1990-1992: When Major League Baseball announced its plans to expand by 1993, H. Wayne Huizenga began aggressively pursuing one of those teams to place in Florida. On June 10, 1991, Florida, which for years was used for spring training, finally got a team of its own when baseball announced that Miami would get one of two 1993 expansion teams. To build the Marlins, Hazing hired Carl Barger from the Pittsburgh Pirates as the club’s very first president. Barger would oversee the search for a General Manager, and the building of the Minor League System as well as the expansion draft held on November 17, 1992, In that draft the Marlins tabbed Nigel Wilson from the Toronto Blue Jays as their first pick, among the 36 players the Marlins selected that day. Finally, the team was in place, and the countdown to the inaugural season was on. Sadly, Carl Barger would never see Opening Day, dying on December 9, 1992, after collapsing during the owners’ meetings due to a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm.
1993: On April 5th, the Marlins win their first game 6-3 over the Los Angeles Dodgers in front of a sold-out crowd at Joe Robbie Stadium. The game is highlighted by a spectacular catch by Center Fielder Scott Pose, as Charlie Hough started and won the game. The Marlins were serious about putting a good team together and shortly before midseason acquired All-Star OF Gary Sheffield from the San Diego Padres for Trevor Hoffman. Sheffield and reliever Bryan Harvey would go on to be the Marlins’ first representatives at the Mid-Summer’s Classic. The Marlins would go on to finish their first season with a sixth-place 64-98 record in the National League Eastern Division while drawing 3,064,847 spectators to Joe Robbie Stadium.
1994: The Marlins see a dramatic drop in attendance in their second season, and were in last place with a 51-64 record when the season ended due to a player’s strike on August 12th.
1995: While their expansion partners the Colorado Rockies were making the playoffs, the Marlins were still struggling, placing fourth with a 67-76 record. However, Jeff Conine would make the team proud by hitting a game-winning home run at the All-Star Game, earning MVP honors.
1996: The Marlins try to improve their team with the signings of pitcher Kevin Brown and Al Leiter. The Marlins got off to a slow start despite stellar pitching performances for both including a May 11th No-Hitter by Leiter. Two months later, with the Marlins still struggling, the team would fire Manager Rene Lachemann, replacing him with front office man John Boles. Under Boles, the Marlins would play better and end up finishing in third place with an 80-82 record. The strong finish encourages management to make one run at the World Series by Moises Alou, Bobby Bonilla, and Alex Fernandez. To make the team gel better on the field, the Marlins also hire Jim Leyland long thought of as one of baseball’s best managers. Although the team was losing money, the club’s payroll was one of the highest in baseball, as Owner Wayne Huizenga sought to bring the World Series to Florida.
1997: The Marlins acquisitions seem to work the Marlins are strong contenders from the start of the season. It does not translate to attendance, as the Marlins struggle to draw 20,000 a game, at the newly renamed Pro Player Stadium. Amidst the disappointing attendance figures, Wayne Huizenga begins making rumblings that to stay in Miami, a new ballpark is needed. When the city refuses, Huizenga begins to make rumblings that the Marlins will sell off all their players at the end of the season. Although the distractions of the team could be broken up, the Marlins finished with a strong 92-70 record, good enough for the National League Wild Card. In the NLDS, the Marlins face the San Francisco Giants. In the first two games of the series, the Marlins get the jump on the Giants winning both games on singles in the bottom of the ninth. With the series moving to San Francisco, the Marlins would complete the sweep with a sixth Inning Grand Slam from Outfielder Devon White. The Marlins would move on to the face the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS. The two teams split the first four games, setting up a must-win situation for the Marlins at home in Game 5. With Kevin Brown suffering through a stomach ailment, and Alex Fernandez out for the rest of the playoffs with an elbow injury, the Marlins were forced to have Livan Hernandez who got the win in Game 3 make an emergency start. Hernandez would come through better than expected, striking out an LCS record 15 while beating the Braves 2-1. The Marlins would go on to win the series in six games as Brown pitched through his stomach pain to get the Marlins into their first World Series. The Marlins, who were the first Wild Card ever to make the World Series, were matched up against the Cleveland Indians in the Fall Classic. In front of packed Pro Player Stadium, who expanded their capacity by selling seats usually covered up with a tarp, the Marlins win the 1st Game 7-4 behind a three-run homer from Moises Alou. After the Indians won Game 2, the Marlins won a wild Game 3 played in the snow 14-11, after scoring seven runs in the top of the ninth, after the two teams battled through eight innings tied at 7-7. After losing Game 4 played in 15-degree wind chill in the coldest World Series game ever played, the Marlins bounced back to win Game 8-7 behind Livan Hernandez, who got his second series win. After losing Game 6, the Marlins trailed 2-0 in the seventh inning of Game 7 before Bobby Bonilla would get the Marlins on to the scoreboard with a solo home run. Still trailing in the ninth inning the Marlins would tie the game on a sac-fly by Craig Counsell to send the game to extra innings. In the 11th inning, Marlins would become the fastest expansion team ever to win a World Series when Edgar Renteria drives home Counsell with two outs.
1998: Despite drawing over 500,000 fans during the postseason, owner Wayne Huizenga begins to sell off the players, claiming he is no longer able to afford them. This would prevent the Marlins from defending their championship and dampen South Florida’s spirits whose World championship celebration was cut way too short. On Opening Day, March 31st, the Marlins raise their World Championship Banner. However, most of the players responsible are gone. While 1B Darren Daulton retires, Dennis Cook, Al Leiter Rob Nen, Devon White, Kevin Brown, Jeff Conine, and Moises Alou are all traded for minor league prospects. Six weeks later, the Marlins would unload Bobby Bollix, Gary Sheffield, and Charles Johnson in a stunning trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers to acquire star Catcher Mike Piazza. Piazza would just be a Marlin for a week, as he too was dealt for prospects to the New York Mets. The Marlins would go on to finish dead last with an awful 54-108 record.
1999: The purge continued through the off-season as Manager Jim Leyland left, and SS Edgar Renter was traded away. Also gone was Wayne Huizenga, who sold the shell of a team to John Henry. The Marlins began Opening Day on an up note as Alex Fernandez pitched for the first time since the 1997 NLCS, and shut down the New York Mets, but it was short-lived. Fernandez would battle injuries all year, as the purge continued with Livan Hernandez being dealt away. The Marlins would go on to finish in Last again with a 64-98 record.
2000: With the only three players remaining from the World Championship team, the Marlins young pitchers show some promises guiding the team to a third Place 79-82 record. One of the last remaining players from 1997 Antonio Alfonseca wins the Fireman Award as the National League’s best reliever.
2001: The Marlins young pitchers continue to show promises, and the club plays solid baseball for most of the season before fading at the end to finish in fourth place with a 76-86 record. After the season, talks of contraction began, and the Marlins became an immediate candidate. Meanwhile, Owner John Henry bought the Boston Red Sox leaving the Marlins without an owner or anyone to run the club. While baseball fought in court for the right to contract, it became apparent the Marlins would still be playing in 2002, and possibly beyond, as Jeffrey Loria, owner of the Montreal Expos, sold his team to Major League Baseball, and bought the Marlins. Loria would bring most of the Expos front office and Manager Jeff Torborg down south to run the Marlins, as the deal was completed just before the start of spring training in 2002.
2002: The Marlins are one of several teams that have to deal with rumors of contraction as Owner John Henry abandons his plans to rebuild the Marlins so he could buy the Boston Red Sox. Taking Henry’s place would be Montreal Expos Owner Peter Loria who sold the Expos to 29 owners. While in Montreal, Loria constantly reneged on agreements for a new stadium, leaving the Expos in limbo, while toying with emotions of fans in Montreal. With the prospects of the same happening in Florida, Marlins fans seemed to lose interest in the team, as Pro Player Stadium resembled a ghost town all season, despite a young up and coming pitching staff. The signs of doom were still all around despite a 79-83 season that could be built on, as Ryan Dempster and Cliff Floyd were both traded away following the All-Star break. Following the season, Preston Wilson would be dealt to the Colorado Rockies for speedster Juan Pierre as the Marlins decided to build around speed and pitching.
2003: With a new direction of speed and pitching, the Marlins hoped to be competitive entering the season. Through the first six weeks of the season, the Marlins floundered in last place, making matters worse one of their young pitchers A.J. Burnett was lost for the season due to an elbow injury. The injury caused pitching coach Brad Arnsberg lots of criticism as they say he was not handling the young arms correctly. The criticism would eventually lead to his ouster along with Manger Jeff Torborg on May 11th with the Marlins holding a 16-22 record. As Torborg was on his way out, another young pitcher Dontrelle Willis was making his debut, and his enthusiasm would energize the team. Replacing Torborg would be 73-year old Jack McKeon; most scoffed at hiring and expected the Marlins to be readying themselves for another fire sale. However, some magic began to happen as the energy from Willis and Juan Pierre started to have a contagious effect on the rest of the ball club. Willis would become a nationwide sensation, as fans that were still ignoring the Marlins would flock to see him pitch. Meanwhile, the Marlins were quietly creeping towards .500. The Marlins finally climbed above .500 on July 1st as Willis earned a spot on the National League All-Star Roster. The Marlins continued to play well throughout they quietly snuck into the race for the National League Wild Card when July ended the Marlins sent a single that they were not selling off. Instead, they were going for it as they acquired Ugueth Urbana for extra bullpen support at the non-waiver trade deadline. The move seemed to energize the Marlins as they won ten of their next 15. The Marlins would hit rough waters in the latter part of August as they lost 8-of-9 games while losing Mike Lowell to a broken hand. To replace Lowell, the Marlins reacquired Jeff Conine, a fan favorite from the team’s first game to the 1997 World Series. The acquisition of Conine would pay off as the Marlins eventually climbed into the wild card spot with Conine having several critical hits in games against the Philadelphia Phillies down the stretch. The Marlins would pull away and win their earn their second playoff berth with a 91-71 record. Though he struggled at times in the second half, Dontrelle Willis would win National League Rookie of the Year honors. At the same time, their elder statesmen Jack McKeon who was initially laughed at, won Manager of the year as the Marlins posted a league-best 75-49 record after he took over. Entering the playoffs, few gave the Marlins any chance at all as they were shut down in the first game of the NLDS against the San Francisco Giants 2-0 by Jason Schmidt. The resilient Marlins would rebound to win Game 2 to send the series back to Florida, even at a game apiece. In Game 3, the Marlins would jump out to an early 2-0 lead on a homer by Ivan Rodriguez. The Giants would rally to tie it and sent the game to extra innings, taking a 3-2 lead in the 11th. In the bottom of the 11th, the Marlins capitalized on an error by Jose Cruz to start a rally as Rodriguez got a two-out single with the bases loaded to win the game 4-3. The following day brought more heroics from the catcher affectionately known as Pudge as he bowled over Yorvit Torrealba knocking lose the baseball and allowing Derek Lee to score an insurance run to give the Marlins a 7-5 lead heading into the ninth inning. There Pudge would come up large on the other end of a home plate collision as he held on to the ball after running into by J.T. Snow as the Marlins held on to win 7-6 advancing to the NLCS.
2003: In Game 1 of the NLCS against the Chicago Cubs, the Marlins got off to a shaky start as they fell behind 4-0 in the first inning. Ivan Rodriguez remained on fire driving home five runs as the Marlins rallied to take an 8-6 lead in the ninth inning. The Cubs would come right back on a two-run home run by Sammy Sosa, but the Marlins would get the last laugh as Mike Lowell returned from his hand injury and hit a game-winning pinch-hit homer in the 11th. The Cubs would rally to win the next three games putting the Marlins on the brink. Down three games to one, the Marlins keep their hopes alive with a two-hit complete-game shutout by Josh Beckett. In Game 6, at Wrigley Field, the Marlins were the ones being frustrated by good pitching as Mark Prior had them tied up for seven innings as the Cubs entered the eighth with a 3-0 lead. The Marlins appeared to be going down quietly again in the 8th as Luis Castillo popped up to left, following a one-out double by Juan Pierre. However, Cubs Leftfielder Moises Alou was interfered with by a fan, and Castillo had a new life, as he reached base on a walk. The fan interference seemed to shake up the Cubs as the Marlins went on to an eight-run outburst to force a seventh game. The Marlins carried over the momentum over their dramatic rally into Game 7 as the scored three runs in the first on a home run by Miguel Cabrera. The Cubs would rally and take a 5-3 lead in the third inning. However, the resilient Marlins would rally again scoring three runs in the fifth inning on a double by MNLCS MVP Ivan Rodriguez. The Marlins would bring in Josh Beckett to protect the lead, which they would pad, winning the game 9-6 to advance to their second World Series. In the World Series against the New York Yankees, once again, the Marlins were not given a chance. Behind a solid effort by Brad Penny and the scrappy base running of Juan Pierre, the Marlins stole Game 1 in Yankee Stadium 3-2. The Yankees would rally to win the next two games setting up a must-win Game 4 in Florida. The Marlins would jump out to a 3-0 lead, as Carl Pavano kept escaping jams throughout the game. The Yankees would rally to tie the game off Ugueth Urbina to send the game to extra innings. The Marlins appeared to be on the ropes in the 11th inning as the Yankees had the bases loaded with one out. Braden Looper would come on to bail the Marlins out, striking out Aaron Boone to keep the game tied. The game would remain tied until the 12th Inning when Alex Gonzalez hit a line drive home to the left of the teal tower to give the Marlins a 4-3 win that evened the series. The Marlins would take advantage of the banged-up Yankees in Game 5 as several key players were unable to play in a 6-4 victory that gave the Marlins a 3-2 series edge heading back to New York. In Game 6, the Marlins would scratch out two runs, which was just enough as Josh Beckett tied up the Yankees all day, striking out nine while allowing only five hits. Beckett outdueled Andy Pettitte to give the Marlins a 2-0 win, which clinched their second World Championship in one of the biggest upsets in the World Series’s 100-year history. For his Game 6 heroics, Josh Beckett would be named World Series MVP, becoming an instant superstar. The joy in Florida would be short-lived again as the Marlins were unable to re-sign Ivan Rodriguez, as Owner Jeffrey Loria continued to plea that the Marlins success will not last unless they get funding for a new ballpark.
2004: Despite being forced to allow stars like Ivan Rodriguez, Derek Lee, and Juan Encarnacion to get away, the Marlins remained a strong contender thanks to their solid core of young pitching led by Dontrelle Willis and Josh Beckett who became overnight superstars. Both would struggle all season as Willis posted a disappointing 10-11 record while Beckett spent time on the Disabled List and was just 9-9. With Carl Pavano picking up the slack, the Marlins were in first place at the end of April with a 15-8 record. After a mediocre May, the Marlins would struggle through June and July. With their playoff hopes in trouble, the Marlins reacquired Encarnacion from the Los Angeles Dodgers along with All-Star Catcher Paul Lo Duca in a deadline trade for Brad Penny, as strong August put the Marlins into the Wild Card picture heading into September. However, with Florida getting pounded with three Hurricanes in rapid succession, the Marlins would have several games rained out as they sought shelter and helped the community recover from the devastation. However, the Marlins would be unable to improve themselves as they struggled down the stretch and finished in third place with an 83-79 record. With talks of a new ballpark heating up with a possible 2010 eviction from former Owner Wayne Huzingea who now controls Pro Player Stadium, which would be renamed Dolphins Stadium, the Marlins added to their payroll bringing back Al Leiter while signing slugging 1B Carlos Delgado.
2005: With the addition of Carlos Delgado, the Marlins were able to come out strong post a solid 14-8 record in April that had them in first place in the NL East. Also starting strong was Dontrelle Willis, who, after a sophomore slump in 2004, started posting a 5-0 record in April on his way to a solid season that saw him finish second in voting for the Cy Young as he posted a 22-10 record with a 2.63 ERA. With the arrival of May, the Marlins season started to go in the wrong direction as they posted a mediocre 13-14 record in each of the next two months. In July, it was more of the same as the Marlins were 13-13. However, in a competitive National League Eastern Division, all five teams finished .500 or better, they were still in the playoff picture. Entering September the Marlins had a 70-63 record, and still had the playoffs on their minds, as late-season call-up Jeremy Hermida hit a Grand Slam in his first Major League at-bat on August 30th becoming the first player to do so in almost 110 years. Entering a big four-game series with the Houston Astros, the Marlins captured the first two games and took the lead in the National League Wild Card Race. The Astros would come back to win the next two games and retake the lead from the Marlins by half-game. Those two losses in Houston would be the start of the Marlins’ demise as they never recover losing 12-of-14 to fade out of the race, and nearly into last place. Along the way, the team seemed to turn on Manager Jack McKeon led by Free Agent to be A.J. Burnett, who was sent home in the final week of the season. While McKeon himself was let go following the season. The Marlins would close the season with three straight meaningless wins over the Atlanta Braves as they finished in a tie for third place with an 83-79 record. During the season, the Marlins had seen another stadium proposal defeated, which meant the future for baseball in South Florida would remain bleak. It grew even darker, as Owner Jeff Loria, experienced in ripping teams apart when he was with the Montreal Expos, gave Marlins fans a horrifying sense of deja vu as all the Marlins top players were put on the trading block. Burnett was allowed to walk away and sign with the Toronto Blue Jays, World Series hero Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell would be traded to the Boston Red Sox. Alex Gonzalez would later join them. Juan Encarnacion would sign with the St. Louis Cardinals. At the same time, their top of the lineup spark plugs Luis Castillo, and Juan Pierre ended up going to the Minnesota Twins and Chicago Cubs. In addition, the Marlins would ship Carlos Delgado and Paul LoDuca to the New York Mets in separate deals as the Marlins stripped bear only had Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera remaining, and only doing so because they were both young and had not reached arbitration yet, as the Marlins payroll became an embarrassing $14.3 Million.
2006: After another fire sale, the Marlins were expected to lose 100 games as they started the season with six rookies in the lineup and a rookie Manager in Joe Girardi. After a 6-16 April, it appeared most of the experts would be right as the young Marlins had trouble competing in the early going. In May, they continued to struggle hitting rock bottom on May 21st following a three-game sweep at the hands of the Tampa Devils Rays as they held a record of 11-31. A funny thing with rookies is they often never give up even when everyone is telling them they have no chance, as the Marlins started to turn things around by sweeping the Chicago Cubs, as the Marlins won nine of their next 12 games. June would be a great month for the young Marlins as they posted a solid 18-7 record highlighted by a nine-game winning streak. After the All-Star Break, the Marlins would play even better as they incredibly climbed toward .500 and into the race for the Wild Card Spot. On Labor Day, the Marlins hard work paid off as they became the first team who was 20 games below .500 at any point in the season to climb back over .500. Two nights later, rookie, Anibal Sanchez made history all by himself as he no-hit the Arizona Diamondbacks 2-0. Sanchez’s gem would be the beginning of an end as the Marlins started to run out of gas down the stretch losing 8 of 10 games down the stretch as they ended the year in 4th place with a record of 78-84. Among the Marlin rookies having great years was SS Hanley Ramirez, who was acquired in the Josh Beckett trade and earned Rookie of the Year honors with a .292 average, 17 homers, and 59 RBI. However, it could be argued the award should have gone to 2B Dan Uggla, a Rule V Draft Pick who made the All-Star Team and hit 27 homers with 90 RBI and a .282 average. Meanwhile, Joe Girardi earned Manager of the Year honors. However, Owner Jeffrey Loria was not impressed as Girardi argued with management and was fired following the season, despite the Marlins’ surprisingly successful season.
2007: Under new manager Fredi Gonzalez, the Marlins hoped they could continue the success they had under Joe Girardi as they entered the season with a solid core of young talent. However, injuries would play a role in the Marlins fortunes from the start of the season, as Josh Johnson was lost for the season after needing Tommy John surgery on his elbow. The Marlins would lose Anibal Sanchez to a shoulder injury as the rookie who tossed a no-hitter in 2006 made just six starts in 2007. Meanwhile, ace pitcher Dontrelle Willis struggled to meet expectations as he struggled all season, posting an ERA of 5.17 while posting a record of 10-15. Despite the depleted rotation, the Marlins remained on track to keep up their pace from the previous season as they were hovering near .500 until the end of June when the Marlins six of seven games. After posting a 42-47 record in the first half of the season, the Marlins would go into a second-half tailspin that would see them finish the season in last place with a record of 71-91. Following the season, the Marlins continued to trade off All-Stars before they became eligible for arbitration or free agency. Both Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera dealt to the Detroit Tigers for prospects Cameron Maybin, Mike Rabelo, Andrew Miller, Eulogio De La Cruz, Burke Bradenhop, and Dallas Trahern.
2008: After their latest cut in payroll, not much was expected from the Marlins. With reliable production from all four infield positions Mike Jacobs, Jorge Cantu, Handley Ramirez, and Dan Uggla, each of whom hit 25 or more home runs, the Marlins got off to a decent start, spending much of the first two months in first place. However, after Memorial Day, the Marlins lost eight of ten, as they slipped out of first place. After a subpar June, the Marlins recovered to post a winning record in July; the Marlins were considered buyers at the trade deadline as they were rumored to be discussing acquiring Manny Ramirez from the Boston Red Sox. However, the Marlins limited budget prevented them from pulling off a big deal. Without an added piece, the Marlins struggled in August, which all but knocked them out of the playoff race. After dropping to 72-72, the Marlins went on a nine-game winning streak in September as they looked to once again play the spoiler role. Facing the New York Mets on the final weekend of the season for the second straight year, the Marlins knocked their division rivals out of the playoffs by taking two of three in New York. This included the final game ever Shea Stadium, which the Marlins won thanks 4-2 to back-to-back homers from Cody Ross and Dan Uggla, as they finished in third place with a respectable 84-77 record.
2009: The Marlins came flying out of the gate, winning 11 of their first 12 games, as they had a five-game lead in the National League Eastern Division early in the season. However, they would get snapped back to reality quickly with a seven-game losing streak. Despite the slump, the Marlins would spend the entire month of April in first place. As great as April was for the Marlins, May brought nothing but pain, as they struggled with an awful 9-20 record, and dropped from first place to fourth place. In June, the Marlins rebounded to get back above .500 as they took two out of three against the New York Yankees in interleague action. However, against the Tampa Bay Rays, they would struggle, losing five of six games. The Marlins would be in the race for the wild card all season, as their offense was a pleasant surprise, as they had a 14 game stretch where they had ten hits or more. Helping to spark this surge was Outfielder Chris Coghlan, who had 47 hits during August, who would also deliver 50 hits in the final month of the season. He ended the season with a .321 average on the way to claiming the National League Rookie of the Year. The Marlins would finish the season with a solid 87-75 record, which was good enough for second place in the NL East.
2010: Coming off a solid season, the Marlins hoped they could be a factor in the playoff chase as they locked up ace Josh Johnson to a four-year deal worth $39 million. The Marlins sought to commit to a strong team that would enter their new stadium in 2012 as construction began in earnest at the site of the old Orange Bowl in Miami. However, as the season started on the road against the New York Mets, the Marlins got off to a slow start as Johnson was outpitched by Johan Santana 7-1 in the opener. In mid-May, as the Marlins were threading water, signs of internal trouble began to surface as Hanley Ramirez was suspended a game after for not hustling towards a fly ball, which cost the team runs and a loss. The Marlins would also be on the wrong side of history in May. Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia Phillies pitched a perfect game at Sunlife Stadium, beating the Marlins 1-0 as a great effort by Josh Johnson was wasted. On June 23rd, as the Marlins held a 32-34 record, Manage Fredi Gonzalez was fired and replaced by Edwin Rodriguez, who was managing the Marlins AAA team in New Orleans. The Marlins publically looked to hire Bobby Valentine. Rodriguez would remain at the helm for the remainder of the season as a deal with Valentine could not be reached. Among the disappointments was Chris Coghlan, who suffered a sophomore slump batting .268 with just five home runs and 28 RBI. He missed most of the second half after suffering a knee injury in a walk-off win celebration, when as he delivered shaving-cream pie in Wes Helms face following a walk-off 5-4 win over the Atlanta Braves on July 25th. The Marlins would also lose Pitcher Ricky Nolasco to a knee injury that occurred while removing his shoes in the clubhouse. The Marlins would have franchise-record 57 players on their team, as an 11-5 surge after the All-Star Break was the only time it appeared they might be a factor in the playoff chase. The Marlins would be sellers down the stretch as Cody Ross, who was claimed off waivers by the San Francisco Giants would win the NLCS MVP after leaving Florida, and leading the Giants to the World Series. The Marlins meanwhile would get some solid play from some rookie such as Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison, but in the end, the season would be a big disappointment as they finished in third place with a record of 80-82.
2011: While their new stadium neared completion, the Marlins hoped they could get some momentum as they played their final season in Sun Life Stadium. The Marlins started the season on the right foot, beating the New York Mets 6-2, with Josh Johnson earning the win. After starting the season with a 3-3 homestand, the Marlins had a strong road trip winning series against the Houston Rockets and Atlanta Braves. The Marlins would go on to complete April with a solid record of 16-9 as they were in second place just a game and a half out of first. One of the keys to Marlins’ early-season success was Josh Johnson, who held a 3-1 record and an ERA of 1.64. However, in May, Johnson would go on the Disabled List with soreness in his arm. The Marlins would not be able to pinpoint what the arm problems were as he ended up missing the rest of the season. The Marlins would continue to play well into May as they ended the month just two games in back of the first-place Philadelphia Phillies. However, as June began, the loss of Johnson in the starting rotation began to take its toll as the Marlins went into a sudden tailspin as they lost 19 of their first 20 games in June. The sudden slump would lead to the departure of Edwin Rodriguez. After a brief stint by Brandon Hyde, Jack McKeon came out of retirement to lead the Marlins the rest of the season as interim manager. One thing adding to the frustration of the Marlins was they had to play three “home games” with the Seattle Mariners in Safeco Field due to Sun Life Stadium being used for a U2 Concert. After their horrendous June, the Marlins rebounded to post a 17-10 record in July to close within two games of the .500 mark. However, a 7-20 record in August would seal the Marlins’ fate as they went on to finish in last place with a disappointing record of 72-90. As the season came to an end, the Marlins reached an agreement with Ozzie Guillen to take over as manager for the 2012 season.
2012: As Marlins Park in the downtown section of Miami called Little Havana was completed, the Marlins underwent a complete transition, new logos, new uniforms, as they became the Miami Marlins. The Marlins also were quite busy in improving their team as they signed reigning NL Batting Champion Jose Reyes away from the New York Mets. At the same time, they also added Carlos Zambrano and Mark Buehrle to the starting rotation while adding Heath Bell to be the team’s new closer. On April 4th in the Marlins, Marlins Park opened their new stadium in a primetime special against the St. Louis Cardinals. Among the unique features in the new park is a fish tank behind home plate and a light-up carnival like a sculpture that is animated with every Marlins’ Home Run placed in Centerfield. Josh Johnson would get the start for the Marlins, giving up two runs in the first inning. The Cardinals would go on to win the game 4-1, as Kyle Loshe held the Marlins hitless into the seventh inning. After a one-game opener, the Marlins went on a six-game road trip. They lost four of six, before coming home the team already began to take on some controversy as their outspoken manager Ozzie Guillen made comments in which the Cuban exile community interpreted as being in favor of Fidel Castro. With fans calling for his dismissal, Guillen apologized and served a suspension during the Marlins’ first true homestand. The Marlins played well, taking five of six against the Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs. An awful trip up North against the Washington Nationals and New York Mets began to expose some of the grave problems the team had. It was apparent Hanley Ramirez was unhappy about moving to third base for Jose Reyes as they finished April with a record of 8-14. In May, the Marlins would hit their stride, as Giancarlo Stanton had a monster month highlighted by a 462-foot blast off Jamie Moyer of the Colorado Rockies on May 21st, that shattered a panel on the scoreboard at Marlins Park. The Marlins would set a franchise record for wins in a month, posting a record of 21-8. Just as good as May was for the Marlins, June was a nightmare, as their big off-season signings were struggling all over the place. The worst of which was Heath Bell, who was signed to be the team’s closer but had trouble keeping leads all season and clashed with Ozzie Guillen, who ripped him reputedly to the press. Heath Bell started the season by blowing four of his first seven save opportunities, as he had a record of 0-3with an atrocious ERA of 11.42 in his first 11 games. By the All-Star Break Bell would lose his closer role, as he finished the season with a record of 4-5 with a 5.09 ERA. Also struggling was Mark Buehrle, who lost four times in June as the Marlins posted an 8-18 record, and particularly struggled against in Interleague Play, with a 5-13 record against the American League, losing five of six to the Tampa Bay Rays. Before the All-Star Game, the Marlins lost slugger Giancarlo Stanton to a knee injury and plunged into last place. As things began to unravel in July, the Marlins began to sell off players, trading Hanley Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers with Randy Choate for Nathan Eovaldi and minor league pitching prospect Scott McGough. The deal was not the last for the Marlins, who sent Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to the Detroit Tigers for Jacob Turner, Rob Brantly, and Brian Flynn. Players clashed with Ozzie Guillen fans, who began the season expecting the Marlins to contend turned against the team. As their Showtime reality series, the Franchise was halted as the team continued to unravel. The Marlins would go on to finish the year with a record of 69-93. The lone bright spot for the Marlins was Giancarlo Stanton, who led the Marlins with 29 homers, 72 RBI, and an average of .292 while playing in just 100 games. Just a year earlier, the Marlins made news by bringing in several big-name stars. After one year, the Marlins would get rid of each of them Heath Bell would be shipped to the Arizona Diamondbacks for minor leaguer Yordy Cabrera. Carlos Zambrano, who was demoted from the starting rotation after struggling early, was released. Manager Ozzie Guillen was fired and replaced by Mike Redmond. The deal that stunned fans the most came on November 19th, when Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, John Buck, and Emilio Bonifacio were all sent to the Toronto Blue Jays for Jeff Mathis, Adeiny Hechavarria, Henderson Álvarez, Yunel Escobar, Jake Marisnick, Anthony DeSclafani, and Justin Nicolino. Yunel Escobar, the most familiar name among the players the Marlins received, would quickly be sent to the Tampa Bay Rays for Derek Dietrich. Once again, the Marlins had an extreme fire sale and were left with a barren roster of no names as they started from scratch again.
2013: After another off-season fire sale, fans of the Miami Marlins were naturally angered as many canceled their plans to buy season tickets to the second year of Marlins Ballpark. This prompted Owner Jeffrey Loria to sue many fans who had mad two year commitments when the new stadium was built. While Loria would be somewhat justified as the players dealt struggled, the Marlins were again at square one with new Manager Mike Redmond. The Marlins started the season on the road as they won just one of their first ten games, on the way to posting a terrible record of 8-19 in April. Things would be even worse in May, as the Marlins posted an awful record of 6-22, and sat at 14-41 as June began. One team, the Marlins, seemed to be able to beat was the New York Mets as they beat them five times in June, including a scintillating 20 inning marathon won by the Marlins 2-1 on June 8th. June would be the first positive month for the Marlins as they had a winning record at 15-10. A big reason for the Marlins’ upturn in fortunes was the emergence of Rookie Pitcher Jose Fernandez. The 20-year-old sensation became an instant fan favorite, especially in the Cuban refugee community, as he had successfully defected with his mother and sister in 2008. Jose Fernandez, who was barely had to save his mother’s life after she fell overboard in the harrowing 90-mile journey from their hellish existence behind the iron walls of Castro’s regime. After arriving in Florida, Fernandez became one of the top high school pitchers in the country and was drafted #14 overall by the Marlins in the 2011 MLB Draft. Jose Fernandez had a meteoric rise in the minors, posting a 14-1 record, with a 1.75 ERA, and 158 strikeouts at Greensboro and Jupiter as he was named the Marlins Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2012. Jose Fernandez made his debut on April 7th against the Mets at Citi Field, pitching five innings while allowing one run on three hits with eight strikeouts and becoming the seventh pitcher under 21 to record at least eight strikeouts in his MLB debut since 1916. Three months later, Fernandez would return to Citi Field as the Marlins lone representative at the All-Star Game, pitching a perfect sixth inning. Jose Fernandez would go on to win the National League Rookie of the Year with a record of 12-6, with an ERA of 2.19 and 187 strikeouts. Fernandez would be the only bright spot in an otherwise dreadful season for the Marlins, who finished in last place with a record of 62-100. On the final day of the season at Marlins Ballpark, Henderson Alvarez tossed a no-hitter against a Detroit Tigers lineup composed mostly of backups and September call-ups to earn a 1-0 win.
2014: Coming off a 100-loss season, the Miami Marlins looked to make some significant improvements. One key to returning to respectability was Pitcher Jose Fernandez, who, despite the Marlins misery in 2013, won the Rookie of the Year. Fernandez got the Opening Day start and was impressive, striking out nine batters as the Marlins pounded the Colorado Rockies 10-1. Fernandez would also get the win in his next start, with the Marlins blanking the San Diego Padres 5-0 as the Marlins won five of their first six games. Jose Fernandez would get off to a strong start posting a record of 4-2 with an ERA of 2.44 and 70 strikeouts in eight starts before an MRI revealed a torn Ulnar Collateral Ligament, forcing him to undergo Tommy John surgery on May 16th. Despite the loss of Jose Fernandez, the Marlins remained competitive all season thanks to Giancarlo Stanton, who had a monster year. Long considered one of the best young sluggers in baseball. Stanton firmly established himself as a superstar, leading the National League in home runs with 37, while driving in 105 RBI and scoring 94 runs to win the Hank Aaron award. Stanton was even in the MVP conversation, as the Marlins remained at or near .500 all season. However, on September 11th, Stanton’s season ended prematurely when he was hit by a pitch in the face by Mike Fiers of the Milwaukee Brewers at Marlins Park. The impact on Giancarlo Stanton’s face resulted in multiple fractures, lacerations, and dental damage. At the time of the injury, the Marlins had a record of 71-74 and would finish in fourth place with a 77-85 mark. Following the season, the Marlins and Giancarlo Stanton agreed to a 13-year, $325 million extensions, which was the largest contract in MLB history. The deal involves a no-trade clause, and Stanton can opt-out of the contract after he turned 30 in 2020. Other Marlins who had big years included Henderson Alvarez, who posted a record of 12-7, with an ERA of 2.65 and Michael Ozuna, who had 23 home runs and 85 RBI.
2015: Following an active off-season, the Miami Marlins felt they had a chance to make a push for the Wild Card. The Marlins acquired Dee Gordon and Dan Haren from the Los Angeles Dodgers, Mat Latos from the Cincinnati Reds and signed free agents Michael Morse and Ichiro Suzuki. However, the biggest deal was made in house as they signed Giancarlo Stanton to the largest contract in MLB history at 13 years and $325 million, assuring the slugging outfielder would be in Miami for years to come. As April began, the mission for the Marlins was simple to stay in the race for the first half, with the knowledge Jose Fernandez would return in the middle of the season. The Marlins did not remain in the race as they stumbled out of the starting blocks, losing six of their first seven games on the way to a 3-11 start. The Marlins would finish April strong, winning nine of ten to get back to .500 on May 2nd. Even when the Marlins were struggling in the early weeks, leadoff hitter Dee Gordon was scalding. Gordon recorded 50 hits in the Marlins first 28 games to tie a 91-year-old record set by legendary second baseman Rogers Hornsby, posting an incredible batting average of .437. Dee Gordon would not be able to keep up the incredible pace, but remained at the top of the hitting leaders all season, winning the batting title with an average of .333, while also winning the gold glove and stealing 58 bases. While Gordon blazed the bases in Miami, the Marlins could not win with any consistency. After reaching .500, the losses again piled up for the Marlins, leading to the firing of Manager Mike Redmond on May 17th, with the team holding a record of 16-22. General Manager Dan Jennings would step out of the front office and run the team from the dugout for the rest of the season. Jennings move did not do much to inspire the Marlins as they ended May with a record of 20-31. While the Marlins continued to struggle in June, Giancarlo Stanton was off to a monster start hitting .265 with 27 homers and 67 RBIs in 74 games, highlighted by several tape-measure home runs. However, June 26th, Stanton’s season came to a sudden end when he suffered a hand injury checking his swing. While Stanton was sidelined, Jose Fernandez returned, making his season debut on July 2nd, earning a win as the Marlins beat the San Francisco Giants 5-4 at Marlins Park, adding a home run in the process. Fernandez was strong in his return, posting a record of 6-1 with an ERA of 2.92 and 79 strikeouts despite missing all of August with a biceps strain. The Marlins would finish the season in third place, posting a disappointing record of 71-91.
2016: Under new manager Don Mattingly, the Miami Marlins got off to a lackluster start as they lost seven of their first ten games on the way to a 5-11 start. As April came to an end, the Marlins found their grove, winning seven straight to close the month a game over .500. Not all news was good for the Marlins at the end of April, as Dee Gordon was hit with a 50-game suspension after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Despite the loss of their sparkplug at the top of the lineup, the Marlins played competitive baseball over the next two months keep their heads above .500 as they established themselves as an early contender for the Wild Card. As August began, the Marlins were in position for one of the Wild Cards in the National League, holding a record of 57-48. This came despite Giancarlo Stanton again dealing with injuries, and hitting with a disappointing .240 average. The Marlins slugger still managed a team-best 27 home runs with74 RBI in 119 games. Christian Yelich, who had a breakout offensive season, picked up the slack for Stanton, hitting .298 with 21 homers and a team-best 98 RBI. As August began, all eyes were on Ichiro Suzuki, who was approaching 3,000 career hits. Ichiro achieved the milestone with a triple against Chris Rusin of the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. August would see the Marlins bubble burst as they won just ten games and lost 18 games. Even as the team struggled in August, Jose Fernandez continued to be the Marlins stalwart at the top of the rotation. In his first full season after Tommy John surgery, Fernandez, at the age of 24 was back on track as one baseball’s best young pitchers, posting a record of 16-8, with a 2.86 ERA and 253 strikeouts. Perhaps his finest start came on September 20th at Marlins Park, as he outdueled Tanner Roark of the Washington Nationals to win 1-0, allowing just three hits in eight innings, while striking out 12 batters to keep Miami over .500. Fernandez was next scheduled to pitch on September 25th against the Atlanta Braves but had his start pushed back to face the New York Mets at the beginning of a three-game series the following day. With an extra day’s rest, Fernandez and two friends went on a late-night boating trip following a 6-4 win over the Atlanta Braves. Sometime during the early morning hours of the 25th, Fernandez’s boat crashed into a reef, killing all three aboard. As the Marlins woke up the next morning, the entire organization was hit with devastating news, leading to the cancellation of the series finale against the Braves. Still in a state of shock with the Marlins took on the Mets with the entire team wearing #16 in honor of their fallen teammate. Using Jose Fernandez batting helmet, Dee Gordon led off the game and hit his only home run of the season as he fought through tears rounding the bases. The Marlins won the game 7-3 but dropped their final two home games of the season before attending Jose Fernandez’s funeral. The Marlins would finish the season with a record of 79-82, as the loss of Jose Fernandez cast a shadow over the entire season.
2017: As the Miami Marlins began the season, the team was still in mourning over the death of Jose Fernandez. It was a special season in Miami, as Marlins Park hosted the All-Star Game, becoming the first team from Florida to host the Mid-Summer Classic. Early on, it was evident that Miami missed Fernandez, as they were getting big offensive numbers from Giancarlo Stanton, Marcel Ozuna, and Justin Bou, but had trouble winning consistently. After an 11-12 record in April, the Marlins struggled to find their way and May and found themselves sitting at 21-30 as June began. The season would mark one of the Marlins’ transitions as Owner Jeffrey Loria with rumors he was about to become ambassador to France. Loria was set to sell the team to Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, but the deal was withdrawn not to have any conflict of interest if he was to serve as ambassador. Heading into the All-Star Break, the Marlins began to play better baseball. As Ichiro Suzuki collected his 3,054th career hit on July 6th, he became the all-time leader among players born outside the United States. The All-Star Game in 2018 saw an end to the winner’s league getting home field in the World Series, as pitching ruled the day, with the American League winning 2-1 in ten innings on a home run by Seattle Mariners Designated Hitter Nelson Cruz. After the break, Giancarlo Stanton went on a tear hitting 23 home runs in a 35-game span, including six straight games with a home run. The stretch helped the Marlins get back to .500 at the end of August as they climbed into second place in the National League East. With their pitching woes, the Marlins could not sustain their late-summer success as Miami finished the year at 77-85, finishing a distant second to the Washington Nationals. Meanwhile, Giancarlo Stanton had a monster year, finishing with a .281 average, with 59 home runs and 132 RBI to earn the National League MVP. Marcell Ozuna had 37 homers and 124 RBI, while Justin Bour hit 25 home runs with 83 RBI. Jose Urena as the Marlins’ most reliable pitcher with a 14-7 record and a 3.82 ERA as the rest of the staff struggled. The Marlins would eventually be sold to a group led by former New York Yankee Derek Jeter. Upon buying the team singled, Jeter would need to cut payroll and traded several of the Marlins top players, including Stanton, who went to the Yankees with Miami getting little in return.
2018: With Derek Jeter was now officially in charge of the Miami Marlins, they became one of the worst teams in baseball. With little revenue available, Jeter decided to hold another Miami fire sale as Christian Yelich was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers, while Marcel Ozuna traded to the St. Louis Cardinals and MVP Giancarlo Stanton traded to the New York Yankees. The Marlins got little in return as they once again resembled an expansion team. As expected, Miami finished in last place in the NL East but did not reach 100 losses thanks to a couple of win streaks throughout the season. Right from the start, the Marlins were buried in last place as they won just five of their first 22 games. The Marlins continued to struggle throughout the summer despite having a couple of memorable walk-off wins in July. In total, they had four that month and went 12-13. The only problem was that they were well out of the playoff chase as J.T. Realmuto was the lone All-star. After sweeping a series in Cincinnati in the final month of the season, the Marlins dropped their five of their last six games in September and finished with a record of 64-98, worst in the National League. Some of the only positives to come out of their season was a strong season from Brian Anderson. In only his second season, Anderson played in all but six games and had 11 home runs and drove in a team-leading 65 RBI. Realmuto led the team with 21 home runs. Justin Bour, Derek Dietrich, Starlin Castro, Lewis Brinson, and Miguel Rojas all finished with at least ten home runs. On the mound, the Marlins struggled as well. Of all their starting pitchers, Jose Urena had the lowest ERA at 3.98. He picked up nine wins and no other starter, but Wei-Yin Chen was the only other starter to have six or more wins.
Written by Matthew Rothman
2019: it was another rough season for the Miami Marlins as they continue to rebuild, trading J.T. Realmuto to the Philadelphia Phillies. The Marlins split four-game series with the Colorado Rockies from there it would be all downhill as they were swept by the New York Mets in the second series of the season and went downhill from there. The Marlins finished April with a record of 8-21, finding themselves in last place again. Miami then started the month of May losing 10 of their first 12 games before going on a six-game winning streak, which helped manager Don Mattingly keep his job. Sandy Alcantara, Pablo Lopez, and Trevor Richards all had strong starts during that streak, which gave Marlins fans hope for the future. Veteran players like Neil Walker, Starlin Castro, and Curtis Granderson supplied much of the offense. Surprisingly, the Marlins did not shop for many of their veterans, but they did acquire a few more prospects in Jazz Chisholm and Jesus Sanchez as they were well out of the race at the deadline. One of their most exciting moments all season came with Isan Diaz getting called up as he hopes to be a mainstay with the Marlins in the future. He hit a home run in his first game with his parents being interviewed but struggled the rest of the season. Diaz hit .173 with five home runs in a year where home runs were as high as ever. Both Brian Anderson and Starlin Castro each hit at least 20 round-trippers. Jorge Alfaro, who came over in the Realmuto trade, hit 18 homers though many young prospects such as Lewis Brinson, Austin Dean, Peter O’Brian had miserable seasons. On the mound, the Marlins pitched to a 4.74 ERA. Alcantara, though, showed the most promise with his 3.88 ERA, and Caleb Smith won 11 games. Jordan Yamamoto had a couple of strong starts throughout the season, but Miami ended up with the worst record in the NL again at 57-105.
Written by Matthew Rothman
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Page created on February 20, 2001. Last updated on June 11, 2020, at 1:50 am ET.