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All-Time Marlins Countdown: Chapter 117

Today’s chapter features the Marlins all-time wins leader and the 1991 National League Most Valuable Player.

San Diego Padres v Miami Marlins Photo by Steve Mitchell/Getty Images

The Florida and Miami Marlins have used a total of 630 players on the field of play through their first 28 seasons, comprising 4,364 regular season contests.

We’re up to the 117th chapter of the series, of a planned 165-part series. Today’s two players are ranked 73 and 72 in the pantheon of All-Time Marlins. The final bracket, consisting of players to accumulate 800 or more plate appearances or batters faced while with the team, consists of 128 players. Today’s pair of Marlins finished their time with the team slightly above replacement level, according to Baseball Reference.

73. Terry Pendleton

Terry Pendleton is a five-foot-nine third baseman from Los Angeles, California. A switch-hitter, Pendleton was a seventh round selection of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1982, out of California State University at Fresno.

Just two seasons later, Pendleton made his major league debut with the Redbirds, and hit .324 in 67 games, finishing seventh in the National League Rookie of the Year vote. He eventually spent his first seven major league seasons with them, appearing in 927 games and slashing .259/.308/.356 with 44 dingers and 442 RBI. He also stole 99 bases in 147 attempts, and won a pair of Gold Gloves at the hot corner.

After the 1990 season, Pendleton signed with the Atlanta Braves through free agency, and enjoyed the best seasons of his career. He was the NL MVP in 1991 after leading the circuit with a .319 average, 303 total bases, and 187 hits. He clubbed a career-best 22 homers with 86 RBI. He won his third Gold Glove the following season, and was named to his only career All Star team. In four seasons with the Braves, he hit .293/.331/.455 with 67 round-trippers and 305 RBI.

Pendleton signed with the Marlins through free agency for the late starting 1995 campaign, and enjoyed the last above-average season of his career (according to his 104 OPS+). Pendleton hit .290/.339/.439 in 133 contests for the Fish, hitting 14 home runs with 78 RBI. He led the team with 32 doubles, drawing 38 walks and striking out 84 times in 557 plate appearances.

Pendleton totaled 46 multi-hit games in his first season with the club, with 11 instances of at least three hits. On May 29, he went five-for-five with a double, a triple, and an RBI in a 9-7 victory against the Houston Astros. On July 22, he earned his highest WPA of the season, a mark of .501 in an 11-10 victory against the Los Angeles Dodgers. After going 0-for-4 through his first four plate appearances, Pendleton came up with two outs and a runner on base in the bottom of the eighth, with the Marlins trailing, 10-9. He drove the ball deep over the right field fence, driving home Jeff Conine and giving the Marlins the final margin of victory.

In 1996, Pendleton played the first three-quarters of the season with the Marlins, past the trade deadline. He hit .251/.298/.357 with seven home runs and 58 RBI. On August 13, the Marlins sent him back to the Braves for Roosevelt Brown. Brown never appeared in the majors for the Marlins, and Pendleton finished the season with the Braves. He then played two more seasons at the top level of baseball, first with the Cincinnati Reds then with the Kansas City Royals.

After his playing career, Pendleton was employed at some capacity with the Braves at the major league level for 16 seasons, as hitting coach (nine seasons), first base coach (six seasons), and bench coach (one season, 2017).

72. Ricky Nolasco

Right-handed pitcher Ricky Nolasco is a six-foot-two product of Corona, California. In 2001, the Chicago Cubs drafted him in the fourth round out of Rialto HS. He rose slowly through their minor league system, and ended the 2005 season ranked as their number seven prospect according to Baseball America. Chicago traded him to Florida soon afterward, with Sergio Mitre and Renyel Pinto for Juan Pierre.

Nolasco earned 81 victories in his eight seasons for the Marlins, which is tops on the all-time leaderboard by 13 (Dontrelle Willis is second). He started in 197 of his 213 appearances with the club, and posted an 81-72 record with a 4.44 ERA and a 1.295 WHIP. He’s also the only player in franchise history to have over 1,000 strikeouts with the team, clocking in with exactly 1,001.

Nolasco’s 2008 season was his best, going by his 4.2 bWAR. He posted a 15-8 record with a 3.52 ERA and a career-best 1.108 WHIP. In 2009, he topped over a strikeout per inning for the only time in his career, whiffing 195 in 185 innings.

On July 28, 2006, Nolasco held the Phillies scoreless on one hit over 7 13 innings, earning the victory in a 4-1 Marlins win over Philadelphia. On August 19, 2008, he struck out 11 Giants in a complete game two-hitter, walking one in a 6-0 win against San Francisco. On July 15, 2009, in a 5-0 Marlins win, Nolasco struck out 12 against three hits and a pair of walks in eight innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Later that season, on September 30, Nolasco struck out a Marlins-record 16 and earned a 5-4 win over the Braves.

On July 6, 2013, the Marlins sent Nolasco with cash to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Steve Ames, Angel Sanchez, and Josh Wall. Nolasco finished the season out with L.A., then played two-and-a-half seasons with the Minnesota Twins and a year-and-a-half with the Los Angeles Angels. Nolasco last pitched with the Arizona Diamondbacks at their Triple-A level with the Reno Aces in 2019.