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  Oct. 16: The Yankees' Aaron Boone takes Red Sox starter Tim Wakefield deep, ending a classic ALCS. (AP Photo)

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October: Baseball at its best
October is a month for cigars in the baseball world. Players don't light up after every win during the course of the 162-game regular season but once the postseason rolls around, stogies are frequently lit to celebrate crucial, deciding wins. Here are some October highlights:
Team Stories & Headlines

By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com

October 1
Pedro Martinez and Tim Hudson start Game 1 of the ALDS between the Red Sox and Athletics, but the outcome is decided on Ramon Hernandez's two-out, bases-loaded bunt single in the 12th which gives the A's a 5-4 win . In Game 2 between the Cubs and Braves, Atlanta evened the series with a 5-3 win. Mark DeRosa hits a tie-breaking two-run double in the eighth for the game-winner . Juan Pierre went 4-for-5 with three RBIs to spark the Marlins to a 9-5 victory over the Giants in Game 2 and even the series.

October 2
In the ALDS, Oakland's Barry Zito fooled the Red Sox in the A's 5-1 win, giving up one run on five hits over seven innings. The Yankees evened their Division Series with a 4-1 victory over the Twins in Game 2. Andy Pettitte struck out 10.

Sights and Sounds
Experience all the great moments of baseball in 2003 with monthly video recaps and clips, captivating audio highlights and a look at each month in photos. Also cast your vote for the best baseball photo of 2003. Launch >


October 3
The Cubs, appearing in the postseason for the first time since 1998, were the hottest ticket in town. Mark Prior throws a complete game to outduel Atlanta's Greg Maddux and give the Cubs a 3-1 win in Game 3 of the NLDS at Wrigley Field. In Game 3 of the Giants-Marlins NLDS, Ivan Rodriguez hit a two-run single with two outs in the 11th inning to cap Florida's rally and post a 4-3 victory. Coach Al Newman visited the Twins before their playoff game for the first time since suffering a brain hemorrhage Sept. 10 in Chicago. Yankees owner George Steinbrenner says Joe Torre will return in 2004, giving the manager a vote of confidence.

October 4
In Miami, Miguel Cabrera hit a two-run single in the eighth inning and Pudge Rodriguez blocked J.T. Snow at home plate in the ninth to secure the Marlins' 7-6 win over the Giants and advance to the NLCS. Florida won the series, 3-1. Marlins manager Jack McKeon's approach to Bonds? "You're damned if you do (pitch to him) and damned if you don't," McKeon said. The Red Sox and A's played extra innings in Game 3 with Boston winning on Trot Nixon's walk-off, two-run homer in the 11th. Roger Clemens held the Twins to one run over seven innings in the Yankees' 3-1 win in Game 3 of the ALDS. In the NLDS, Chipper Jones hits a pair of homers to lead the Braves to a 6-4 victory over the Cubs in Game 4 at Wrigley and tie the series, 2-2.

October 5
Aramis Ramirez hit a two-run homer and Alex Gonzalez added a solo shot to back Kerry Wood as the Cubs beat Atlanta to advance to the NLCS. The A's were four outs away from advancing to the ALCS for first time since 1992 but the Red Sox scored twice in the eighth for a 5-4 victory to force Game 5. David Ortiz hit a two-out, two-run double in the bottom of the eighth for the win. Meanwhile, the Yankees cruised to an 8-1 win over the Twins to win their series, 3-1. Minnesota starter Johan Santana couldn't escape the fourth when the Yankees sent 12 men to the plate.

October 6
The Red Sox complete their rally, overcoming an 0-2 deficit in the best-of-five series to edge Oakland, 4-3, in the decisive Game 5 of the ALDS. Manny Ramirez paced Boston with a three-run homer. However, Boston's Johnny Damon was knocked unconscious in a collision. Next up for Boston: the Yankees.

October 7

Mike Lowell hits a game-winning homer in the 11th inning to give the Marlins a 9-8 victory over the Cubs in Game 1 of the NLCS. Sammy Sosa did hit his first postseason homer in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game. Former Cubs third baseman and current radio broadcaster Ron Santo couldn't attend for health reasons and the players hung his No. 10 jersey in the dugout. Atlanta closer John Smoltz underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow and was expected back at full strength by Spring Training.
October 8

In Game 2 of the NLCS, the Cubs totaled 16 hits while Mark Prior held the Marlins to two earned runs over seven innings in a 12-3 Chicago win. Sosa hit a monster 495-foot homer to center. Fans packed the streets outside Wrigley Field for the game. In the ALCS, Boston second baseman Todd Walker got things started with a controversial home run in Game 1.


October 9
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire agrees to a two-year contract to take him through the 2005 season.

October 10
In Game 3 of NLCS, bench player Doug Glanville hits a one-out RBI triple in the 11th to give the Cubs a 5-4 victory over the Marlins. The Fox Entertainment Group reaches an agreement in principle to sell the Los Angeles Dodgers to an investor group headed by Boston real estate developer Frank McCourt.

October 11
Tempers flared in Game 3 of the ALCS. In a bizarre fourth inning, there was a bench-clearing incident when Manny Ramirez thought Roger Clemens was throwing at his head. Yankee bench coach Don Zimmer was tossed to the ground by Pedro Martinez. In the bullpen, a Fenway Park grounds crew worker was involved in a scuffle with Yankees relief Jeff Nelson and outfielder Karim Garcia. "Cowboy Up" becomes a slogan for the Red Sox. Aramis Ramirez hit two home runs, including a first-inning grand slam, to lift the Cubs in Game 4 of NLCS and open a 3-1 lead in the series. Rookie sensation Dontrelle Willis struggled in the Cubs' 8-3 win. McKeon tinkered with his lineup, starting Lowell at third and moving rookie Miguel Cabrera to right.

October 12
Josh Beckett threw a two-hit shutout to lead the Marlins to a 4-0 victory over the Cubs. Prior to the game, Cubs skipper Dusty Baker talked about his goals in his first season in Chicago. "No. 1, I wanted to have a winning season," he said. The Yankees and Red Sox had a day to cool off as Game 4 was postponed by rain. Attention remained focused on the Nelson and Garcia incident. Boston's Martinez and Ramirez and New York's Garcia and Zimmer were each fined for their involvement in the fracas at Fenway in Game 3. Zimmer issued a tearful apology.

October 13
It was back to baseball in the ALCS as Todd Walker and Trot Nixon each hit solo homers and Jason Varitek drove in the game-winner on a pinch-hit groundout to even the series, 2-2, at Fenway Park.

October 14
The Chicago Cubs were cruising behind Mark Prior and five outs away from their first World Series in 58 years. But normally sure-handed shortstop Alex Gonzalez botches a play for error, leading to five unearned runs in Game 6. A fan also plays a role in the Marlins' key eighth inning. Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt is named manager of the Class A Clearwater Phillies. The Giants announce Pacific Bell Park will be renamed SBC Park, effective Jan. 1. In Game 5 of the ALCS, David Wells shuts down the Red Sox, giving up one run over seven innings, in a 4-2 Yankees win.

October 15

Beckett throws four innings of one-hit relief to help the Marlins post a 9-6 victory over the Cubs in Game 7. Ivan Rodriguez won the MVP award, batting .321 in the seven-game series. Chicago pitcher Kerry Wood took the loss personally, saying he "choked." Sammy Sosa picks the Marlins to win the World Series. Saying he's been a Cub fan all his life, Steve Bartman issues a written apology asking fans for forgiveness after he interfered with a ball in Game 6. In Game 6 of the ALCS, Nomar Garciaparra went 4-for-5 to lead the Red Sox to victory and force a decisive Game 7.
October 16

The grounds crew at Fenway Park got a jump start, painting the World Series logo on the field in Boston before the ALCS had been completed. They were premature. Aaron Boone's homer in the bottom of the 11th inning sent the Yankees to the World Series. Mariano Rivera went 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA to win the ALCS MVP. In some editions of the New York Post, an editoral lamented the Yankees' supposed Game 7 loss to Boston in the ALCS. In reality, they got the job done.


October 18
The Marlins shrug off the mystique of Yankee Stadium to win Game 1 of the World Series, 3-2. The top of the lineup, Juan Pierre and Luis Castillo, are keys to the win.

October 19
Andy Pettitte struck out seven and held the Marlins to one run over 8 2/3 innings as the Yankees evened the best-of-seven series with a 6-1 win in Game 2 at Yankee Stadium.

October 20
St. Louis slugger Albert Pujols is named Major League Player of the Year by The Sporting News. Moises Alou exercised his option to stay with the Cubs. In a move to get approval for more night games at Wrigley Field, the Cubs propose free remote parking, extended shuttle bus service and creation of a $1 million fund to address neighborhood concerns. Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi are among several high-profile athletes subpoenaed by a federal grand jury investigating a nutritional supplement firm.

October 21
In Game 3 of the World Series, Bernie Williams hit a three-run homer to back Mike Mussina and lift the Yankees to a 6-1 victory. Williams set the all-time record for most postseason home runs and RBIs. Jamie Moyer is named winner of the Roberto Clemente Award, presented each year to the player who combines baseball skills with community work.

October 22
In Game 4 at Pro Player Stadium, Alex Gonzalez hit a walk-off homer in the 12th inning for a 4-3 win to even the series at two games apiece. This was Roger Clemens' final Major League start. He did not get a decision but did receive a standing ovation from the crowd. In Houston, manager Jimy Williams signed a one-year contract extension to give him a deal through the 2005 season. Texas shortstop Alex Rodriguez and St. Louis outfielder Albert Pujols are named winners of the Hank Aaron Award as top offensive performers in their respective leagues.

October 23
Pitcher Brad Penny helps the Marlins win, 6-4, in Game 5 to take a 3-2 lead in the World Series. David Wells exits after one inning because of back spasms. Derek Jeter moved into leadoff spot for Yankees in Game 5 while second baseman Alfonso Soriano was bumped. A few hours before the game, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria hands McKeon the keys to a new Mercedes. Bobby Valentine announces he will likely return to Japan to manage.

October 24
McKeon announces 23-year-old Josh Beckett will start on short rest in Game 6 of the World Series . Jason Giambi's left knee keeps him out of the lineup in Game 5. He'll undergo surgery at season's end. The Oakland Athletics deny Seattle permission to speak with GM Billy Beane but let the Mets talk to pitching coach Rick Peterson. In Chicago, crews begin construction work on altering the upper deck at U.S. Cellular Field and remove the top eight rows of seats.

October 25
The Florida Marlins win the World Series. The Yankees' posted lineup for Game 6 was one that hadn't been used all season. Beckett, who threw a complete-game shutout on three days' rest in Game 6, picked up the MVP trophy. The Yankees, who had won four championships in seven years, are frustrated with the loss. Andy Pettitte had to deal with questions immediately after Game 6 loss as to whether he'd be back in pinstripes.

October 27
The Red Sox fire manager Grady Little despite leading the team to 188 victories over two seasons and a trip to the ALCS. Cincinnati Reds name Dan O'Brien as their general manager, replacing Jim Bowden. The gate receipts of the 2003 World Series were the highest ever for a six-game series, topping $41 million. On the first day players are able to file for free agency, 106 players submit their names.

October 28
The Marlins hold a championship rally and announce McKeon will be back as manager, agreeing to a one-year deal with the team. "I enjoy this team; why not try it again?" he says. The New York Mets name Jim Duquette as their 10th general manager. Team USA finalizes its 24-man roster for the Olympic qualifying baseball tournament, to be played in Panama City, Panama. In Japan, shortstop Kazuo Matsui, known as "Little Matsui," files for free agency in hopes of signing with a Major League team. The Yankees' Hideki Matsui, no relation, calls the infielder one of the best players in Japan.

October 29

San Francisco's Barry Bonds wins his 11th Silver Slugger award while Texas shortstop Alex Rodriguez, who led the AL in home runs, runs and slugging percentage, wins his seventh.

October 30
Boston's Manny Ramirez is placed on irrevocable waivers, which means any Major League team can claim the outfielder. However, they'd also have to pay him $104 million over five years. Frank Thomas exercises his player option to return to the White Sox for a 14th season. MLB officials and the union say they have agreed to place the drug known as THG on the list of anabolic steroids subject to drug testing in 2004. Paul Molitor, who will be on the January Hall of Fame ballot, is named Seattle Mariners' hitting coach. Dodgers manager Jim Tracy and others pitch in to help families in Southern California deal with raging wildfires.

October 31
Rather than test the free agent market, Sammy Sosa decides to stay with the Cubs.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.