We’re 20 days from Opening Day which means we’re down to our Top 20 All-Time Marlins! Kevin Millar takes the #20 spot. Keep an eye on Fish Stripes for the rest of our countdown as we take you right to 2021’s Opening Day!
20. Kevin Millar
Long before he was yelling got heeeem! on MLB Network’s Intentional Talk, Millar was 21 years old and playing in the independent Northern League after going undrafted in 1993. After one season with the St. Paul Saints, Millar’s contract was purchased by the Florida Marlins.
In his first season in affiliated ball, Millar blasted 19 home runs and drove in 93 runs with a stellar line of .302/.405/.503. Meanwhile, Major League Baseball had come to a halt. The 1994-1995 MLB Strike abruptly cancelled the end of the 1994 regular season and playoffs. According to a 2002 article in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, a then-Marlins player development director gave Millar and several other players an ultimatum: cross picket lines and report to 1995 spring training as a “replacement player” or turn in your uniforms.
So, that’s what Millar did. He was only there briefly before, according to the Sun-Sentinel, withdrawing himself from replacement camp. The major league season would resume for the 1995 season and Millar returned to the minor leagues. He continued to play exceptionally well and was awarded the Eastern League MVP Award for the 1997 season.
Millar made his major league debut and record his first big league hit on April 11, 1998. He wound up missing the season due to an injury to his wrist in his first at-bat. Millar returned the next season and split playing time at first base with Derrek Lee. Over the next few seasons, he would also log a few games at third base and then shift to the outfield.
The 2001 season was Millar’s best with the Fish and one of the best of his career. He posted a slash line of .314/.374/.557 with an adjusted-OPS 41% better than league average. Millar’s 2001 bWAR of 2.8 was his best season of his career, tied with his 2004 season with the Boston Red Sox. After the season, Millar was named the winner of the Charlie Hough Good Guy Award.
Millar was going to play for Japan’s Chunichi Dragons in 2003 before the Red Sox claimed him off waivers. He headed to Boston for three seasons and helped them defeat the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2004 World Series. He also played for the Baltimore Orioles from 2006-2008 and for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2009.
Since retiring from baseball, Millar has been a staple on MLB Network. He and Chris Rose (until recently) hosted the beloved weekday show Intentional Talk. Check out the video below for some of Millar’s favorite Marlins memories.