Remembering Jim Leyland's Impact on Miami Marlins

By J.S.Cruz

Today is a good day to remember the 1997 World Champion Florida Marlins and its skipper Jim Leyland.

Leyland has announced he will not be back as the manager of the Detroit Tigers, even though he is not retiring from baseball. He still plans to be within this organization.

To the date Leyland is the active manager with most wins 1769; this ranks him in the 15th place in the all-time among MLB managers.

But Leyland’s only championship came in 1997 with the Florida Marlins, a franchise that was just five years old then. Marlins fans remember the emotional seventh game of the World Series, when he raised his fist to the stands of the Pro Player Stadium right after Craig Counsell scored the winning run. He was also the first manager to have a winning season for the franchise in 1997. However, he didn’t win the Manager of the Year that season.

As a Marlin, he had a record of 146-178 from 1997 to 1998. The 1998 Marlins season will be also remembered as the beginning of ugly cycles of fire sales to South Florida baseball. Leyland managed the 1998 dismantled champion team, which eventually was sold, and he resigned after that season as the Marlins skipper.

The Marlins have only one manager with winning record: Jack McKeon (280-257). McKeon is the manager with most wins within the franchise and was the manager of the 2003 World Series Champion Florida Marlins. McKeon was the first Marlins manager to win the Manager of the Year honor, and he had previously won this award in 1999 with the Cincinnati Reds.

The other Marlins manager to win the Manager of the Year is Joe Girardi in 2006, but he didn’t have a winning record that year and finished fourth in the NL East with a record of 78-84.

J. S. Cruz is a Miami Marlins writer for Follow him on Twitter @jscruzme and on Facebook.

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