Miami Marlins History 4/5
Twenty-four seasons ago to the day, the first season in the history of Florida baseball got underway at Joe Robbie Stadium. If you’re reading this, you shouldn’t need any telling on who threw that first pitch.
On April 5th, 1993, grizzled knuckleballer Charlie Hough– with a bit of an assist from a historically attuned home plate umpire- delivered the first pitch in Marlins history to catcher Benito Santiago for a strike. The newly minted MLB team wouldn’t fail to reward the sell-out crowd that showed up to inaugurate baseball in South Florida, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-3. And the rest is history.
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Well, at least there was certainly a lot of links to franchise history present. Left fielder/first baseman Jeff Conine would have a field day, going 4-4 with a stolen base; over the 161 remaining games he would play in that season, he’d steal a bag precisely one more time. Hough would earn the win, and Bryan Harvey would nail down his first of 45 saves- a single season record that would stand for over a decade.
Taking the loss for the Dodgers that day was Orel Hershiser, who of course has his own link to Marlins history. April 5th, 1993 would be the only time in eleven tries that he earned the loss when facing off against the Fish. That said, even after allowing ten hits that afternoon, the former Cy Young winner likely would have laughed out loud if you told him baseball’s newest club would get the better of his team twice more when it mattered the most, just four postseasons down the road.
Nothing like Opening Day to romanticize the course a game, season, or career might take.