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Favorite Marlin Contest: Round One, Day One

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As announced earlier, today we're kicking off the Favorite Marlin contest. There are four brackets: Teal (Old School), Ugly Years (98 - 02), 97 World Champs, and 03 World Champs. You can view and download a bracket here.

Each day, for the next eight days (weekends included), we will list four first round matchups (one from each bracket). Once the first round concludes, we'll move to the second round, where we'll eliminate 16 more people. The second round will take four days (starting next Friday - approximately). That brings us to the Sweet Sixteen, which will take two more days. The Great 8 can be done in one day, as can the Final Four and the Finals. In total, that means this contest will take us 17 days (so we should end somewhere around August 13th). I reserve the right to change the process a little, depending on how many people are participating (for instance, if a lot of people are voting, we may allow the Finals and/or Final Four voting to go for two days instead of just one day).

Voting is open now and voting in this bracket will continue until noon on Thursday. (Technically, the polls will still be open after that, but we will declare a winner at noon.)

Not only are you encouraged to vote for your favorite, you are also encouraged to write a comment and/or diary to try to sway others into voting along with you (as an example, I'm fairly certain that Wiggins will come up with something grand for Bret Barberie).

There will be a brief description provided each day for the day's eligible players. We'll be voting on 64 players in total and I'm sure that the details on at least some guys will be fuzzy for each of us from time to time.

Keep in mind that we'll be voting for the players in the era that applies to their particular bracket, so 1997's Jeff Conine or Al Leiter might merit different consideration from you than the 2005 editions.

(Note that you will see seeds listed next to players' names quite frequently. These are their seeds in the brackets, not the players' jersey numbers. The seeds were done just for fun.)

Today's Matchups

Teal Bracket
#1 Jeff Conine - Between 1993 and 1996 Jeff Conine earned the nickname of Mr. Marlin. In 1995 he was named the MVP of the All-Star game; he is the only Marlin to ever win this distinction.

#16 Jerry Browne - Browne manned 3rd for the 1994 and 1995 squads. His campaign during strike shortened 1994 was pretty solid - with an OPS above the league average. In 1995 though, it fell apart. Though only 29, Browne didn't hit well and he never appeared in the Majors after that season.

Ugly Years
#2 Preston Wilson - Preston got a cup of coffee with the magical 1998 team, but he didn't really make his impression until 1999. Between 1999 and 2002 he hit more than 100 home runs and stole nearly as many bases. He also struck out, a lot. While still a capable player, Wilson was traded after the 2002 campaign (at least in part because he had played his way into a large contract). That trade (which netted Juan Pierre for the Fish) helped set the stage for the 2003 World Series win.

#15 Vladimir Nunez - Acquired from the Diamondbacks with Brad Penny and Abraham Nunez for Matt Mantei (who won that trade?), Nunez began his career as a Marlin as a starter. By 2001 he was nearly exclusively featured in relief. In 2002 he finished 43 games, saved 20, and amassed an ERA of 2.74 (54% better than the league average).

1997 World Champions
#8 Kevin Brown - Brown went 16-8 with a 2.69 ERA in 1997. He pitched great in the LDS against the Giants (but didn't receive a decision). He was also stellar in the LCS against the Braves (going 2-0 in two starts). However, he was roughed up in the World Series against the Indians - losing two games and totaling an 8.18 ERA.

#9 Alex Fernandez - Miami native Alex Fernandez was signed by the Marlins for the 1997 season as a free agent. His signing was, at the time - and even now, one of the biggest in franchise history. Expectations were high as Fernandez reached the Majors at the age of 20 with the White Sox and pitched well for them for seven seasons before coming to the Marlins. He pitched well in 1997 - going 17-12 with a 3.59 ERA, but was unable to pitch in the World Series due to injury.

2003 World Champions
#8 Ugueth Urbina - Ugie was a key catalyst to the Marlins 2003 run as he shored up a key hole in the Marlins bullpen. While he only appeared in a Marlins uniform in 33 regular season games, he clearly cemented his place in Marlins history. His 1.41 ERA and 6 saves were huge in pushing the Marlins to the Wild Card. Urbina continued his dominance in the post-season by racking up four saves and one win, to go along with a 3.46 ERA.

#9 Brad Penny - Penny "only" went 14-10 with a 4.13 ERA in 2003, but he was a star in the World Series. Josh Beckett took home the MVP trophy, but Penny went 2-0 with a 2.19 ERA against the Yankees.

Voting
Use the links below to vote for your favorites in today's matchups. Even if you weren't a fan of the team in 1993 or 1997, you can still vote for someone in each pairing. Also, please feel free to spread the word and to encourage others to vote.

Who is your favorite Marlin?

Teal Bracket: Conine vs. Browne
1997 World Champs Bracket: Brown vs. Fernandez
Ugly Years (98 - 02) Bracket: Wilson vs. Nunez
2003 World Champs Bracket: Urbina vs. Penny

Special Note
If you'd like to write the brief description for a particular player (or players), send me an email or create a diary with your text. I'll be happy to use it.

Thoughts/Discussion
Feel free to use this thread to discuss who you voted for, who you think others should vote for, etc. Or, if you'd prefer, you can create a separate diary too. You can also feel free to include any objections/suggestions/criticsm in the comments.