So Long, Gary

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Another child of the Marlins diaspora has left the game, as Gary Sheffield announced his retirement yesterday. He is the only former Marlin that has hit 500 home runs, yet will probably not make the Hall of Fame due to allegations of PED use and his difficulties getting along with the media. That's too bad, because he could have plausibly been the first man with a Marlins hat on his plaque in Cooperstown. Sheffield still holds the club record for home runs in a season (42 in 1996), and as we wrote two years ago, "He pretty much tripled the Marlins' legitimacy when he was traded to the team during the inaugural year."

Craig Calcaterra said it best:
He didn’t lead the league in anything too many times and was never an MVP, but he had many seasons that, had they earned him the MVP, wouldn’t have been embarrassing to the award.  Many of those seasons came before there was general acceptance of just how awesome it was to get on base at a .450 clip so he was under the radar while everyone was oohing and ahhing the big RBI men.  He did a lot of things well rather than just one thing and had a lot of excellent seasons rather than one standalone boffo one and that's usually a recipe for being underestimated.
At the very least, Sheffield should be the first former Marlin to have his number retired. Here's hoping the team acts on that idea soon.

1 comments:

Chris_Miller February 18, 2011 at 10:23 AM  

Gary Sheffield was a man who did things his own way, and as you mentioned, that didn't endear him with the media.
On the field however, if looked at objectively, Sheffield was a fantastic player, and especially at the time in his career spent with the Marlins.
Many times people can only remember the flash and not the substance, and for that limitation, Sheffield gets overlooked or forgotten when people talk about 'great' players. I hope that Marlins publicly recognize Sheffield's contributions as also. Well deserved!

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