Major League Baseball is promoting an effort to identify the best four players in each team’s history with their "Franchise Four." We selected our choices for Mt. Rushmores a few years ago. Here are updated versions for all 30 teams. Who are the four baseball players that have risen above all others for each organization? The question sounds simple, right? Not so fast. Let the arguments begin.
Miami Marlins Mt. Rushmore
The Miami Marlins have existed for just 22 full seasons, joining the National League in 1993. Success has been rare and fleeting. The Marlins have posted just six winning seasons in the their 22 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 until 2012, the Marlins have been unable (some would say unwilling) 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. The State of Baseball in Miami isn't great right now. The 2013 season was the franchise's second-worst in history.
The All-Star shortstop was a perennial MVP candidate during most of his tenure in Miami. 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 played just six and a half seasons, he ranks first in total bases and runs created for the franchise. He is second in runs and hits.
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.
Prior to the 2015 season, Stanton signed the richest contract in baseball history. With his first home run of the season, he became the franchise's all-time home run leader. And he has crept into the top 10 on most other offensive lists.
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.
Dave Dombrowski, the general manager who built the Marlins' championship team in 1997, also had a hand in rebuilding the club prior to the 2003 title.
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.
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.
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Other teams' Mt. Rushmores: