Whenever a Marlins fan hears the name Alex Gonzalez, it is impossible not to instantly think of his spine-chilling walk-off homerun in the 12th inning of the 2003 World Series. Not only did this clutch moment tie the series up at 2-2, but completely changed the momentum moving forward. The Marlins never looked back. Not known for his bat, Gonzalez was hitting an even .100 in the playoffs leading up to that plate appearance. As fate would have it, his 331-foot homer, that would have rolled to the wall in Marlins Park, barely skimmed over the top of the left field fence at Pro Player Stadium into those mysterious folded up bleachers, never to be seen again.
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Although Gonzalez will always be remembered for this moment of greatness, he was defined by his slick glove and flashy double plays that stood out from year to year. He made defense cool before teams started to value it so heavily.
Applying fielding metrics to his Marlins career, Gonzalez was the highest graded Marlin of all time and teamed with Luis Castillo to form an elite tandem up the middle. There are striking similarities between these two and the current pairing of Adeiny Hechavarria and Dee Gordon which any Marlins fan can appreciate.
Ranking 5th all-time in games played for the Fish, Gonzalez was the quintessential 8-hole hitter that fans rallied behind and will forever live throughout Miami Marlins history for his version of ‘the shot heard round the world’.