The 2003 Chicago Cubs were able to do what no other Cubs teams were able to do in nearly 100 years. Still, that's not why they are remembered. The Chicago Cubs 2003 season ended with more frustration than ever, thanks to a certain fan interfering with a foul ball when the team needed just five more outs to advance to the World Series. The Cubs, of course, didn't advance, and all of the positives of the season were tarnished.
To begin the Chicago Cubs 2003 season, the organization hired manager Dusty Baker, and also brought in notable players Aramis Ramirez and Kenny Lofton, to join Sammy Sosa, Moises Alou, Alex Gonzalez, Eric Karros and the rest of the position players.
The team though was led by its pitching staff, a three-headed beast of Mark Prior, Kerry Wood and Carlos Zambrano, that Cubs fans only wish could have been kept together and in good health for another decade. Zambrano and Prior were just 22 years old, and Wood was just 26. Combined, the three starters went 45-28, and each pitched over 210 innings. Prior struck out 245 and finished with a 2.43 ERA, and Wood struck out 266 and finished with a 3.20 ERA; Zambrano's ERA was 3.11.
All of this, of course, is prelude to the postseason. The 2003 Chicago Cubs won the Central Division in the National League with a 88-74 record, and they defeated the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS 3-2. Next up were the Florida Marlins. The Marlins won the first game, but the Cubs won the next three games, to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. In game 5, still in Florida, the Cubs were shut out by Josh Beckett, who had a stellar performance.
Leading the series 3-2, the series shifted back to Chicago. The 2003 Chicago Cubs looked to be on the verge of the World Series. They were leading 3-0 in the top of the 8th, with one out, needing just five more outs to hold onto their lead, win the NLCS, and represent the National League in the World Series.
Luis Castillo hit a high foul ball deep into the outfield, and as Moises Alou went to catch it, a fan sitting in the stands, Steve Bartman, reached for the ball himself, which then landed out of the field of play. Instead of being an out, Castillo was able to get on base shortly after, and the Cubs collapsed mentally, giving up 8 runs in the inning, losing 8-3. They lost game 7 at home and were once again denied a bid to the World Series, and Bartman would forever be notoriously tied with the 2003 Chicago Cubs and what could have been.
It's hard to look past the terrible events of the NLCS in the 2003 Chicago Cubs season. Just five more outs and the team was going to be in the World Series, and they would have had a great chance to win that as well. Still, it marked the first time in nearly 100 years that the Cubs won a postseason series at all. So the Chicago Cubs 2003 season saw a huge positive, and something that hadn't been done since 1908, even though it's all clouded by the infamous Steve Bartman incident.2003 League Division Series
|NLDS GAME 1||R||H||E|
W: Kerry Wood, L: Russ Ortiz, Save: Joe Borowski
|NLDS GAME 2||R||H||E|
WP - John Smolz, LP - Dave Veres; Save - none
|NLDS GAME 3||R||H||E|
WP - Mark Prior, LP - Greg Maddux, Save - none
|NLDS GAME 4||R||H||E|
WP - Russ Ortiz, LP - Matt Clement, Save - John Smoltz
|NLDS GAME 5||R||H||E|
WP - Kerry Wood, LP - Mike Hampton, Save - None
2003 Chicago Cubs win series 3-2
|LCS GAME 1||R||H||E|
W: Ugueth Urbina, L: Mark Guthrie, Save: Braden Looper
|LCS GAME 2||R||H||E|
WP - Mark Prior, LP - Brad Penny; Save - none
|LCS GAME 3||R||H||E|
WP - Joe Borowski, LP - Michael Tejera, Save - Mike Remlinger
|LCS GAME 4||R||H||E|
WP - Matt Clement, LP - Dontrelle Willis Clement, Save - John Smoltz
|LCS GAME 5||R||H||E|
WP - Josh Beckett, LP - Carlos Zambrano, Save - None
|LCS GAME 6||R||H||E|
WP - Chad Fox, LP - Mark Prior, Save - None
Just five more outs!!!
|LCS GAME 7||R||H||E|
WP - Brad Penny, LP - Kerry Wood, Save - Ugueth UrbinaMarlins win series 4-3
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