Category Archives: Florida/Miami Marlins

Happy Birthday Charles Johnson!!!

Happy Birthday Charles Johnson!!!

Charles Johnson turns 43 years old today.

Charles Johnson means a lot to Florida Marlins fans, and the people of Miami.

Johnson is a local product, having played his college baseball at the University of Miami. He was drafted by the Marlins during the first round of the 1992 draft. And a few years later, he was the starting catcher for the team – his team.

Johnson played in the big leagues for 12 seasons; 7 of which were in Miami. He helped lead the team to the 1997 World Series with his stellar defense. In total, Johnson collected four Gold Glove Awards for his defensive excellence at catcher.

Johnson is a 2-time All-Star and collected 940 hits during his career including 211 doubles and 167 home runs.

Happy Birthday CJ!!!

Baseball Card Show Purchase #7 – Awesome Lot Of Sweet Florida Marlins Vintage Memorabilia

Baseball Card Show Purchase #7 – Awesome Lot Of Sweet Florida Marlins Vintage Memorabilia

A new dealer at the show had a lot of large buckets of ‘stuff’ on one of his many tables.  He had a lot of stuff, and it was all very unorganized.  When I walked by and started peering into the buckets with really digging in, he told me that I could have ‘Any 3 items for $1.00′.  That got me to stop and look.  And I am glad that I did.

While pretty sloppy and unorganized, he did have a ‘Marlins bin’ so that is where I spent my time.

I pulled a total of nine items.  All vintage stuff from the original ‘Florida’ team.  And all neat additions to my Marlins collection.

First, I nabbed an inaugural team button and team pocket schedule.

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Then, I pulled some stuff from the 1997 World Series – two mini pennants and a large souvenir button.

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Lastly, I grabbed some player commemorative pins that were game-day giveaways during the early years of the team.

I was able to grab pins of Andre Dawson, Edgar Renteria, Livan Hernandez, and a special #715 pin of Hank Aaron.

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I have to say that off all of my pick-ups at the card show, these Marlins treats are by far my favorite.  The vintage look and the conjured up memories take me right back to those days – and I love it!

For me, this was the best $3.00 purchase I made at the show.  I’ll definitely have to stop by this dealer’s table the next time I go to a show.

Happy Birthday Jeff Conine!!!

Happy Birthday Jeff Conine!!!

Jeff Conine turns 48 years old today.

Jeff Conine has been affectionately given the tag of ‘Mr. Marlin’ by the team’s fans. A testament to his playing days in South Florida, Conine’s performance and winning ways as a member of the Florida Marlins has solidified him as their most decorated player and one of it’s favorites.

A member of both World Series championship teams in 1997 and 2003, Conine was a key cog in the Marlins franchise for 8 seasons. Today, Conine holds a position as an instructor with the team and also does some television work for the local channel that covers ‘The Fish’.

For his birthday, I think it would be fitting to give Mr. Marlin the honor of the first retired jersey in franchise history. I know that these types of honors are normally held for players of a Hall of Fame type caliber, but Conine is certainly the most accomplished Florida Marlins player(so far)!!!

Happy Birthday Mr. Marlin!!!

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1997 HEADLINE: Kevin Brown Fires No-Hitter For The Marlins!!

1997 HEADLINE: Kevin Brown Fires No-Hitter For The Marlins!!

On this day in 1997, Florida Marlins starting pitcher Kevin Brown threw a no-hitter!

On the road in San Francisco to take on the Giants, Brown and his teammates suited up to play in front of a small crowd of just over 10,000 spectators. But for those in attendance that stayed throughout the duration of the ballgame, history was witnessed.

In a battle of a 1st place team(the Giants) and a 2nd place team(the Marlins), it was 1 player that dominated the action from start to finish.

Throughout the night, Brown was amazing. He needed just 98 pitches to complete the game, allowing no hits in the process. Brown struck out 7 batters on the night while pitching almost flawlessly. He walked nobody, and faced just 28 batters.

The Marlins gave Brown all of the offensive support that he needed to remain confident on the hill. Tallying 9 runs, Edgar Renteria, Charles Johnson, and Moises Alou provided the firepower enabling Brown to remain calm during the course of the game.

Congratulations and Happy Anniversary Mr. Brown!!!

I have watched parts of a handful of no-hitters on television. This is the first one that I can recall watching the entire game.

1998 HEADLINE: Blockbuster Trade Sends Mike Piazza To The Florida Marlins!!!

1998 HEADLINE: Blockbuster Trade Sends Mike Piazza To The Florida Marlins!!!

In 1998, the term ‘fire-sale’ and the Florida Marlins were linked like peanut butter and jelly. Coming off of a World Series championship the prior season, the Marlins management team was dumping all of the players and salaries that took them to the pinnacle just a few months prior.

And on this day in 1998, the Marlins made a deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Mike Piazza was traded by the Dodgers with Todd Ziele for Manuel Barrios, Bobby Bonilla, Jim Eisenriech, Charles Johnson, and Gary Sheffield.

Piazza’s stay in Miami was short-lived as he was dealt just 8 days later to the New York Mets.

Piazza’s time as a Marlins’ player included 5 games in which he tallied 5 hits and 5 RBI in 18 at-bats.

1996 HEADLINE: Al Leiter Throws A No-Hitter For The Florida Marlins

1996 HEADLINE:  Al Leiter Throws A No-Hitter For The Florida Marlins

On this day in 1996, All Leiter threw a no-hitter for the Florida Marlins!!!

I happened to have been at this game, and it is by far the single greatest sporting event I have ever seen live in person. This game easily trumps being at the World Series, The NBA Conference Finals, and any other baseball, basketball, or wrestling event I have ever been to.

I thought it would be fun to go back and review that original post I wrote over a year ago when I told you about ‘The Greatest Baseball Game I Have Ever Been To’. And then being a bit of a risk taker, I sent the ticket stub from that game along with a baseball card and sent them to Al Leiter in hopes of getting him to sign them for me. That went pretty well too

Thanks again Mr. Leiter. And Happy Anniversary!!!

Billy The Marlin 2008 Topps Allen & Ginter Mascot Mini Card

Billy The Marlin 2008 Topps Allen & Ginter Mascot Mini Card

This card came to my courtesy of a very generous blogger, Pat from ‘Hot Corner Cards’.  This is the second of what is a 2-post set as Pat sent me two excellent cards for my Marlins collection.

How do you not love mascots???

As the father of two young boys that are becoming fans of baseball, I can easily state that part of the enjoyment that they get from going to the games involves seeing ‘Billy The Marlin’ at the ballpark.

And I love the fact that Topps has found ways to incorporate mascots into their sets – at any level.

It’s a shame that I have not made grabbing more mascot cards a priority so my kids can enjoy them.  This sweet gift from Pat will motivate me to grab more cards of ‘Billy’ so my two boys can each have a few.

 

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Thanks again Pat.   You’ve motivated me to go out and grab a few more ‘Billys’ for my boys.

 

Sights From Today’s Marlins/Mariners Afternoon Affair…

Sights From Today’s Marlins/Mariners Afternoon Affair…

Today, we took the kids to the ballpark for some afternoon baseball with the Miami Marlins.  I always try to get to a game early in the season, and this was the first chance we had to get to a game with out hectic Little League and T-Ball schedules.

The weather was beautiful, and hot.  For all of the game that I have attended since Marlins Park opened, this was our first experience of a game with the roof opened.

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We sat in ‘our’ seats through the first 5 innings and then moved to higher ground to escape the sun’s rays.  From our seats, located in Row 1 of the second level, we have a nice unobstructed view of the field and are pretty centered between the hitters and the outfielders.

Here is the famous statue in left field.  Sadly, we did not see it in motion today…

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And here is the $250 Million Dollar Man, Robinson Cano in the field.

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And at the plate.  He had two hits today.

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And here is our lead-off hitter, Christian Yelich.  He did not get a hit until the eighth inning, but he ended up scoring the game-tying run on what would be my first experience of ‘Replay’ at a live game.  Yelich has a nice hit-streak going right now and I am hoping that continues tomorrow night when the Marlins are in Atlanta.

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And there is my buddy, #27, all the way in right field.  I told the kids that the next time we attend a game I will get seats along the first base side so we can be closer to Giancarlo.

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Here he is at the plate.  He did not have a hit today.

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And here is a shot from the seats we moved to after the sun was too much for us.  You should have seen their reaction to the ‘review call’ when it was in favor of the Marlins.

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What a great afternoon.  It was fun for all of us and Marlins Park is a really enjoyable place to catch a game!

I’m already scanning our schedules for the next time we can get down to the ballpark.

 

Sights & Stories From Today’s Spring Training Action Between The Marlins & Cardinals – MUST READ!

Sights & Stories From Today’s Spring Training Action Between The Marlins & Cardinals

Today was a fantastic day for baseball.  It was sunny, but not too hot.  And there was just enough of a breeze out to keep it from feeling too humid.

I got to the stadium early this morning – around 9AM.  With only one day to make the trip to Spring Training, I wanted to take advantage of the full day and spend as much time at the ballpark as I could.

Since the game was not scheduled to start until 1:05, I had plenty of time to walk around and check out what was going on at all of the Marlins fields that makes up half of the Roger Dean Stadium complex.

The minor leaguers were out in full force, with at least 80 of them out and about.  And the big leaguers were present as well – on the main practice field.  After going through a few stretching and running drills, the major league squad split up with the offensive players going to the main stadium for practice and BP and the pitchers going to the side bullpen for their pitching session.

At the pitching session, it was a rotation of four guys throwing at the same time – and Jose Fernandez was in the bunch.  He was closest to the fence, and I literally had a front row seat as he threw 60-80 pitches.  The fence at this area of the field is extremely high, and unfortunately my pictures came out awful.

When he was done, the group that assembled (about 10 of us) asked if he would sign but he said he had to go do some running.  He did, however, open up the gate between the players and the fans and shove five balls he used during his session through to us.  I was lucky enough to grab one!!

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That is a ball that was used by the reigning NL ROY – Pretty cool!!!

Instead of standing around and wait to see if he was going to return and sign for us, I opted to head towards the main stadium to see if I could get anything going there.  The main stadium is not open to the public for practice or BP, but I have learned where to stand as the players have to walk by where I was to get from the stadium to the clubhouse.

I saw almost everyone – Salty, Lucas, Solano, Redmond, Mathis, Hechavarria, Yelich, Ozuna, and then my main man walked through the outfield wall and headed right towards me!!!

Giancarlo Stanton!!!  He was very nice – I asked if he could sign for me as I was the only one around and he waved me over.  He quickly grabbed my pen and signed my ball.  I thanked him for taking the time to do that for me and I wished him well and good luck during the 2014 baseball season.

Here is the signed ball!!!

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I may have missed Fernandez, but I got the guy I was truly seeking – and the auto is crisp and clean!!

After that, it was game time.

Henderson Alvarez was on the hill for the Marlins.

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And Adam Wainwright was on the mound for the Cardinals.  My picture of him came out way too blurry so I will skip posting it here.

But, here is a picture of the new 3B coach for the Marlins – Mr. Brett Butler:

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I was able to walk around to all areas of the park – so I snapped pics throughout the game.

Here are a few more:

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Yadier Molina

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My man Stanton at the plate, with Molina catching:

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The day was fun, lots of fun.  I only get to do this once a year, and I really enjoyed myself today.

I’m a little sun-burned, and a little tired.  But, it was a great day – I got to see my boy Giancarlo Stanton up close.  I got to watch Jose Fernandez pitch.  And the Marlins beat the Cardinals 7-3.

The only thing that would have made this better would have been if my wife and kids could have joined me but it is not Spring Break yet and I don’t think pulling them out of school for the day to go to Spring Training would go over too well…

Oh, I also saw Andre Dawson, but it was just for a minute.  He was moving from field to field during practice and I waved to him.  He waved back, but I am not certain that he recognized me…  Otherwise, I know he would have come over to say ‘Hello’..  LOL

I am so ready for the season to get underway – today was a great kickstart to the 2014 season for me!!!

Thanks for reading.

Tomorrow, I Go To Jupiter!!!

Tomorrow, I Go To Jupiter!!!

Coincidentally, the anniversary of my employment at my workplace is during Spring Training.  And in my world, if you do not use your vacation time when your anniversary hits, your hours are wiped out and the clock resets itself.

In a nutshell, this means that I have 8 hours of PTO remaining that must be used by the middle of next week.  Normally, I save a day or two just in case one of my kids gets sick and I need to take a day or two off, but it looks like I am clear now as everyone is feeling great.

So, what is a guy to do?

I’ll tell you what this guy is gonna do.  He’s going to Jupiter, Florida to catch himself a full-days worth of Miami Marlins Spring Training action.  The fish play the Cardinals at 1:00 so I will catch a few innings of the game.  But, I will get there much earlier than that.  I love the Jupiter complex and enjoy walking around taking in all of the action.

Hopefully I will be able to see some of the players on the side fields go through their drills before the game starts.  And since not all of the guys will be playing in the game, I am hoping to be able to see some of the ‘main roster’ players during their workouts.

It should be fun.  It should be hot.  And I cannot wait.

And if I am able to snap some good pictures while there, I will surely share them with you when I return.

Happy Friday to me!!

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