Which player in the history of the Miami Marlins organization will be the first to have his number retired? There are many possibilities.
Sometimes running back to an older story you read leads to great debate concerning the Miami Marlins. Which player should be the first one to have their jersey retired by this organization? Who during their time with the Florida Marlins or the current Miami ball club, should be the first to receive such an honor?
There are a few names that come to mind when discussing the topic.
There are others, but for the sake of the story, is it possible Miami Marlins fans haven’t seen that player yet. Is he working through the minors, waiting for his chance to shine and become the best to ever put on a Miami Marlins uniform? Joe Frisaro of MLB.com believes the future lies in the team’s most recent first-round draft pick.
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"“When the Marlins selected JJ Bleday with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2019 Draft, they believed they had found a future face of the franchise,” he writes."
You can make the argument Bleday is a great choice as a future retiree, but with his MLB arrival date probably a year away and fans and the front office not knowing how the next 24 months will play out, it’s a consideration, not a certainty.
Bleday was drafted out of Vanderbilt in Derek Jeter’s second wave of the MLB Draft. His concentration moved from young pitchers the organization could develop over time to brining in power hitters with experience in college. The outfield was a real concern in the team’s minor league system.
That is no longer the case with Bleday, Kam Misner, and others showing they will belong in The Show in a few short years.
"“Since their inaugural season in 1993, the Marlins have never retired a player’s number. Previously, No. 5 was retired in honor of the late Carl Barger, the organization’s first team president. Barger passed in ’92, before the Marlins played a game. The No. 5 was retired as a tribute, because Barger’s all-time favorite player was Joe DiMaggio,” Frisaro added.“The closest number to being officially retired by Miami is No. 16, last worn by the late José Fernández. While that number is not retired, it’s also not available.”"
No one wears No. 42 in MLB anymore to honor the late Jackie Robinson.
So if not Bleday, then who would be up for consideration? Is there a chance Brian Anderson, one of the team’s homegrown talents, becomes the best player to wear No. 15? If Sandy Alcantara becomes the team’s all-time leader in wins, would the Marlins put No. 22 on the shelf? Will it be No. 60, worn by Monte Harrison, who will make his MLB debut at some point this season?
The choices are endless, which also presents another issue. There isn’t a player who stands out as the face of this franchise – yet.
Bleday may, in fact, be the best option. But until the Miami Marlins make that decision, it remains a great argument to have.
Bleday is the Marlins No. 2 prospect and the No. 28 prospect overall by MLB Pipeline. There is plenty of ability in his bat, the one that helped Vanderbilt win the 2019 College World Series. He figures to begin the season in Jupiter at High Class-A and then move up to Jacksonville, the Miami Marlins Double-A affiliate at some point this coming season.
He hit 27 home runs his final season in college while carrying a .354 batting average.