Edgar Rentería became a legend during the 1997 World Series, but there’s so much more to know about the longtime shortstop. Just like I did with Benito Santiago, this article will go back and look at the career of a notable figure in Marlins history.
Rentería was born August 7, 1976, in Barranquilla, Colombia. He signed with the Florida Marlins on January 14, 1992 as an international free agent. After parts of 5 seasons in the minor leagues, he made his MLB debut in 1996.
Despite being among the youngest players in the entire league, Rentería was really good in his first taste of the majors. Rentería combined strong on-base skills with smooth fielding at shortstop. He came in second for the National League Rookie of the Year award, only finishing behind Todd Hollandsworth.
Rentería proved to be a vital piece on the soon-to-be contending Marlins.
Across the board, Rentería’s stats dipped during the 1997 season. He was in the lineup almost every day, but was not as productive offensively. Even so, the Marlins went 92-70 to earn the franchise’s 1st postseason berth.
Rentería batted in the No. 2 spot of the Marlins lineup throughout October (.243/.333/.288, .621 OPS, 16 H, 4 RBI, 66 AB). The Marlins, as you all know, made it to Game 7 of the World Series. It was ultimately Rentería who beat the Cleveland Indians with his hit up the middle in the bottom of the 11th inning.
After the 1997 championship, the Marlins began a firesale of their veteran players. Rentería stayed one more season before being traded to the St. Louis Cardinals on December 14, 1998 in exchange for 2B Pablo Ozuna, LHP Armando Almanza, and RHP Braden Looper.
In 2000, Rentería took a step forward as a run producer and earned a NL Silver Slugger award. The Cardinals made the playoffs and advanced to the NLCS. He scored 9 runs in their 8 total games, but didn’t get enough help from the pitching staff, as they got eliminated by the New York Mets.
Rentería continued to improve as a hitter during the 2000s. He had stints with the Red Sox, Braves, and Tigers, contributing double-digit home runs in most of those years.
His regular season role began to shrink with the San Francisco Giants, but that’s where Rentería finally added another World Series ring. He powered them past the Rangers in 2010 with 2 home runs and a 1.209 OPS. That was good enough to win the World Series MVP.
Rentería finished his career in 2011 after one season with the Cincinnati Reds. He retired as a 5x All-Star, 2x Gold Glover, 3x Silver Slugger, 2x World Series champ, and WS MVP.
To Marlins fans, Edgar Rentería will forever be remembered for his series-clinching RBI. However, he deserves to be also be remembered by a broader baseball audience as a player who had a consistently great and impactful career overall.