Monday, May 16, 2011

My favorite Marlin... Jeff Conine

Happy Baseball Birthday!  to my favorite Miami Marlins player, Jeff Conine. 

▪▪▪this is an update on a blog post from 2011, "My Favorite Marlin."

I continue writing about my favorite ball players, and I'm  in the N.L. East, with my favorite Florida Marlin, Jeff Conine.

Jeff Conine was just one of those guys, when you saw how he played, you just said there goes a big league ball player.

Conine was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 58th round of the 1987 big league player draft.

Jeff made his big league debut for the Royals on September 16th, 1990.

After playing in 37 games for the Royals, Jeff was drafted by the Florida Marlins in the Expansion Draft of 1993.

Jeff played in all 162 games for the Marlins  in 1993, getting 174 hits, batting .292, with 12 HR, and 79 RBI, placing him 3rd place in the N.L. Rookie of the Year voting.

Conine would play for the Marlins through the 1997 season, when he and the Marlins, as a Wild Card, went on to win the teams first World Series Title, over the Cleveland Indians.

In that span, from '93-97, Conine established himself as the Marlins best player, batting .300 twice, hitting 98 home runs, driving in 422 runs, playing in 2 All-Star Games, winning the MVP of the 1995 All-Star Game, coming off the bench as a pinch hitter, and hitting the game winning HR in the 8th inning.

After the '97 World Series, the Marlins sold off and traded most of their team, including Conine, who was sent back to the Royals for the 1998 season.

From 1999-2003 Jeff played in Baltimore, where, as usual, he became a fan favorite, just as he had in Florida.

On the trade deadline in 2003 the Orioles sent Conine back to the Marlins, where Jeff became part of the Marlins 2nd World Series Championship team.

I always enjoyed watching Conine play, and  regardless of the players who have come after him, he is, and always will , be Mr. Marlin,"  the face of the Marlins franchise.

Conine last played for the Marlins in 2005, and yet his name is still high up in the Marlins record book.

Jeff Conine is 2nd in career games played for Florida, with 1,104, 2nd in hits, 1.005, 2nd in RBIs, 553, 3rd in total bases, 1,579, 7th in Marlins HRs, with 120, and 8th in batting average, at .290.

I used to get into arguments with friends about Conine being the Marlins best player in his early years, when Garry Sheffield was a teammate of Conine.

I'll take one Jeff Conine as a player on one of my teams over a hundred Sheffield's.

The stats were all Sheffield's, but the heart, the passion, the ball player, for me, was Jeff Conine.

The annual JEFF CONINE AWARD is presented to the Marlin of the Year by the Miami chapter of the Baseball Writers Associationof America. 

Happy Baseball Birthday!  Jeff Conine, my Favorite Marlin!


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