The Florida/Miami Marlins are a week into their 31st season as a franchise. On this day 30 years ago, the team played its first-ever regular-season game.
The Dodgers were coming off a disappointing 69-93 season as they arrived at Pro Player Stadium for the season opener. Facing a young Marlins team and an old knuckleball pitcher seemed like a good way to start the year on the right foot for Los Angeles. The Marlins, however, had other plans.
In the first inning, Hough dazzled by opening with a pair of strikeouts. Although the bottom of the inning fizzled, the Marlins immediately threatened. After the first hitter in club history Scott Pose reached on an error, Bret Barberie recorded the first hit to put two runners on.
While Florida was unable to score in the first, the wait for the first run wouldn’t be long. Against Hershiser, a three-time All-Star and the 1988 Cy Young Award winner, Benito Santiago and Jeff Conine opened the bottom of the second inning with singles before Walt Weiss tripled both home with the first extra-base hit in club history. Weiss would increase the lead to 3-0 by scoring on an RBI single from Pose.
After Orestes Destrade recorded the first double in franchise history, Santiago singled him home in the third to push the lead to 4-0. That’s all that Hough and the Florida bullpen would need.
The Dodgers sought to make things interesting after Jody Reed and Jose Offerman singled home runs in the fifth. Tim Wallach lifted a solo home run in the sixth to cut the lead to 4-3, but the Marlins would add some insurance over their next two trips to the plate.
In the sixth, an RBI groundout from Pose brought home Conine. An inning later, Barberie scored when Destrade grounded into a double play.
After Luis Aquino, Joe Klink and Cris Carpenter combined to throw two scoreless innings, Bryan Harvey picked up the first save in Marlins history by working a scoreless ninth. His strikeout of Offerman ultimately ended the contest.
As a team, Florida finished with 14 hits in its first-ever game. For a guy later nicknamed Mr. Marlin, Conine fittingly went 4-for-4 in the victory with two runs scored.
The Dodgers would go on to take the series with a pair of 4-2 victories. The Marlins finished just 64-98 in its first season but have since won two World Series. Their first-ever victory came in their first-ever game on this day three decades ago.