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Faces of 19-year-old soon-to-be Miami Marlins shouldn't be carved in stone.
MLB Mt. Rushmores
by Charlie Miller
The question posed recently whether Derek Jeter should be considered as part of the Yankees’ Mt. Rushmore piqued my interest. Not really the Jeter-Yankees part, but the idea that teams should have their own Mt. Rushmores. Who are the four individuals that have risen above all others for each organization? The question sounds simple. Even two guys sitting in a bar can figure that out, right? Not so fast. Let the arguments begin.
Florida Marlins Mt. Rushmore
The soon-to-be Miami Marlins have existed for just 19 seasons, joining the National League in 1993. Success has been rare and fleeting. The Marlins have posted just six winning seasons in the their 19 campaigns and have yet to win a division title. However, the 1997 and 2003 squads parlayed wild card berths into World Series championships. With spotty attendance and no baseball-only stadium, the Marlins have been unable to retain or sign high-priced players. So there are no long-tenured stars in Florida history. This Mt. Rushmore will change dramatically over the next 10 years or so. On November 11, the Florida Marlins will officially become the Miami Marlins and will christen a new baseball-only stadium on the site of the old Orange Bowl against the NL champion St. Louis Cardinals on Opening Day 2012.
The All-Star shortstop has been a perennial MVP candidate during most of his tenure in Florida. He was Rookie of the year in 2006, and won a batting title with a .342 average in 2009 when he was MVP runner-up. Although he has played just six seasons, he ranks first in total bases and runs created for the franchise. He is second in batting average, runs and hits…and counting. Coming off a rough season marked be injuries, Ramirez is signed through 2014.
An original Marlin, Conine was selected from the Kansas City Royals in the expansion draft. He was an integral part of both championship teams in Florida, batting .304 in 32 postseason games for the Marlins. Conine earned MVP honors in the 1995 All-Star Game, the only Marlin so honored. He is second on the Marlins all-time list in games and RBIs, third in hits and total bases.
The first general manager of the Marlins, Dombrowski was responsible for building the 1997 championship team, and played a significant role in re-building the team into a contender in 2003, although he left for the Detroit Tigers in 2002.
Cabrera made his major league debut on June 20, 2003 and quickly became a fixture in the Marlins’ lineup. During his five seasons in South Florida, Cabrera received MVP votes every year. He averaged .313 with 28 homers and 105 RBIs per season. Those numbers increased to 32 home runs and 115 RBIs if you eliminate the half season in 2003. Cabrera hit four postseason home runs during the Marlins’ championship run in 2003.
Jim Leyland, the manager who led the Marlins to their first title, deserves some mention.
Third baseman Mike Lowell ranks first in RBIs and second in total bases.
The ageless Livan Hernandez was just 24-24 in his four seasons with the Marlins, but he was 4-0 in the 1997 postseason, earning MVP honors in both the NLCS and World Series.
Current team president David Samson deserves much of the credit for getting the team its own ballpark after sharing a football stadium with the Dolphins.
No one has more hits or scored more runs in a Marlins uniform than second baseman Luis Castillo.
Jack McKeon managed the team to the title in 2003 after taking over a losing team 38 games into the season.
Josh Beckett won just 41 games in five seasons, but the 2003 World Series MVP had one Mt. Rushmore moment as he shut out the Yankees at Yankee Stadium in Game 6 to clinch the Series.
Follow Charlie Miller on Twitter @AthlonCharlie or email him Charlie.Miller@AthlonSports.com
Other teams' Mt. Rushmores: