Greatest Moments in Marlins History: #1 The Florida Marlins Begin
By Andy Salgado
MIAMI, FL – APRIL 6: The expansion Florida Marlins (R) listen to the National Anthem along side the Los Angeles Dodgers 06 April 1993 on Opening Day of the 1993 Major League Baseball season. The Marlins defeated the Dodgers 6-3. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read ANDREW ITKOFF/AFP/Getty Images)
Welcome back to the Greatest Moments in Marlins History. We have come a long way since November 1, 2013. Together we have counted down the days and moments until Opening Day. From All-Star moments, to pitching feats, World Series wins, awards, and rookie sensations (sorry had to get that phase in here one last time). We have laughed, cried, and cheered the past 149 greatest moments. With Opening Day tomorrow I am proud to bring you The Greatest Moment in Marlins History Moment #1: The first pitch in Florida Marlins History.
The story of the Marlins began on August 8, 1985, when MLB announced that they will be added two teams to the National League. 6 cities were fighting tooth and nail to have one of those two teams play in their city. Wayne Huizenga would spearhead the movement to get the city of Miami a team. After proposals, money offers, and tours of the Joe Robbie Stadium to show that baseball would be great in the city of Miami, on June 10, 1991 MLB announced Miami would be one of the cities getting a new team. The next 2 years were a whirlwind of drafts, try outs, free agents signing, a name the team contest, finding a mascot, and selling tickets. 1993 came and the Marlins were ready to call Miami its home.
I’m a huge Marlins fan, but it’s no secret that I’m also a huge baseball fan. I haven’t always been a Marlins fan, because from 1985-1992 there was no Marlins. I grew up with no team to call my own. Sure I was a St. Louis Cardinals fan, but that was because of my Abuelo. Back in the 50’s he got a Spring Training try-out with the Cardinals and played some minor league ball with them, so I jumped on the Cardinals bandwagon with him. I cheered for the Cardinals anytime their games came on NBC or CBS (honestly I can’t remember what channel it was it was so long ago). My little league team was even named the Cardinals. The more I thought about it, though, the more I wanted a team of my own in my hometown. So I was excited when they announced that we were getting the Marlins. Finally a team of my own, a team I could watch everyday instead of hoping they would be on Saturday’s Game of the Week, and I could finally go to a real game. The Marlins were coming to town and they were here to stay.
April 5, 1993 was the inaugural game for the Florida Marlins. That football stadium turned into a baseball park was filled with 42,334 screaming Miami baseball fans. Today we were able to show that the past 7 ½ years of hard work were worth it. It was finally going to happen- we finally had baseball in Miami. The crowd was crazy. Tailgaters were outside playing dominos, talking about baseball, drinking, eating, and just having a good old time. The music, the fun, the people, we were so close to finally having the Marlins play. So how did we start the Opening Day for the Marlins? How about having Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio throw out the first pitch? He threw a perfect strike for a man his age. Time to play ball!
Out came the Marlins. Charlie Hough headed to the mound and Benito Santiago took his position behind the plate. The crowd was alive and loud. As Charlie took a few warm up pitches, the crowd kept cheering. This was it. I was finally going to get to see my first game live. The warm ups were done and up came Jose Offerman. Charlie looked at Benito waiting for the signal (who are you trying to fool? We all know it was going to be a knuckleball). We all cheered as we waited for that pitch. Charlie nodded (knuckle), set and let it rip! STRIKE 1 IN FLORIDA MARLINS HITSORY! The crowd went wild! I should say stayed wild! 42,334 screaming fans! This was the beginning of the Florida Marlins!
I always tell people that the day I saw that knuckle ball knuckle that was it, I was a Marlins fan for life. It’s been true ever since. After 21 years I have continued to root for our Marlins. Whether they are Florida or Miami they will always be our Marlins. It has been an honor and a blast to bring you these 150 Greatest Moments in Marlins History. I’m a little sad that it’s over, but excited that baseball is back tomorrow. What has been your favorite moment? Just remember, whether it’s with your family, friends, co-workers, or someone you just met, go out and make your own baseball moment memories; because in the end it’s your moment so make the most of it. Join me next week for the return of “The Good, The Great, and The Marlins Game Recap!” Here is to many more greatest moment for our Marlins. Who knows, maybe this year will bring us new moments for this countdown. Thank you all.