(This is part of a series on retired numbers, with somewhat of a focus on Retired Number Bandits — players who wore a number that was later retired at any point after the person for whom it was retired first wore it. See the introduction for more information and explanation on Bandits.)
Like the Seattle Mariners, the Miami Marlins have no retired numbers. Unlike the Mariners, they don’t even have any unofficially retired numbers that they have taken out of circulation. Also like the Mariners, this seems logical at first, as they have only existed for 23 seasons. But they have won two World Series in that time, and plenty of players have had career highlights in Marlins uniforms.
Charles Johnson, Kevin Brown, Gary Sheffield, Edgar Renteria, Ivan Rodriguez, Luis Castillo, Juan Pierre, Derrek Lee, Mike Lowell, Dontrelle Willis, Josh Beckett — all those guys played big roles on World Series champion teams in Miami. Managers Jim Leyland and Jack McKeon won championships there. It seems like there’s probably someone in that lengthy list whom the Marlins might like to honor on the wall.
Ultimately, though, I don’t begrudge a team choosing to be more selective about which numbers they retire. There is no one on that list above that I can get indignant about not having his number retired. Unlike the Mariners, the Marlins don’t have any Hall of Famers who spent significant time in their uniform, and in a way it’s endearing that they aren’t trying to manufacture history where it does not exist.
Incidentally, the Marlins originally did have a retired number. They retired the number 5 in honor of former team president Carl Barger, who died not long before the Marlins began play in 1993. Barger’s favorite player had been Joe DiMaggio, so they retired DiMaggio’s number in Barger’s honor. The number was unretired in 2012 so that Logan Morrison could wear it in honor of his childhood favorite, George Brett. Since then, Reed Johnson and Casey McGehee have also worn the number.
If the Marlins want to retire a number, maybe they should retire number 7 in honor of former umpire Eric Gregg:
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