2003 American League Championship Series

2003 American League Championship Series

2003 American League Championship Series
Dates: October 8 – 16
MVP: Mariano Rivera (New York)
Television: Fox
TV announcers: Joe Buck, Tim McCarver and Bret Boone
Radio: ESPN
Radio announcers: Jon Miller and Joe Morgan
Umpires: Tim McClelland, Terry Craft, Alfonso Márquez, Derryl Cousins, Joe West, Ángel Hernández
ALDS: New York Yankees over Minnesota Twins (3–1)
  Boston Red Sox over Oakland Athletics (3–2)
 < 2002 ALCS 2004 > 
2003 World Series

The 2003 American League Championship Series (ALCS) was played between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees from October 8 to 16, 2003. The Yankees won the series four games to three to advance to the World Series.


This series delivered yet another blow to Red Sox fans' hopes of winning a World Series for the first time since 1918. The series seemed evenly matched, with the lead being held first by the Red Sox, then by the Yankees.[1] The Sox forced the series to a full seven games, with the seventh game setting another major league record for the rivalry between the two teams: it marked the first time two major league teams have played more than 25 games against each other over the course of a single season.[2] The Red Sox also set an ALCS record with twelve home runs in the series.

New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox

New York won the series, 4–3.
Game Date Score Location Time Attendance
1 October 8 Boston Red Sox – 5, New York Yankees – 2 Yankee Stadium (I) 3:20 56,281[3]
2 October 9 Boston Red Sox – 2, New York Yankees – 6 Yankee Stadium (I) 3:05 56,295[4] 
3 October 11 New York Yankees – 4, Boston Red Sox – 3 Fenway Park 3:09 34,209[5] 
4 October 13 New York Yankees – 2, Boston Red Sox – 3 Fenway Park 2:49 34,599[6] 
5 October 14 New York Yankees – 4, Boston Red Sox – 2 Fenway Park 3:04 34,619[7] 
6 October 15 Boston Red Sox – 9, New York Yankees – 6 Yankee Stadium (I) 3:57 56,277[8] 
7 October 16 Boston Red Sox – 5, New York Yankees – 6 (11 innings) Yankee Stadium (I) 3:56 56,279[9]

Game summaries

Game 1

Wednesday, October 8, 2003 at Yankee Stadium (I) in Bronx, New York
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Boston 0 0 0 2 2 0 1 0 0 5 13 0
New York 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 2 3 0
WP: Tim Wakefield (1–0)   LP: Mike Mussina (0–1)   Sv: Scott Williamson (1)
Home runs:
BOS: David Ortiz (1), Todd Walker (1), Manny Ramírez (1)
NYY: None

Backed by three home runs, Tim Wakefield shut the Bombers down in Game 1. After a scoreless three innings, Manny Ramirez singled to first base. Afterwards, David Ortiz hit a 2-Run Home Run to put the Red Sox up 2-0. In the top of the 5th Inning, Todd Walker & Manny Ramirez each hit solo Home Runs to put the Red Sox ahead 5-0. In the 7th Inning, Kevin Millar hit a RBI Single allowing Manny Ramirez to get his third RBI of the game. Despite a brief comeback by the Yankees, The Red Sox claimed Game 1 5-2.

Game 2

Thursday, October 9, 2003 at Yankee Stadium (I) in Bronx, New York
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Boston 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 10 1
New York 0 2 1 0 1 0 2 0 X 6 8 0
WP: Andy Pettitte (1–0)   LP: Derek Lowe (0–1)
Home runs:
BOS: Jason Varitek (1)
NYY: Nick Johnson (1)

Andy Pettitte responded in Game 2. Giving up only two runs, one being a solo home run by Jason Varitek.

Game 3

Saturday, October 11, 2003 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
New York 0 1 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 4 7 0
Boston 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 3 6 0
WP: Roger Clemens (1–0)   LP: Pedro Martínez (0–1)   Sv: Mariano Rivera (1)
Home runs:
NYY: Derek Jeter (1)
BOS: None

Game 3 was highly anticipated, a classic matchup between Sox ace Pedro Martínez and former Sox pitcher Roger Clemens, who, on the cusp of retirement, was thought to be pitching his last game at Fenway Park. Early on, Karim Garcia was hit in the back by a Martinez fastball. Words were exchanged and Martinez threateningly gestured towards Yankee catcher Jorge Posada. When Garcia was forced out at second, he slid hard into Todd Walker. The following inning, Manny Ramírez took exception to a high Clemens pitch and charged the mound. Both benches cleared, but the resulting brawl turned surreal when 72-year-old Yankee bench coach Don Zimmer charged Pedro Martínez. Martinez sidestepped and threw Zimmer to the ground. After the thirteen-minute delay, Clemens struck out Ramirez and proceeded to pitch effectively as the Yankees held a lead. The game would not end quietly: a Fenway groundskeeper got into a scuffle with Yankee reliever Jeff Nelson while tending to the bullpen area.

Game 4

Monday, October 13, 2003 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
New York 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 2 6 1
Boston 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 X 3 6 0
WP: Tim Wakefield (2–0)   LP: Mike Mussina (0–2)   Sv: Scott Williamson (2)
Home runs:
NYY: Rubén Sierra (1)
BOS: Todd Walker (2), Trot Nixon (1)

Game 4 was postponed from Sunday to Monday due to rain; Todd Walker hit his second home run of the series to pace the Sox in that game. The Red Sox scored the eventual deciding run when Jason Varitek just beat a potential double-play ground ball with the bases loaded.

Game 5

Tuesday, October 14, 2003 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
New York 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 4 7 1
Boston 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 2 6 1
WP: David Wells (1–0)   LP: Derek Lowe (0–2)   Sv: Mariano Rivera (2)
Home runs:
NYY: None
BOS: Manny Ramírez (2)

The see-saw continued to teeter in Game 5 as David Wells and Mariano Rivera combined to shut Boston down.

Game 6

Wednesday, October 15, 2003 at Yankee Stadium (I) in Bronx, New York
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Boston 0 0 4 0 0 0 3 0 2 9 16 1
New York 1 0 0 4 1 0 0 0 0 6 12 2
WP: Alan Embree (1–0)   LP: José Contreras (0–1)   Sv: Scott Williamson (3)
Home runs:
BOS: Jason Varitek (2), Trot Nixon (2)
NYY: Jason Giambi (1), Jorge Posada (1)

Back at Yankee Stadium, six Red Sox pitchers kept the team in the game as a seventh-inning comeback forced a Game 7.

Game 7

Thursday, October 16, 2003 at Yankee Stadium (I) in Bronx, New York
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 R H E
Boston 0 3 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 5 11 0
New York 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 3 0 0 1 6 11 1
WP: Mariano Rivera (1–0)   LP: Tim Wakefield (2–1)
Home runs:
BOS: Trot Nixon (3), Kevin Millar (1), David Ortiz (2)
NYY: Jason Giambi 2 (3), Aaron Boone (1)

In the Martinez–Clemens rematch of Game 3, the Sox took an early lead in Game 7, jumping to a 4–0 lead and knocking Clemens out of the game in the fourth inning with two men on base and nobody out. In the first relief appearance of his career, Mike Mussina proceeded to clean up Clemens' mess by striking out Jason Varitek and inducing a Johnny Damon double play. His three innings of scoreless relief, and two solo home runs in the fifth and seventh innings by Jason Giambi kept the Yankees in the ballgame. But in the eighth inning, with the Red Sox leading 5–2, things unraveled for Boston. Sox manager Grady Little left a tiring Martinez in for the eighth, a controversial move which is still discussed years later.[1] Little had two relievers who had shown some effectiveness in the games leading up to the seventh game—Scott Williamson and Mike Timlin (who had not allowed a single hit in the playoffs)—in the bullpen.[1] However, both Williamson and Timlin had experienced stretches of ineffectiveness during the season, while Martinez had Hall of Fame credentials.[10] Critics of the move note that Martinez had experienced diminished effectiveness in the late innings of games in which he had thrown more than 100 pitches.[10] After the Cy Young Award winner Martinez assured his manager he still had something left, he gave up a double to Derek Jeter and a single to Bernie Williams, prompting Little to go out to the mound.[1] To the surprise of many, Little left Martinez in the game, leaving lefty Alan Embree in the bullpen with the left-handed Hideki Matsui coming to the plate.[1] Martinez gave up a double to Matsui and a bloop double to Jorge Posada to tie the game, sending it to extra innings. Mariano Rivera came in for the ninth and pitched three shutout innings.[10]

Tim Wakefield pitched a scoreless tenth for Boston and in the bottom of the eleventh faced Aaron Boone, who had entered earlier as a pinch-runner. On Wakefield's first pitch of the inning, Boone launched a home run into the left field seats. Fox Sports displayed a collection of images thereafter: tears welling up in the eyes of Aaron's brother, Seattle Mariners infielder Bret Boone (the guest announcer), ALCS MVP Mariano Rivera running to the mound and collapsing on it in joy, Boone jumping on home plate, and Rivera being carried off on his teammates' shoulders.[11]

Composite box

2003 ALCS (4–3): New York Yankees over Boston Red Sox
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 R H E
New York Yankees 1 6 2 6 4 0 5 4 1 0 1 30 54 5
Boston Red Sox 2 4 4 5 3 1 6 2 2 0 0 29 68 3
Total attendance: 328,559   Average attendance: 46,937


The series is widely considered to be one of the worst losses in Boston sports history.[10][12] The loss was crushing for Red Sox fans, many of whom blamed Little for leaving Martinez in the game and not going to his recently dependable bullpen, since Martinez had experienced difficulty pitching effectively beyond 100 pitches.[1] In his book Now I Can Die in Peace, Bill Simmons writes that the Boston owners and Theo Epstein had ordered Little to remove Pedro from the game when he finished the seventh inning and/or topped the three-digit pitch count. Martinez was sure he would not be called on for the eighth inning, but agreed to do so when his manager asked him. After the game, Little reportedly and prophetically told his pitcher "Petey, I might not be here anymore." Little defended his move by saying that he felt a tired Martinez was a better option than anyone else on the team. Defenders of Little also noted that the Red Sox offense collapsed in the game, as the club scored only two runs in the last nine innings of the contest and also noted the poor defensive play of Johnny Damon in center field during the crucial inning.[1] Others have noted that by staying with a physically fragile pitcher in an ultimate game with two runners on base, a two-run lead, a rested pitcher who had performed well in the post season ready in the bullpen and the other team's MVP on deck, Little did exactly what Hall of Fame manager Walter Alston did with Sandy Koufax in Game 7 of the 1965 World Series, which Alston's Dodgers won. Little's contract was not renewed after the season and he was replaced by Terry Francona.[13] Little went on to manage the Los Angeles Dodgers before ironically being replaced by Joe Torre.[14]

Until the final game of the pennant race, some baseball fans had been hoping for a rematch of the 1918 World Series:[10] a showdown between the Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs, one of only two major league teams to have played for a longer period of time since winning the World Series (the other was the Chicago White Sox, who went on to win the Series in 2005).[10] The Cubs reached the 2003 National League Championship Series against the Florida Marlins. As with the Red Sox, they had a three-run lead and were only five outs away from reaching the World Series, although this was in Game 6, when the Marlins scored eight runs in that inning and won the game 8–3.[15][16][17] The Marlins would win Game 7, 9–6, to advance to the World Series,[18] where they defeated the Yankees four games to two.[19]

The following year, Boston and New York met again in the ALCS, with Boston becoming the first team in major league history as well as just the third team in American professional sports history to come back to win a playoff series after being down three games to none;[20] they then swept the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series to win their first championship since 1918 and thus end the Curse of the Bambino.[21]

In the 2005–06 offseason, the rivalry between Boston and New York revived the Yankees loss to the Marlins in the 2003 World Series when they traded Josh Beckett, the pitcher who pitched a complete game shutout against the Yankees in the deciding game of the World Series to the Red Sox.[19][22]

Notable performers

  • Trot Nixon—.333 average, three home runs, five RBI
  • David Ortiz, Manny Ramírez, Jason Varitek, Todd Walker—two home runs each.
  • Tim Wakefield—Won Game 1 and Game 4 for the Red Sox, and very likely would have been the ALCS MVP had Boston held on to win the series.
  • Jorge Posada—.296 average, four doubles
  • Mariano Rivera—eight innings, 1.12 ERA, two saves (Series MVP)
  • Mike Timlin and Alan Embree (combined)—ten innings, four hits, zero earned runs
  • Mike Mussina and Rivera—six innings, six strikeouts, four hits, and zero earned runs combined in relief during Game 7.
  • Jason Giambi—Before the eighth inning rally in Game 7, Giambi had provided the Yankees' only offense with two solo home runs off Pedro Martínez.
  • Aaron Boone—Hit an eleventh inning walk-off home run in Game 7.


Inline citations
  1. ^ a b c d e f g Shaughnessy, Dan (2005). Reversing the Curse. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. ISBN . 
  2. ^ Antonen, Mel (October 16, 2003). "Red Sox still kicking; Boston bats break loose 9-6, force Game 7 with Yankees". USA Today. p. C1. 
  3. ^ "2003 ALCS Game 1 - Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009. 
  4. ^ "2003 ALCS Game 2 - Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009. 
  5. ^ "2003 ALCS Game 3 - New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009. 
  6. ^ "2003 ALCS Game 4 - New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009. 
  7. ^ "2003 ALCS Game 5 - New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009. 
  8. ^ "2003 ALCS Game 6 - Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009. 
  9. ^ "2003 ALCS Game 7 - Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f Shaughnessy, Dan (October 17, 2003). "Heartbreak again; Yankees beat Red Sox, 6-5, on 11th-inning homer to capture AL pennant". Boston Globe. p. A1. 
  11. ^ Major League Baseball on Fox: Game 7 of 2003 American League Championship Series (television). Fox Sports. October 16, 2003. 
  12. ^ Shaughnessy, Dan (May 15, 2010). "A chance to change, but a familiar ending". Boston Globe. p. C1. Retrieved March 10, 2011. 
  13. ^ Golen, Jimmy (December 4, 2003). "Red Sox hire Francona as manager". USA Today. Associated Press. Retrieved July 4, 2008. 
  14. ^ Associated Press (November 1, 2007). "Torre succeeds Little as Dodgers manager". ESPN.com. 
  15. ^ Muskat, Carrie (October 14, 2003). "Crazy eighth forces Game 7". MLB.com. Major League Baseball. Retrieved June 9, 2011. 
  16. ^ Sullivan, Paul (October 15, 2003). "Giveaway is handmade; Fan, Gonzalez hurt Cubs with title in grasp". Chicago Tribune. p. 10.3. 
  17. ^ Morrissey, Rick (October 15, 2003). "8th-inning disaster so Cubs". Chicago Tribune. p. 10.4. 
  18. ^ Frisaro, Joe (October 15, 2003). "Fish rock Cubs: Bring on the World". MLB.com. Marlins.MLB.com. Retrieved June 10, 2011. 
  19. ^ a b Kepner, Tyler (October 26, 2003). "Young Ace Has Winning Hand, And Yankees Are Sent Reeling". New York Times. p. 1.1. 
  20. ^ Shaughnessy, Dan (October 21, 2004). "A World Series ticket; Sox complete comeback, oust Yankees for AL title". The Boston Globe. p. A1. 
  21. ^ Shaughnessy, Dan (October 28, 2004). "YES!!!: Red Sox complete sweep, win first Series since 1918". The Boston Globe. p. A1. 
  22. ^ Snow, Chris; Edes, Gordon (November 25, 2005). "Red Sox Finalize an Extended Deal; Trade with the Marlins Lands Beckett, Lowell—Mota". Boston Globe. p. C2. 

External links

  • 2003 ALCS at Baseball-Reference