Florida Marlins: All Time Greatest Players, Part 4 of 10
The Florida Marlins have been around for 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 by beating the San Francisco Giants and the NL East by beating the Atlanta Braves, before dispatching 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 Francisco Giants in the NLDS. The Chicago Cubs were five outs away from a World Series berth when the Marlins came back to win Games 6 and 7. 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, let's 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 50 stand out.
This list was compiled from data culled from www.baseball-reference.com, namely the "Wins Above Replacement" statistic.
35. Bryan Harvey (1993-1995, WAR: 3.9)
Harvey, a right-handed relief pitcher, originally joined the California Angels by signing a free agent contract in 1984. He made his debut with the team in 1987 and led the AL with 46 saves in 1991. He was left unprotected by the team in the expansion draft of 1993, and the Marlins chose him with the 20th pick.
Harvey was the team's first closer, and he shut the door 45 times on the opposition in Florida's inaugural season by posting an ERA of 1.70 and a 0.841 WHIP. He made his second All-Star appearance, and his first for Florida for his efforts.
Harvey played three seasons with the Fish, going 1-5 with 51 saves and a 2.50 ERA. He struck out 9.4 batters per nine innings and had a WHIP below 1.00.
34. Ivan Rodriguez (2003, WAR: 4.0)
Rodriguez, or "Pudge," has been a Major League catcher for 21 seasons. He is the Major League record holder for games caught, currently 2,427. His career 45.68 percent of runners caught stealing is first among active catchers.
The Texas Rangers signed him to an amateur free agent contract in 1988, when he was only 16 years old. His first Major League appearance was in 1991, and he stayed with the Rangers for the next 12 seasons, winning 10 Gold Gloves, six Silver Sluggers, 10 All-Star game invitations and one AL MVP award. Pudge was granted free agency after the 2002 season, and signed a one-year contract to play with Florida.
In 144 games as Florida's catcher, Pudge hit .297 with 16 home runs and 85 RBI. He was invaluable for the Marlins during the playoffs, as he hit .313 with three home runs and 17 RBI in 17 games, helping the team to their second World Series title.
He was again granted free agency after the season, and signed with the Detroit Tigers. He subsequently played for the New York Yankees, the Houston Astros, again with the Rangers, and is currently with the Washington Nationals.
33. Edgar Renteria (1996-1998, WAR: 4.1)
Renteria signed a free-agent contract with the Marlins in 1992, before the organization had an actual team to field. He made his debut with the club in May 1996, putting together an impressive rookie campaign which resulted in a second-place finish in the NL Rookie of the Year voting. He hit .309 with 16 stolen bases in 109 games.
In 393 games as the Marlins starting shortstop, Renteria hit .288 with 114 RBI and 89 stolen bases.
Renteria hit an RBI single off of the Cleveland Indians' Charles Nagy in the 11th inning of Game 7of the 1997 World Series. The hit won the first World Series in Marlins' history.
Renteria made his first All-Star team in 1998 for the Marlins. After the season, he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals, and has since played with the Boston Red Sox, the Atlanta Braves, the Detroit Tigers, the San Francisco Giants and the Cincinnati Reds.
32. Juan Pierre (2003-2005, WAR: 4.2)
Pierre, a center fielder, was selected in the 13th round of the 1998 amateur draft by the Colorado Rockies. He made his Major League debut in 2000, and spent three seasons with the Rockies. He was traded to the Marlins after the 2000 season.
In his first season with the Marlins, Pierre led the NL with 668 at-bats and 65 stolen bases. He hit .305, and led the Major Leagues with a 5.2 percent strikeout rate.
In 2004, Pierre again led the NL in at-bats, with 678. He also led the NL with 221 hits and 12 triples.
In Pierre's three seasons with the Marlins, he played in all 486 games, hitting .303 with 137 RBI and 167 stolen bases.
31. Devon White (1996-1997, WAR: 4.3)
White, a center fielder, was selected in the sixth round of the 1981 amateur draft by the California Angels. He first appeared with the team in 1985, and spent his first six seasons with the club.
This was followed by five seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays. He was granted free agency following the 1995 season, and signed a three year contract with Florida.
White joined the Marlins as a seven-time Gold Glove recipient and two-time All-Star. His first season with the Fish produced a .274 batting average with 17 home runs and 84 RBI. An injury siderailed his 1997 season, but he recovered in time to assist the Marlins with their first World Series title.
He totaled 23 home runs and 118 RBI, hitting .264 with 35 stolen bases in 220 games for Florida.
Check back tomorrow for Part 5 in the series, as we continue to count down the 50 best Florida Marlins of all time.
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