The Miami Marlins are based in Miami, Florida, and compete in the National League. The Marlins were an expansion team founded in 1993 and used to share Joe Robbie Stadium with the Miami Dolphins. The team was eventually moved to Marlins Park in 2012, which gave them their own stadium for the first time in the team’s existence.
While the Marlins’ first couple of seasons in the MLB were relatively quiet, especially since they failed to have a winning record in their first four years, they ended up making the playoffs as the wild card in 1997. They then went on to upset the Giants, Braves, and lastly, the Indians to win their first championship.
Believe it or not, the Marlins enjoy the distinction of being the only team in sports history to never lose a playoff round. And that’s not all! Interestingly enough, Miami is also one of only two teams in the MLB that have never won a division title. In fact, both of their playoffs run started with wild card wins, ending World Series championships. It really has been championship or bust for the Marlins.
The 1997 championship squad was a well-balanced squad, with outfielders like Gary Sheffield and Moises Alou, who led the teams in RBIs. Between those two stars and the supporting cast of Bobby Bonilla, Charles Johnson, Jeff Conine, and Edgar Renteria, the Marlins rode a strong team performance to surprising playoff success.
After the Marlins won the World Series, they spent some time in baseball obscurity, disappointing fans after such a strong season. The Marlins went from the cream of the crop to an awful 54-108 season. A lot of this had to do with the many trades made during the offseason, which left the team without several key players.
This included Moises Alou, who was traded to the Houston Astros before the start of the next season, and Jeff Conine, who was traded to the Kansas City Royals. The Marlins ownership, led by Jeffrey Loria, basically sold off these players and several others, to keep the team’s payroll and thus team expenses low.
These fire sales and subsequent disappointments would go on for another five years as Florida racked up a record of 352-477 and showed no sign of really improving. The team would also fail to finish above 3rd in their division over that time period and never had a single winning season.
All that would change in 2003 however, when The Marlins earned a wild card spot and proceeded to wreak havoc once again in the playoffs. It started off with a 3-1 series victory over the Giants and was followed up with a 4-3 series wins against a very tough Cubs team. As if that wasn’t unbelievable enough, the Marlins overcame a 3-1 deficit in their series against Cubs and advanced to the World Series. This series also featured the infamous Steve Bartman game, when the Marlins rallied in the 8th inning of game 5 after the Cubs’ Moises Alou was unable to catch a fly ball that may have been interfered with by lifelong Cubs fan Steve Bartman.
After an absolute thriller of a series against the Cubs, Miami went on to face the New York Yankees in a World Series that could only be described as spectacular. It started off with The Marlins grabbing a 3-2 victory, but they then went on to lose their next two games. Florida wouldn’t stay down for long, however, as they would come back and win the next three games in a row to net themselves their second championship in organization history.
The Marlins shut out the Yankees in the deciding game, 2-0, in a dominant performance by young pitcher Josh Beckett. This was another high point for the organization, especially after five straight years straight of subpar performances, and came against one of the most iconic teams in MLB history. Unfortunately for the Marlins, this would mark the last time they made it to the postseason. In the 17 years that have passed since their last championship, the organization stands at 1193-1396, and can’t even seem to rekindle any of that magic they once had.
The team did change their name to the Miami Marlins in 2012 as part of a deal with Miami Dade County to host their games at Marlins Stadium. This would mark the first time in organization history that the team had its own stadium to play in and the first time that the team would have an actual city attached to their name as well.
While a lot of the last two decades have been bleak for the team at times, individual players have walked away with a few regular-season awards. Giancarlo Stanton won MVP in 2017 and Casey McGehee won CB player of the year in 2014. Jose Fernandez won Rookie of the year in 2013 and Chris Coghlan won the same award in 2009. The group seemed to have all the promise in the world but just didn’t know how to put it all together.
Speaking of Fernandez, he was a promising young superstar until his life was cut short in a predawn boating accident on September 25th, 2016. Reports indicate that he was piloting his boat at 65 MPH when he rammed into a government-cut channel off of Miami. He was found by a coast guard later in the day with two other individuals that were all pronounced dead at the scene. A toxicology report indicated that Fernandez was on cocaine and drunk at the time of the crash. His death was the result of blunt force trauma.
After Fernadez’s tragic passing, The Marlins decided to cancel their upcoming game against The Braves. The league also held a moment of silence for the fallen superstar a few days later and everyone wore his jersey number in the next game. The Marlins would wear his jersey number for one more night, a 7-3 win against the Mets, before holding a public funeral procession on September 28th and scattering his ashes at sea in October.
The Miami Marlins are currently coached by Don Mattingly, with James Rowson as bench coach, Eric Duncan serving as hitting coach, and Robert Rodriquez as assistant hitting coach. Their current roster consists of players like Jesus Aguilar, Sandy Alcantara, Jorge Alfaro, Brian Anderson, Richard Bleier, and Lewis Brinson. Daniel Castano and Brad Boxberger.