Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Talkin' Baseball, Part 1

I want to talk baseball for a second here. I'm a Marlins fan and I was reading one of my favorite blogs today (about college football) and of course Wayne Huizenga was mentioned because of the ongoing saga with the Dolphins, which he owns, and Nick Saban, the head coach who is bolting to Alabama. Someone posted this comment in the comments section.

And yes, I am also still bitter that he bought the 1997 World Series back when I was a baseball fan.
This is well-traveled myth is an attempt to discredit the fact that such a new franchise (that played its first game in 1993) could win the World Series. The story goes that the Marlins rented a bunch of superstars to win the title. The facts just don't align with this theory.

I'm going to take a look at the position players from that 1997 team in this post and will look at the pitchers in the next one.
Catcher: Charles Johnson. Drafted by the Marlins.

Catcher: Gregg Zaun. Received in a trade during the 1996 season.

1st Base: Jeff Conine was on the Marlins opening day roster Marlins since their inaugural game in 1993.

1st Base: Darren Daulton. Received in a mid season trade.

2nd Base: Luis Castillo. Was a rookie in 1997, broke into majors with the Marlins.

2nd Base: Craig Counsell. Received in a mid-season trade.

SS: Edgar Renteria. Broke into majors with the Marlins in 1996.

3rd Base: Alex Arias. Another Marlin from the original 1993 team.

3rd Base: Bobby Bonilla. Free agent signing before 1997 season.

OF: Moises Alou. Free agent signing before 1997 season.

OF: John Cangelosi. Free agent signing before 1997 season.

OF: John Eisenreich. Free agent signing before 1997 season.

OF: Cliff Floyd. Received in a trade.

OF: Gary Sheffield. Received in a trade during 1993 season.

OF: Devon White. Signed as a free agent before 1996 season.
Let's talk about the idea of buying a player. I don't think that players that are drafted by a team or traded for before they break into the majors are "bought". I would also go as far as saying that any player traded for is not "bought" because you have to give up players in return. Trading players has been an acceptable and accepted part of the game since long before free agency.

So of the 13 players above, which are the the ones that got the lion's share of the at bats during the 1997 season, only 5 were free agent signings. But here's the thing, only Alou and Bonilla could be categorized as stars. Devon White was a good player and Eisenreich and Cangelosi were journeymen. And White was signed before the 1996 season not the 1997 season.

So you have 4 free agents that signed with the Marlins immediately before the 1997 season. One was a superstar, one was an above average player and the other two were role players that platooned during the season.

I'm no fan of Huizenga because of how he sold off the parts to the team after winning but that's different than saying that he "bought" the World Series.

Next, the pitchers.


Robert said...

Sound analysis.

I'll go as far as saying this: what's the big deal if the Marlins actually did "buy" that World Series? It's not like other teams haven't tried to pick up free agents in an attempt to win the title. Look at the Yankees, when was the last time they won the World Series?

You can "buy" as many players as you want but you still have to play the games and win.

Henry Gomez said...


I agree with you but I dispute the premise to begin with. If they had "bought" the players to win it, theey would have done it within the established rules of the game. But they didn't and so I'll argue it that way every time.