The Miami Marlins joined the National League as a 1993 expansion team, and the “Magic City” has seen a number of great players don their colorful uniform.
The origins of the now Miami Marlins can be traced back to a man who built a financial empire on the VCR home entertainment boom of the 1980’s.
Everyone remembers “Blockbuster”, the video rental giant from those days? Well it was the CEO of Blockbuster Entertainment who finally brought Major League Baseball permanently to the Sunshine State.
Wayne Huizenga, that Blockbuster CEO, had become involved in ownership of both the Miami Dolphins of the NFL as well as the team’s home at Joe Robbie Stadium during the early 1990’s.
Huizenga was subsequently awarded both an MLB expansion team, which he named the Florida Marlins, as well as an NHL team, the Florida Panthers, for the 1993 season.
The Marlins were big losers in their expansion season, but soon built up their roster of talent to the point of becoming a near-.500 level team over each of the next three seasons.
In 1997, the club splurged in the free agent market, made some astute deals at the MLB trade deadline, and reached the postseason for the first time as the National League Wildcard team.
Getting hot at the right time, those Marlins would win the World Series in just the fifth year of the franchise’ existence.
In that 1997 Fall Classic, the Fish defeated a powerful Cleveland Indians with a dramatic walkoff in the bottom of the 11th inning of Game 7.
Huizenga was roundly criticized when, instead of using the title as a chance to build a consistent winner, he subsequently sold off most of the veteran talent which had made it possible.
The year after winning that World Series he sold the team to John Henry, now owner of the Boston Red Sox, who would in turn sell to current owner Jeffrey Loria in 2002.
Just six years after that first World Series crown, five after being totally dismantled, the Marlins stunned many in the baseball world by winning it all once again.
Astute off-season signings and in-season deals once again added to a few talented homegrown stars, and the Fish won a second World Series championship in the fall of 2003, defeating a dynastic New York Yankees squad in six games.
Despite winning those two World Series crowns within the first decade of their existence, the Marlins, who play out of the National League East Division, are one of only two MLB clubs to never win a division championship.
In November of 2011, the team officially changed names to the “Miami” Marlins in an agreement with the city which was largely funding construction of the retractable-domed Marlins Park, which then opened for the 2012 season.
While a number of great players made just a pit stop in Miami, my choices for the Marlins all-time 25-man roster reflect players who spent at least a few years with the club.
As I put together these “All-Time 25-Man Roster” pieces, I like to include at least a couple of relievers. The choice of the second reliever was my most difficult here.
I am quite sure, as always, that you might have a few players who you believe should be included. For instance, I simply couldn’t justify adding 1997 World Series MVP Livan Hernandez.
Would love to hear your own selections. After reading through mine, add yours, or any additions and subtractions you would make, in a comment at the end of the piece.
Josh Beckett – 6th pitching WAR, 5th WHIP, 7th K’s, 8th Wins, 2003 World Series MVP
Kevin Brown – 1st ERA, 2nd WHIP, 7th pitching WAR, 9th WAR, 1997 World Series
A.J. Burnett – 4th pitching WAR, 4th IP & K, 5th Wins, 6th Starts, 2003 World Series (injured)
Steve Cishek – 2nd relief pitching WAR, 3rd Saves, 4th RP K’s, 5th Games
Jose Fernandez – 1st WHIP & BAA, 2nd ERA, 5th pitching WAR, 8th K’s, 9th Wins, 2x NL All-Star, 2013 NL Rookie of the Year
Josh Johnson – 1st pitching WAR, 2nd K’s, 3rd WAR, Wins, IP & ERA, 4th WHIP, 2x NL All-Star
Robb Nen – 1st relief pitching WAR & Saves, 3x NL All-Star, 1997 World Series
Ricky Nolasco – 1st IP & Starts, Wins & K, 2nd pitching WAR, 10th WHIP
Brad Penny – 4th Starts & Wins, 5th IP, 8th WAR, 9th K’s, 2003 World Series
Anibal Sanchez – 9th pitching WAR, 5th Starts & K’s, 6th IP & Wins
Dontrelle Willis – 2nd IP, Starts & Wins, 3rd pitching WAR & K, 2x NL All-Star, 2005 runner-up NL Cy Young Award, 2x NL All-Star, 2003 NL Rookie of the Year, 2003 World Series
Miguel Cabrera (1B/3B) – 1st AVG, 2nd OBP & OPS, 3rdt Doubles, 4th WAR & RBI, 5th Hits & HR, 6th Runs, 2x Silver Slugger, 4x NL All-Star, 2003 World Series
Luis Castillo (2B) – 1st Games, AB, Hits, Runs, Steals, Triples, 3rd WAR, 3X NL All-Star, 3x NL Gold Glove, 1997 & 2003 World Series
Derek Lee (1B) – 6th HR & Games, 7th RBI, 8th Runs, 9th Hits & Doubles, 2003 NL Gold Glove, 2003 World Series
Mike Lowell (3B) – 1st RBI & Doubles, 3rd Games & AB, 4th Hits, HR & Runs, 6th WAR, 3x NL All-Star, 2003 NL Silver Slugger, 2005 NL Gold Glove, 2003 World Series
Hanley Ramirez (SS) – 1st WAR, 2nd AVG, OBP, Steals, Doubles & Runs, 3rd HR, 4th Triples, 5th RBI, 2006 NL Rookie of the Year, 3x NL All-Star, 2x Silver Slugger, 2009 runner-up NL MVP
Dan Uggla (2B) – 2nd HR, 3rd Runs, 5th WAR, 6th RBI & Doubles, 7th OPS, 8th Hits, 2x NL All-Star, 2010 NL Silver Slugger
Charles Johnson – 1st Defensive WAR, 10th WAR, leads virtually every franchise catching category, 1997 World Series
Mike Redmond – 5th Defensive WAR, 2nd in most franchise catching categories, 2003 World Series, managed club parts of three seasons 2013-15
Jeff Conine – 2nd Games & RBI, 3rd Hits, 4th AB, 5th Doubles, 7th WAR & Runs, 8th HR, 2x NL All-Star, 1997 & 2003 World Series
Cliff Floyd – 3rd OPS, 4th OBP, 6th AVG, 8th WAR, RBI & Doubles, 9th Hits & HR, 10th Games, 2001 NL All-Star, 1997 World Series
Juan Pierre – 2nd Triples, 3rd Steals, 5th AVG, 10th Hits, 13th WAR, 2003 World Series
Gary Sheffield – 1st OBP, SLG & OPS, 7th HR, 9th RBI, 10th Steals, 2x NL All-Star, 1996 NL Silver Slugger, 1997 World Series
Giancarlo Stanton – 1st HR, 2nd WAR, 3rd RBI, 4th OPS, 5th Runs, 2014 NL Silver Slugger, 3x NL All-Star
Christian Yelich – 6th OBP, 8th AVG, 11th WAR, 12th Steals, 2014 NL Gold Glove