MIAMI, Fla.—The Florida Marlins reached the baseball mountain top 25 years ago and won the 1997 World Series. Edgar Rentería’s RBI single drove in Craig Counsell to clinch the first championship in franchise history.
That 1997 team was celebrated throughout Saturday’s game at LoanDepot Park. Marlins alumni such as Counsell (the current Milwaukee Brewers manager), Rentería, World Series MVP Liván Hernández, Alex Fernandez and Gary Sheffield were all present.
Fish Stripes had the chance to talk to Hernández and manager Jim Leyland to get their thoughts on the team and all of the 25th anniversary festivities.
Hernández was asked about being back and being able to meet back with his former teammates and friends in the media. “Todo bien, muy contento,” he said in Spanish. He went on to talk about the importance of being able to reunite with his former teammates and Jim Leyland in particular.
Liván threw out the ceremonial first pitch of the game to former catcher Charles Johnson while a video played on the scoreboard showing their best Marlins moments.
One of the biggest takeaways from speaking to Leyland was how nervous he felt after such a good 1997 Spring Training—they went 26-5, which still stands as the all-time franchise record. It raised the expectations for the Marlins, but he knew that the team had immense talent.
Leyland also said he believes that the Marlins’ run to the World Series was one of the most difficult runs because they had to go through the legendary Atlanta Braves rotation featuring Greg Maddux and John Smoltz.
It was a job well done by the Marlins organization commemorating the 1997 team, providing them with silver polo shirts in honor of the 25th anniversary. With the help of a World Series replica ring giveaway, the paid attendance on Saturday was 12,941 fans. The way the alumni from that season interacted with everybody was amazing, and it seems like they had a lot of fun themselves.