1997 World Series

1997 World Series The four year-old expansion team known as the Florida Marlins represented the best (and worst) of parody in Major League baseball.

Despite becoming the youngest team to ever win a Fall Classic and the first Wild Card team to earn a world championship, the franchise would be unable to support it's expensive list of mercenary players and would eventually find itself on the verge on contraction in a few short years. Jim Leyland had been the Marlin's biggest purchase after having a series of semi-successful seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The gritty skipper had become disenchanted with the Pirates organization after watching the majority of his biggest players (including Bobby Bonilla and Barry Bonds) dealt to other teams during his tenure in the Steel City, but his farm-team phobia would soon come back to haunt him in the Sunshine State.

In Game 1, the Marlins grabbed a 5-1 lead in the fourth when Moises Alou and Charles Johnson hit back-to-back homers, Alou's coming with two runners aboard. Florida scored two more in the fifth, and hung on for a 7-4 triumph. Both clubs opened Game 2 with single runs in the first inning, but that was all the Marlins could manage against Tribe starter Chad Ogea and a trio of relievers. Meanwhile, the Indians scored four in the fifth on four singles, two more in the sixth on Sandy Alomar's two-run homer, and evened the Series, 6-1.

'97 WORLD SERIES; In Marlins vs. Indians, a Clash of Young and Old

The last time a Cuban native was the starting pitcher in a World Series, the game became one of the most memorable in World Series history. The game, however, was memorable for Carlton Fisk's 12th-inning home run, not for Luis Tiant's pitching.

Eight months before Tiant started that 1975 game for the Boston Red Sox against the Cincinnati Reds, Livan Hernandez was born in the Cuban town of Villa Clara. Tiant was a grizzled veteran then. Now Hernandez is a rookie, and Saturday night he will start a memorable World Series game for the Florida Marlins. It will be the first in their brief history.

In pitching against the Cleveland Indians, the 22-year-old Hernandez, who last Sunday struck out 15 Atlanta batters, will be matched against this year's grizzled veteran, Orel Hershiser, the most successful active post-season pitcher.