John Lepore | May 22nd, 2020
The Florida/ Miami Marlins came into the league in 1993. Despite the short history, the Marlins have two World Series Championships (1997, 2003). They’ve also had some pretty good players come through their franchise. But who makes the Florida/Miami Marlins Mount Rushmore?
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The long time Marlins second baseman gets the nod here. He played for 10 consecutive years for Florida (1996-2005). While he wasn’t on the playoff roster for them in 1997, he was the starting second baseman in 2003. With nearly completely different rosters for each of their championships, Castillo was a constant. From 1998-2004 he had 235 SBs and batted .302 with a .377 OBP. He won three consecutive Gold Gloves from 2003-2005. Also, let’s not forget he was the one who hit the ball that Steve Bartman famously tried to catch.
Castillo is the franchise leader in Games Played (1,128), Runs (675), Hits (1,273), and SBs (281). While the Marlins certainly had better players sprinkled in here and there, Castillo was one thing they could count on especially between championships.
After just two plate appearances for the Boston Red Sox in 2005, they decided to trade their 21-year-old shortstop in the offseason. While the Marlins gave up 2003 stars Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell, they knew immediately they found an absolute stud in Ramirez. Hanley won the Rookie of the Year in 2006 with an .833 OPS and 51 SBs. He also showed some promise in the power department with 46 doubles and 17 HRs. From 2007-2010, Ramirez averaged 29 HRs, 39 SBs, and 202 hits per 162 while slashing .319/.394/.532.
Hanley was the face of the franchise for the Marlins from 2006-2010. Unfortunately, in 2011, he suffered injuries which kept him limited to 92 games. After a slow first half in 2012, their first year as the Miami Marlins, Ramirez was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Due to constant income issues with the Marlins franchise, you won’t find many players that last long with them. But Hanley had arguably the greatest stretch of any player in the team’s history.
The right fielder formerly known as Mike came onto the scene in 2010. The 20-year-old right fielder blasted 22 HRs in 100 games for the Florida Marlins. After hitting another 34 bombs in 2011, the Marlins went to Miami and Mike changed his name. Over the next six seasons, Giancarlo averaged 46 HRs and 116 RBI while slashing .271/.365/.564. He finished second to Clayton Kershaw in the MVP race in 2014, leading the league in HRs that season with 37.
In 2017 Stanton would win the NL MVP award leading the league in HRs (59), RBI (132), and OPS+ (169). He is the all-time franchise leader in rWAR (35.7), SLG (.554), HRs (267), and RBI (672). Eight years for the Marlins is a long time in their history and Stanton is easily the most prolific position player they’ve ever had.
Despite a tragically short four-year career, Fernandez made an indelible mark on his teammates as well as the fans. He had a personality that was infectious and he wore his emotions on his sleeve. Fiercely competitive and loyal to his team, Fernandez would just as easily buzz you inside as he would smile and joke about a crazy play. The business side of baseball has taken a more prominent role in recent years. It has become less likely to see a player with the childish exuberance of Fernandez. When he passed away on September 25, 2016, something in every baseball fan died.
It wasn’t just his on-the-field mannerisms that excited fans from all over. His stuff was downright filthy. In 76 career starts, Fernandez pitched to a ridiculous 2.58 ERA (2.72 xFIP, 2.85 SIERA), 1.054 WHIP, and a 23.8% K-BB rate. He was just 24 and wrapping up a season which saw him throw 182.1 innings in 29 starts with 253 strikeouts, all career highs. I’ll leave you with a video that you may have seen, but is certainly worth watching again. RIP Jose #16.
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Main Credit Image: Embed from Getty Images