The Miami Marlins Mount Rushmore is the first in a series revealing the top four players for each franchise as selected by writers and fans.
Most players do not stick around Miami long. Despite the appeal of a city with a robust nightlife, great food, and eclectic culture (and one that drew the likes of LeBron James), most Marlins call Miami home for just a short while. The reasons are many, though a front office culture that thinks short-term and obsesses about keeping payroll down is likely the primary culprit on which to place blame.
Nevertheless, the club has won it all twice in just 28 years of big league play. The first year of Miami’s professional competition in Organized Baseball featured a dramatic comeback that brought the Hustlers from dead last to within one win of the pennant. The big league Marlins twice sneaked into the playoffs with a wild card berth only to win it all. With this up and down history in mind, Overtime Heroics presents the Mount Rushmore of the Miami Marlins.
What defines a franchise?
Miami has hosted at least nine different corporate baseball entities. Most historians and fans count these as distinct entities rather than one club telling a common Miami baseball story.
For the purposes of this series, OTH is embracing the latter idea. These teams represented Miami in professional baseball. They played with Miami (or Florida) proudly written on their uniforms. They share a common fanbase. For decades, first in the minors and later the majors, the team even played under the same nickname of Marlins.
This series of articles serves, in part, as an attempt to recapture the legacy of those earlier teams and recognize that while an owner may move the corporate structure, the legacy belongs to the fans and the city for which the team played.
The NBA and NFL have recognized the validity behind this line of thinking. The modern Charlotte Hornets inherited the legacy of the Hornets that moved to New Orleans. The modern Cleveland Browns inherited the legacy of the Browns that moved to Baltimore. Now Rob Manfred and MLB need to do the same.
MLB’s Miami Marlins are best viewed as a continuation of the minor league Marlins, Sun Sox, Hustlers, and others listed below.
1927 in the minors; 1993 in the majors.
- Hustlers (1927-1928)
- Wahoos (1940-1941)
- Seminoles (1942)
- Tourists (1947-1948)
- Sun Sox (1946, 1949-1954)
- Orioles (1971-1981)
- Miracle (1989-1991)
- Marlins (1956-1970, 1982-1988, 1993-2021)
World Series Titles (2)
National League Pennants (2)
Florida State League Pennants (5)
Florida International League Pennants (2)
Marlins Park (technically Some Corporation Park until it becomes Some Other Corporation Park)
Miami Marlins Mount Rushmore
After collecting votes from OTH writers and fans, here are the four greatest players in Miami Marlins history.
- Years: 1993-1997, 2003-2005
- Stats: 13.7 WAR, .290/.358/.455, 1,005 H, 120 HR
Mr. Marlin led the Fish to their two World Series appearances and victories. With the Marlins from the beginning, the left fielder-first baseman excelled during the two Miracle Marlin playoff runs. Conine slashed a critical .304/.365/.382 in 32 playoff games.
- Miami years: 2001-2005
- Stats: 10.7 WAR, 3.46 ERA, 3.38 FIP, 1.235 WHIP, 9.0 K/9
Another postseason hero, Josh Beckett earned the 2003 World Series MVP award on the back of his 1.10 ERA, 19 strikeouts, 0.796 WHIP, 0.93 WPA, and 45.5 percent cWPA. The righty threw five pitches consistently throughout his career, baffling hitters and earning his way onto the Miami Rushmore.
- Miami years: 1956-1958
- Stats: 2.41 ERA, 195 K, 1.020 WHIP
For three seasons toward the end of his lengthy career, the Golden Haller Satchel Paige suited up for the AAA Miami Marlins. At ages 49 through 51, Paige pitched superbly. Mixing both starts and relief appearances, Paige picked up 13 saves in his first campaign with the Floridian club. In a manner fitting the audaciousness of both Paige and Miami, Satchmo’s first arrived at Miami Field via helicopter.
- Miami years: 2010-2017
- Stats: 35.7 WAR, .268/.360/.554, 267 HR, 1,983 TB
Giancarlo Stanton rounds out the Miami Mount Rushmore. A student of the game and its history, Stanton considered himself to be in a race for the true single-season home run crown in 2017. In what turned out to be his final campaign with the Fish, the righty slammed 59 home runs along with a 169 OPS+ on his way to being named the National League’s most valuable player. The Californian established a pattern by hitting at least 22 dingers in each of his eight seasons with Miami.
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Main image credit: Embed from Getty Images