His name remains Dan Uggla

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Being an adolescent franchise, the Marlins have to stretch to get their names, and the names of their players, into the record books. So it is fitting that Dan Uggla made history last night, becoming the first second baseman to record four straight 30-home run seasons (while also becoming the first second basemen to homer 30 times in four nonconsecutive seasons to boot). In some ways, it is not much of an accomplishment. Plenty of non-second basemen have equaled this feat. But as Marlins fans, we have to celebrate any achievement of immortality, no matter how trivial.

Up on baseball's Mount Olympus, the pantheon of legends is virtually bereft of Marlins, and those who are there, like Gary Sheffield and maybe one day Miguel Cabrera, only spent a tiny portion of their careers in a Marlins uniform. In a game which fetishizes history to an excessive degree, it takes time for expansion teams like the Marlins or Rays to develop their own legacies worthy of other, more established franchises. Indeed, even when one of the expansion teams wins a World Series (or two, in the cases of the Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays), it is treated largely as a footnote or aberration unless that team continues to succeed over multiple seasons.

This is all to say that, despite the seemingly inconsequential nature of his record (though really, hitting 30 home runs four times is exceedingly difficult no matter the context), we should take this opportunity to celebrate Dan Uggla, who may not be with the Marlins much longer, but who brought much joy to the few of us who could stomach to watch the Marlins over the past four years. Thanks, Dan.


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