The origins of the now Miami Marlins can be traced back to a man who built a financial empire on the VCR home entertainment boom of the 1980s.
Everyone remembers “Blockbuster”, the video rental giant from those days? Well it was the CEO of Blockbuster Entertainment who finally brought Major League Baseball permanently to the Sunshine State.
Wayne Huizenga, that Blockbuster CEO, had become involved in ownership of both the Miami Dolphins of the NFL as well as the team’s home at Joe Robbie Stadium during the early 1990s. Huizenga was subsequently awarded both an MLB expansion team, which he named the Florida Marlins, as well as an NHL team, the Florida Panthers, for the 1993 season.
The Marlins Become Champions – Twice
The Marlins were big losers in their expansion season, but soon built up their roster of talent to the point of becoming a near-.500 level team over each of the next three seasons.
In 1997, the club splurged in the free agent market, made some astute deals at the MLB trade deadline, and reached the postseason for the first time as the National League Wild Card team.
Getting hot at the right time, those Marlins would win the World Series in just the fifth year of the franchise’s existence. In that 1997 Fall Classic, the Fish defeated a powerful Cleveland Indians team with a dramatic walk-off in the bottom of the 11th inning of Game 7.
Huizenga was roundly criticized when, instead of using the title as a chance to build a consistent winner, he subsequently sold off most of the veteran talent which had made it possible.
The year after winning that World Series he sold the team to John Henry, now owner of the Boston Red Sox, who would in turn sell to current owner Jeffrey Loria in 2002.
Just six years after that first World Series crown, five after being totally dismantled, the Marlins stunned many in the baseball world by winning it all once again. Astute offseason signings and in-season deals once again added to a few talented homegrown stars, and the Fish won a second World Series championship in the fall of 2003, defeating a dynastic New York Yankees squad in six games.
Despite winning those two World Series crowns within the first decade of their existence, the Marlins, who play out of the National League East Division, are one of only two MLB clubs to never win a division championship.
In November of 2011, the team officially changed names to the Miami Marlins in an agreement with the city which was largely funding construction of the retractable-domed Marlins Park, which then opened for the 2012 season.
While a number of great players made just a pit stop in Miami, my choices for the Marlins all-time 25-man roster reflect players who spent at least a few years with the club. As I put together these all-time 25-man roster pieces, I like to include at least a couple of relievers. The choice of the second reliever was my most difficult here.
I am quite sure, as always, that you might have a few players who you believe should be included. For instance, I simply couldn’t justify adding 1997 World Series MVP Livan Hernandez. I would love to hear your own selections. After reading through mine, add yours, or any additions and subtractions you would make, in a comment at the end of the piece.