The Florida Marlins were up against the New York Yankees in Game 6 of the 2003 World Series. One out away from being held scoreless in an elimination game, Jorge Posada was the last hope for the Yankees.
He didn’t have a chance against Josh Beckett. On this night, nobody did.
Long before giving the Marlins the most clutch pitching performance in their history, Josh Beckett was born on May 15, 1980 in Spring, Texas. Beckett was drafted by the Marlins in the first round (2nd pick) of the 1999 MLB Draft. He lived up to the expectations of being a high draft pick and made it quickly through the minor leagues. Beckett made his debut on September 4, 2001 against the Chicago Cubs (6.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 5 SO, 3 BB).
Beckett was in the Marlins starting rotation from the beginning of the 2002 season. He reached 113 strikeouts but was still a work in progress. The right-hander went on the disabled list a couple times and had his innings managed carefully late in the year. His adjusted earned run average (98 ERA+) was a little worse than league average.
In 2003, Beckett posted his lowest ERA as a Marlin which was 3.09 ERA. He worked deeper into his starts while giving up far less home runs. That would have been Beckett’s best shot at making the All-Star team as a Marlin, but an injury kept him out for most of May and all of June.
Beckett really woke up as the Marlins were closing in on a postseason berth and carried that into October. In the 6 postseason games that Beckett pitched, he went 2-2 and had a 2.11 ERA. He pitched a complete-game shutout to win Game 6 of the World Series. He also earned the World Series MVP for his efforts.
Beckett’s 2004 season saw him gain more of a workload in the rotation as he set what at the time was his highest single-season mark for innings pitched. He had a .500 record on a Marlins team that won 83 games. He built off of that in 2005 with 178 IP and 166 SO, receiving more run support than he had earlier in his career. The Marlins had the same exact record in back-to-back seasons to again fall short of the playoffs.
Traded by Florida Marlins with Mike Lowell and Guillermo Mota to Boston Red Sox in exchange for Hanley Ramírez, Aníbal Sánchez, Harvey García and Jesús Delgado on November 24, 2005
The Marlins acquired immense young talent in this deal—Ramírez which would go on to be one of the best Marlins of all time and Anibal Sánchez spent many years in their rotation and threw a no-hitter. Boston, on the other hand, got Beckett and Lowell who were both huge pieces of their World Series run in 2007.
The 2007 regular season was Beckett’s best ever as a pitcher. He made the All-Star team and finished second in American League Cy Young voting (CC Sabathia finished first). He reached the 200-inning mark once again and overall proved he could adjust to the AL, doing well despite facing designated hitters every game.
Beckett began that postseason with an awesome shutout that gave Boston the 1-0 series lead in the ALDS against the Los Angeles Angels. That set the tone for the rest of the month as he won every game he pitched for the Red Sox.
There would be other opportunities for Beckett to contribute to a championship, but the Red Sox couldn’t quite put it all together. They were eliminated by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2008 postseason and the Angels got their revenge in 2009. Even though Beckett had an excellent season in 2011—receiving some down-ballot Cy Young support—the team collapsed late in the year.
Traded by Boston Red Sox with Adrian González, Carl Crawford, Nick Punto and cash to Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for James Loney, Ivan De Jesús, Allen Webster and 2 players to be named later (Rubby de la Rosa and Jerry Sands) on August 25, 2012
Beckett was included in this epic midseason salary dump with the Red Sox far out of contention.
In 2014 at age 34, Beckett threw a no-hitter for the Dodgers. Unfortunately injuries forced him into retirement soon after that.
Beckett would end his career as a 3x All-Star, 2x World Series champion and WS MVP and ALCS MVP award winner. Marlins fans will always appreciate his Game 6 heroics.