With the 2019 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot recently released, some fans may ask which players from their favorite team made this year’s ballot? Is it finally time for somebody to be enshrined as a member of the Marlins?
Five total players on the 2019 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot either played for the Fish or have another connection with the franchise.
Some people may consider Juan Pierre to be one of the “faces of the franchise” for the Marlins. And rightfully so. Known as “JP” to most Marlins fans, Pierre came to the Marlins in the 2002 offseason via trade from the Colorado Rockies. The Marlins sent over two franchise notables—Charles Johnson and Preston Wilson—to land the speedy Pierre, who had stolen 47 bases the previous season. Always known for his speed, Pierre quickly solidified the top of the lineup with second baseman Luis Castillo. Pierre set a new career-high with 65 steals for the 2003 WS champion Marlins and would steal a total of 190 bases with the Marlins alone. From 2003-2005, he never missed a game.
Following the 2005 season, Pierre was dealt to the Chicago Cubs for Ricky Nolasco, Sergio Mitre and Renyel Pinto. However, he rejoined the Marlins for his final major league season in 2013, when he appeared in 113 games for the club. Pierre finished his career with 614 stolen bases, 2,217 hits and a .295 career batting average. This is Pierre’s first year on the ballot.
Perhaps the franchise’s first-ever “superstar,” Gary Sheffield shined at the plate in his six years with the Marlins. The slugger arrived in Miami during the franchise’s inaugural year via a trade with the San Diego Padres. The Marlins sent over 2018 Hall of Fame inductee Trevor Hoffman in the Sheffield trade. During his time in Miami, Sheffield collected over 500 hits, 122 home runs and batted .288.
He had his best year with the club in 1996, when Sheffield was selected to his third All-Star Game and took home the Silver Slugger award. In ‘96, Sheffield had a .314 batting average, hit 42 home runs and had 120 RBIs. He was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in May 1998 in the infamous Mike Piazza trade. Sheffield in his 20-year career drove in 100 or more runs eight times and won his only World Series title in 1997 with the Marlins. This is his fifth year on the Hall of Fame ballot after receiving 11.1 percent of the vote in 2018.
Plácido Polanco, who was drafted out of Miami-Dade College’s Wolfson Campus in 1994, played his final season with the Marlins in 2013. Polanco appeared in 118 games for the Fish, batting a respectable .260 average as a role player. According to the Baseball Hall of Fame, Polanco is the all-time leader in fielding percentage at both second base and third base. In his 16-year career, Polanco had a career .990 fielding percentage, was a three-time Gold Glove award winner and was the 2006 ALCS MVP with the Detroit Tigers. This is Polanco’s first year on the ballot.
Like Polanco, Darren Oliver’s time with the Marlins was brief, as the left-hander appeared in only 18 games in 2004 for the Marlins. Oliver struggled in Miami, posting a dismal 6.44 ERA. He was sold to the Houston Astros later that season. However, two years later, Oliver transitioned from a starter to a reliever and enjoyed a postseason run with both the 2010 and 2011 Texas Rangers working out of the bullpen. He enjoyed a 20-year major league career and won 118 games in that time. This is likely his first and only year on the Hall of Fame ballot.
After Halladay retired all 27 Marlins that night in a 1-0 shutout, disgraced former Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria kept selling the unused tickets at face value through the end of the season. It is worth noting that most of the “sales” after the perfect game were purchased from those living in Philadelphia, according to Forbes. Halladay died in November 2017 in a plane crash over the Gulf of Mexico. This is his first year on the ballot.
Five years after retiring from active playing, a player is included on the Hall of Fame ballot (min. 10 career Major League seasons). To be inducted into Cooperstown, the said player must garner at least 75 percent of the vote from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA). In 2014, the number of years a player is allowed to appear on the ballot was lowered from 15 years to 10 years.
Based on these conditions and recent precedent, Halladay is the only Marlins-related player with a realistic chance to get in the Class of 2019. And no, his plaque won’t include a Fish cap.
The BBWAA will announce the voting results on Jan. 22. Players who garner enough votes will be inducted into Cooperstown on July 21, 2019.