The MLB playoffs are upon us and we couldn’t be more excited for baseball’s big dance to start. The divisional round will be broadcast on FOX Sports 1, and to get you ready for October baseball we have been taking a look back at some of the best moments in MLB playoff history over the last few days.
Today we’re taking time to remember the infamous Steve Bartman incident, from Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series.
The Chicago Cubs were almost there. After decades of futility, it looked like the Northsiders might finally breakthrough and win the National League pennant. They led the Florida Marlins 3-2 in the 2003 NLCS, were at home and had a 3-0 going into the top of the eighth inning of Game 6. Ace Mark Prior was on the mound and he retired Mike Mordecai to open the frame. The Cubs were five outs away from their first World Series berth since 1945. That’s when things fell apart.
Florida’s Juan Pierre stepped to the plate and doubled. That was only the fourth hit allowed by Prior on the night and before Pierre’s two-bagger, the big righty had retired eight in a row. Luis Castillo stepped up next and on the eighth pitch of his at bat, thesecond baseman hit a high foul ball toward the left field wall. As Chicago left fielder Moises Alou ranged over towards the stands to catch the ball in foul territory, Cubs fan Steve Bartman (and others in the area) reached out for it. The ball bounced off Bartman’s hands and into the stands. The Cubs demanded an interference call, but to no avail.
We all know what happened after that. Castillo walked on the next pitch, then the Marlins exploded. They wound up scoring eight runs in the inning and winning the game 8-3. The next night in Game 7 the Marlins won 9-6 and advanced to the World Series where they bested the New York Yankees to win the title.
We all also know what happened to Bartman. He essentially went into hiding, has always declined interviews, endorsement deals and many opportunities offered to him after the incident. He still lives in Chicago but has never returned to Wrigley Field.