Florida Marlins: All-Time Greatest Players, Part 10 of 10
The Florida Marlins have been around for 19 seasons, and in two postseason appearances, they 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, 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.
Following are Nos. 5-1 (descending).
This list was compiled from data culled from www.baseball-reference.com.
5. Dontrelle Willis (2003-2007, WAR: 18.4)
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Willis, or "D-Train," was originally selected by the Chicago Cubs in the eighth round of the 2000 amateur draft. He joined the Marlins system as a minor leaguer via trade before the 2002 season, and joined Florida in 2003, making the All-Star team and winning the NL Rookie-of-the-Year award by posting a 14-6 record and a 3.30 ERA in 27 starts.
In 2005 Willis finished second in the year ending NL Cy Young award voting, leading the NL with 22 wins against 10 losses and a 2.63 ERA. He also led the NL with seven complete games and five shutouts.
In total, Willis compiled a 68-54 record in 162 starts over five seasons with the Marlins, and is Florida's career leader in the win column. He struck out 757 in 1,022.2 innings and posted a 3.78 ERA.
Willis has since played for the Detroit Tigers, the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Cincinnati Reds. He has not enjoyed the same level of success he saw with Florida, posting a 4-15 record over four seasons.
4. Josh Johnson (2005-Present, WAR: 18.5)
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Johnson was selected by the Marlins in the fourth round of the 2002 draft, and made his first appearance with the club in 2005, posting a 3.65 ERA in 12.1 innings of relief work. He did not figure into any decisions.
In 2006, Johnson finished fourth in the NL Rookie-of-the-Year voting, posting a 12-7 record and a 3.10 ERA.
Johnson's career to this point has been snake-bit by injuries, missing substantial time in 2007, 2008 and 2011.
2009 and 2010 saw Johnson twice selected to the All-Star game, posting a combined 26-11 record and in 2010 leading the NL with a 2.30 ERA.
In total, Johnson has posted a 48-23 record and a 2.98 ERA with a 1.220 WHIP. He has struck out 667 batters in 725.1 innings.
When healthy, Johnson is heir apparent to the Florida Marlins number one starting slot.
3. Miguel Cabrera (2003-2007, WAR: 18.7)
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Cabrera signed an amateur free-agent contract with Florida in 1999. He received his first call-up in 2003, posting a .268 average with 12 home runs and 62 RBI in 87 games.
Cabrera is skilled in three defensive positions, and he was used substantially at third base, right field and left field.
In each of his next four seasons with the Marlins he received All-Star invitations, and twice was a Silver Slugger recipient. He never hit less than 26 home runs or 112 RBI during the span.
In 720 games over five seasons, Cabrera hit .313 with 138 home runs and 523 RBI. He has since met similar success with the Detroit Tigers starting in 2008.
2. Luis Castillo (1996-2005, WAR: 20.1)
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Castillo signed with Florida as an amateur free agent in 1992 and made his first appearance in 1996, hitting .262 in 41 games.
Castillo is the only Marlin to survive both World Series victories. He won three Gold Gloves at second base and three All-Star invitations. He also twice led the NL in stolen bases, with 62 in 2000 and with 48 in 2002.
In 1,128 games over 10 seasons Castillo collected 281 stolen bases, a Marlins record. He also hit .293 with 271 RBI.
1. Hanley Ramirez (2006-Present, WAR: 29.8)
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Ramirez, or "Han Ram," originally signed with the Boston Red Sox as a 17-year-old free agent in 2000. He made his first Major League appearance in 2005, going hitless in two at bats. He was traded to the Marlins soon following the season.
In 2006 Ramirez took home the NL Rookie-of-the-Year award, hitting .292 in 158 games for the Marlins. He hit 17 home runs and stole 51 bases, knocking in 59.
Ramirez has collected three All-Star selections and two Silver Slugger awards. 2009 was his best season yet, finishing second in the NL MVP vote by leading the NL with a .342 average, hitting 24 home runs and 106 RBI.
In 850 games for Florida, Ramirez has a career .306 average and 134 home runs with 434 RBI. He is also second on Florida's All-Time stolen bases list, with 216. He is currently signed with Florida through 2014.