We're almost through the first round and once we are, the matchups promise to get better. That said, we've had a few really good ones so far (including two close ones yesterday), and I think we might have another today.
If you're just joining us, check out the entry from Day One, which gives something of an overview for the whole process.
Teal (93-96) Bracket: Chuck Carr advances
97 World Champs Bracket: Charles Johnson advances
Ugly Years (98-02) Bracket: Alex Gonzalez advances
03 World Champs Bracket: Josh Beckett advances
#2 - Benito Santiago - Benito Santiago is one of a very short list of players who you'd probably be willing to pay to watch play defense. He regularly through out opposing baserunners with throws from his crouch. His ability to nab runners at first base has led to many catchers trying to do the same (although with less success). He also gains cool points (at least in my book) for wearing number 09 for a time. Not just 9, but 09. I believe he said that was because 9 would be obscured by his catching gear and the two numbers gave his jersey more balance. Benito played for the Fish during their inaugural campaign and in 1994.
#15 Gary Sheffield - Gary is probably miscast as a 15 seed, but here he is. Gary joined the Fish in the middle of 1993, less than one season removed from a campaign where he seriously challenged for the Triple Crown. Gary did not disappoint with the Fish; he could be counted on as much for a big hit as he could be for a fun off the field story. In 1996 he hit 42 homers, drove in 120 runs, and had a line of .314/.465/.624. As long as you're not Barry Bonds, that doesn't suck.
1997 World Champions
#6 Bobby Bonilla - Another very good player who's ability may have been overshadowed by his personality. It's not frequently remembered as fondly, but Bonilla contributed significantly to the Game 7 rally - which allowed Edgar Renteria and Craig Counsell to later mark their names in World Series lore. 1997 was Bobby Bo's one full season with the Marlins (so he's often remembered as a "hired gun"). He hit .297/.378/.468.
#11 Al Leiter - Before you click the link to vote on Bonilla, take yourself back in time to 1997 - way back when Al Leiter was a really good pitcher. Really, it's true. Hard to remember, but true. Al went 11-9 with a 4.34 ERA. It wasn't his best season, but he was a solid and important contributor to the team.
#1 Cliff Floyd - Floyd joined the Fish in 1997, but didn't really make his impact felt until that magical season of 1998 (when he hit 22 homers, stole 27 bases, and hit .282). He also played in a career high 153 games. Floyd is as talented as anyone in baseball, but his problem with the Marlins, as it has been in other places, was struggles with injuries.
#16 Ramon Castro - Castro was one of the most hyped Marlins prospects of all-time, but he never quite lived up to that hype. Maybe it just seemed like he was more hyped than the others because we waited so long for him to develop into a quality major leaguer. Castro never totalled more than 138 at bats in a single year while wearing teal.
2003 World Champions
#2 Ivan Rodriguez - When the Marlins signed Rodriguez as a free agent, the baseball world (pretty much) collectively laughed. When Pudge said that he thought the Marlins were legitimate playoff contenders, anyone and everyone who wasn't already laughing, at least chuckled. It turned out that Pudge was right, and he was a huge part of it. It wasn't just his .297 batting average. It wasn't his .353 batting average in the LDS against the Giants, his key hits, or his stellar defense. It wasn't the two home runs that he hit against the Cubs in the LCS. It wasn't that he was the LCS MVP. It wasn't even just how well he played against the Yankees in the World Series. It was all of that - and more. It was the attitude and presence he brought to the team. He made the Marlins legitimate. It was also the way he worked with the young pitching staff from day one at spring training.
#15 Chad Fox - Unlike Rodriguez, Fox isn't a future Hall of Famer or a perennial All-Star. But Chad Fox played a critical role out of the bullpen for the 2003 Marlins. Amazingly, he was claimed off of waivers (from the Red Sox) late in the season. The pitcher the Marlins signed wasn't the same one who struggled in Boston. Fox's ERA of 2.13 with the Marlins was less than half of what he put up in Boston. That success continued in the playoffs, where he appeared in 9 games.
Who is your favorite Marlin?
Teal (93 - 96) Bracket: Benito Santiago vs. Gary Sheffield
1997 World Champs Bracket: Bobby Bonilla vs. Al Leiter (featured matchup - main poll)
Ugly Years (98 - 02) Bracket: Cliff Floyd and Ramon Castro
2003 World Champs Bracket: Ivan Rodriguez and Chad Fox
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.
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.