Last week we discussed the inaugural season Marlins hitters and, as I promised, this week I will continue that discussion highlighting some of the most prominent members of the Marlins inaugural season pitching staff.
Starting Pitcher: Charlie Hough #49
While most of the players on the Marlins inaugural season roster were just beginning their careers, Charlie Hough was completing his quarter century long knuckle-ball crusade. Charlie, like current Marlins manager Jack McKeon, probably knows what it was like before the earth cooled and dinosaurs roamed the land. Due to the throwing mechanics involved, knuckle-ball pitchers are a unique and rare breed. Pitchers able to successfully throw the knuckle-ball get to bask in the glory of having a lengthy career and driving both hitters and catchers batshiat crazy in the process. He is famous for being the opening day starting pitcher for the Marlins in 1993. His visage is currently emblazoned on the outfield wall at Joe Robbie/Pro Player/Dolphin/LandShark/SunLife Stadium. Charlie also finished his career with the fish, retiring at the ripe old age of 46 after the end of the 1994 season.
Starting Pitcher: Jack Armstrong #77
Jack Armstrong is in no relation to Stretch Armstrong though he does have one of the best names for a pitcher ever! I personally had the privilege of witnessing Jack pitch the Marlins to victory over the Atlanta Braves during the first game of the inaugural season series between the two teams at old Atlanta Fulton County Stadium. The Marlins swept that two-game series, by the way. Jack was only with the Fish for one season and was last seen wearing a Texas Rangers uniform in 1994.
Starting Pitcher: Chris Hammond #38
Though he was paid primarily to pitch for the Fish, Hammond’s tenure as a Marlin also included two home runs, one of which was a pinch-hit grand slam. Chris had a roller coaster career; after spending 1993 to 1996 with the Marlins, he went on to pitch for the Boston Red Sox in 1997, and then came back to pitch in a whopping three whole games for the Marlins in 1998 before requiring shoulder surgery that prompted him to retire. Oh no, he wasn’t done there! Channeling Brett Favre, Hammond made a comeback attempt in 2001 with the Atlanta Braves, then the New York Yankees in 2003, during which he gave up an earned run to the Marlins in the World Series – good man! He then played for the Oakland Athletics in 2004, the San Diego Padres in 2005, and finally the Cincinnati Reds, where he began his career, in 2006 before finally saying goodbye to baseball for good.
Starting Pitcher: Cris Carpenter #44
Not to be confused with Chris Carpenter, though both have pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals. Cris spent about half the season with the Marlins in 1993, before shipping off to the Texas Rangers for the remainder of the season. He was last seen wearing a Milwaukee Brewers uniform in 1996, and today is a social studies teacher (why is it always either social studies or world geography?) at Gainesville High School, his alma mater, in Gainesville, Georgia.
Relief Pitcher: Bryan Harvey #34
Two things should come to mind when you see a guy with a handlebar mustache, red and neck. Imagine him, if you will, with a fishing hook on the bill of his hat, a la, Larry the Cable Guy, except for the fact that he plays for the Marlins, and that would be highly counterintuitive. Bryan was a lights out reliever, and was the team’s primary closer during most of his three year tenure with the Marlins from 1993 to 1995. He did spent a decent amount of time on the disabled list in his later years as a Marlin though. He and Gary Sheffield were the representative Marlins at the 1993 All-Star game.
Relief Pitcher: Trevor Hoffman #51
That’s right kids, the man that helped define what it means to be a closer began his storied career in a Marlins uniform. Though not a Marlin for very long, he only recorded two saves as a fish before being traded to the San Diego Padres, during their titanic fire sale in 1993, for some guy named Gary Sheffield. His pitching style consisted of a high leg kick and an evil changeup. Hoffman was known for his professionalism and his classy character, Trevor proudly wore the Padres uniform from 1993 until 2008. He spent his final two seasons, 2009 and 2010, as the closer for the Milwaukee Brewers. The Padres are planning to
beat their chests and proudly boast celebrate the MLB all-time saves leader when they retire his number at Petco Park after the August 21 game against the Marlins (how appropriate and somehow irritating at the same time). That’s alright fellow Marlins fans, don’t get mad, just Google, “San Diego Padres World Series Titles.”
While this is not an exhaustive list of Marlins inaugural season players I do think I covered the ones that counted for the most part, and the ones that had an entertaining story to tell, (Pat Rapp, unfortunately was not all that exciting, other than the fact that he had a catchy name, so I left him off my list. No offense Pat). Anyway, I hope that I have entertained you and I sincerely hope for those of you that were there in the beginning that I have brought back fond memories of the original “Men of Teal.”
Tune in next week to find out how a kid who grew up and still resides in the Atlanta suburbs became one of the biggest Marlins fans of all time, OF ALL TIME!