Cody Ross spent parts of five seasons with the Florida Marlins.
Inarguably, Cody Ross‘ five seasons with the Marlins were the best he had to offer major league baseball. During his 12-season big-league career, he earned a total WAR of 13.6. He earned 9.4 of that with the Marlins.
Ross was a five-foot-11, 195 lb. outfielder from Portales, NM, population 12,280 according to the 2010 U.S. Census. Born on this date in 1980, Ross was chosen out of Carlsbad High School by the Detroit Tigers in the fourth round of the 1999 MLB Amateur Entry Draft, with the 117th overall pick. Growing up, however, Ross had other goals in mind, according to SI Live:
"In the back of my mind I knew what I wanted to do when I got older and as a career. I wanted to be a professional baseball player. It’s the only thing I ever wanted to do after I wanted to be a rodeo clown."
Ross, who’s father was a team roper and steer wrestler, would dress up as a rodeo clown and sit in the stands with the customary red nose of a rodeo clown at his father’s events. His love of baseball began around the age of 10.
Ross worked his way up through the Tiger’s system, eventually making his major league debut with Detroit in 2003. After going four-for-19 over six games, he was sent back to the minors, and didn’t appear with the parent club again.
After a trade, Ross resurfaced in the majors with the Los Angeles Dodgers for a total of 22 games between 2005 and 2006. Just into the 2006 season, the Dodgers traded him to the Cincinnati Reds. He was only in the Cincinnati system for a month, appearing in two major league games before getting purchased by the Florida Marlins.
Ross finally spent his rookie status with the 78-84 Marlins that season, appearing in 91 games for Florida. He only slashed .212/.284/.396, with 11 home runs and 37 RBI, with a 76 OPS+ and a -0.7 WAR.
A strained left hamstring kept Ross from a full campaign in 2007, but in the 66 games he appeared in, he put up a team-third 2.8 WAR and a career- and team-best 173 OPS+. He slashed out a .335/.411/.653 line with a dozen home runs and 39 RBI for the 71-91 Marlins.
2008 would be Ross’ most productive overall major league season, as measured by his 3.4 WAR. He slashed .260/.316/.488 with 22 round-trippers and 73 RBI. Nicknamed both “Ross the Boss,” and “The Toy Cannon,” Ross lived up to his moniker with eight outfield assists, and was 15 DRS better than the average outfielder with only one error in 1064 1/3 innings. Despite his heroics, the Marlins finished at 84-77, five-and-a-half games out of the National League Wildcard.
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Florida got their money’s worth out of Ross again in 2009. He smacked a career best 24 homers and 90 RBI, with a .270/.321/.469 line in 151 games. Although only worth five DRS above average in the outfield, he still assisted on six plays in 1308 1/3 innings of work. His 2.4 WAR was the third best mark while with the Marlins, and would remain the third best mark of his career. Florida finished five games out of the money, at 87-75.
In 2010, Ross hit .265/.316/.405 in 120 games for Florida, with 11 home runs and 58 RBI. On August 22nd, the Marlins placed Ross on waivers, where he was selected by the San Francisco Giants.
Ross played a season-and-a-half with the Giants, later spending 2012 with the Boston Red Sox, two years with the Arizona Diamondbacks, and nine games at the major league level with the Oakland Athletics in 2015. He didn’t again appear in organized baseball.
Ross left baseball with 904 hits to his credit, including 211 doubles and 132 home runs. He was recently the number 23 all-time Marlin on the Marlin Maniac countdown.