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All-Time Team – Florida Marlins
First Base – Jeff Conine
Carlos Delgado had the best single season of any first baseman in franchise history, but he played in Florida for only that one year. That left Jeff Conine as the most logical choice to play first base on our All-Time Team. An original member of the Marlins, Conine averaged 20 home runs and 84 runs batted in for the team from 1993 to 1997, while also batting over .300 twice and making two N.L. All-Star Teams. He had his best season in 1995, when he hit 25 homers, knocked in 105 runs, and batted .302.
Second Base – Dan Uggla
Although he will be taking his talents to the Atlanta Braves in 2011, Dan Uggla accomplished enough in his five years with the Marlins to establish himself as the top second baseman in franchise history. Uggla averaged 31 home runs, 93 runs batted in, and 100 runs scored from 2006 to 2010, earning in the process two All-Star selections and one Silver Slugger. He made his last season in Florida his best, hitting 33 homers and knocking in 105 runs for the Marlins in 2010, while also scoring 100 runs and batting .287.
Third Base – Mike Lowell
Before moving on to play his final five seasons for the Boston Red Sox, Mike Lowell spent seven years in Florida, excelling for the Marlins at third base. Lowell hit a total of 143 home runs for the Marlins, knocked in 578 runs, earned three All-Star selections and one Gold Glove, and served as one of the anchors on Florida’s 2003 world championship team. In his finest season as a Marlin, Lowell hit 32 home runs, knocked in 105 runs, and batted .276, en route to earning an 11th-place finish in the N.L. MVP voting.
Shortstop – Hanley Ramirez
Unless the Marlins foolishly trade him away at some point, Hanley Ramirez seems destined to go down as the greatest player in franchise history. In five full seasons with the Marlins, Ramirez has hit more than 20 home runs, scored more than 100 runs, and batted over .300 four times each, driven in more than 100 runs once, and stolen more than 50 bases and compiled an on-base percentage in excess of .400 two times each. He had his best year in 2009, when he hit 24 home runs, knocked in 106 runs, scored 101 others, and batted a league-leading .342, en route to earning a second-place finish in the N.L. MVP balloting. Ramirez has placed in the top 10 in the voting one other time.
Left Field – Cliff Floyd
I could have gone with Gary Sheffield here as well, since he had an absolutely sensational season for the Marlins in 1996, when he hit 42 home runs, knocked in 120 runs, scored 118 others, batted .314, and walked 142 times, enabling him to compile a league-leading .465 on-base percentage. But that was Sheffield’s only big year as a member of the team. Meanwhile, Cliff Floyd had three very good years for the Marlins, hitting more than 20 home runs, driving in more than 90 runs, and batting over .280 all three times. He had his best year for the team in 2001, when he hit 31 homers, knocked in 103 runs, scored 123 others, stole 18 bases, batted .317, and compiled an on-base percentage of .390.
Center Field – Preston Wilson
Preston Wilson barely edged out Juan Pierre for the starting center field job due to his superior run-production and significantly higher OPS. Wilson spent four years patrolling center field for the Marlins, averaging 26 home runs and 82 runs batted in during that time. He had his best year for the club in 2000, hitting 31 homers, knocking in 121 runs, scoring 94 others, and stealing 36 bases.
Right Field – Miguel Cabrera
Miguel Cabrera played both the outfield and third base during his five-year stint in Florida, before taking his powerful bat to Detroit. Wherever the Marlins put him, though, Cabrera wreaked havoc on National League pitchers. Over the course of his four full seasons with the team, the right-handed hitting slugger averaged 32 home runs, 115 runs batted in, and 102 runs scored. He surpassed 30 home runs and 100 runs scored three times each, batted well over .300 three times, and topped 100 RBIs all four years. Cabrera earned four All-Star selections and two fifth-place finishes in the N.L. MVP voting while playing for the Marlins.
Catcher - Ivan Rodriguez
I could very easily have selected Charles Johnson here, since he played for Florida a lot longer than Ivan Rodriguez. But Rodriguez helped lead the Marlins to the world championship in his one year with the team by offering his young teammates outstanding veteran leadership, a solid bat, and exceptional defense behind the plate. In addition to doing a superb job of handling the Marlins’ young pitching staff, Pudge hit 16 homers, drove in 85 runs, scored 90 others, and batted .297.
Starting Pitcher – Josh Beckett
Before moving over to Boston in the deal that netted the Marlins Hanley Ramirez, Josh Beckett spent four full seasons in Florida. During that time, he compiled a record of 41-34, along with an ERA of 3.46. Beckett had his best year in 2005, when he finished 15-8, with a 3.38 ERA. Prior to that, though, the hard-throwing right-hander began to build his reputation as an outstanding big-game pitcher by thwarting the Yankees in the 2003 World Series. Beckett compiled an ERA of 1.10 in his two starts, allowing New York only eight hits in just over 16 total innings of work, and coming out on top in the Series finale.
Starting Pitcher – Josh Johnson
One of baseball’s best young pitchers, Josh Johnson has compiled an outstanding record of 45-22 over parts of five seasons with the Marlins. After winning 12 games as a rookie in 2006, Johnson missed a significant amount of time in each of the next two seasons due to injury. However, he posted a combined record of 26-11 in 2009 and 2010, leading the National League with a 2.30 ERA in the second of those two years. Johnson made the N.L. All-Star Team both seasons.
Starting Pitcher – Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown spent only two years in Florida. But he was among the National League’s finest pitchers in each of those seasons, posting an overall mark of 33-19, along with an exceptional 2.30 ERA. Brown finished 17-11 in 1996 and led all N.L. hurlers with a 1.89 ERA, en route to earning a second-place finish in the Cy Young balloting. He followed that up by going 16-8 in 1997, posting a 2.69 ERA, and striking out 205 batters. Brown made the N.L. All-Star Team both years.
Starting Pitcher – Dontrelle Willis
Although he has since fallen on hard times, Dontrelle Willis experienced a considerable amount of success his first few years in Florida. After winning N.L. Rookie of the Year honors in 2003 with a record of 14-6 and an ERA of 3.30, the left-hander finished second in the Cy Young voting two years later, when he led the league with 22 victories, seven complete games, and five shutouts, while pitching to a 2.63 ERA. Willis ended his time in Florida with an overall record of 68-54 and an ERA of 3.78.
Starting Pitcher – Brad Penny
Brad Penny edged out A.J. Burnett for the fifth and final spot in the starting rotation. Penny compiled a record of 48-42 for the Marlins over parts of five seasons, having his best year in 2003, when he won 14 games for the club.
Closer – Robb Nen
Before moving on to San Francisco, Robb Nen spent four seasons in Florida, during which time he saved a total of 108 games for the Marlins. He had his best year for the team in 1996, when he finished 5-1, with 35 saves and an ERA of 1.95. Nen struck out 92 batters in 83 innings of work, while allowing the opposition only 67 hits.
Manager – Jack McKeon
Jack McKeon managed the Marlins for only three years. During that time, though, the team posted an overall record of 241-207, for a winning percentage of .538. The Marlins finished over .500 all three seasons, advancing to the postseason as the National League’s wild-card entry in 2003. From there, they went on to win the World Series for the second time in franchise history.
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