Miami Marlins History: Best Single-Season Hitters

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 23: Jon Berti #55 of the Miami Marlins connects on a ninth inning base hit against the New York Mets at Citi Field on September 23, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 23: Jon Berti #55 of the Miami Marlins connects on a ninth inning base hit against the New York Mets at Citi Field on September 23, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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MIAMI – OCTOBER 10: Ivan Rodriguez #7 of the Florida Marlins. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images) /

Ivan Rodriguez 2003: 120 OPS+

For the first dozen years of his major league career, Ivan Rodriguez backstopped the Texas Rangers. From age 19 through age 30, Rodriguez hit .305/.342/.489 with 215 homers and 829 RBI, stealing 80 bases in 1,479 contests and making nine All Star teams for the American League.

Prior to the 2003 season, 10-time Gold Glover Rodriguez signed with the Florida Marlins for one-year and $10 million.

"Now I have to help the Marlins win a lot of games. – Rodriguez, as quoted by Jack Curry in the New York Times."

From 1992 through 2007, Rodriguez failed to make the All Star team only twice, in 2002 for the Rangers, then the next year, his only one with the Marlins. That’s not to say he had a subpar year for the Fish. In 144 games, Rodriguez hit .297/.369/.474 with 16 homers and 85 RBI. He also stole 10 bases and finished with multiple hits in 45 games altogether, including 13 games where he collected at least three.

On April 8, Pudge had a unique batting line in a 4-2 loss to the Mets. In five plate appearances, he walked five times, adding a stolen base for good measure. On July 13, in an 11-4 win against the Expos, he was four-for-four with three doubles and five RBI.

Of course, Rodriguez was instrumental in helping the Marlins to a 91-71 record and their second-ever playoff position, leading the team with a WAR of 4.5. Defensively, Rodriguez joined the Marlins with six seasons of 50-plus percent base-stealers getting cut down by his laser-rocket arm in the bag. For Florida, he fielded at a .992 clip and threw out 33 percent of would-be thieves.

In the postseason, Rodriguez went 21-for-67 with three homers and 17 RBI in Florida’s 17 contests on their way to their second World Series Championship. Pudge was named the NLCS MVP after going nine-for-28 with two homers and 10 RBI in the Marlins’ seven-game series win over the Cubs.

Rodriguez followed his season with the Marlins by joining the Detroit Tigers for the next four-and-a-half seasons. He later appeared with the Yankees, the Houston Astros, again with the Rangers, and the Washington Nationals. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first look, back in 2017. Since then, his sone Dereck has made his major league debut and gone 12-15 with a 4.10 ERA in two seasons pitching for the San Francisco Giants.

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