Juan Pierre, in an ugly Philadelphia Phillies uniform. Happy birthday Juan! (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
Miami MarlinsThis Day In Marlins History
On this date, August 14, 1977, one of the Marlins' greatest center fielders was born.
On this date in 1977, Juan Pierre was born in Mobile, AL, and many years later, he would become one of the premier speedsters in baseball. After being drafted out of the University of South Alabama, Pierre spent five seasons in the Colorado Rockies organization, including his first two-plus seasons in the majors. In those seasons, he developed his reputation that remains today: contact and lots of speed.
Though he was drafted by the Rockies, Pierre's most successful career run clearly came with the Florida Marlins. He was traded to the Fish in a multi-team deal in the 2003 offseason that eventually yielded the Fish Pierre and Tim Spooneybarger. Pierre became the prize of that deal, as the Fish acquired the man who would play center field and lead off for the team for three seasons, including a memorable 2003 World Series run.In 2003, Pierre played all 162 games for the Marlins, the first of five seasons in a row in which he played every game, and put up some strong numbers. He hit .305/.361/.373 and stole a league-best 65 bases, en route to a season rated between 3.4 to 4.7 Wins Above Replacement (WAR), depending on which source you ask. The Fish rode that production at the top of the lineup to the team's second World Series, and Pierre played a grand role in that team. In the NLCS, Pierre hit .303/.343/.455, and he followed that up with a .333/.481/.429 performance in the World Series. Pierre was perceived as so critical to the Marlins that he actually garnered a 10th place showing in the MVP voting that year.
Pierre went on to have two more seasons with the Fish before being traded to the Chicago Cubs for Ricky Nolasco, Sergio Mitre, and Renyel Pinto. Pierre had 2214 PA as a Marlin, the most on any one team in his career, and he hit .303/.354/.378 with 167 steals. He led the league in steals once as a Fish (and led the league in caught stealing three times as a Marlin as well), and the entire package netted a Marlins career wOBA of .329. He accumulated somewhere between 7.3 and 13.2 wins for the Marlins in his time with the Fish, and the memories of 2003 were still more than enough to overlook some of his game's flaws.
Indeed, in the end, the Marlins will always remember him as their team's amazing speedster center fielder, whom they have tried to replace since he left. But on this date, August 14, 1977, he was born to the world and a future career as professional base stealer. Happy birthday, Juan D'Vaughn Pierre!