Phase V: Regrowth Through Youth and Pitching
With their moves, the new Marlins of 1998 had only a $15 million total salary payroll. This was a staggering change from the $52 million of the year prior – leaving only 29% of the cost remaining. Livan Hernandez and Preston Wilson would make up some of the very few good pieces this team had left. All in all, the Marlins would become the first (and only in history to this point) team to lose 100 games in a defense of a World Series Championship.
1999 would be a year of change for the Marlins, though not necessarily in a positive moving direction. Wayne Huizenga finally sold the team; to Boca Raton native, John Henry. They also struck big in the draft, selecting future World Series MVP, Josh Beckett, with the first overall pick.
Every year of my childhood, I spent two weeks in Florida each year with my grandparents. For whatever reason, I began to have a kinship with the new sports teams that would appear in the South Florida market over those years – specifically the Panthers and Marlins. While relevant for a few years, the Panthers have lived a fairly mediocre and uneventful existence since 1996.
The Marlins, on the other hand, have been full of success, controversy, and reinvention. Just this week, once again, Miami was full of change when a mega-deal between the Marlins and Blue Jays commenced sending every Marlin making money to Toronto – including Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, and Josh Johnson – in return for cheap prospects.
While my following of the team has fallen to being inconsequential over the years, they have always been very intriguing to look into. They are coming up on their 20th anniversary in 2013, so it is as good of a time as any to look back at the eventful history of the Marlins: