WS heroes Beckett, Penny on 2020 HOF ballot

November 18th, 2019

MIAMI -- , who represented the heart and soul of the Marlins’ 2003 World Series championship club, and , who won two games on that improbable Fall Classic title team, are linked together once again.

On Monday, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America’s 2020 Hall of Fame ballot was released, and former All-Star right-handers Beckett and Penny are among the 32 listed candidates. Marlins chief executive officer Derek Jeter is also on the ballot.

Beckett, on short rest, gained iconic status during that 2003 Series for his 2-0 victory to close out the Yankees in Game 6 at Yankee Stadium. The performance earned him World Series MVP honors.

"He was a competitor," former Marlins manager Jack McKeon told in 2014 after Beckett announced his retirement. “If it wasn't for him, we wouldn't have been there. He was a tough cookie. No complaints out of him. He just went about his work. He was like a 'Dead End Kid.' He wanted the ball: 'Give me the ball.' He wasn't afraid of anybody."

The triumphant image of Beckett, hoisted by his teammates with both hands raised after winning the title, is one of the most memorable in the Marlins’ franchise history.

"It was a good group of guys," Beckett said in 2015 during his return to Miami to be honored. "We knew we were good; we obviously took off. I don't think anybody was that surprised who knew what kind of guys we had in here."

Penny’s World Series performances might be less talked about, but they were equally important. The righty beat the Yankees in Games 1 and 5, setting up the drama of Beckett taking the ball on three days’ rest.

"When Beckett was pitching that sixth game of the World Series, he wasn't coming out until they tied the game," McKeon said. "If they tied the game, he might have been coming out of there. But I was going with my horse."

In five seasons with the Marlins, Beckett dealt with blister problems, and his overall record was 41-34 with a 3.46 ERA in 106 games (103 starts). Drafted second overall by the Marlins in 1999, Beckett made his MLB debut on Sept. 4, 2001, and his last appearance came with the Dodgers on Aug. 3, 2014, due to a torn labrum in his left hip.

In an injury-plagued 2014 season, the Texas native mustered up one more historical performance. On May 25, Beckett no-hit the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

Beckett was a three-time All-Star, and in 2007 with the Red Sox, he went 20-7 with a 3.08 ERA, finishing second in the American League Cy Young Award voting. As with the Marlins in ‘03, Beckett was at his best in the postseason, helping the Red Sox win the World Series title in ’07.

The Marlins dealt Beckett, Mike Lowell and Guillermo Mota to the Red Sox on Thanksgiving night in 2005 for Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, Harvey Garcia and Jesus Delgado. In his 14-year career, Beckett was 138-106 with a 3.88 ERA and 1,901 strikeouts in 2,051 innings.

Penny was a fifth-round pick out of high school by the D-backs in 1996, and he pitched in the Majors for 14 seasons from 2000-14. A two-time All-Star, Penny had two stints with the Marlins.

The Marlins initially acquired Penny, along with Vladmir Nunez and a player to be named later for Matt Mantei on July 8, 1999. He remained with the club until he was traded midseason to the Dodgers in 2004. Penny, Hee-Seop Choi and Bill Murphy went to Los Angeles for Paul Lo Duca, Guillermo Mota and Juan Encarnacion.

In 2014, Penny returned to the Marlins, appearing in eight games with four starts and going 2-1 with a 6.58 ERA in 26 innings. For his career, Penny was 121-101 with a 4.29 ERA.