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September 15, 2003:  With the season ending yesterday, Newark Bears News looks back at an eventful, if not entirely successful, season.  Last week, we asked you to send us your ideas for highlights and other memorable moments from the season.  Through e-mail and talking with many of you at The Den, we have selected these top ten things to remember (mostly good) from the Newark Bears' 2003 season.  Thank you all for your contributions!

1. Continuity:  eight players ended 2002 and started 2003

Alberto Castillo, Paul Esposito, Steve Gagliano, Tom Hage, Jay LaFlair, Damon Ponce Deleon, Wil Quintana, and Jason Torres all returned to the team after winning the Atlantic League championship last year.  This was in contrast to only two returnees from 2001 to 2002.  It was nice to see so many familiar faces in the dugout!

Special mention goes to Danny Clyburn, Ryan Minor, Pito Ramirez, and Hut Smith, who played portions of both seasons for the Bears!

2. Lima Time!

Jose Lima, who started the season with the Bears, was an electrifying presence for the team.  His dancing in the first base coach's box engaged the fans, and his enthusiasm in the dugout led the team to a winning first half.  Oh, and he went 6-1 for us before going 7-1 (as of this writing) for the Kansas City Royals!

3. Eight-run come from behind victory

Bears fans had a special treat at the third game of the season, on May 3rd.  Losing to the Bluefish 10-2 going into the bottom of the 7th inning, the Bears began rallying back with one run in the 7th (a Rickey Henderson home run), then five in the 8th, highlighted by an inside-the-park home run by Jack Santora.  After the Bears tied it in the 9th, Wil Quintana ended the game in the bottom of the 10th with a leadoff home run!

4. The weather

This season was plagued with rain throughout.  The Bears were involved in ten doubleheaders, scheduled to make up games that were rained out (and one rained out game was not made up at all).  Many fans stayed away, but those of us who didn't sure got soaked!

5. Josť Lima's 13-strikeout game

Lima struck out 13 Road Warriors on the way to a 3-2 win on May 18.

6. Matt Wagner's one-hitter

On May 27 against the Riversharks, Wagner had a perfect game going into the 6th inning.  After giving up one hit (a single to Lipso Nava), he was perfect again thereafter.  The Bears won, 3-0.

7. Eddy Martinez's two grand slams this season

Martinez showed he could hit in the clutch by hitting grand slams on June 6 and August 29!  Out of his six homers on the season, two were grand slams!

8. Pito Ramirez's bottom-of-the-13th walkoff home run

Having rejoined the team on July 15th, Ramirez wasted little time in demonstrating why he's been such a fan favorite:  On July 25th, he prevented a series sweep by the Road Warriors by hitting a two-run home run in the bottom of the 13th inning (after four and a quarter hours of baseball), giving the Bears a 5-3 win.

9. Pito Ramirez's 55th home run

Ramirez broke Ozzie Canseco's all-time Bears home run record on August 13th by hitting his 55th home run as a Bear.

10. Paul Esposito's around-the-diamond odyssey

We had to wait until the last game of the season for this one:  throughout the course of the September 14th game against the Road Warriors, Paul Esposito moved among all nine defensive positions!  After starting the game at third base, he played one inning each at short, second, first, left, center, right, catcher, and pitcher!  Of course, this was not the first time Esposito pitched for the Bears.



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