Throughout the 2016-17 offseason, Fish Stripes is counting down the top 100 Marlins of all-time. For comparison’s sake, we are using the Wins Above Replacement (WAR) metric as a measuring device. The top 100 WAR ratings are being featured. Today’s Marlin, Bret Barberie, earned 2.8 while with Florida.
Barberie, a 5’11”, 185 lb. second baseman from Long Beach, California, was born on August 16th, 1967. Initially, he was chosen in the second round of the 1986 regular-phase draft by the St. Louis Cardinals, but after not signing, the Oakland Athletics picked him in the Secondary Phase draft in the first round later that year. The Kansas City Royals spent a 65th round pick on him in 1987, but he passed on signing for a third time. Finally, he was selected by the Montreal Expos in the seventh round of the 1988 amateur draft, with the 180th overall selection, where he decided to sign his first professional contract out of USC. Also chosen that round were outfielder Jim Edmonds and right-handed pitcher Greg McMichael.
After his selection, Barberie reported to the single-A level West Palm Beach Expos in the Florida State League in 1989, where he slashed .267/.366/.346/.712 over 124 games, with 16 doubles, 34 RBI, and 10 stolen bases. He drew 64 walks to only 39 strikeouts, showing patience at the plate even early on in his development.
In 1990, the ‘spos promoted Barberie to the double-A Southern League Jacksonville Expos, where he put up comparable numbers to the prior season with a slashline of .260/.392/.364/.756 in 133 games, with 18 doubles, seven round-trippers, 56 RBI, and 20 stolen bases.
1991 would see Barberie split his time between the triple-A Indianapolis Indians (.312/.461/.532/.993, 10 home runs, 10 stolen bases, 48 RBI in 71 games) and the Expos proper. While with Montreal, he hit .353/.435/.515/.949 over 57 appearances, gaining some notice in the NL Rookie of the Year balloting (he placed fifth in the vote, behind Jeff Bagwell, Orlando Merced, Ray Lankford, and Brian Hunter).
Barberie remained with the Expos for the great majority of the 1992 campaign, regressing to a .232/.354/.281/.635 statline over 111 contests, with 24 RBI and nine stolen bases. After the season, the Marlins picked him up with the sixth pick of the expansion draft.
Barberie ranked eighth on the Marlins with 99 appearances, slashing .277/.344/.371/.715 with five home runs and 33 RBI. He drew 33 walks and hit 16 doubles, scoring 45 runs. The Marlins, who were 38-61 in his appearances, went 26-37 when he didn’t play. He had 35 multi-hit games, and seven three-hit affairs for that inaugural Marlins’ campaign. He finished the season with a 1.4 WAR and a .982 fielding percentage at second base.
Florida’s first opening day, on April 5th, Barberie collected the Marlins’ first ever hit, a first inning single off Orel Hershiser. He later singled and scored in the seventh inning as the Marlins won, 6-3. On June 6th, Barberie drew a walk in the first, drew a walk and scored in the third, drew an intentional walk in the sixth, and smacked a three-run homer in the eighth inning of a 9-2 victory against the San Diego Padres. Barberie singled in the first, reached on an error in the second, hit a solo home run in the fourth, drew a walk in the sixth, and got on base by getting hit by a Larry Andersen pitch in the eighth inning before striking out in the ninth inning on August 7th in an 8-7 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. On September 7th, in a 6-4 loss to the Padres, he collected three RBI and hit two doubles.
Barberie’s second season with the Marlins would see him appear in 107 of Florida’s 115 contests, ranking second on Florida. The team went 44-63 in games that he played in and 7-1 when he sat. For the second time in his two seasons with the club, he collected 35 multihit games, to include 10 three-hit games and finish the season with a 1.4 WAR. He slashed .301/.356/.406/.762 with 20 doubles, five home runs, 31 RBI, and 23 walks.
On April 16th, Barberie led off the second inning with a single, drew a walk in the sixth, and hit a go-ahead solo home run in the eighth inning of a 5-3 win over the San Francisco Giants. Three days later, in a 6-4 win against the Colorado Rockies, he hit a double and a homer with three RBI. He went two-for-four with three RBI in a 9-5 Marlins win against the Philadelphia Phillies on May 6th. On June 13th, he drew walks in the second and the fifth, got on base by getting plunked in the sixth, then hit a game-tying inside-the-park solo home run to tie the St. Louis Cardinals, 1-1. Todd Pagnozzi hit a game-winning walkoff RBI-single in the bottom half of the frame. The Marlins traded him to the Baltimore Orioles for Jay Powell after the season.
Barberie played a season with the Orioles, slashing .241/.351/.325/.676 over 90 appearances, with 25 RBI and 36 walks. He later signed as a free agent with the Chicago Cubs, then got into 15 games in 1996 with the team. He went one-for-29 at the plate in what was to be his last major league action.
Check back tomorrow for a look at Javier Vazquez’ last major league season.