The Marlins have a lone representative in Tuesday night’s All-Star Game at Citi Field in New York.
Rookie Jose Fernandez, a 20-year-old right-hander, should have the time of his young baseball life.
But will he ever make … the Marlins’ very own All-Star team?
Here’s my rundown of the position-by-position selections for the best of the Florida/Miami Marlins through the years:
Derrek Lee: The quiet man spent six seasons with the Marlins, and was far more valuable than his .264 batting average with them might indicate. He had a big 2003 season (31 homers, 92 RBIs, a Gold Glove) when the Marlins were World Series champions. And he’s one of the nicest guys ever to grace the clubhouse.
Runner-up: Hmm. …
Luis Castillo: He left after the 2005 season but remains the franchise leader in games played, runs scored, hits, singles, triples, walks, at-bats, multi-hit games and stolen bases. He spent a decade with the team and had 35-game hitting streak in 2002. He played on World Series title teams in 1997 and ‘03, and hit .314 in the second of those championship seasons.
Runner-up: Dan Uggla.
Hanley Ramirez: The guy too often was a malcontent and didn’t always hustle, but, at his best, he was great. He batted .300 in seven seasons with the Marlins, and had 33 homers and 35 stolen bases in 2008. How’d he back up that performance? Ramirez won the National League batting crown the next year with a .342 average.
Runners-up: Alex Gonzalez and Edgar Renteria.
Mike Lowell: He spent seven seasons with the Marlins, and was their captain without the designation. He had 35 homers and 105 RBIs in 2003, and came back the next year to go 27/85 in those categories. He hit .272 during his tenure here.
Runner-up: Miguel Cabrera.
Charles Johnson: He wasn’t much of a hitter (a .241 average in two stints covering seven seasons with the Marlins), but he was extraordinary behind the plate (four Gold Gloves). In ‘97 when the Marlins won the first of their two World Series titles, Johnson caught 123 games – 1,076-plus innings – without an error. And he hit .357 with a home run in that year’s World Series.
Runner-up: Pudge Rodriguez.
Gary Sheffield, Miguel Cabrera and Giancarlo Stanton: There’s not a lot of defense with this group, and there’s no center fielder. But how ‘bout that offense?
Sheffield, who came to the Marlins in the middle of their inaugural season (1993), was their first big bat and eventually became an anchor of the World Series title team four years later. He had 42 homers with 120 runs RBIs during the 1996 season, and hit .288 in six years with the team. He fills in at center on this club.
Cabrera was a monster (138 homers, 523 RBIs, .313 average) in five seasons with the Marlins, who’ll forever rue having traded him, and was an emerging star as a rookie on the ‘03 World Series club.
The book on the 23-year-old Stanton is in its earliest chapters, but he already has established himself as a power hitter deluxe with 103 homers as a Marlin.
Runners-up: Jeff Conine, Moises Alou, Cliff Floyd, Preston Wilson and Juan Pierre.
Josh Beckett, Ricky Nolasco, Kevin Brown, Dontrelle Willis and Josh Johnson: Beckett was as big-game big as they come (see: World Series MVP, 2003). Nolasco is the franchise career leader in wins, innings pitched and strikeouts. Brown was pure nasty (a 2.30 ERA as a Marlin). Willis, a lefty, was a 22-game winner one season, and a delightfully entertaining personality. Oh, what Johnson might have been without the injuries.
Runners-up: A.J. Burnett, Anibal Sanchez and Ryan Dempster.
Robb Nen: He’s the franchise leader in saves with 108 in five seasons. Case closed.
Runner-up: Antonio Alfonseca.
Jack McKeon: He managed the ‘03 team to a World Series title, had a winning record overall and has more victories on the job than anyone else in franchise history. He has been an ambassador and a lovable, old-school curmudgeon. He has held the gig on his own and in relief of others when asked to clean up whatever mess awaited him in the wake of owner Jeffrey Loria’s whims.
Runner-up: Jim Leyland.
That’s my team.
Who you got?
An all-time Marlins all-star team would have plenty of punch.
Luis Castillo, 2B
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Miguel Cabrera, LF
Gary Sheffield, CF
Mike Lowell, 3B
Derrek Lee, 1B
Giancarlo Stanton, RF
Charles Johnson, C
Josh Beckett, P