I would totally feel bad for Marlins fans if I thought there were such a thing.
When I ask you who the all-time face of the Marlins franchise is, your brain probably starts to hurt. Right now, it’s obviously Giancarlo Stanton, until they inevitably trade him once his incredibly backloaded contract starts to ramp up around 2018. But all-time? Well, on one hand, we know that Jeff Conine earned the nickname “Mr. Marlin”, but does that merit a jersey retirement? Conine played eight seasons for the Marlins, and was part of the franchise’s first World Series title in 1997. He hit .242 with a .742 OPS that year, and went on to hit .231 with a .462 OPS in the World Series. Doesn’t exactly scream a worthiness of being forever immortalized.
He’d have his redemption on the big stage, though. After being traded back to Florida on August 31 that year, Conine hit .333 with a .738 OPS when the Marlins defeated the Yankees in the 2003 World Series. During Conine’s Marlins tenure, he led the league in two statistical categories — games played and sacrifice flies. This is going to sound really douchey, but I guess I’m just used to the Red Sox having really high standards when it comes to retiring a jersey number?
We’ll break it down this way. Here are some of the all-time leaders in franchise history. Games played and hits: Luis Castillo (1,128, 1,273). To put things in perspective, Robinson Cano played more games for the Yankees than the all-time games leader did for the Marlins. And, despite all his injuries, Nomar Garciaparra had more hits with the Red Sox than the all-time hits leader did for the Marlins. Home runs: Stanton (181). Hey, if he actually stays in Miami (never going to happen) and gets one of those random Marlin World Series titles on his resume, maybe he’ll be the first guy. RBI: Mike Lowell (578). This is going to come off as incredibly biased, but Lowell meant more to the Red Sox than he ever did to the Marlins. Wins: Ricky Nolasco (81). I’m just gonna skip that one. Strikeouts: Ricky Nolasco (1,001). Anyways. ERA: Kevin Brown (2.30). Good pitcher, not a great pitcher, and only spent two years with the Marlins.
Am I missing anybody? I suppose we can give Gary Sheffield and Josh Beckett an honorable mention here. Sheffield was a beast for the Marlins, racked up the most RBIs with any team he played for while he was there (380), and played more seasons for the Marlins than he did any other of the seven teams he played for. Beckett, as we all know, had his shining moment in a Marlins uniform when he threw a complete game shutout against the Yankees to clinch the 2003 World Series.
Moral of the story here, Marlins, is pump the brakes. Yeah, you’ve had a lot of notable players pass through over the years. But you’ve yet to have THE guy. That being said, Stanton could very well be that guy. Excuse me for doubting that you’ll allow him to be.