The campaign for each MLB team's "franchise four" has finished and the results are in. For the Marlins, Giancarlo Stanton, Jeff Conine, Mike Lowell and Gary Sheffield were chosen. Understandably, with so many players to choose from and so few spaces to fill, some voters will feel like some Marlins greats were snubbed.
Charles Johnson, Luis Castillo and Josh Beckett all had stellar careers with the Fish, but they were left out. Was this fair? Let's look at each selection more closely and see why they were chosen to represent the Marlins as all-time greats.
Stanton is currently in his sixth season with the Marlins and at 25 years of age, already holds the franchise record for home runs, currently at 181. He was given the longest and most lucrative contract in franchise (and American professional sports) history, and is currently third in career WAR for the Marlins with 25.
Stanton is on course to play the most games in franchise history, and that is even before he can opt out of his mega-deal. Stanton is a fan favorite and one of the faces of baseball, and that cannot be said for any of the other Marlins that were on the ballot. Giancarlo Stanton is a superstar and number 27 may be retired by the franchise one day if he continues to put up huge numbers.
Mr. Marlin himself, of course he made the list. He played in every game of the Marlins' inaugural season, and was awarded the 1995 All-Star MVP after his clutch home run. Not to mention he was a part of both World Series championships and was/is so loved that he is now a member of the Marlins broadcast team while also being a special assistant to the President of the team, David Samson.
Sporting a .304 average during those two championship runs and the most grand slams in franchise history, is there any argument that he shouldn't have been included in the franchise four?
Seven seasons, one World Series title and the most doubles (241) and RBI's (578) in franchise history. That's Mike Lowell, and he, like Jeff Conine, is still a fan favorite in Miami. Often a part of pre-game ceremonies like the championship banner raising in the very first game at Marlins Park and the All-Star themed first pitch this season, Lowell is still very much a part of this franchise.
He pretty much put the team on his back in the first half of the 2003 season, crushing 28 homers and driving in 76 runs. Due to a Stanton injury this year, these are further Marlins records Lowell holds which solidifies his standing as one of the best four players in franchise history.
Sheffield's 1996 season stands out as one of the best in Marlins' history. That year, he broke the Marlins season record for home runs, slugging percentage and on base percentage, to name a few. He was an All-Star that year and won the World Series with the Fish the very next year after leading the team over the Giants in the NLDS with a .556 batting average.
All of the above players are well deserving of being included in Miami's franchise four. In my opinion, the only debatable name of the four would be Gary Sheffield. He could easily be replaced by Luis Castillo, who earned three gold gloves with the team and is the franchise leader in hits and games played.
In the end, people will argue over who should have or who shouldn't have been included, but wasn't it a good thing that there were lots of Fish to choose from to fill four spots?