Opening Day, thankfully, is just about here. As Miami prepares to take on the Rockies to get the 2019 MLB season underway, I decided to take a look at some of the most memorable Opening Day moments in Marlins history.
April 5, 1993: First Game in Franchise History
Of course the inaugural game in franchise history makes this list. 42,334 fans filled Joe Robbie Stadium as professional baseball finally came to South Florida. Joe DiMaggio threw out the first pitch, Charlie Hough was the starter on the mound, and the Marlins defeated the Orel Hershiser led Dodgers 6-3.
April 4, 2012: Opening a New Stadium
The day is here. 2012 Miami Marlins baseball is here. RT if you are ready! pic.twitter.com/wMg6Ml0s— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) April 4, 2012
While the construction of Marlins Park is in its own category of controversy, nobody can deny that the grand unveiling and brand new jerseys made for a festive atmosphere. The Marlins were also welcoming new additions to the roster, like Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle, plus new manager Ozzie Guillen. Though the game ultimately ended in a 4-1 Cardinals victory, the feeling of excitement was obviously present in Miami.
March 31, 1998: Title Defense, Part 1
After the 1997 team captured the franchise’s first World Series championship, the team and its fans made their way back to Pro Player Stadium. Notable players from the previous year like Jeff Conine, Al Leiter and Moises Alou were now gone. that didn’t stop Florida jumping all over the Cubs on Opening Day.
New video chronicling the post-1997 fire sale. Breaking up a World Series winner in record time https://t.co/tlVWvB7LqI pic.twitter.com/gAWoDn628m— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) March 27, 2019
However, that didn’t stop Florida jumping all over the Cubs on Opening Day. Behind home runs by Gary Sheffield and Charles Johnson, the Marlins cruised to an 11-6 win. It would be one of just 54 victories during that 1998 season.
April 6, 2004: Title Defense, Part 2
Another parade came in 2003, and when the following season rolled around, many thought that this Marlins team could do some damage once again, especially with a good majority of the ‘03 roster returning. Thanks to three RBI’s by newcomer Hee-Seop Choi, nine strikeouts from Josh Beckett, and the first of 47 saves from Armando Benitez, the Marlins prevailed 4-3 over the Expos. They weren’t able to repeat as champions in 2004, though.
April 5, 2005: Delgado’s Debut
Oh man, hopes and expectations were high for the Marlins prior to the start of the 2005 season. With players like Miguel Cabrera, Josh Beckett, Dontrelle Willis and Mike Lowell back, the Marlins also added All-Star first baseman Carlos Delgado. Florida hosted division rival Atlanta on a beautiful afternoon day at Pro Player. On the back of Juan Encarnacion’s grand slam, plus six shutout innings from Beckett, the Marlins blanked the Braves, 9-0. It remains the only shutout Opening Day victory in franchise history (also tying for their largest margin of victory in a season opener).
March 29, 2018: Not Off to a Great Start
FIRST F****** PITCH #Re2pectTheProcess— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) March 29, 2018
Notice how I didn’t title this article, “Best Opening Day moments in Marlins history.” On the very first pitch of the game—which was also the standalone first game of the entire MLB season—Cubs outfielder Ian Happ blasted a home run off of Marlins pitcher Jose Urenna. Chicago would go on to win 8-4.
Anything I’m missing Marlins fans?
Jose Urena starting Opening Day............? Again? pic.twitter.com/H9u2GVTkDl— #BeatUF8/24/19 (@hurricanesmarsh) February 15, 2019