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All-Time Marlins Countdown: Chapter 76

The first countdown of 2021 highlights Marlins’ broadcaster Todd Hollandsworth and my favorite Marlins moment of 2020

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14 Oct 2003: Todd Hollandsworth of the Florida Marlins slides home safely ahead of the tag by the Cubs Paul Bako during the Marlins 8-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs in game 6 of the NLCS at Wrigley Field in Chicago, IL.
Hollandsworth scores against the Chicago Cubs in Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS
Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Sporting News via Getty Images

210. Sam Dyson

Dyson, a righthanded pitcher, has played in 376 games across eight seasons with five teams, including 80 games with Marlins from 2013-2015. He is currently a free agent.

In 2019, Major League Baseball began investigating Dyson after reports of domestic violence were publicly posted on social media. Earlier this year, The Athletic’s Katie Strang and Ken Rosenthal published an article detailing abuse allegations against Dyson by his ex-girlfriend, Alexis Blackburn.

209. Tony Saunders

Florida Marlins’ pitcher Tony Saunders RHONA WISE/AFP via Getty Images

Although he went undrafted out of high school and had a scholarship to pitch at George Mason University, Saunders attended an open tryout for the Florida Marlins and decided to sign for a $1,000 bonus.

Working his way up from rookie ball through Triple-A in the Marlins’ minor league system, Saunders, a lefthanded pitcher, held a 2.58 ERA over 443 innings. He also led the Double-A Eastern League in strikeouts (156) and placed among the league’s top pitchers in wins, starts, and innings. The Marlins would include Saunders in their 1996 September call-ups, but he did not make an appearance.

Saunders made his major league debut for the Florida Marlins on April 5, 1997. After allowing a run in the second inning, Saunders retired 16 batters in a row. In a game two weeks later, Saunders allowed struck out 10 batters over 7 innings. When he went up against his childhood idol Tom Glavine in May, Saunders took Glavine deep for a home run and secured his first major league win.

He was inconsistent at times during the 1997 season, but Marlins manager Jim Leyland relied on Saunders in the postseason. Leyland also had faith in righthanded rookie Liván Hernández. Starting two rookie pitchers in the World Series was a bold decision, one that would not be seen again for 18 years until the New York Mets did so in 2015. Saunders took the ball in Game 4, but gave up six runs before he could record an out in the third inning; the game would turn out to be the coldest one in World Series history. Saunders’ Game 4 loss didn’t stop the Marlins, who went on to win the 1997 World Series.

Marlins 1997 World Series
Players (left to right) Renteria, Sheffield, Saunders and owner (front) Huizenga
RHONA WISE/AFP via Getty Images

Despite playing well in his first major league season, the Marlins chose not to protect Saunders for the 1997 Expansion Draft which left him vulnerable to the new Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Devil Rays, who selected Saunders with the first overall pick.

The Devil Rays first season was a rough one, where they lost 99 games. During that season, Saunders went 16 starts without a win. Although he had a stretch of five games where he gave up 24 earned runs in 29 innings, Saunders also dealt with a lack of run support in the starts he did pitch well in. The Devil Rays received trade offers for Saunders during the offseason, but they declined them all and saw Saunders as a staple in their rotation for years to come.

Unfortunately, Saunders suffered a career-ending injury just a few games into the 1999 season. With a full count in the third inning, Saunders threw a wild pitch and went down in immediate pain. Teammates would later say they heard a loud pop as Saunders threw the pitch. The result of that pop was Saunders’ humerus bone (the long bone in the arm between the shoulder and elbow) breaking.

Although Saunders tried to make a comeback, he would again break his humerus bone a year and a half after the first one.

Saunders was awarded the 2000 Tony Conigliaro Award, given to a player who “best overcomes an obstacle and adversity through the attributes of spirit, determination, and courage.” The Devil Rays also created the Tony Saunders Courage Award, given to a local student-athlete who overcame their own adversity and excelled in their sport.

208. Todd Dunwoody

Florida Marlins v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

The Florida Marlins drafted Dunwoody, a lefthanded, high school outfielder, in the 7th round of the 1993 Draft.

After a slow start in his first two seasons, Dunwoody excelled as he rose from Single-A, to Double-A, then to Triple-A. In his 377 minor league games from 1995-1997, Dunwoody collected 61 home runs and stole 88 bags.

Dunwoody made his major league debut on May 10, 1997 with a pinch-hit single to left-field against the Houston Astros. He would play in a few more games for the Fish, but spent most of his 1997 season in Triple-A.

The most consistent playing time Dunwoody saw in his career was in 1998, where he played 116 major league games as the Marlins’ starting centerfielder. In 1999, Dunwoody spent half of his games back in Triple-A and the other half with the big league club. Just before the end of the year, the Marlins traded Dunwoody to the Kansas City Royals.

After being traded, Dunwoody had trouble finding playing time. He signed five different free agent contracts and was traded once more between 2001 and 2005. At the major league level, Dunwoody saw action in 61 games with the Royals, 33 games with the Chicago Cubs, and 2 games with the Cleveland Indians. Although he spent time in the minor leagues after 2002, he wouldn’t make it back to the big leagues. A knee injury that required surgery ended his career in 2005.

207. Todd Hollandsworth

Paul Severino and Todd Hollandsworth
Marlins broadcasters Paul Severino and Todd Hollandsworth (right)
Courtesy of FOX Sports Florida

Before he became a familiar voice for Marlins fans, Hollandsworth was a Rookie of the Year winner with the Los Angeles Dodgers and later won a World Series with the Florida Marlins.

Drafted by the Dodgers out of high school in the 3rd round of the 1991 Draft, Hollandsworth was considered a top prospect who showed promising power and speed. As he rose through the Dodgers minor leagues, Hollandsworth blasted 57 home runs and stole 77 bases across four seasons.

Hollandsworth made his major league debut on April 25, 1995 as a defensive replacement and got one at bat. His first start came against the Marlins, who were no-hit by Dodgers’ righty Ramón Martínez. Hollandsworth went 3-for-4 and made a catch in centerfield late in the game to keep the no-hitter alive. Injuries would plague his first season, however, keeping him below the rookie eligibility threshold.

The following season, Hollandsworth slashed .291/.348/.437 in 149 games with 21 steals and 42 extra-base hits. This official rookie campaign was good enough for Hollandsworth to win the 1996 NL Rookie of the Year award.

Hollandsworth got off to a slow start the following season and was demoted, then dealt with an elbow fracture, leg injury, surgery on his shoulder, and separate hamstring and oblique strains. After playing in 334 games for the Dodgers since his rookie season, the Dodgers traded Hollandsworth at the mid-season trade deadline to the Colorado Rockies.

After finishing the 2000 season strong with the Rockies, Hollandsworth was having the best year of his career in 2001, hitting .368 with a 1.075 OPS through 33 games. But, he fouled a ball off his shin which broke his tibia, ending his season. He bounced back the next season but was again traded at the deadline, this time to the Texas Rangers.

Hollandsworth was a free agent for the 2003 season and signed with the Florida Marlins. While he didn’t see consistent playing time, Hollandsworth appeared in 93 regular season games and pinch hit in nine postseason games. In his four plate appearances in the Marlins NLCS matchup against the Chicago Cubs, Hollandsworth collected three hits and a walk, driving in two runs and scoring once. Hollandsworth and the Fish went on to beat the New York Yankees in the 2003 World Series.

Between 2004 and 2006, Hollandsworth spent time with the Cubs, Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Indians, and Cincinnati Reds.

Hollandsworth was named the Marlins’ color analyst for the 2017 season, joining long-time play-by-play announcer Rich Waltz. Since the 2018 season, Hollandsworth has shared the broadcasting booth with Marlins’ play-by-play announcer Paul Severino.

In a year that was as distressing as this one, I must admit that Marlins games were like a lighthouse’s beacon of light for me. Hollandsworth and Severino provided me with much-needed comfort as I attempted to ride the treacherous wave of 2020.

I’ll leave you with my favorite Marlins moment of 2020…