Editor’s note: We’re about to debut two new authors here at Marlin Maniac. Today, we start off with James C. Etzbach Jr, better known as @ManOfTeal on his usual Twitter stomping grounds. James will be bringing a more light-hearted, stat-free look at the history and other goings on of the Florida Marlins, and he’ll be doing so regularly every Thursday. Please give him a warm welcome, fellow Maniacs, and tell us what you think.
With the Florida Marlins moving into their new home next year and changing their name to the Miami Marlins, a topic I will discuss sometime in the near future, I wanted to take a look back at the Marlins’ humble beginnings and I figured what better way to do that than by showing you some Upper Deck Marlins baseball cards from 1993. These are all original Marlins, as in, they were actually wearing a Marlins jersey on opening day in 1993. These cards are actually from my own personal card collection that I scanned for you to envy, and no you can not have them….NOT YOURS!
First Baseman: Orestes Destrade #39
Not only did Orestes not fear potential ridicule that comes from wearing glasses on the ball field he also came all the way from Japan to play first base for the Marlins in 1993 and 1994. As a Marlin he battled nerd rage and posted a .246 batting average. Orestes eventually went back to Japan’s Siebu Lions in 1995. He is apparently also a “MILF Hunter“, who knew? Today you can find Orestes as a radio and TV analyst for the Tampa Bay Rays.
Second Basemen: Bret Barberie #8
The man with the hot (ex) wife Jillian Reynolds (Barberie). He is most famous not for just being an original Marlin but also for somehow rubbing chili sauce into his eye while making nachos causing him to miss an entire game – not while he was a Marlin though; we don’t allow that kind of foolishness. Bret also sported a party in the back, business up front mullet that would have made 1980s Mel Gibson jealous. He posted a decent .289 batting average playing in 206 games for the Marlins in 1993 and 1994. He has not been seen in a Major League uniform since he last played with the Cubs in 1996.
Third Baseman: Dave Magadan #18
Dave Magadan is the cousin of Lou Piniella although I do not recall any instances where Magadan launched into a mad rage by throwing bases around like they were Frisbees nor do I remember him sharing Piniella’s fetish for kicking dirt on a perfectly clean umpire (not while he was a Marlin at least). Magadan’s contribution to Marlins lore consisted of a .281 batting average in two seasons with the fish in 1993 and 1994. His time at third base was significantly diminished once Gary Sheffield was acquired later in 1993. Dave Magadan last played for the San Diego Padres in 2001 and today he sits fat and happy as the hitting coach for the Boston Red Sox.
Shortstop: Walt Weiss #22
Weiss’ contributions to the Marlins were short-lived in that he was only with the club for the 1993 season where he posted a modest .266 batting average. Weiss last played for the Atlanta Braves in 2000. Weiss, or rather his kid, was involved in shutting down a local Atlanta area water park in 1998 when he contracted E. coli from the tainted feces-infested water in the kiddie pool. Let that be a lesson for you kids, don’t drink the water at a water park. Seriously, that’s just plain nasty.
Catcher: Benito Santiago #09
Benito’s talents included throwing out would-be base stealers from his knees. He spent two seasons with the Marlins in 1993 and 1994 and posted a .248 batting average. He was replaced by Marlins hero Charles Johnson in 1995. Benito was an NLCS hero for the San Fransisco Giants in 2002 and was last seen wearing a Pittsburgh Pirates uniform in 2005.
Outfielder: Jeff Conine #19
If you are not familiar with this guy than you are not a Marlins fan. Either that, or you have a seriously bad case of Alzheimer’s and you should get checked out. Known throughout the galaxy as, “Mr. Marlin,” or as simply just, “Niner,” though the back of the baseball card refers to him as, “Conine the Barbarian”……WTF? Conine is the only original Marlin that is able to slap both of his Marlins’ World Series rings down on a table and call you a punk and then, just to be a bad ass, he can get up in your face with his All-Star MVP trophy from 1994. Let’s put it this way, this man is a God in Marlins lore. Conine spent nine seasons with the fish, not consecutively, but it doesn’t matter because he was a Marlin when it counted the most, posting a .290 batting average and hitting a metric-crap ton of home runs (120 = metric-crap ton). Today he can be seen on Fox Sports Florida along side Rich Waltz and Tommy Hutton calling Marlins games.
Outfielder: Chuck Carr #21
Let it be known that Chuck-E-Carr is to this day my favorite Marlin player ever! Not only did he swipe 58 bases in 1993 while sporting an epic porn-star stache, he also would roll up the sleeves of his jersey just so people could see the cannons he had for arms. Chuck spent three seasons with the Marlins and hit a mediocre.256 which did not matter because he tore up the base paths and looked cool doing it. Rumor is he drove a yellow 1993 Acura NSX to various Miami clubs to get his groove on. Baller! Chuck was last seen playing ball for the Houston Astros in 1997.
NOTE: I am well aware that Scott Pose was actually the opening day starter in center field and that he was also the first batter in Marlins history, however, Pose only played in 15 games for the Marlins, so in terms of total historical contribution to the Marlins as a whole, Carr > Pose.
Outfielder: Junior Felix #47
Out of all the Inaugural Season Marlins I know the least about Junior Felix. It could be because he only spent the 1993 season with the fish and he batted .238. I do remember hearing rumors that he named his kid Junior Felix Junior, which in my honest opinion is just cruel and probably should be considered as a form of child abuse.
Tune in next week for the Marlins’ 1993 Inaugural Season Pitchers………