20 starts for the Dodgers in 2014, but chose to retire as a 34-year-old (derailed by the effects of thoracic outlet syndrome). Was a three-time All-Star.
- RHP Nate Bump: This righty played for two more years with the organization in the big leagues as a full-time reliever. Winning the World Series was the peak of a short life as an MLB guy. Bump was active until 2011, when he started 25 games for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Phillies AAA).
- 1B Miguel Cabrera: The only one who remains active. An out-of-this-world star in his prime that won a Triple Crown in the American League, two MVPs, and four batting titles. “Miggy” has already 2815 hits, 577 doubles, 477 home runs, and 1694 RBIs. A future first-ballot Hall of Famer, no doubt.
- 2B Luis Castillo: This Dominican was in the middle of a pretty nice career in the bigs by 2003. Castillo lasted two more campaigns as a Marlin, then was traded to the Twins in 2006. He retired in 2010 after three and a half years with the Mets. Solid defender with great speed and an above-average contact.
- 1B Jeff Conine: Played in the Fish uniform until 2005. Then he remained active for two more years with the Orioles, the Phillies, the Reds, and the Mets. Conine was a member of the two Marlins teams that won the World Series (also in 1997). 2003 will be marked in his mind as his last great moment in MLB.
- RF Juan Encarnación: Here’s where the sad story goes. After winning the World Series, he played for the Dodgers, the Marlins again, and the Cardinals. In 2007, Encarnación was a 31-year-old and had a nice career, but succumbed to some bad luck. While standing in the on-deck circle on August 31, a foul ball hit by teammate Aaron Miles struck him in the face causing a career-ending injury.
- RHP Chad Fox: This is the best case of being in the right place at the right time. The Red Sox released him on July 30, but nine days later the Marlins signed him and got him into the postseason thanks to having excellent numbers as a reliever in his brief 2003 stint with the team. After helping the Fish’s cause, he compiled only 28 appearances between 2004 and 2009, the year of his retirement.
- SS Alex González: Alex stayed in Florida until he signed as a free agent with the Red Sox in 2006. He had a decent journey that included being the starting shortstop in Boston, Cincinnati, and Atlanta, before calling it quits as a Detroit Tigers player in 2014. However, González remained in game shape and played for the final time as a professional in December 2018 in his native Venezuela.
Álex González has retired— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) December 14, 2018
Former Marlins SS began has pro career in 1995. Went 1-for-1 on Thursday for Leones del Caracas in his final game. Felicidades. pic.twitter.com/FDZBXlEaRq
- UT Lenny Harris: This left-handed hitter was already a 38-year-old veteran when he signed with the Marlins in 2014. Harris’ best days as a big leaguer were far behind. Nonetheless, he put good stats in 83 games—most coming out off the bench—in his final season (2005): .314/.385/.414.
- RHP Rick Helling: Similar to Fox’s case, he was outstanding in the regular season since the organization acquired him four days after the Orioles released him. Helling didn’t throw a pitch in the Majors the following year, though he found a way back to the show in 2005 and 2006 and had a decent run with the Brewers before putting his career into an end.
- OF Todd Hollandsworth: For him, there wasn’t too much action after the title. Hollandsworth, whose best seasons came before the World Series, spent three more years among the Cubs, the Braves, the Indians and the Reds. He retired in 2006, at the age of 33.
- 1B Derrek Lee: Right after winning it all, the Marlins traded their first baseman in November to the Cubs, where he continued his path of success. In 2005, Lee led the league in doubles (50), hits (199), batting average (.335), slugging percentage (.662), and OPS (1.080). He went to the All-Star Game twice, won two more Gold Gloves thanks to his stellar defense and a Silver Slugger. He’s been retired since the end of the 2011 campaign.
- RHP Braden Looper: The former closer became a free agent following the Fall Classic and ended up signing a deal with the Mets to be their ninth-inning man. In 2016, he reached an agreement with the Cardinals and put on his second ring. After that season, Looper was turned into a starting pitcher and didn’t go so well: he notched a 4.76 ERA across 568 2⁄3 frames between 2007 and 2009.
- 3B Mike Lowell: One of the heroes. The second half of Lowell’s career was as good as the first one, if not better. After winning championship rings with the Yankees (brief stint) and the Fish, he got to Boston in 2006 to raise the trophy in his hands one last time. The Puerto Rican experienced a great five-year run with the Red Sox before saying goodbye to the game, in 2010.
- IF Mike Mordecai: From a statistical point of view, Mordecai had a 2004 season almost identical to the 2003 campaign for the Marlins. After that, he got back and took two at-bats in 2005. Then, after 12 tournaments, he hung up his spikes.
- RHP Carl Pavano: This strong righty will always be remembered as one of the Marlins’ best pitchers in that postseason. He did a great job from the NLDS to the World Series. After that, Pavano had a Cy Young caliber season in 2005 that earned him a very nice contract with the Yankees that was for four years and something just under $40 million. For the Yanks, he compiled 26 starts between 2005 and 2008, lost the 2006 tournament, and had a 5.00 ERA. Probably, they’re still regretting this deal in N.Y.
- RHP Brad Penny: He could have easily been named the Most Valuable Player of that World Series: a 2-0 record, 12.1 innings, plus a 2.19 ERA. In 2014, the Marlins traded him to the Dodgers, where Penny became a nice piece of the rotation even though injuries made him lose big time. Following his stint in L.A., Brad was a journeyman: from 2009 to 2012, he was part of the Red Sox, the Giants, the Cardinals, the Tigers. After being injured, throwing in Japan and the Dominican Republic, he came back to finish his career with Miami, in 2014.
- CF Juan Pierre: Another piece to the Fish puzzle that year. Pierre remained an outstanding player averaging 200 hits, 162 games, and 56 steals per season from 2004 to 2007. He was the star Florida traded in December of 2005 to the Cubs for Sergio Mitre, Ricky Nolasco, and Renyel Pinto. Even though he never won something individual nor another World Series, Pierre left the game registering 2217 hits, 94 triples, 614 stolen bases, and a .295 batting average. He retired as a Marlin in 2013.
- LHP Mark Redman: The lefty starter’s best season came in 2003. After that, it was all ugly ERAs, not-that-good records, and bad ratios. In general, Redman didn’t have another moment of glory besides the Postseason run.
- C Mike Redmond: Redmond continued his journey as an eternal good backup catcher. Following the 2004 season, when he got out of Florida, he kept that role in Minnesota for several years, before landing in Cleveland for his final tournament, in 2010. He was the Marlins manager from 2013 to 2015 and ended up with a 155-207 record.
- C Iván Rodríguez: Luckily, one of the best catchers in history spent that year as a Marlin. His only season with the team was electrifying. In fact, he won the MVP honors in the NLCS against the Cubs. After his short stint with the organization, he signed with the Tigers and kept rolling. Played eight more campaigns in the MLB and he’s now an immortal with a very well-deserved place in Cooperstown.
- LHP Michael Tejera: The Cuban lefty had 50 games in 2003, but he didn’t throw a pitch in the Championship dispute. His career fell down to Earth after getting his ring. The last time Tejera appeared on a major league roster was in 2005, when he was only 28.
- RHP Ugueth Urbina: A brilliant part of the bullpen, a key to the Marlins’ success. The Venezuelan saved four games in October, including two in the World Series. Urbina was enjoying a good career in the MLB as a closer and late reliever, but served seven years in prison in his country in 2005. He never got back to the bigs, though he did pitch in the VZ Winter League.
- LHP Dontrelle Willis: Put that Lionel Richie song and let’s cry, everyone. The ultimate “What could have been?” guy. D-Train emerged as the Rookie of the Year in 2003 and was always good until the 2006 season. He even was the runner-up for the National League Cy Young in 2005. Packaged with Miguel Cabrera in the blockbuster trade to the Tigers, the talented left-hander couldn’t replicate his Marlins success. Suffering injury after injury, he was driving more to the disabled list than he did to get home. Dontrelle retired in 2011, being only 29 and with nine seasons in the majors.