As a true baseball fan, it’s always good when your team acquires a former MLB star. Consider what Ichiro Suzuki brought to the Marlins a few years ago. You want to cherish every moment of a legend’s twilight, and such accomplished players can be a positive influence on their teammates as well.
In this article, we will focus on former standouts who played for the team during their final season in the Major Leagues. While the following guys didn’t have brilliant numbers with the Fish, it was nice to have them around. Don’t remember them in a Marlins uniform? We have photos and highlights to prove it happened!
Let’s take a look at them one by one...
1. OF Luis González, 51.7 WAR
Yes. THAT Luis González played for Florida. The guy with a 51.7 lifetime WAR, the same one who walked off Mariano Rivera and the Yankees in the seventh game of the 2001 World Series. Before calling it quits, González wore Marlins colors back in 2008, at 40 years old.
In his 19th season in the majors, the outfielder hit for a .261/.336/.413 slash line with 26 doubles and eight home runs. He drove 47 runs in and scored 30 times. For one last time, he showed his off-the-charts plate discipline, registering 41 base on balls and only 43 strikeouts across 387 appearances (136 games).
His stint with the Marlins helped him surpass the 350 home runs, 1,400 ribbies, and 2,500 games milestones.
2. OF Curtis Granderson, 47.0 WAR
Grandy took his good vibes to Miami in 2019 to play his 16th and last MLB season. When it’s about Granderson, we’re talking about a lefty who was 40-25 (41 home runs, 25 stolen bases) in 2011 with the Yankees. Only eight men accumulated more extra-base hits than him (587) between 2007 and 2016 in the bigs.
In his goodbye year, he was still showing his pop. In only 317 at-bats, he racked up 17 doubles, one triple, and 12 four-baggers. Overall, though, Grandy slashed a poor .183/.281/.356. While he was with the Marlins, he got to 2,000 games, 1,800 hits, 8,000 plate appearances, and 1,200 runs.
3. OF Mike Cameron, 46.7 WAR
Cameron was once an all-around player with a great glove, speed, and power. In his prime, the outfielder was capable of recording at least 30 doubles, 25 home runs, and 30 stolen bases.
The 38-year-old was playing for the Boston Red Sox in 2011 when he was traded to the Marlins for cash considerations on July 5. He appeared in 45 games (164 PA) and hit .238/.331/.420 as a member of the team. Cameron was used primarily in center field for that last-place squad.
4. RHP Carlos Zambrano, 43.9 WAR
From 2003 to 2010, playing for the Chicago Cubs, Zambrano was one of the best starting pitchers in the National League. Big Z registered a great record of 111-64, with a 3.43 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP across 1,565 innings in that span.
The Venezuelan righty was acquired by the renewed 2012 Marlins. A feel-good story through the first month-and-a-half of the regular season, it all fell apart before the All-Star break. In 35 appearances (20 starts), Zambrano recorded a high 4.49 ERA, a 1.50 WHIP, a 4.47 FIP, and abysmal ratios (5.1 BB/9, 6.5 K/9).
Happy Birthday to former Marlin Carlos Zambrano! pic.twitter.com/dH71rcnDYL— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) June 1, 2020
That was the final season of a productive yet troubled MLB career. He bounced around the minors after 2012 and even tried independent ball, but never received another opportunity to compete at the highest level.
5. SS Rafael Furcal, 39.5 WAR
The 2000 NL Rookie of the Year was the everyday shortstop for the Atlanta Braves under Bobby Cox’s management. He was a star in his time as a Brave and as a Dodger, and even won the World Series with the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals.
In 2013, he underwent Tommy John Surgery, missed the entire season, and eventually became a free agent. In December, the Dominican signed a one-year deal with the Marlins.
Furcal did get back to the majors, but only for a brief period. In nine games for the Fish, and playing at second base, he couldn’t hit (.171/.216/.229). That was it for the three-time All-Star.
Others who wore a Marlins uniform in their final year: Paul Lo Duca (2008), Juan Pierre (2013) and Al Leiter (2005). But they each previously played for the team earlier in their careers, plus Leiter—who threw the first no-hitter in Marlins history—was traded to the Yankees in July before hanging up his cleats.