Florida Marlins: All-Time Greatest Players, Part 2 of 10
The Florida Marlins have been around for just 19 seasons and in two postseason appearances have taken home two World Series titles.
On June 10, 1991, the National League awarded a Miami-based franchise to Wayne Huizenga.
After four sub-.500 seasons, the Marlins advanced to the postseason for the first time in 1997 as the NL wild card. They took care of the NL West-winning San Francisco Giants and the NL East-winning Atlanta Braves, before disposing of the Cleveland Indians in seven games to take home their first World Series Championship.
This was followed by a fire sale, with Huizenga unloading all of his high priced talent. The Marlins posted losing records in each of the next five seasons.
In 2003, the Marlins returned to the postseason for the second time, again as the NL wild card. They again beat the San Fransisco Giants in the NLDS. The Chicago Cubs were five outs away from a World Series berth when the Marlins came back to win games six and seven. The Marlins put away the New York Yankees in six games, again winning the World Series.
In the eight seasons since, the Marlins have posted four winning records and four losing records, failing to return to the postseason.
As the Marlins prepare to be rechristened as the Miami Marlins, and move into their new home at Miami Ballpark, lets take a look back at the players who have stood out for the team. Of the 406 players who have laced up their cleats for the Marlins, these fifty stand out.
45. Luis Aquino (1993-1994, WAR: 3.2)
Aquino, a right handed pitcher, was originally signed by the Toronto Blue Jays as an undrafted free agent in 1981.
He played with the Blue Jays and the Kansas City Royals before making the inaugural Marlins' roster in 1993.
Aquino was a middle reliever for Florida, compiling an 8-9 record over 67 games for the Marlins. He allowed 8.6 hits per nine innings and an ERA of 3.51.
Aquino later played with the Montreal Expos and the San Francisco Giants.
44. Braden Looper (1999-2003, WAR: 3.4)
The St. Louis Cardinals selected Looper, a right hander, in the first round of the 1996 draft with the third overall pick. He made his Major League debut with the club in 1998.
Looper was traded to Florida after the 1998 season. For the Marlins, he was a middle reliever and setup man. He gradually settled into the closer role by the end of 2003, when he finished with 28 saves, eighth most in the NL.
For Florida, Looper was 19-16 with a 3.69 ERA. He compiled a total of 46 saves in 368 appearances. He was also 2-0 for the Marlins in the 2003 postseason, helping the Fish to their second World Series title.
43. Omar Infante (2011-Present, WAR: 3.4)
Infante started his career by signing a free agent contract with the Detroit Tigers in 1999. He first appeared with the club in 2002, later playing for the Atlanta Braves.
After his first All-Star appearance in 2010, Infante, a second baseman, was traded to the Marlins after the season ended.
Infante has thus far appeared in 148 games for the Marlins, hitting .276 with 7 home runs and 49 RBI's. His real value lies in his defense, as Infante committed a total of eight errors in 2011, for an excellent .989 fielding percentage.
42. Jorge Cantu (2008-2010, WAR: 3.4)
Cantu originally signed as an undrafted free agent with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 1998. He would play for the Rays for three and a half seasons before ending the 2007 season with the Cincinnati Reds. Cantu signed another free agent contract with the Marlins after the 2007 season.
Cantu specialized in the corner infield positions, playing mostly first and third base for the Fish. In 2008, Cantu hit a career-high 29 home runs and 95 RBIs, posting a .277 average. He hit .289 in 2009, with 16 home runs and 100 RBIs.
Cantu totalled 55 home runs and 249 RBIs, hitting .278 in 401 games with Florida.
41. Gaby Sanchez (2008-2011, WAR: 3.5)
Sanchez was selected by the Marlins in the fourth round of the 2005 amateur draft out of the University of Miami. He made his Major League debut with the team in 2008. A catcher in the minors, Sanchez made the transition to first base for the parent club.
2010 was Sanchez' official rookie campaign. He posted a .273 average with 19 home runs and 85 RBI's, finishing fourth in the NL Rookie of the Year balloting.
In 2011, Sanchez was selected to his first All-Star game, the only Marlin represented at the event. He hit .266 and again belted 19 home runs to go along with 78 RBIs that season. His 74 walks were good for eighth in the NL.
In 336 games over four seasons, Sanchez has a .269 average with 40 home runs and 167 RBI's.
Check back tomorrow as we continue to countdown the top 50 up through 36.