2003 Chicago Cubs season

2003 Chicago Cubs
National League Central Champions
Major League affiliations
Record 88–74 (.543)
Divisional place 1st
Other information
Owner(s) Tribune Company
General manager(s) Jim Hendry
Manager(s) Dusty Baker
Local television FSN Chicago
Superstation WGN
(Chip Caray, Steve Stone)
Local radio WGN
(Pat Hughes, Ron Santo)
Stats ESPN.com
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The 2003 Chicago Cubs season was the 132nd season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 128th in the National League and the 88th at Wrigley Field. The Cubs were managed by Dusty Baker in his first year in Chicago. The Cubs went 88–74 during the 2003 season and won the National League Central Division for the first time since the division's formation in 1994, and the team's first division title since its 1989 NL East title. In the National League Division Series, the Cubs defeated the Atlanta Braves three games to two for their first postseason series win since 1908. The Cubs lost to the Florida Marlins four games to three in the National League Championship Series.

Previous season

The Cubs were coming off of a poor year in 2002, finishing 67–95 in fifth place in the NL Central and costing manager Don Baylor his job. The Cubs hired Dusty Baker, fresh off his World Series appearance with the San Francisco Giants, to replace Baylor.


Regular season


The team's success can be attributed first and foremost to its starting rotation, which featured Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, Carlos Zambrano, and Matt Clement, each of whom won at least 13 games. The pitching staff as a whole led the National League in strikeouts with 1,404, over 100 more than any other team. While not nearly as dominant in hitting, the Cubs' lineup was bolstered by acquisitions at what was a very active trade deadline, including Aramis Ramírez, Randall Simon, and Kenny Lofton.

The team started slow but finished September with a 19–8 record to win the NL Central. As the division winner with the third best record, the Cubs faced the Atlanta Braves who had finished the season in a tie for the best record in the majors in a best of five games format. The Cubs won the first game of the series and the teams alternated wins leading to a game 5 at Turner Field to determine the series winner. The Cubs won the game 5–1.

The series win, their first since 1945, resulted in a matchup against the Florida Marlins for the right to go to the World Series. The Marlins won the first game in Chicago, but the Cubs won the next three to take a three games to one lead. Florida won game five as the series shifted back to Chicago for games six and seven. With Mark Prior on the mound, the Cubs took a 3–1 lead into the 8th inning before a series of errors led to an 8 run inning for the Marlins. The win forced a game seven with Kerry Wood on the mound for the Cubs. In a high-scoring affair that included a Kerry Wood home run, the Marlins shocked the Cubs 9–6 to deny the Cubs a trip to their first World Series since 1945.

The 2003 season brought a great deal of national attention to the Cubs, both positive and negative. On one hand, their surprising regular season run to first place in the NL Central, and the excellent performances of their top three pitchers, all of whom were age 26 or younger, seemed to suggest that the Cubs would be contenders for the foreseeable future. At the same time, however, the Cubs' squandering of the 3-1 series lead in the NLCS, and the manner in which it occurred, seemed to reaffirm the perceptions of the Cubs as "lovable losers" and a cursed franchise.

Season standings

National League Central

NL Central W L Pct. GB Home Road
Chicago Cubs 8874 0.543 44–37 44–37
Houston Astros 8775 0.537 1 48–33 39–42
St. Louis Cardinals 8577 0.525 3 48–33 37–44
Pittsburgh Pirates 7587 0.463 13 39–42 36–45
Cincinnati Reds 6993 0.426 19 35–46 34–47
Milwaukee Brewers 6894 0.420 20 31–50 37–44

Record vs. opponents

2003 National League Records

Colorado 9–100–63–32–44–22–47–125–13–42–52–43–612–77–124–29–6
Los Angeles 9–102–44–24–212–75–22–44–24–23–32–55–18–116–134–211–7
New York2–48–111–54–25–27–124–23–33–65–147–124–23–34–21–55–10
San Diego10–91–62–43–37–121–53–311–81–52–43–33–42–45–142–48–10
San Francisco14–54–22–43–312–75–14–213–65–10–72–43–34–214–55–110–8
St. Louis3–32–49–87–92–43-37–112–413–35–15–12–410–74–21–510–8



2003 Chicago Cubs
Pitchers Catchers


Outfielders Manager


Game log

2003 Game Log: 88–74



Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; R = Runs; H = Hits; 2B = Doubles; 3B = Triples; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in; BB = Walks; SO = Strikeouts; Avg. = Batting average; OBP = On Base Percentage; SLG = Slugging Percentage; SB = Stolen bases

Moises Alou 151565831583512291.280.357.4623
Paul Bako 701881943133017.229.311.3300
Mark Bellhorn 51139152971222.209.341.3173
Alan Benes 31000000.000.000.0000
Hee-Seop Choi 802023144170828.218.350.4211
Matt Clement 3262392003.145.159.1770
Juan Cruz 2512130101.250.250.4170
Shawn Estes 3039471013.179.214.2820
Kyle Farnsworth 10000000.000.000.0000
Doug Glanville 28512120012.235.259.2940
Alex Gonzalez 152536711223702059.228.295.4063
Tom Goodwin 871712649100112.287.328.36319
Mark Grudzielanek 12148173151381338.314.366.4166
Mark Guthrie 651000000.000.000.0000
Lenny Harris 7513111243017.183.255.2291
José Hernández 23696133129.188.222.3480
Bobby Hill 54010000.250.400.2500
Trent Hubbard 1016241002.250.429.3131
Eric Karros 11433637961611240.286.340.4461
David Kelton 1012121001.167.167.2500
Kenny Lofton 562083968134320.327.381.47112
Ramón Martínez 1082933083161334.283.333.3750
Damian Miller 1143523482191936.233.310.3691
Sergio Mitre 32110000.500.500.5000
Troy O'Leary 93174183890528.218.275.3563
Augie Ojeda 1225230000.120.185.1200
Corey Patterson 8332949981771355.298.329.51116
Josh Paul 36000000.000.000.0000
Mark Prior 32726184016.250.270.3470
Aramis Ramírez 632323160711539.259.314.4911
Mike Remlinger 731000000.000.000.0000
Randall Simon 33103132930621.282.318.4850
Sammy Sosa 1375179914422040103.279.358.5530
Todd Wellemeyer 151000000.000.500.0000
Tony Womack 21514122102.235.250.3142
Kerry Wood 32614101026.164.177.2790
Carlos Zambrano 32759185026.240.250.3870



Note: W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; G = Games pitched; GS = Games started; SV = Saves; IP = Innings pitched; R = Runs allowed; ER = Earned runs allowed; BB = Walks allowed; K = Strikeouts

Antonio Alfonseca 315.83600066.17643432751
Alan Benes 002.163018.182269
Joe Borowski 222.636803368.15323201966
Matt Clement 14124.1132320201.21691009279171
Juan Cruz 276.05256061.06644412865
Shawn Estes 8115.7329280152.11821139783103
Kyle Farnsworth 323.30770076.15331283692
Mark Guthrie 232.74650042.24014132224
Sergio Mitre 018.313208.2158843
Phil Norton 005.404003.122230
Mark Prior 1862.4330300211.1183675750245
Mike Remlinger 653.65730069.05430283983
Félix Sánchez 0010.803001.222232
Dave Veres 214.68310132.2361717526
Todd Wellemeyer 116.51150127.22522201930
Kerry Wood 14113.2032320211.01527775100266
Carlos Zambrano 13113.1132320214.0188887494168


2003 NLDS

Atlanta Braves vs. Chicago Cubs

2003 NLCS

Game 1

October 7: Wrigley Field, Chicago

WP: Ugueth Urbina (1-0)   LP: Mark Guthrie (0-1)   Sv: Braden Looper (1)
Home runs:
Fla: I. Rodríguez (1), M. Cabrera (1), J. Encarnación (1), M. Lowell (1)
ChC: M. Alou (1), A. Gonzalez (1), S. Sosa (1)

Game 2

October 8: Wrigley Field, Chicago

WP: Mark Prior (1-0)   LP: Brad Penny (0-1)
Home runs:
Fla: D. Lee (1), M. Cabrera (2)
ChC: S. Sosa (2), A. Ramírez (1), A. Gonzalez 2 (3)

Game 3

October 10: Pro Player Stadium, Miami, Florida

WP: Joe Borowski (1-0)   LP: Michael Tejera (0-1)   Sv: Mike Remlinger (1)
Home runs:
ChC: Randall Simon (1)
Fla: None

Game 4

October 11: Pro Player Stadium, Miami

WP: Matt Clement (1-0)   LP: Dontrelle Willis (0-1)
Home runs:
ChC: Aramis Ramírez (2)
Fla: None

Game 5

October 12: Pro Player Stadium, Miami

With the Marlins facing elimination, Josh Beckett kept them alive by dominating the Cubs, holding them to just two hits and one walk as part of his standout 2003 postseason. The game was scoreless until the sixth inning when Mike Lowell hit a two-run homer. Iván Rodríguez and Jeff Conine homered in the seventh and eighth innings respectively. Even with the loss, the Cubs looked good going back home with their two aces, Mark Prior and Kerry Wood ready to start Games 6 and 7.

WP: Josh Beckett (1-0)   LP: Carlos Zambrano (0-1)
Home runs:
ChC: None
Fla: Mike Lowell (2), Iván Rodríguez (2), Jeff Conine (1)

Game 6

October 14: Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois

The Cubs held a 3-0 lead going into the top of the eighth inning in Game 6 and, after Mike Mordecai hit a high pop fly to left field for the first out of the inning, had only two outs left in the inningleaving the team a mere 5 outs away from their first World Series berth since 1945.

Prior had retired the last eight hitters and had allowed only three hits up to that point. Center fielder Juan Pierre (who was later traded to the Cubs) then hit a double off Prior.

On the eighth pitch of his at bat, Luis Castillo hit a high foul ball toward the left field wall. Cubs left fielder Moisés Alou headed toward the stands to catch the ball for the potential second out. As Alou reached for the ball, Cubs fan Steve Bartman, along with others near the area, did the same. The ball bounced off Bartman's hand and into the stands. Though the Cubs pleaded for a call of fan interference, the umpire ruled that the ball had left the field of play and was therefore up for grabs. Alou initially acknowledged that he would not have made the catch though he later denied making such a statement and said if he had, it was only to make him feel better.[11]

As a result, Castillo remained an active batter at home plate. On the next pitch, Prior walked Castillo on a wild pitch that got away from catcher Paul Bako, also allowing Pierre to advance to third base.

Next, Iván Rodríguez hit an 0-2 pitch hard into left field, singling and scoring Pierre. Miguel Cabrera then hit a ground ball toward Cubs shortstop Alex Gonzalez that could have ended the inning on a double play. Gonzalez, who led all NL shortstops in fielding percentage, closed his glove a little too early and the ball landed in the dirt, allowing Cabrera to get on base, loading the bases. On the next pitch, Derrek Lee (a future Cubs' All-Star) drilled a double into left field, scoring Castillo and Rodríguez to tie the game at 3-3.

Prior was then taken out of the game and replaced by Kyle Farnsworth, who intentionally walked Mike Lowell to load the bases. Jeff Conine then hit a sacrifice fly to right field for the second out of the inning, allowing Cabrera to score from third and the other runners to each advance one base. This gave the Marlins their first lead of the night. Farnsworth intentionally walked Todd Hollandsworth (another future Cub) to once again load the bases.

The Marlins now having batted around the order, Farnsworth faced Mike Mordecai, who was looking to make up for his earlier out. This time, Mordecai prevailed, hitting a bases-clearing double to left-center field, allowing Lee, Lowell and Hollandsworth to score and making it a 7-3 Marlins lead.

Farnsworth was then taken out of the game and replaced by Mike Remlinger, who gave up a single to Pierre to score Mordecai from second base. Finally, Luis Castillo hit a high pop fly ball to shallow right field for the third out.

The Marlins' lead held, forcing a final Game 7.

WP: Chad Fox (1-0)   LP: Mark Prior (1-1)

Game 7

October 15: Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois

The Marlins got off to a quick 3–0 lead in the first inning against Cubs pitching ace Kerry Wood, who hadn't lost at Wrigley Field in nearly six weeks. The Cubs responded by tying the ball game 3–3 in the second inning, which featured a two-run home run by Wood. Moisés Alou's two-run home run the following inning put Chicago up 5–3, but the lead wouldn't last. In the fifth inning, Florida capitalized on a pair of walks and scored three runs to go on top 6–5, a lead they would not relinquish. The Marlins added a run in the sixth and two more in the seventh to expand their lead to 9–5. Cubs pinch-hitter Troy O'Leary hit a home run the bottom of the seventh, making the score 9–6. After the Cubs were retired in order in the eighth inning, Florida closer Ugueth Urbina hit Aramis Ramírez with a pitch to lead off the ninth inning and proceeded to retire the following three batters, giving the Marlins their second National League Pennant in their eleven-year existence.

WP: Brad Penny (1-1)   LP: Kerry Wood (0-1)   Sv: Ugueth Urbina (1)
Home runs:
Fla: Miguel Cabrera (3)
ChC: Kerry Wood (1), Moisés Alou (2), Troy O'Leary (1)

Farm system

Level Team League Manager
AAA Iowa Cubs Pacific Coast League Mike Quade
AA West Tenn Diamond Jaxx Southern League Bobby Dickerson
A Daytona Cubs Florida State League Rick Kranitz
A Lansing Lugnuts Midwest League Julio Garcia
A-Short Season Boise Hawks Northwest League Steve McFarland
Rookie AZL Cubs Arizona League Carmelo Martínez



1st Half: Chicago Cubs Game Log on ESPN.com
2nd Half: Chicago Cubs Game Log on ESPN.com
  • Batting Statistics:
All Position Hitting Stats on Cubs.com
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