For the inaugural Florida Marlins team, home runs weren’t a big part of their offensive arsenal. In 1993, Florida hit fewer homers than any team in baseball.
On this day 30 years ago, however, Junior Felix hit one worth remembering. Felix’s two-run blast in the eighth inning was the difference as the Marlins topped the Chicago Cubs, 5-3.
Trevor Hoffman had worked out of a major jam in the top of the eighth inning at Joe Robbie Stadium on May 21, 1993. With two runners in scoring position and no one out, Hoffman was able to get two groundouts and a strikeout to avoid damage.
Facing lefty Paul Assenmacher in the bottom of the eighth, the Marlins recorded two outs on just three pitches. Then, Benito Santiago kept the inning going with a single to left field. Up came Felix.
Felix had misplayed a ball in right field during the top of the inning to put the Cubs in position to take the lead. After Hoffman’s Houdini act kept the game tied, Felix atoned for his fielding blunder. Assenmacher was able to get ahead in the count 0-2 before Felix turned around the next pitch and belted it over the left-field wall.
The Marlins regained the lead and went ahead for good. Bryan Harvey worked a scoreless ninth to pick up the save.
Steve Buechele drove in the game’s first two runs for the Cubs with an RBI triple in the second innings and an RBI double in the fourth against Florida starter Ryan Bowen. Trailing 2-0, Bowen helped himself in the bottom of the fifth with a game-tying two-run triple. Bowen would come around to score on an RBI single from Chuck Carr.
The Cubs tied the game in the top of the seventh as Jose Vizcaino grounded into a double play. Ryne Sandberg scored two of the three Chicago runs in the loss. Felix and Walt Weiss each had two hits for the Marlins in the win.
Over the years, the Marlins and Cubs have played some pretty significant games against one another, including postseason meetings in 2003 and 2020. The first-ever meeting between the teams was decided by a Felix homer on this day three decades ago.