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Florida/Miami Marlins All-Time Mount Rushmore

The Marlins are (until they prove otherwise) a dysfunctional, poorly run franchise. Between Jeffery Loria’s decision to sign everyone in 2012 only to dump everyone the very next year and Bruce Sherman/Derek Jeter‘s trades for high ceiling, low floor prospects, the Marlins have been waddling at the bottom of the division for the past decade.

That does not mean the team hasn’t been able to produce quality talent. In fact, one could argue that there has been more talent developed on the Marlins than before their second World Series championship in 2003. And that is where most of the top players in Marlins history come from.

On the Mount Rushmore, two members are fairly simple choices because they rank 1st and 2nd in Marlins history in bWAR by a longshot. Then there is a somewhat controversial selection for the third spot. For the final spot, there is a list of players to choose from.

You would think that this is an easy Mount Rushmore to construct, but with most Marlins playing less than ten years in the teal pinstripes/orange jerseys, a lot of Marlins have similar stats that make it a bit difficult to pick. Nonetheless, that is what I’m going to try and do.

The Mount Rushmore:

RF Mike/Giancarlo Stanton (2010-2017)

Stanton scoring.
Photo via Cathy T/Flickr

If we are being honest, there were two reasons for Marlins Park to have people in the building: 1) because they work there, and 2) to watch Giancarlo Stanton crush baseballs.

Unlike some baseball crushers, Stanton was a well-rounded player, making him the best Marlin of all-time (at the moment, because eventually, someone will play more than eight seasons in Miami). A second-round pick by the Florida Marlins in 2007 out of Notre Dame High School, Stanton made his debut as Mike as a 20-year-old in 2010. In his first two years, he had a career bWAR of 6.9, slashing .261/.344/.525, including 51 doubles and 56 homers. From 2012 to 2017, he had accumulated 28.3 WAR and hit .271/.365/.564 with 211 homers. Overall, he was a 4-time All-Star and an NL MVP winner and ended his Marlins career with a .268/.360/.554 and 267 homers with a 35.2 bWAR, the latter two putting him at the top of all Marlins. These numbers were in spite of numerous injuries, including a pitch that hit his face in 2014, a season-ending hamate bone break in 2015, and hamstring issues that affected his performance in 2013 and 2016.

After his 2014 season, Loria and the Marlins were all set to make him a franchise star, and (after Giancarlo was angered by the offer), they signed him to a record 13 year, $325 million contract extension. After another bad season from the Marlins in 2017, new ownership led by Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter decided that the best move was to trade Stanton. After Stanton essentially narrowed his list of teams where he would accept a trade down to the Dodgers and Yankees, the Marlins were forced to trade him to the Yankees for Starlin Castro, Jesus Guzman, and Jose Devers. He left still being beloved in Miami as a top three player in the Marlins’ short franchise’s history.

Giancarlo Stanton Standard Batting
Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB Pos Awards
2010 20 FLA NL 100 396 359 45 93 21 1 22 59 5 2 34 123 .259 .326 .507 .833 118 182 7 2 0 1 6 9
2011 21 FLA NL 150 601 516 79 135 30 5 34 87 5 5 70 166 .262 .356 .537 .893 141 277 11 9 0 6 6 *9/8D MVP-23
2012 22 MIA NL 123 501 449 75 130 30 1 37 86 6 2 46 143 .290 .361 .608 .969 155 273 5 5 0 1 9 *9/D AS,MVP-24
2013 23 MIA NL 116 504 425 62 106 26 0 24 62 1 0 74 140 .249 .365 .480 .845 131 204 10 4 0 1 5 *9
2014 24 MIA NL 145 638 539 89 155 31 1 37 105 13 1 94 170 .288 .395 .555 .950 164 299 16 3 0 2 24 *9/D AS,MVP-2,SS
2015 25 MIA NL 74 318 279 47 74 12 1 27 67 4 2 34 95 .265 .346 .606 .952 159 169 5 2 0 3 6 9/D AS
2016 26 MIA NL 119 470 413 56 99 20 1 27 74 0 0 50 140 .240 .326 .489 .815 120 202 6 4 0 2 5 9/D
2017 27 MIA NL 159 692 597 123 168 32 0 59 132 2 2 85 163 .281 .376 .631 1.007 169 377 13 7 0 3 13 *9/D AS,MVP-1,SS
MIA (8 yrs) 986 4120 3577 576 960 202 10 267 672 36 14 487 1140 .268 .360 .554 .914 147 1983 73 36 0 19 74
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table Generated 12/5/2018.

SS Hanley Ramirez (2006-2012)

Marlins third baseman Hanley Ramirez fielding a ball against the Boston Red Sox.
(Photo via Steve Mitchell/US PRESSWIRE)

Ramirez had a long career of two at-bats with the Red Sox before being one of the key pieces in the trade for Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell, and Guillermo Mota. He earned the starting shortstop job over Robert Andino in spring training in 2006 and proceeded to hit .292/.353/.480, with 46 doubles, 11 triples, 17 home runs, and 51 stolen bases, winning the NL Rookie of the Year award over Ryan Zimmerman. He had an even better 2007 offensively but took a lot of steps backward defensively (-28 Rdrs). Even so, he was the face of the franchise after the Marlins traded away Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis. He would have three straight All-Star seasons, including an NL MVP runner-up season in 2009, before injuries began to plague him.

In September of 2010, Ramirez hurt his elbow while swinging and was shut down for the rest of the year. His 2011 was already slow enough before he was shut down in August. The Marlins would sign batting champ Jose Reyes before 2012, moving Ramirez to third, much to his earlier chagrin. His Marlins career finally ended on July 25, 2012, when he (along with Randy Choate) was traded to the Dodgers for Nathan Eovaldi and Scott McGough. Ramirez’s Marlin career resulted in a 26.9 bWAR (34.6 oWAR (1st in Marlins history), -3.3 dWAR), second-highest in Marlins history. He also ranks second in hits (1,103), doubles (232), total bases (1831), and runs scored (666), and ranks third in batting average (.300) and on-base percentage (.374).

Ramirez was a fixture in the Marlins lineup for seven years, and one could only wonder the fear that would appear in opposing pitchers if a healthy Stanton and Ramirez hit third and fourth in the lineup.

Hanley Ramirez Standard Batting
Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB Pos Awards
2006 22 FLA NL 158 700 633 119 185 46 11 17 59 51 15 56 128 .292 .353 .480 .833 116 304 7 4 5 2 0 *6 RoY-1
2007 23 FLA NL 154 706 639 125 212 48 6 29 81 51 14 52 95 .332 .386 .562 .948 145 359 10 7 4 4 3 *6/D MVP-10
2008 24 FLA NL 153 693 589 125 177 34 4 33 67 35 12 92 122 .301 .400 .540 .940 143 318 5 8 0 4 9 *6/D AS,MVP-11,SS
2009 25 FLA NL 151 652 576 101 197 42 1 24 106 27 8 61 101 .342 .410 .543 .954 148 313 9 9 1 5 14 *6 AS,MVP-2,SS
2010 26 FLA NL 142 619 543 92 163 28 2 21 76 32 10 64 93 .300 .378 .475 .853 126 258 14 7 0 5 12 *6 AS
2011 27 FLA NL 92 385 338 55 82 16 0 10 45 20 10 44 66 .243 .333 .379 .712 95 128 6 2 1 0 3 6/D
2012 28 MIA NL 93 395 353 49 87 18 2 14 48 14 4 37 72 .246 .322 .428 .749 100 151 11 3 0 2 1 5/D
MIA (7 yrs) 943 4150 3671 666 1103 232 26 148 482 230 73 406 677 .300 .374 .499 .873 129 1831 62 40 11 22 42
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table Generated 12/5/2018.

SP José Fernandez (2013-2016)

(Photo via Corn Farmer/Flickr)

Now we’re going to get a little bit controversial because of the circumstances. Fernandez only pitched for four seasons before his untimely death in September 2016, so one could argue that I am putting him on the Mount Rushmore based on pure potential. And that would be a reasonable argument. His 12.8 bWAR, which rank 5th in Marlins pitching, along with a 2.58 ERA (150+ ERA) and 589 strikeouts with two injury-shortened seasons show Hall of Fame and Mt. Rushmore potential, but should not have him leap over Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco, or AJ Burnett.

Instead, I will turn to his story, and what he meant to the Marlins and South Florida.

Fernandez had tried to defect from Cuba three unsuccessful times before making a successful attempt in 2007, settling in Tampa. During that attempt, he dove into the turbulent waters to save his mother who had fallen overboard. From there, he put up impressive numbers in high school en route to a 14th overall selection by the Marlins in 2011. He automatically connected with the thousands of Cuban-Americans living in South Florida, making him an instant fan favorite.

We first saw Jose’s skill and personality in his rookie year in 2013, where he put up the third-best season by a rookie pitcher, won the rookie of the year, all while giving us one of the greatest GIFs in MLB history:

Image result for jose fernandez gif

He had Tommy John surgery the next year, which ended his 2014 and shortened his 2015 season. But he regained form in 2016, and finished 7th in the Cy Young voting posthumously.

But enough about the accolades with Fernandez. You could see the change in the Marlins after his death. Stanton and former Marlin Christian Yelich admitted that the dynamic in the clubhouse immediately changed. Many people argue that the loss of Fernandez forced the Marlins to go into their deep rebuild after the 2017 season. Not only was the rotation in shambles, but the clubhouse would never be the same.

The game of baseball has developed into a game of numbers, which is perfectly okay. But Jose Fernandez was much more than numbers. He was a charismatic player, one that brought life and excitement to the Marlins clubhouse, along with typically dormant Marlins Park. Even after all he had been through. Teammates and rivals loved him. That alone gives him a deserving headstone in the Marlins Mount Rushmore.

Jose Fernandez Standard Pitching
Year Age Tm Lg W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP BK WP BF ERA+ FIP WHIP H9 HR9 BB9 SO9 SO/W Awards
2013 20 MIA NL 12 6 .667 2.19 28 28 0 0 0 0 172.2 111 47 42 10 58 5 187 5 1 3 681 176 2.73 0.979 5.8 0.5 3.0 9.7 3.22 AS,CYA-3,RoY-1
2014 21 MIA NL 4 2 .667 2.44 8 8 0 0 0 0 51.2 36 19 14 4 13 1 70 0 1 2 205 153 2.18 0.948 6.3 0.7 2.3 12.2 5.38
2015 22 MIA NL 6 1 .857 2.92 11 11 0 0 0 0 64.2 61 21 21 4 14 0 79 2 0 2 265 131 2.24 1.160 8.5 0.6 1.9 11.0 5.64
2016 23 MIA NL 16 8 .667 2.86 29 29 0 0 0 0 182.1 149 63 58 13 55 6 253 6 1 9 737 137 2.30 1.119 7.4 0.6 2.7 12.5 4.60 AS,CYA-7
4 Yrs 38 17 .691 2.58 76 76 0 0 0 0 471.1 357 150 135 31 140 12 589 13 3 16 1888 150 2.44 1.054 6.8 0.6 2.7 11.2 4.21
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/10/2018.

Final Spot Mentions:

2B Luis Castillo (1996-2005)

(Photo via Alan Diaz/AP)

Castillo is just about the closest thing to a lifetime Marlin, playing his first 10 years in the teal and black. He ranks first in hits, games played, plate appearances, at-bats, etc., and, because of those accumulated stats, is fourth in Marlins history in bWAR. However, Castillo is hurt by his lack of power, which makes him less valuable than the other players on this list.

Luis Castillo Standard Batting
Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB Pos Awards
1996 20 FLA NL 41 180 164 26 43 2 1 1 8 17 4 14 46 .262 .320 .305 .625 69 50 0 0 2 0 0 4
1997 21 FLA NL 75 291 263 27 63 8 0 0 8 16 10 27 53 .240 .310 .270 .580 58 71 6 0 1 0 0 4
1998 22 FLA NL 44 177 153 21 31 3 2 1 10 3 0 22 33 .203 .307 .268 .575 58 41 1 1 1 0 0 4
1999 23 FLA NL 128 563 487 76 147 23 4 0 28 50 17 67 85 .302 .384 .366 .750 98 178 3 0 6 3 0 *4
2000 24 FLA NL 136 626 539 101 180 17 3 2 17 62 22 78 86 .334 .418 .388 .806 111 209 11 0 9 0 0 *4
2001 25 FLA NL 134 612 537 76 141 16 10 2 45 33 16 67 90 .263 .344 .341 .685 82 183 6 1 4 3 0 *4
2002 26 FLA NL 146 668 606 86 185 18 5 2 39 48 15 55 76 .305 .364 .361 .726 95 219 7 2 4 1 4 *4 AS
2003 27 FLA NL 152 676 595 99 187 19 6 6 39 21 19 63 60 .314 .381 .397 .778 106 236 7 2 15 1 0 *4 AS,MVP-21,GG
2004 28 FLA NL 150 649 564 91 164 12 7 2 47 21 4 75 68 .291 .373 .348 .720 93 196 15 1 5 4 2 *4 GG
2005 29 FLA NL 122 524 439 72 132 12 4 4 30 10 7 65 32 .301 .391 .374 .765 108 164 11 1 18 1 1 *4 AS,GG
G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB Pos Awards
FLA (10 yrs) 1128 4966 4347 675 1273 130 42 20 271 281 114 533 629 .293 .370 .356 .726 94 1547 67 8 65 13 7
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/10/2018.

SP Josh Johnson (2005-2012)

(Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)

I was very close to putting Josh Johnson, the Marlins leader in pitching bWAR (25.9), ERA (3.15), and FIP (3.20), on the Mount Rushmore. After succumbing a spot for Jose Fernandez, I believed that Johnson was the most worthy player for the final headstone. But after doing some number crunching, Johnson was left off by a small margin.

Josh Johnson Standard Pitching
Year Age Tm Lg W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP BK WP BF ERA+ FIP WHIP H9 HR9 BB9 SO9 SO/W Awards
2005 21 FLA NL 0 0 3.65 4 1 0 0 0 0 12.1 11 5 5 0 10 0 10 1 0 0 55 112 4.07 1.703 8.0 0.0 7.3 7.3 1.00
2006 22 FLA NL 12 7 .632 3.10 31 24 1 0 0 0 157.0 136 63 54 14 68 6 133 4 1 3 659 140 3.99 1.299 7.8 0.8 3.9 7.6 1.96 RoY-4
2007 23 FLA NL 0 3 .000 7.47 4 4 0 0 0 0 15.2 26 17 13 1 12 3 14 0 0 1 82 60 4.58 2.426 14.9 0.6 6.9 8.0 1.17
2008 24 FLA NL 7 1 .875 3.61 14 14 0 1 0 0 87.1 91 36 35 7 27 1 77 1 0 4 365 121 3.37 1.351 9.4 0.7 2.8 7.9 2.85
2009 25 FLA NL 15 5 .750 3.23 33 33 0 2 0 0 209.0 184 77 75 14 58 6 191 6 0 10 855 133 3.06 1.158 7.9 0.6 2.5 8.2 3.29 AS
2010 26 FLA NL 11 6 .647 2.30 28 28 0 1 0 0 183.2 155 51 47 7 48 2 186 5 0 4 744 180 2.41 1.105 7.6 0.3 2.4 9.1 3.88 AS,CYA-5,MVP-25
2011 27 FLA NL 3 1 .750 1.64 9 9 0 0 0 0 60.1 39 13 11 2 20 2 56 1 1 2 234 239 2.64 0.978 5.8 0.3 3.0 8.4 2.80
2012 28 MIA NL 8 14 .364 3.81 31 31 0 0 0 0 191.1 180 84 81 14 65 7 165 4 0 5 798 107 3.40 1.280 8.5 0.7 3.1 7.8 2.54
MIA (8 yrs) 56 37 .602 3.15 154 144 1 4 0 0 916.2 822 346 321 59 308 27 832 22 2 29 3792 133 3.20 1.233 8.1 0.6 3.0 8.2 2.70
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/10/2018.

Instead, the final headstone will go to…

The Final Spot:

3B/LF/RF Miguel Cabrera (2003-2007)

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Before Miguel Cabrera was winning a Triple Crown for the Detroit Tigers, he was a Florida Marlin. And his age 20 rookie season, where he finished fifth in Rookie of the Year polling, ended with a World Series championship where all he did was take some old fellow named Roger Clemens deep:

Cabrera was an MVP candidate by his 2005 season and would have easily broke many Marlin records, but in one of the worst trades in baseball history, he was traded to the Tigers with Dontrelle Willis for Andrew Miller, Cameron Maybin, and other players who we really do not care about. The rest is history: a Triple Crown winner in 2012, back-to-back MVPs in 2012 and 2013, and the MLB’s best player at one point.

And yet, despite his premature departure from the Marlins, he did more than the likes of Johnson and Castillo, and earns the final spot on the Marlins Mount Rushmore.

Miguel Cabrera Standard Batting
Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB Pos Awards
2003 20 FLA NL 87 346 314 39 84 21 3 12 62 0 2 25 84 .268 .325 .468 .793 106 147 12 2 4 1 3 75 MVP-27,RoY-5
2004 21 FLA NL 160 685 603 101 177 31 1 33 112 5 2 68 148 .294 .366 .512 .879 130 309 20 6 0 8 5 *97/D AS,MVP-22
2005 22 FLA NL 158 685 613 106 198 43 2 33 116 1 0 64 125 .323 .385 .561 .947 151 344 20 2 0 6 12 *75 AS,MVP-5,SS
2006 23 FLA NL 158 676 576 112 195 50 2 26 114 9 6 86 108 .339 .430 .568 .998 159 327 18 10 0 4 27 *5/D AS,MVP-5,SS
2007 24 FLA NL 157 680 588 91 188 38 2 34 119 2 1 79 127 .320 .401 .565 .965 150 332 17 5 1 7 23 *5/D AS,MVP-15
FLA (5 yrs) 720 3072 2694 449 842 183 10 138 523 17 11 322 592 .313 .388 .542 .929 143 1459 87 25 5 26 70
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/10/2018.

Honorable Mention:

CF Home Run Sculpture (2012-2018)

Image result for marlins home run sculpture

If it was not for Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Fernandez, the Marlins would still be talked about around baseball because of this colorful contraption.

The sculpture, which flashed with every Marlins home run, was already a heated topic among Miami-Dade taxpayers and Marlins fans. Most baseball fans believed that the sculpture was too tacky or ugly. However, designer Red Grooms refused to allow the sculpture to be removed from the park until 2018, when CEO Derek Jeter received permission to move the sculpture to an outdoor plaza. Starting in 2019, the area where the sculpture used to be would be replaced with standing room area.

It is funny how the third most popular thing in Marlins history happens to be a highly unpopular sculpture. And yet, that is the reason why it falls just short of being on the Marlins Mount Rushmore.

(Actual Honorable Mention: Gary Sheffield, left off because his Marlin stats are aided by one stellar 1996.)


Featured Photo: Reed Zahradnik/Diamond Digest

Payton Ellison

Payton Malloy Ellison is a current Journalism sophomore at SUNY New Paltz with goals of becoming a sports journalist and broadcaster. He has been writing semi-professionally about sports for three years, starting with monthly coverage for the NBA and Major League Baseball on Grrindtime. Recently, he has written and edited articles, and assisted in growing the brand of Diamond Digest. Additionally, he is a co-host of Sports Corner on 88.7 WFNP The Edge, writes weekly articles for New Paltz's Athletic Communications Department, and provides play-by-play and color commentary for SUNY New Paltz basketball.

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