Florida Marlins: All-Time Greatest Players, Part 8 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 beat the San Francisco Giants and 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 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 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 the Miami Marlins as they 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 50 stand out.
Following are Nos. 15-11 (descending).
This list was compiled from data culled from www.baseball-reference.com.
15. Derrek Lee (1998-2003, WAR: 9.2)
The San Diego Padres chose Lee with their first pick of the 1993 amateur draft. He hit .259 in 22 games in his first Major League action in 1997. He was traded to the Marlins soon after the postseason ended.
A first baseman currently signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Lee put up four 20-homer seasons for the Marlins.
2003 was his most productive season with the club. He was awarded a Gold Glove and hit 31 home runs and 92 RBI, stealing 21 bases while hitting .271.
Lee totalled 179 homers and 574 RBI for Florida in 844 games over six seasons.
14. Josh Beckett (2001-2005, WAR: 9.2)
Florida chose Beckett with the second overall pick in the 1999 amateur draft. He first experienced Major League action with the Fish near the end of the 2001 season, posting a 2-2 record with a 1.50 ERA and a 1.042 WHIP in four September starts.
In all four full seasons with the Marlins, Beckett experienced an injury in the month of June. His recurring problems restricted his starts for the team, but he still managed to average a strikeout per inning over his Florida career.
His best season with Florida was 2005, in which he posted a 15-8 record and a 3.38 ERA with a slightly above average WHIP of 1.181.
He collected a total record of 41-34, pitching in a total of 106 games for the Marlins, allowing 7.8 hits per nine innings pitched.
Beckett joined the Boston Red Sox after the 2005 season, and has three AL All-Star invitations to his credit with the team.
13. Charles Johnson (1994-1998, 2001-2002, WAR: 11.1)
Johnson was selected by Florida in the first round of the 1992 amateur draft. He first appeared with the club in 1993, going five for his first 11 at bats with one home run (off of Curt Schilling).
In 1995, Johnson finished seventh in the NL Rookie of the Year voting, winning his first Gold Glove at the catcher position. In fact, Johnson took home Gold Gloves in each season with the Marlins from 1995 through 1998.
He was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers midway through the 1998 season, and would also play with the Baltimore Orioles and the Chicago White Sox before rejoining the Fish for two seasons, starting in 2001.
2001 was Johnson's only season in which he received an invitation to the All-Star game. He posted a .259 batting average and 18 home runs with 75 RBI.
In 587 games for Florida over seven seasons, Johnson hit .241 with 75 home runs and 277 RBI.
12. A.J. Burnett (1999-2005, WAR: 11.1)
Burnett was selected in the eighth round of the 1995 draft by the New York Mets. He was acquired by the Marlins in a trade just prior to the 1998 season, but would not make an appearance with the club until the following August, collecting a 4-2 record in his first seven career starts.
On May 12, 2001 Burnett no-hit the San Diego Padres, winning 3-0. His gem was by no means perfect, as he allowed nine walks while striking out seven.
2002 was Burnett's best season with Florida. He led the NL with five shutouts and with 6.7 hits allowed per nine innings. He struck out 203 in 204.1 innings pitched and posted a 12-9 record with a career best 3.30 ERA.
He is third on the Marlins All-Time wins list, with a 49-50 record. He posted a 3.73 ERA in 134 games pitched.
Burnett signed as a free agent with the Toronto Blue Jays prior to the 2006 season and recently completed his third season as a New York Yankee.
11. Gary Sheffield (1993-1998, WAR: 13.2)
Sheffield was a premiere power hitter for 22 Major League seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers and the San Diego Padres before he was a Marlin. He followed with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Atlanta Braves, the New York Yankees, the Detroit Tigers and the New York Mets. His 509 career round-trippers rank him 24th All-Time.
Arriving at Florida midway through their inaugural 1993 season, Sheffield would appear in 558 games over the next six seasons for the Marlins.
A two-time All-Star with Florida, Sheffield had his best season with the Marlins in 1996, finishing second in the NL with 42 home runs and sixth with 120 RBI. He led the league in OBP with a ridiculous .465, having walked a career high 142 times. He also took home his second career Silver Slugger award.
He totaled 122 home runs and 380 RBI with 74 stolen bases for Florida, hitting .288 and walking 1.46 times more than he struck out, showing remarkable patience for a power hitter.