Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
- Founded: 1993 (National League expansion)
- Home ballpark: Dolphins Stadium
- Uniform colors: Black, Gray, Teal, and White; some Orange
- Logo design: Circle design with "FLORIDA" and "MARLINS" written around it; a marlin jumping through the circle and a baseball in the background.
- Teams in Division: Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Mets, Washington Nationals
- Wild Card titles won (2): 1997, 2003
- Division titles won (0): none
- League pennants won (2): 1997, 2003
- World Series championships won (2): 1997, 2003
On June 10, 1991, the National League awarded a franchise to Wayne Huizenga, chief executive officer of Blockbuster Entertainment Corporation, owner of the Miami Dolphins football team, and chairman of the board of the Florida Panthers hockey team. The Marlins' first manager was Rene Lachemann , a former catcher who had previously managed the Seattle Mariners and Milwaukee Brewers. Lachemann kept Florida out of the Eastern Division cellar during the 1993 season as the team finished the year five games ahead of the last-place New York Mets. After the Marlins finished last in their division in 1994 and fourth in 1995, Lachemann was replaced as manager midway through the 1996 season with the Marlins' director of player development, John Boles .
Despite problems in the dugout and on the field, the Marlins had some bright spots on the mound and behind the plate in 1996. The team's 3.95 ERA ranked third in the NL, led by newcomer Kevin Brown, who finished the season with a 17-11 win-loss record and an impressive 1.89 ERA. Catcher Charles Johnson led the league with a .995 fielding percentage, threw out a league-high 48 percent of base runners, and collected his second straight Gold Glove Award for fielding excellence. After a slow start, the Marlins finished the year with an 80-82 win-loss record to place third in their division. Boles then returned to his previous position as director of player development, and former Pittsburgh Pirates manager Jim Leyland was hired to lead the club in 1997.
In 1997, the Florida Marlins led by new manager Leyland won the wild card, finishing 92-70. They swept the San Francisco Giants 3-0 in the National League Division Series, and then went on to beat the Atlanta Braves 4-2 in the National League Championship Series.
The underdog Florida Marlins went to take on the Cleveland Indians and won the 1997 World Series in 7 games, with an amazing extra-inning single by shortstop Edgar Rentería off of Cleveland pitcher Charles Nagy , which barely cleared his glove, scoring Craig Counsell to win the game. Liván Hernández was named the MVP.
Following the World Series victory team owner Huizenga claimed massive financial losses which would later prove to be mostly false as he reported team and stadium earnings separately. He dismantled the team by trading off most of the club's most talented players. Among them, Moises Alou was traded to the Houston Astros, Bobby Bonilla was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Kevin Brown was traded to the San Diego Padres. Fans were outraged by this "fire sale" and Marlins home attendance plummeted as a result.
The Marlins' record in 1998 slumped to 54-108, making them the first club ever to win a World Series and then lose more than 100 games during the following season. Leyland resigned as manager in October 1998, and Huizenga sold the club to businessman John Henry during the off-season. In 2002, the Marlins' fifth straight losing season since winning the World Series, the team drew a franchise low 813,111 fans, averaging just 10,038 per game.
The club slowly worked back to becoming a respectable ballclub despite attendance issues, driven by young stars such as A.J. Burnett, Luis Castillo , and Mike Lowell. From 2000 through 2002, the Marlins consecutively put up three 75+ win seasons. In 2002, Tony Pérez was replaced by Jeff Torborg as the new Marlin's manager. Torborg put up a 79-83 record in his first season with the team.
In the offseason, the Marlins acquired 10-time Golden Glove winner Iván Rodríguez from free agency and Juan Pierre from the Colorado Rockies after trading off homerun sluggers Cliff Floyd and Preston Wilson .
The Marlins struggled in the opening stages of the 2003 season, going 16-22. In that span, Florida also lost its top three pitchers, A.J. Burnett, Josh Beckett, and Mark Redman . On May 11, Florida replaced manager Torborg with 72-year-old Jack McKeon . In that timespan, Florida was at its lowest point, with a major league worst record of 19-29.
Around the same time, Florida recalled the high-kicking rookie phenom Dontrelle Willis up from the Double-A minor league Carolina Mudcats, who carried the injury-plagued Marlins with a 9-1 record in his first 13 starts.
The Marlins clinched the Division Series against the favored San Francisco Giants going 3 games to 1. In the two Division Series games at Pro Player Stadium, Florida drew over 130,000 fans. The series ended with Marlins catcher Rodríguez tagging out a charging J.T. Snow at the plate after catching a perfect throw from Jeff Conine, which made it just in time to make the play. Snow, the son of former Rams lineman Jack Snow , tried to imitate his father by lowering his shoulder and bulldozing Rodríguez at the plate, but the Marlins catcher held on to the ball for the out. It was the first postseason series ever to end with the potential tying run being thrown out at the plate. On October 15, the Marlins defeated the Chicago Cubs four games to three in the 2003 National League Championship Series, after falling three games to one before coming back with a Beckett complete-game shutout in Game 5; The Inning, in Game 6, and the traditional come-from-behind win in Game 7 to take the series, staking claim to their second NL pennant and advancing to the 2003 World Series, where they defeated the New York Yankees in six games. Starter Josh Beckett was named the Most Valuable Player for the series after twirling a five-hit complete-game shutout in Game 6.
- Dontrelle Willis named NL Rookie of the Year
- Jack McKeon named Manager of the Year
- Derrek Lee traded to Chicago Cubs for Hee Seop Choi
- Iván Rodríguez up for free agency (signed by the Detroit Tigers)
Although posting a winning record of 83-79 (only their third winning season of their history), the Marlins' aspirations of successfully defending their World Series title fell short as they finished nine games behind the Houston Astros for the National League Wild Card title, thus the Marlins became the fourth consecutive major league team not to repeat as World Series champions.
A series of rain-outs in September (due to hurricanes in Florida), the delayed doubleheaders that followed, and losing three key players from the Marlins' previous championship year (Rodríguez, Lee and Urbina) factored in the team's downfall during the season's stretch run.
But the team was able to retain Jack McKeon as coach for the 2005 season.
While losing All-Stars Carl Pavano and Armando Benitez, the Marlins signed Al Leiter and Carlos Delgado. Delgado's contract was the biggest in franchise history at $52 million over 4 years, with an option for a fifth year. Play-by-play TV broadcaster Len Kasper was also lost to the Chicago Cubs and replaced by Rich Waltz, who had previously been with the Seattle Mariners. The Marlins also lost radio announcer Boog Sciambi, and replaced him with Roxy Bernstein.
Players of note
Current 25-man roster (updated on April 19, 2005)
- 67 Pierre Arsenault (bullpen coordinator)
- 47 Jeff Cox (third base)
- 7 Perry Hill (first Base)
- 28 Bill Robinson (hitting)
- 38 Mark Wiley (pitching)
- 33 Harry Dunlop (bench)
- 30 Luis Dorante (bullpen)
Not to be forgotten
- Moisés Alou
- Armando Benitez
- Bobby Bonilla
- Kevin Brown
- Craig Counsell
- Bryan Harvey
- Liván Hernández
- Charlie Hough
- Charles Johnson
- Derrek Lee
- Robb Nen
- Pat Rapp
- Edgar Rentería
- Iván Rodríguez
- Gary Sheffield
- Ugueth Urbina
- Walt Weiss
- 5 Carl Barger (team President who died before team played their first game)
- 42 Jackie Robinson (retired throughout baseball)
- Florida Marlins official web site
- Florida Marlins Message Board
- CapeFish's Marlins Ballpark News
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