The offseason-long Marlins countdown turns the final corner with our number four entrant in the series.
We’ve written about 626 of the 630 players to have appeared with the franchise through their first 28 seasons of MLB play. These final four, two pitchers, and two hitters, won’t really surprise anyone (especially if you’ve been following along all offseason and know who’s missing). They’ve truly been the creme of the crop for the Marlins.
Cliff Floyd ranks eighth in franchise history in terms of raw bWAR, with 16.9 collectively through his six seasons with Florida. This series, however, is predicated on a per-plate-transaction basis, using plate appearances for hitters and batters faced for pitchers. For context, yesterday’s player, Hanley Ramirez, averaged .00648 per plate appearance. Floyd averaged .00658, and tomorrow’s entrant, a pitcher, averaged .00694. The top 128 players in the series all totaled 800 or more plate appearances and/or batters faced.
4. Cliff Floyd
Cliff Floyd is a six-foot-five lefty-batting, righty-throwing left fielder from Chicago, Illinois. Born on December 5, 1972, he was initially drafted in the first round of the 1991 draft by the Montreal Expos, with the 14th overall choice out of Thornwood HS in South Holland, IL.
Floyd got to the majors for his first look at the bigs before his 21st birthday, in 1993. In parts of four seasons mostly at the parent club level, he slashed .250/.319/.381 with a dozen home runs and 77 RBI in 256 games. Just before the start of the 1997 campaign, they sent him to the Marlins for Joe Orsulak and Dustin Hermanson.
In his first season with the Marlins, coincidentally their first World Series Championship season, Floyd only appeared for 61 games with the top level, also spending 39 games with the Triple-A Charlotte Knights. For Florida, Floyd showed only a hint of what he would one day become for the Marlins, slashing .234/.354/.445 with six round-trippers and 19 RBI. On September 6, Floyd took Los Angeles Dodgers pitching deep twice and totaled four RBI in a 9-5 Marlins loss. Through the Marlins first playoff run, Floyd made four appearances in the World Series, going 0-for-2 with a walk and a run.
In 1998, Floyd was a workhorse, appearing in 153 games for the Marlins and improving his slashline to .282/.337/.481 with 22 jacks, 90 RBI, and 27 stolen bases. He had multiple hits in 48 of his appearances. On September 8, Floyd singled and scored in the second, singled in the third, hit a two-run, lead-changing homer in the seventh, and a go-ahead RBI-single in the ninth against the Colorado Rockies. Unfortunately for the Marlins, Vinny Castilla walked Florida off with a two-run single off Matt Mantei in the bottom of the inning for an 11-10 final.
In 1999, the Marlins struggled to a 64-win season and Floyd struggled to stay in the lineup due to injuries. When he did play, he topped the .300 mark for the first time, slashing .303/.379/.518 in 69 contests. He jacked another 11 long balls with 49 RBI. On October 2, in the season’s penultimate game, Floyd broke a scoreless tie with a 10th inning solo homer against the Atlanta Braves for a 1-0 Marlins win. Ryan Dempster earned no decision after eight shutout innings. For the Marlins (and Floyd) it was only the second hit of the day after Floyd’s first-inning single.
The 2000 season would see Floyd return to the .300 barrier, slashing .300/.378/.529 with another 22 home runs and 91 RBI. He stole 24 bases in 27 attempts, and drew walks in nearly 11 percent of plate appearances versus striking out just under 17 percent of the time. On April 6, Floyd started his day against the San Francisco Giants going 0-for-4, then ended a 5-4 Marlins victory with a walkoff two-run shot off John Johnstone.
In 2001, Floyd finally earned some recognition for the good work he was doing with the Marlins. He made the National League All Star Team for the first time, and slashed career-best figures nearly across the board with a .317/.390/.578 slashline, 31 homers and 103 RBI (he did collect 34 homers for the New York Mets in 2005). In 149 games, he finished with more than one hit 54 times, including 11 times with three or more. On May 4 against the Milwaukee Brewers, Floyd went deep twice with three RBI in a 9-6 Marlins win.
Floyd started out the 2002 campaign by hitting .287/.414/.537 in 84 games for Florida, with another 18 homers and 57 RBI. On July 11, they sent him with Wilton Guerrero, Claudio Vargas, and cash to the Expos for Graeme Lloyd, Mike Mordecai, Carl Pavano, Justin Wayne, and PTBNL Don Levinski.
Floyd played in 15 games for the Expos before they flipped him to the Boston Red Sox for Seung Song and Sun-Woo Kim. He later also played for the New York Mets, the Chicago Cubs, Tampa Bay Rays, and the San Diego Padres, finishing his career with 1,621 games played, 233 homers, and 865 RBI.
Check back here tomorrow for the number three player on the list.