Mike Hampton

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Posted by bender 03/27/2009 @ 22:08

Tags : mike hampton, baseball players, baseball, sports

News headlines
Braves face Hampton, Astros - Atlanta Journal Constitution
Mike Hampton tonight and Roy Oswalt on Saturday. Oh, had we failed to mention that ol' “Hampy” is starting tonight for the Astros? Oh, yes, the lefty returns to Atlanta, where I'm quite sure the reception is going to be … well, interesting....
Hampton gets second win - Rotoworld.com
Mike Hampton surrendered five runs over six innings in a 15-11 win over the Rockies on Wednesday. It was Hampton's first win since April 15 against the Pirates. He yielded seven hits, including a home run to Ian Stewart, with two walks and three...
MLB: Chicago Cubs 6, Houston 3 - United Press International
The Cubs filled the bases with two out in the opening inning and Johnson then hit a 1-1 offering from Mike Hampton to deep center. Johnson scored moments later on a passed ball charged to veteran Ivan Rodriguez and then did the same thing in the sixth....
Vick reportedly set to start training upon prison release - Atlanta Journal Constitution
Vick must complete the final two months of his 23-month dogfighting sentence in home confinement in Hampton, Va. Whether the embattled Falcons quarterback will be allowed back in the NFL is up to commissioner Roger Goodell, who suspended him...
Class AAA boys results - The State
7, Wade Hampton (James Bailey, Shannon Stone, Hakeem Flowers, Mike Roberts), 46.54. 1600 Relay: 1, St James (Dewayne Dunham, Jeqwaski White, Brunson Miller, Chadwick Allston), 3:22.53. 2, Darlington (Matthew Robinson, Dreak Flynn, Avery Coe,...
Throw back night at Coors Field - Examiner.com
There were 26 runs scored and 36 hits and to top it all off Mike Hampton was on the mound. Hampton remembers Coors Field as the place his ERA jumped to astronomical heights. In the seven seasons prior to 2001 Hampton's ERA was under 4.00....
Fantasy Week 7: Two-Start Pitchers - FanHouse
... Tigers - Tuesday vs TEX (B. McCarthy) and Sunday vs COL (J. Hammel) Ricky Nolasco , Marlins - Monday vs ARZ (D. Haren) and Saturday vs TB (J. Niemann) Mike Hampton , Astros - Tuesday vs MLW (D. Bush) and Sunday vs TEX (B. McCarthy) Braden Looper...
HILLSBOROUGH: Neighbor saves woman from apartment fire - Packet Online
By Audrey Levine, Staff Writer Michael Hampton, 35, was inside his second-floor Durling Way apartment May 7 when he heard the sounds of a woman screaming on the floor below. When he realized she was screaming “help me,” he quickly ran out of his...
Michael R. Hampton - Palladium-Item
21, 1953, in Richmond to Fred Daniel Sr. and Erma Morrison Hampton and lived in College Corner until moving back to Richmond 16 years ago. He formerly worked as a plumber and pipe fitter at Visteon in Connersville. Michael was a member of Holy Family...
Neighborhood's help key to battle against crime, mayor hopeful says - Toledo Blade
•Call upon the media, city government, and neighbors to use neighborhood names "in referencing both positive and negative incidents, names like Old Orchard, Hampton Park, the Birmingham District." Mr. Moody said he coordinated the release of his...

Mike Hampton

Hampton (left) with Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell in 2008.

Michael William Hampton (born September 9, 1972 in Brooksville, Florida) is a Major League Baseball starting pitcher for the Houston Astros. He bats right-handed and throws left-handed. Hampton is well-known for being one of the best active hitting pitchers, as well as (more recently) for his large contract and frequent injuries.

Mike Hampton was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 5th round of the 1990 draft. He first broke into the major leagues in 1993, but had a disappointing start. After the season, he found himself traded to the Houston Astros, where he would become a star.

Hampton became a starter for Houston in 1995, and kept his ERA under 4.00 for every season he was with the Astros. In 1999, Hampton had his best year. He broke through with a 22–4 record, best in the National League, and a 2.90 ERA. He picked up his first of five Silver Slugger Awards and narrowly finished second in National League Cy Young Award voting to Randy Johnson.

Entering the final year of his contract, Hampton was dealt to the New York Mets in the wake of his big season. He went 15–10 with a 3.12 ERA and helped the Mets greatly in the postseason. With two wins and no earned runs in two starts, Hampton was named the MVP of the 2000 NLCS. Hampton received a loss in his only World Series appearance.

During this time, Hampton also established a reputation as a good hitting pitcher, as he batted .311 (23 for 74) in 1999. His best all-around offensive season came in 2001 with the Colorado Rockies, when he would hit .291 with 7 home runs. The next year he hit 3 home runs and batted .344. From 1999-2003, Hampton would go on to win 5 consecutive Silver Slugger Awards.

The Colorado Rockies signed Hampton to an expensive, long-term contract on December 9, 2000. The contract is the 25th largest in the history of sports. The Rockies hoped Hampton, who had been one of the best pitchers in the league over the past few seasons, would be able to succeed in the tough pitching conditions of Coors Field.

Hampton went a disappointing 14–13 with a 5.12 ERA in 2001, his pitching clearly affected by Coors Field. Like his predecessor Darryl Kile, Hampton succumbed to control problems. The next season was even more of a disaster for the highly-paid Hampton, as he went 7–15 with his ERA climbing to 6.15. The only positive from Hampton's two Colorado years was his hitting (ten home runs and .300+ batting average over two seasons).

In November 2002, Hampton and his contract were traded to the Florida Marlins, then to the Atlanta Braves. Braves' pitching coach Leo Mazzone set about trying to get Hampton's career back on track after the Coors Field debacle. Hampton won 14 games and got his ERA back down to 3.84 in 2003. He overcame a slow start in 2004 by winning 10 of his last 11 decisions and helping to propel the Braves to another division championship.

Hampton did not contribute nearly as much in 2005 as he was limited heavily by injuries. He went 5–3 in twelve starts, but was lost for the rest of the season with an elbow injury on August 19, 2005. Hampton had Tommy John surgery on September 25, 2005 and missed the entire 2006 season rehabbing.

The Braves were hoping for Hampton to be ready to rejoin the rotation in time for the start of the 2007 season. The rehab was on schedule until Hampton tore his oblique muscle on March 7, 2007, which was to sideline him until at least May. Soon after, the Braves signed Mark Redman to be a left-handed starting pitcher for them in case Hampton was not able to return to action soon. After Hampton threw a bullpen session on April 8, the Braves shut Hampton down due to recurring elbow pain and said that he would see Dr. David Altchek, who had performed his Tommy John surgery in 2005. The next day, it was announced after having another left elbow procedure, that Hampton would miss the entire 2007 season.

Hampton began a rehab assignment on November 22, 2007 for Navojoa of the Mexican Winter League. In the first inning, he attempted to make a play on a comebacker and left during warmups before the second inning, feeling discomfort in his hamstring. The rest of his rehab was left in doubt.

However, Hampton reported to "Camp Roger" on time in late January. He threw off the mound for Bobby Cox and Roger McDowell, both of whom were impressed with Hampton's steady progress. Hampton arrived a day before pitchers and catchers were due to report at Lake Buena Vista. He ran sprints and played catch with teammates, and continued to pitch off the mound, and threw to live batters: Mark Kotsay, Tim Hudson, and Corky Miller.

On April 3, 2008, Hampton was scheduled to make his long-anticipated return to the Braves rotation in a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. While warming up, however, Hampton strained his left pectoral muscle, and was placed on the 15-day disabled list.

On July 10, 2008, Hampton was scheduled to start for the Mississippi Braves, the Double-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, against the Jacksonville Suns.

On July 26, 2008, Hampton made his first major league start since August 2005 against the Philadelphia Phillies.

On August 5th, 2008, following two mediocre starts in his return to the majors, Hampton earned his first victory in nearly three years against the San Francisco Giants. However, he was soon injured again, and finished the season with only 13 appearances. His final 2008 stats included a 3-4 record and a 4.85 ERA.

On December 3, 2008, Hampton signed a 1-year contract worth $2 million with the Houston Astros. Hampton can earn another $2 million in performance based incentives.

Hampton chose to wear uniform #11 in his return to Houston to honor his old friend, longtime Astro catcher Brad Ausmus. His #10 that he wore during his first stint with Houston is currently being worn by Miguel Tejada. His physical was clean, and experts believe he is once again healthy. He'll slot in as the number 2 pitcher behind Roy Oswalt.

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Atlanta Braves

The Atlanta Braves Spring Training game against the New York Mets in 2008.

The Atlanta Braves are a professional baseball team based in Atlanta, Georgia. The Braves are a member of the Eastern Division of Major League Baseball's National League. From 1997 to the present, the Braves have played in Turner Field.

The "Braves" name, which was first used in 1912, originates from a term for a Native American warrior. They are nicknamed "the Bravos", and often self-styled as "America's Team" in reference to the team's games being broadcast on the nationally available TBS until the 2008 season, gaining a wide fanbase.

From 1991–2005 the Braves were one of the most successful franchises in baseball, winning division titles an unprecedented 14 consecutive times in that period (omitting the strike-shortened 1994 season in which there were no official division champions). The Braves won the NL West 1991-1993 and the NL East 1995-2005. The Braves advanced to the World Series five times in the 1990s, winning the title in 1995. Since their debut in the National League in 1876, the franchise has won 16 divisional titles, 17 National League pennants, as well as three World Series championships—in 1914 as the Boston Braves, in 1957 as the Milwaukee Braves, and in 1995 in Atlanta. The Braves are the only MLB franchise to have won the Series in three different home cities.

One of the National League's two remaining charter franchises (the other being the Chicago Cubs), the club was founded in Boston, Massachusetts in 1871 as the Boston Red Stockings (not to be confused with the American League's Boston Red Sox or the NL Central's Cincinnati Reds). The team moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1953 and became the Milwaukee Braves. In 1966, the team moved to Atlanta. The team's tenure in Atlanta is famous for Hank Aaron's breaking Babe Ruth's career home run record in 1974. His record stood until 2007.

The Cincinnati Red Stockings, established in 1869 as the first professional baseball team, voted to dissolve after the 1870 season. Player-manager Harry Wright then went to Boston, Massachusetts at the invitation of Boston Red Stockings founder Ivers Whitney Adams, with brother George and two other Cincinnati players, to form the nucleus of the Boston Red Stockings, a charter member of the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players. The original Boston Red Stockings team and its successors can lay claim to being the oldest continuously playing team in American professional sports. (The only other team that has been organized as long, the Chicago Cubs, did not play for the two years following the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.) Two young players hired away from the Forest City club of Rockford, Illinois, turned out to be the biggest stars during the NAPBBP years: pitcher Al Spalding (founder of Spalding sporting goods) and second baseman Ross Barnes.

Led by the Wright brothers, Barnes, and Spalding, the Red Stockings dominated the National Association, winning four of that league's five championships. The team became one of the National League's charter franchises in 1876, sometimes called the "Red Caps" (as a new Cincinnati Red Stockings club was another charter member). Boston came to be called the Beaneaters in 1883, while retaining red as the team color.

Although somewhat stripped of talent in the National League's inaugural year, Boston bounced back to win the 1877 and 1878 pennants. The Red Caps/Beaneaters were one of the league's dominant teams during the 19th century, winning a total of eight pennants. For most of that time, their manager was Frank Selee, the first manager not to double as a player as well. The 1898 team finished 102-47, a club record for wins that would stand for almost a century. Stars of those 1890s Beaneater teams included the "Heavenly Twins", Hugh Duffy and Tommy McCarthy, as well as "Slidin'" Billy Hamilton.

The team was decimated when the American League's new Boston entry set up shop in 1901. Many of the Beaneaters' stars jumped to the new team, which offered contracts that the Beaneaters' owners didn't even bother to match. They only managed one winning season from 1900 to 1913, and lost 100 games five times. In 1907, the Beaneaters (temporarily) eliminated the last bit of red from their stockings because their manager thought the red dye could cause wounds to become infected (as noted in The Sporting News Baseball Guide during the 1940s when each team's entry had a history of its nickname(s). See details in History of baseball team nicknames). The American League club's owner, Charles Taylor, wasted little time in changing his team's name to the Red Sox, in place of the generic "Americans". Media-driven nickname changes to the Doves in 1907 and the Rustlers in 1911 did nothing to change the National League club's luck. The team became the Braves for the first time in 1912. Their owner, James Gaffney, was a member of New York City's political machine, Tammany Hall, which used an Indian chief as their symbol.

Two years later, the Braves put together one of the most memorable seasons in baseball history. After a dismal 4-18 start, the Braves seemed to be on pace for a last place finish. On July 4, 1914, the Braves lost both games of a doubleheader to the Brooklyn Dodgers. The consecutive losses put their record at 26-40 and the Braves were in last place, 15 games behind the league-leading New York Giants, who had won the previous three league pennants. After a day off, the Braves started to put together a hot streak, and from July 6 through September 5, the Braves went 41-12. On September 7th and 8th, the Braves took 2 of 3 from the New York Giants and moved into first place. The Braves tore through September and early October, closing with 25 wins against 6 losses, while the Giants went 16-16. They are the only team to win a pennant after being in last place on the Fourth of July. They were in last place as late as July 18, but were close to the pack, moving into fourth on July 21 and second place on August 12.

Despite their amazing comeback, the Braves entered the World Series as a heavy underdog to Connie Mack's Philadelphia A's. Nevertheless, the Braves swept the Athletics--the first unqualified sweep in the young history of the modern World Series (the 1907 Series had had one tied game)--to win the world championship. Meanwhile, Johnny Evers won the Chalmers Award.

The Braves played the World Series (as well as the last few games of the 1914 season) at Fenway Park, since their normal home, the South End Grounds, was too small. However, the Braves' success inspired owner Gaffney to build a modern park, Braves Field, which opened in August 1915. It was the largest park in the majors at the time, with 40,000 seats and also a very spacious outfield. The park was novel for its time; public transportation brought fans right into the park.

After contending for most of 1915 and 1916, the Braves only twice posted winning records from 1917 to 1932. The lone highlight of those years came when Judge Emil Fuchs bought the team in 1923 to bring his longtime friend, pitching great Christy Mathewson, back into the game. However, Mathewson died in 1925, leaving Fuchs in control of the team.

Fuchs was committed to building a winner, but the damage from the years prior to his arrival took some time to overcome. The Braves finally managed to compete in 1933 and 1934 under manager Bill McKechnie, but Fuchs' revenue was severely depleted due to the Great Depression.

Looking for a way to get more fans and more money, Fuchs worked out a deal with the New York Yankees to acquire Babe Ruth, who had, ironically, started his career with the Red Sox. Fuchs made Ruth team vice president, and promised him a share of the profits. He was also granted the title of assistant manager, and was to be consulted on all of the Braves' deals. Fuchs even suggested that Ruth, who had long had his heart set on managing, could take over as manager once McKechnie stepped down--perhaps as early as 1936.

At first, it looked like Ruth was the final piece team needed in 1935. On opening day, he had a hand in all of the Braves' runs in a 4-2 win over the Giants. However, that proved to be the only time the Braves were over .500 all year. Events went downhill quickly. While Ruth could still hit, he could do little else. He couldn't run, and his fielding was so terrible that three of the Braves' pitchers threatened to go on strike if Ruth were in the lineup. It soon became obvious that he was vice president and assistant manager in name only and Fuchs' promise of a share of team profits was hot air. In fact, Ruth discovered that Fuchs expected him to invest some of his money in the team.

Seeing a franchise in complete disarray, Ruth retired on June 1--only six days after he clouted, in what remains one of the most memorable afternoons in baseball history, what turned out to be the last three home runs of his career. He'd wanted to quit as early as May 12, but Fuchs wanted him to hang on so he could play in every National League park. The Braves finished 38-115, the worst season in franchise history. Their .248 winning percentage is the third-worst in baseball history, and the second-worst in National League history (behind only the 1899 Cleveland Spiders).

Fuchs lost control of the team in August 1935, and the new owners tried to change the team's image by renaming it the Boston Bees. This did little to change the team's fortunes. After five uneven years, a new owner, construction magnate Lou Perini, changed the nickname back to the Braves. He immediately set about rebuilding the team. World War II slowed things down a little, but the team rode the pitching of Warren Spahn to impressive seasons in 1946 and 1947.

The 1948 World Series, which the Braves lost in 6 games to the Indians, turned out to be the Braves' last hurrah in Boston. Amid four mediocre seasons, attendance steadily dwindled until, on March 13, 1953, Perini, who had recently bought out his original partners, announced he was moving the team to Milwaukee, where the Braves had their top farm club, the Brewers. Milwaukee had long been a possible target for relocation. Bill Veeck had tried to move his St. Louis Browns there earlier the same year (ironically, Milwaukee was the original home of that franchise), but his proposal had been voted down by the other American League owners.

Milwaukee went wild over the Braves, who were welcomed as genuine heroes. The Braves finished 92-62 in their first season in Milwaukee, and drew a then-NL record 1.8 million fans. The success of the team was noted by many owners. Not coincidentally, the Philadelphia Athletics, St. Louis Browns, Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants would leave their original hometowns in the next five years.

As the 1950s progressed, the reinvigorated Braves became increasingly competitive. Sluggers Eddie Mathews and Hank Aaron drove the offense (they would hit a combined 1,226 home runs as Braves, with 850 of those coming while the franchise was in Milwaukee), whilst Spahn, Lew Burdette and Bob Buhl anchored the rotation. In 1957, the Braves celebrated their first pennant in nine years spearheaded by Aaron's MVP season, as he led the National League in home runs and RBI. Perhaps the most memorable of his 44 round-trippers that season came on September 23, a two-run walk-off home run that gave the Braves a 4-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals and clinched the League championship. The team then went on to its first World Series win in over 40 years, defeating the New York Yankees of Berra, Mantle, and Ford in seven games. Burdette, the Series MVP, threw three complete game victories, giving up only two earned runs.

In 1958, the Braves again won the National League pennant and jumped out to a three games to one lead in the World Series against New York once more, thanks in part to the strength of Spahn's and Burdette's pitching. But the Yankees stormed back to take the last three games, in large part to World Series MVP Bob Turley's pitching. The 1959 season saw the Braves finish the season in a tie with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Many residents of Chicago and Milwaukee were hoping for a Sox-Braves Series, as the cities are only about 75 miles (121 km) apart, but it was not to be because Milwaukee fell in a best-of-3 playoff with two straight losses to the Dodgers. The Dodgers would go on to defeat the Chicago White Sox in the World Series.

The next six years were up-and-down for the Braves. The 1960 season featured two no-hitters by Burdette and Spahn, and Milwaukee finished seven games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates, who ultimately were to win the World Series that year, in second place. The 1961 season saw a drop in the standings for the Braves down to fourth, despite Spahn recording his 300th victory and pitching another no-hitter that year.

Aaron hit 45 home runs in 1962, a Milwaukee career high for him, but this did not translate into wins for the Braves, as they finished fifth. The next season, Aaron again hit 44 home runs and notched 130 RBI, and Spahn was once again the ace of the staff, going 23-7. However, none of the other Braves produced at that level, and the team finished in the lower half of the league, or "second division", for the first time in its short history in Milwaukee.

The Braves were somewhat mediocre as the 1960s began, but fattened up on the expansion New York Mets and Houston Colt .45s. To this day, the Milwaukee Braves are the only major league team who played more than one season and never had a losing record.

Perini sold the Braves to a Chicago-based group led by William Bartholomay in 1962. The ink was barely dry on the deal when Bartholomay started shopping the Braves to a larger television market. Keen to attract them, the fast-growing city of Atlanta, led by Mayor Ivan Allen, constructed a new $18 million, 52,000-seat ballpark in less than one year, Atlanta Stadium, which was officially opened in 1965 in hopes of luring an existing major league baseball and/or NFL/AFL team. After the city failed to lure the Kansas City A's to Atlanta (the A's would move to Oakland in 1968), the Braves announced their intention to move to Atlanta for the 1965 season. However, an injunction filed in Wisconsin kept the Braves in Milwaukee for one final year. In 1966, the Braves completed the move to Atlanta.

Eddie Mathews is the only Braves player to have played for the organization in all three cities that they have been based in. Mathews played with the Braves for their last season in Boston, the team's entire tenure in Milwaukee, and the Braves' first season in Atlanta.

The Braves were a .500 team in their first few years in Atlanta  85-77 in 1966, 77-85 in 1967, and 81-81 in 1968. The 1967 season was the Braves' first losing season since 1952, their last year in Boston. In 1969, with the onset of divisional play, the Braves won the first-ever National League West Division title, before being swept by the "Miracle Mets" in the National League Championship Series. They would not be a factor during the next decade, posting only two winning seasons between 1970 and 1981 - in some cases, fielding teams as bad as the worst Boston teams.

In the meantime, fans had to be satisfied with the achievements of Hank Aaron. In the relatively hitter-friendly confines and higher-than-average altitude of Atlanta Stadium ("The Launching Pad"), he actually increased his offensive production. Atlanta also produced batting champions in Rico Carty (in 1970) and Ralph Garr (in 1974). In the shadow of Aaron's historical home run pursuit, was the fact that three Atlanta sluggers hit 40 or more home runs in 1973 -- Darrell Evans, Davey Johnson and, of course, Aaron.

By the end of the 1973 season Aaron had hit 713 home runs, one short of Ruth's record. Throughout the winter he received racially motivated death threats, but stood up well under the pressure. The next season, it was only a matter of time before he set a new record. On April 4, opening day, he hit #714 in Cincinnati, and on April 8, in front of his home fans and a national television audience he finally beat Ruth's mark with a home run to left-center field off left-hander Al Downing of the Los Angeles Dodgers. In fact, until Barry Bonds eclipsed the 714 home runs hit by Babe Ruth, the top two home run hitters in Major League history had at one time been Braves. Henry Aaron spent most of his career as a Milwaukee and Atlanta Brave before asking to be traded to the Milwaukee Brewers, while Ruth finished his career as a Boston Brave.

In 1976 the team was purchased by media magnate Ted Turner, owner of superstation WTBS, as a means to keep the team (and one of his main programming staples) in Atlanta. The financially-strapped Turner used money already paid to the team for their broadcast rights as a down-payment. It was then that Atlanta Stadium was re-named Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. Turner quickly gained a reputation as a quirky, hands-on baseball owner. On May 11, 1977, Turner appointed himself manager, but because MLB passed a rule in the 1950s barring managers from holding a financial stake in their teams, Turner was ordered to relinquish that position after one game (the Braves lost 2-1 to the Pittsburgh Pirates to bring their losing streak to 17 games).

Turner used the Braves as a major programming draw for his fledgling cable network, making the Braves the first franchise to have a nationwide audience and fanbase. WTBS marketed the team as "The Atlanta Braves: America's Team", a nickname that still sticks in some areas of the country, especially the South. Among other things, in 1976 Turner suggested the nickname "Channel" for pitcher Andy Messersmith and jersey number 17, in order to promote the television station that aired Braves games. Major League Baseball quickly nixed the idea.

After three straight losing seasons, Bobby Cox was hired for his first stint as manager for the 1978 season. He promoted 22-year-old slugger Dale Murphy into the starting lineup. Murphy hit 77 home runs over the next three seasons but he struggled on defense, unable to adeptly play either catcher or first base. In 1980 Murphy was moved to center field and demonstrated excellent range and throwing ability, while the Braves earned their first winning season since 1974. Cox was fired after the 1981 season and replaced with Joe Torre, under whose leadership the Braves attained their first divisional title since 1969. Strong performances from Bob Horner, Chris Chambliss, pitcher Phil Niekro, and short relief pitcher Gene Garber helped the Braves, but no Brave was more acclaimed than Murphy, who won both a Most Valuable Player and a Gold Glove award. Murphy also won a Most Valuable Player award the following season, but the Braves began a period of decline that defined the team throughout the 1980s. Murphy, excelling in defense, hitting, and running, was consistently recognized as one of the league's best players, but the Braves averaged only 65 wins per season between 1985 and 1990. Their lowest point came in 1988, when they lost 106 games. The 1986 season saw the return of Bobby Cox as general manager. Also in 1986, the team stopped using their Native American-themed mascot, Chief Noc-A-Homa.

Cox returned to the dugout as manager in the middle of the 1990 season, replacing Russ Nixon. The Braves finished the year with the worst record in baseball, at 65-97. They traded Dale Murphy to the Philadelphia Phillies after it was clear he was becoming a less dominant player. Pitching coach Leo Mazzone began developing young pitchers Tom Glavine, Steve Avery, and John Smoltz into future stars. That same year, the Braves used the number one overall pick in the Major League Baseball Draft to select Chipper Jones, who has become one of the best hitters in team history. Perhaps the Braves' most important move was not on the field, but in the front office. Immediately after the season, John Schuerholz was hired away from the Kansas City Royals as general manager.

The following season, Glavine, Avery, and Smoltz would be recognized as the best young pitchers in the league, winning 52 games among them. Meanwhile, behind position players Dave Justice, Ron Gant and unexpected league Most Valuable Player and batting champion Terry Pendleton, the Braves overcame a 39-40 start, winning 55 of their final 83 games over the last three months of the season and edging the Los Angeles Dodgers by one game in one of baseball's more memorable playoff races. The "Worst to First" Braves, who had not won a divisional title since 1982, captivated the city of Atlanta (and the entire southeast) during their improbable run to the flag. They defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates in a very tightly contested seven-game NLCS only to lose the World Series, also in seven games, to the Minnesota Twins. The series, considered by many to be one of the greatest ever, was the first time a team that had finished last in its division one year went to the World Series the next; both the Twins and Braves accomplished the feat.

During the Braves' rise to prominence in the early 1990s, their long-standing ethnic nickname came under much closer scrutiny, even being protested in Minneapolis when the Braves visited the Twins for Game 1 of the 1991 World Series. The team was especially criticized for selling plastic and foam tomahawks, encouraging the so-called "tomahawk chop" and the accompanying war cry emitted by the fans. When the team logos were painted on the field at the Metrodome, the tomahawk was omitted from the script "Braves" logo. The war cry and tomahawk chop are similar to what Florida State University fans do at their games. Deion Sanders, a former Braves outfielder who played both football and baseball at Florida State, is credited with bringing the chant and chop to Atlanta.

Despite the 1991 World Series loss, the Braves' success would continue. In 1992 the Braves returned to the NLCS and once again defeated the Pirates in seven games, culminating in a dramatic game seven win. Francisco Cabrera's two-out single that scored David Justice and Sid Bream capped a three-run rally in the bottom of the ninth inning that gave the Braves a 3-2 victory. It was the first time in post season history that the tying and winning run had scored on a single play in the ninth inning. The Braves however lost the World Series to the Toronto Blue Jays. In 1993, the Braves signed Cy Young Award winning pitcher Greg Maddux from the Chicago Cubs, leading many baseball insiders to declare the team's pitching staff the best at that time. The 1993 team posted a franchise-best 104 wins after a dramatic pennant race with the San Francisco Giants, who won 103 games. The Braves needed a stunning 55-19 finish to edge out the Giants, who led the Braves by nine games in the standings as late as August 11. However, the Braves fell in the NLCS to the Philadelphia Phillies in a six-game upset.

In 1994, in a realignment of the National League's divisions following the 1993 expansion, the Braves moved to the Eastern Division. The player's strike cut short the 1994 season, prior to the division championships, with the Braves six games behind the Montreal Expos with 48 games left to play.

The Braves returned strong the following strike-shortened (teams played 144 games instead of the customary 162) year and beat the Cleveland Indians in the 1995 World Series. This squelched claims by many Braves critics that they were the "Buffalo Bills of Baseball" (January 1996 issue of Beckett Baseball Card Monthly). With this World Series victory, the Braves became the first team in Major League Baseball to win world championships in three different cities. With their strong pitching being a constant, the Braves would also appear in the 1996 and 1999 World Series (they lost both series to the New York Yankees, however), and had a streak of division titles from 1991 to 2005 (three in the Western Division and eleven in the Eastern) interrupted only in 1994 when the strike ended the season early. Pitching is not the only constant in the Braves organization — Cox is still the Braves' manager, while Schuerholz remained the team's GM until after the 2007 season when he was promoted to team president. Pendleton did not finish his playing career in Atlanta, but returned to the Braves system as the hitting coach.

A 95-67 record in 2000 produced a ninth consecutive division title. However, a sweep at the hands of the St. Louis Cardinals prevented the Braves from reaching the NLCS. In 2001, Atlanta won the National League East division yet again, swept the NLDS against the Houston Astros, then lost to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League Championship Series four games to one. In 2002, 2003 and 2004, the Braves won their division again, but lost in the NLDS in all three years in the same fashion: 3 games to 2 to the San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs, and Houston Astros.

In 2005, the Braves won the Division championship for the fourteenth consecutive time from 1991 to 2005. Fourteen consecutive division titles stands as the record for all major league baseball. The 2005 title marked the first time any MLB team made the postseason with more than 4 rookies who each had more than 100 ABs (Wilson Betemit, Brian McCann, Pete Orr, Ryan Langerhans, Jeff Francoeur). Catcher Brian McCann, right fielder Jeff Francoeur, and pitcher Kyle Davies all grew up in the suburbs of Atlanta. The large number of rookies to debut in 2005 were nicknamed the "Baby Braves" by fans and became an Atlanta-area sensation, helping to lead the club to a record of 90-72.

However, the season would end on a sour note as the Braves lost the National League Division series to the Astros in four games. In Game 4, with the Braves leading by 5 in the eighth inning, the Astros battled back with a Lance Berkman grand slam and a two-out, ninth inning Brad Ausmus home run off of Braves closer Kyle Farnsworth. The game didn't end until the 18th inning, becoming the longest game in playoff history at 5 hours 50 minutes. Chris Burke ended the marathon with a home run off of Joey Devine.

After the 2005 season, the Braves lost their long-time pitching coach Leo Mazzone, who left to go to the Baltimore Orioles. Roger McDowell took his place in the Atlanta dugout. Unable to re-sign shortstop Rafael Furcal, the Braves acquired shortstop Edgar Rentería from the Boston Red Sox.

In December 2005, team owner Time Warner, who inherited the Braves after purchasing TBS in 1996, announced it was placing the team for sale. Liberty Media began negotiations to purchase the team.

In 2006, the Braves did not perform at the level they had grown accustomed to. Due to an offensive slump, injuries to their starting rotation, and subpar bullpen performances, the Braves compiled a 6-21 record for the month of June, the worst month ever in the city of Atlanta, and just percentage points better than the Boston Braves of May 1935 (4-20).

The Braves made their move in July, going 14-10. However, the team remained in the bottom half of the NL East and trailed the Mets by a double-digit deficit for much of the season (13 games at the All-Star Break). However, despite their struggles, the Braves entered the break down by only six and a half games to the Dodgers for the NL Wild Card slot after winning seven of their last ten games.

The Braves made their first trade of the season on July 20 to shore up the bullpen, sending Class A Rome catcher Max Ramirez to Cleveland for closer Bob Wickman. He served as the Braves' closer for the remainder of the season, taking over for an embattled Jorge Sosa, who was subsequently traded on the July 31 trade deadline for St. Louis minor league pitcher Rich Scalamandre.

On July 29, the Braves traded reserve third baseman/shortstop Wilson Betemit to the Los Angeles Dodgers for reliever Danys Baez and infielder Willy Aybar. The move came on the night that starting third baseman Chipper Jones went on the 15-day disabled list with a strained oblique muscle. With Betemit gone, the Atlanta called up infielder Tony Pena Jr. from AAA Richmond to supplement Pete Orr.

Before the expansion of rosters on September 1, the Braves acquired Daryle Ward from the Washington Nationals for Class A Myrtle Beach pitcher Luis Atilano, in hopes that he would be a valuable pinch-hitter in the postseason.

However, on September 18, the New York Mets' win over the Florida Marlins mathematically eliminated the Braves from winning the NL East, ending the Atlanta Braves eleven year reign over the NL East. On September 24, the Braves' loss to the Colorado Rockies mathematically eliminated the Braves from winning the NL Wild Card, making 2006 the first year that the Braves would not compete in the postseason since 1990, not counting the strike-shortened 1994 season.

Also, a loss to the Mets on September 28 guaranteed the Braves their first losing season since 1990. Although the Braves won two of their last three games against the Astros, including rookie Chuck James besting Roger Clemens, Atlanta finished the season in third place, one game ahead of the Marlins, at 79-83.

After the season, the Atlanta coaching staff underwent a few changes. Brian Snitker became the third base coach after Fredi Gonzalez left to become the manager for the Florida Marlins. Chino Cadahia replaced Pat Corrales as bench coach and former catcher Eddie Perez became the new bullpen coach, replacing Bobby Dews.

In February 2007, after more than a year of negotiations, Time Warner agreed to a deal that would sell the Braves to Liberty Media Group (a company which owned a large amount of stock in Time Warner, Inc.), pending approval by 75 percent of MLB owners and the Commissioner of Baseball, Bud Selig. The deal included the exchange of the Braves, valued in the deal at $450 million, a hobbyist magazine publishing company, and $980 million cash, for 68.5 million shares of Time Warner stock held by Liberty Media, then worth approximately $1.48 billion. Team President Terry McGuirk anticipated no change in the current front office structure, personnel, or day-to-day operations of the Braves. Liberty Media is not expected to take any type of "active" ownership in terms of day to day operations.

On May 16, 2007, Major League Baseball's owners approved the sale of the Braves from Time Warner to Liberty Media.

The Braves made their first moves by re-signing Bob Wickman to a one year deal and picking up John Smoltz's option in September 2006. They traded starting pitcher Horacio Ramírez to the Seattle Mariners for pitcher Rafael Soriano, an American League reliever with a 2.20 ERA in 2006. They also denied arbitration to pitcher Chris Reitsma and second baseman Marcus Giles. The Braves signed utility-man Chris Woodward to fill a spot on the bench. The biggest trade in the offseason involved first baseman Adam LaRoche and a minor league player for Pittsburgh Pirates closer Mike González and a minor league infielder, Brent Lillibridge. Gonzalez, who converted 24 of 24 save opportunities in 2006, joined Soriano as a set up man for Wickman in the bullpen. The team then signed first baseman Craig Wilson to a one year deal to platoon with Scott Thorman. The Braves also had solid relievers in Macay McBride, Blaine Boyer, and Tyler Yates. In addition, the majority of the Braves' offense, which was second in the NL in runs scored in 2006, returned in 2007. However, Mike Hampton was sidelined for the entire 2007 season with yet another surgery. Mike González was later sidelined for the season while recovering from Tommy John surgery.

The Braves' bullpen and offense came through in the clutch early on, helping the Braves to a 7-1 start, their best start since winning the World Series in 1995. The team finished April with a 16-9 record, but struggled during May, finishing 14-14. The Braves also struggled during interleague play, finishing with an NL-worst 4-11 record. On June 24, the Braves fell to .500 for the first time in the 2007 season, but rebounded by winning the next 5 games.

On July 5, Chipper Jones surpassed Dale Murphy for the Atlanta club record of 372 home runs by belting two against the Los Angeles Dodgers. On July 31, 2007, the Braves finalized the deal to acquire slugger first baseman Mark Teixeira and LHP Ron Mahay from the Texas Rangers for catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and four minor-leaguers. The Braves also acquired Octavio Dotel from the Kansas City Royals for Kyle Davies and also traded LHP Wilfredo Ledezma and RHP Will Startup to the San Diego Padres for Royce Ring. On August 19, 2007 John Smoltz passed Phil Niekro for 1st place on the Braves' all-time strikeout list. Braves manager Bobby Cox broke the all-time MLB record for most career ejections by a manager in August 2007.

After struggling during the second half of the 2007 season, Atlanta finished over .500 and missed the post season again. On October 12, 2007, John Schuerholz stepped down as General Manager to take over as team president. Assistant GM Frank Wren took over as General Manager.

In December 2007, the team announced it would not re-sign center fielder Andruw Jones (who later would sign with the Dodgers). Another major move was acquiring CF Gorkys Hernandez and RHP Jair Jurrjens from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for SS Edgar Rentería and cash considerations. Next, LHP Tom Glavine was signed to a one-year contract. They also acquired LHP Will Ohman and INF Omar Infante from the Cubs in exchange for RHP Jose Ascanio.

The team's first new move for 2008 was acquiring OF Mark Kotsay from the A's (to replace Jones) in exchange for RHP Joey Devine, RHP Jamie Richmond and cash considerations. Days later, Wren traded Willy Aybar, outfielder Tom Lindsey, and infielder Chase Fontaine to the Rays in exchange for left-hand reliever Jeff Ridgway.

Before the trade deadline the Braves traded 1B Mark Teixeira to the Los Angeles Angels for Casey Kotchman. The Braves failed to make the playoffs for the third straight season.

On December 4, 2008, the Atlanta Braves received Javier Vázquez and Boone Logan, while the Chicago White Sox received prospects catcher Tyler Flowers, shortstop Brent Lillibridge, third baseman Jon Gilmore and pitcher Santos Rodriguez. They signed free agent pitchers Derek Lowe and Japanese pitcher Kenshin Kawakami. Just before spring training they signed outfielder Garret Anderson.

This list only covers the franchise's season-by-season results while in Atlanta. For a full season-by-season list, see Atlanta Braves season records.

The Braves currently have four uniforms. The first is a white home jersey with Braves written across the breastplate. The away jersey is gray with Atlanta written across the chest. These uniforms have been worn since 1987, and are similar to the uniforms the Braves wore from 1946 to 1963.

Their alternate home jersey is a red jersey with Braves written across the chest. The red jerseys are only worn on Sunday home games, and they were worn the last time the Braves made the playoffs, in 2005. On opening night of the 2008 season against the Nationals, they debuted an alternate dark blue away jersey with Atlanta written in the same dark blue with white outline.

There are three hats that the Braves wear; the standard game hat is one worn with the white home and gray away jerseys and has a red brim and navy blue top with a white A on the front for Atlanta. The hat worn with the Red Jerseys is the same color scheme as the standard game hat but has a red A with a tomahawk across the A. The hat worn with the blue road jerseys has a navy blue top and brim with a white A on the front, similar to the team's away hat from 1966-1969. It is sometimes worn with the gray road jerseys. Also, the standard game hat has been worn with the blue road jersey.

After years of stability, the Braves have faced a period of transition in their radio and television coverage.

The 2007 season was the last for Braves baseball on the TBS Superstation. TBS showed 70 games throughout the country, then cleared the decks to make way for a new national broadcast package that will begin in earnest with the 2007 postseason, and will expand to Sunday afternoon games in 2008. Chip Caray, one of the Braves' current broadcasters, is expected to call play-by-play for the national package, which will include the Division Series every season and alternating coverage of the American League Championship Series and National League Championship Series. Braves baseball has been seen on TBS since it was WTCG in 1971 and has been a cornerstone of the national superstation since it began in 1976. WPCH-TV/Peachtree TV, formerly WTBS Atlanta, will still carry Braves games after this point, but only in parts of the Southern United States. On DirecTV, channel 651 is used exclusively for Braves games produced by Peachtree TV, for viewers outside of its over-the-air coverage area. The Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast cable sports network will also simulcast these games on cable systems throughout Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and South Carolina, and outside of Metro Atlanta in Georgia.

After the 2004 season, longtime radio flagship station 750 WSB was replaced by WGST 640AM. Due to WGST's weak signal at night, which fails to cover the entire Atlanta metropolitan area, all games began to be simulcast on FM radio when the rights were transferred. The games first appeared on 96.1 WKLS (formerly "96rock") in 2005, but moved to country music station 94.9 WUBL ("94.9 The Bull") in 2007 after WKLS underwent a change in format from classic rock to active rock and became Project 9-6-1.

The Atlanta Braves radio network currently serves 152 radio stations across the Southern United States, including 19 in Alabama, 5 in Florida, 71 in Georgia, 4 in Mississippi, 18 in North Carolina, 14 in South Carolina, 15 in Tennessee, 1 in the U.S. Virgin Islands, 2 in Virginia, and 2 in West Virginia.

In addition to Chip Caray, the other broadcasters are Mark Lemke, Joe Simpson, and Jon Sciambi. Don Sutton was released after the 2006 season and was a broadcaster with the Washington Nationals from 2007-2008. Longtime Braves voices Skip Caray and Pete Van Wieren were the primary play-by-play voices of Braves baseball until Skip's sudden death on August 3, 2008, and Van Wieren's retirement after the 2008 season.

Van Wieren did all 162 regular season games on radio, and was working alongside Skip Caray until the latter's death. Chip Caray, Joe Simpson, Jon Sciambi and Mark Lemke have also teamed up with Van Wieren on radio broadcasts during 2007. Chip Caray works all games carried on Peachtree TV. Simpson is the color commentator for all games he does on TV. Jim Powell was hired as a radio broadcaster on January 21, 2009; he was the Milwaukee Brewers radio broadcaster for 13 years. Sutton was released from the Nationals on January 27, 2009, and signed with the Braves later that day to join Powell on the radio.

Braves games can also be seen on FSN South and SportSouth (which changed its name from Turner South shortly after the 2006 baseball season ended). Jon Sciambi is the play-by-play announcer and Simpson is the color commentator.

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2000 National League Championship Series

The 2000 National League Championship Series, to determine the champion of Major League Baseball's National League, was played between the Central Division champion St. Louis Cardinals and the wild card New York Mets. The Mets and Cards used as a rally cry the 2000 hit song Who Let The Dogs Out? by the Baha Men.

This series pitted a pair of teams that were former division rivals. In the mid-1980s, the Mets and Cardinals fought it out for supremacy in the National League East over four seasons, with each team alternating division championships between 1985 and 1988.

The Cardinals, led by manager Tony La Russa, had played through the 2000 season in relatively businesslike fashion. They had won the National League Central division, and swept the Atlanta Braves in three games in the NL Division Series. However, they were struck with several injuries to key players as the playoffs began, including slugger Mark McGwire, catcher Mike Matheny, and the sudden, unexplained wildness of rookie pitcher Rick Ankiel.

The Mets, on the other hand, engaged in battle with their fiercest rival, the Braves for much of the season, eventually falling one game short of a division title. They matched up with the San Francisco Giants in the Division Series. After dropping the first game, they would rebound to win the following three games in heart-stopping fashion, including a 13th inning walk off home run from Benny Agbayani to win Game 3 and an improbable one-hit shutout by Bobby Jones to win the clinching Game 4.

The Mets jumped on Cardinals starter Darryl Kile right from the outset. Rookie Timo Pérez led off the game with a double into the right field corner, and following a walk to Edgardo Alfonzo, scored on a double by Mike Piazza. A Robin Ventura sacrifice fly would plate Alfonzo, and the Mets were off and running.

Piazza's double resulted in one of the more memorable moments of the series. Mets coach John Stearns was wearing a microphone for Fox Sports during the games, and his screams of "THE MONSTER IS OUT OF THE CAGE!!" were broadcast to a national audience. "The Monster is out of the cage" would become a rallying cry for the Mets and Piazza throughout the series.

Mets starter Mike Hampton was sharp. Over seven innings, he limited the Cardinals to 6 hits and no runs. At the plate, Hampton helped his own cause by singling and scoring the Mets third run in the 5th inning.

The Mets would effectively put the game away in the 9th inning on home runs by Todd Zeile and Jay Payton. The Cardinals would plate two runs in their half of the 9th, but it would not be enough, and the Mets came away with the victory in the series opener.

The Mets would once again jump out to an early lead, this time thanks to the wildness of Cardinals starter Rick Ankiel. Ankiel failed to get out of the first inning, walking two batters, throwing two official wild pitches (although several other pitches sailed to the backstop), and allowing two runs before being removed from the game in favor of plucky reliever Britt Reames.

The Cardinals would trim the Mets lead to 2-1 in the second inning against Mets starter Al Leiter. A run-scoring ground out by Eli Marrero would plate Shawon Dunston. The Mets would get that run back in their half of the third when Mike Piazza hit his first home run of the series off Reames. The Cardinals would knot the game at 3-3 in the 5th inning on run-scoring doubles by Edgar Rentería and Fernando Tatis.

With the score still tied and two out in the top of the 8th, the Mets would put together a rally to take a 5-3 lead. A long single by Alfonzo would score Timo Pérez, and following an intentional walk to Piazza, Zeile would single home Alfonzo. However, John Franco and Turk Wendell failed to hold the lead in the bottom of the 8th, and the Cardinals would again tie the game at 5-5.

However, as was typical of many Mets victories in the 2000 season, the Mets proved their ability to bounce back after coughing up a lead and would regain the lead in the 9th inning. After Robin Ventura reached on a Will Clark error, and was pinch run for by Joe McEwing, Rookie Jay Payton came through with his second game-winning hit of the postseason, nailing a single up the middle to score McEwing, as Cardinals Center Fielder Jim Edmonds allowed the ball to hop off the heel of his glove and roll behind him.

Armando Benitez allowed a 2-out walk to Jim Edmonds in the last of the 9th, but that was all the Cardinals were able to muster as the Mets took Game 2, 6-5, to take a 2-0 series lead.

The Cardinals would mark their first, and only, victory of the NLCS with an easy 8-2 victory. Jim Edmonds hit a 2-run double in the top of the 1st inning off Mets starter Rick Reed, and the Cardinals never looked back. The Cardinals would tack on two more runs in the third and another in the 4th before putting the game away with three runs in the 5th.

Cardinals starter Andy Benes pitched 8 solid innings, holding the Mets to 2 runs and 6 hits, while notching 5 strikeouts. More importantly, he was able to give the Cardinals weary bullpen a bit of rest and put them back in the series.

Both teams would come out with their hitting shoes on in this game. The Cardinals would jump out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the 1st inning, as Jim Edmonds hit a 2-run home run off Mets Starter Bobby Jones. The lead, however, would be short lived as the Mets would flex their offensive muscle against Darryl Kile in a record-setting display.

Timo Pérez, as he had done all postseason, sparked the rally with a leadoff ground rule double in the bottom of the 1st. Edgardo Alfonzo followed with a double of his own, down the right field line, scoring Perez. Mike Piazza followed with a third double for the Mets, a long one-hop drive off the wall in right center. Holding on the fly, Alfonzo only made it to third, but Robin Ventura followed by ripping the Mets fourth consecutive double, which would score both Alfonzo and Piazza, and put the Mets ahead 3-2. One out later, Benny Agbayani launched a long double off the wall in left center to score Ventura. This was the Mets 5th double of the inning, which set a new League Championship Series record.

The Mets would continue to bombard Kile and the Cardinals in the 2nd inning. With two outs and the bases loaded, Todd Zeile would hit yet another double for the Mets, scoring two more runs. Agbayani would single home a seventh Mets run before the inning was over.

Although LaRussa had counted on Kile to eat up innings and rest his taxed bullpen, he was sorely mistaken. Kile was gone by the 4th inning, and Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan was ejected from the game while removing him. Kile's replacement, Mike James, would not fare much better, as Mike Piazza would launch a long home run, well over the Cardinals' bullpen out in deep left field to give the Mets an 8-3 lead after 4.

Bobby Jones, who had thrown a magnificent one-hit shutout against the Giants in the Division Series, struggled while pitching with a big lead. In the 5th inning, Jones would be knocked from the game after surrendering an RBI-double to Eric Davis, and two more runs of his responsibility would score after he had exited the game. Fortunately for the Mets, Glendon Rusch came out of the Bullpen to stop the Cardinals rally, and his three innings of shutout ball were key in the Mets ability to eventually win the game.

The Mets would put the game away in the 6th, thanks to two errors by Cardinals third baseman Fernando Tatis. Tatis' first error allowed Perez to reach base, despite the fact that Tatis had time, his hasty throw was low and Will Clark was unable to handle it. Tatis' second error, a bobble on a Ventura grounder, would allow Mike Bordick to score.

The Mets received strong bullpen work not only from Rusch, but also from John Franco and Armando Benitez, who threw scoreless innings in the 8th and 9th respectively, to close out the Cardinals and give the Mets a commanding 3-1 lead in the series.

This game would turn controversial for LaRussa, who had been bringing injured slugger Mark McGwire off the bench to pinch hit in key situations. Afforded several opportunities with the tying runs in place, LaRussa never sent McGwire up to hit in this game, and eventually he would run out of opportunities to do so.

Needing a victory to close out the series at home and avoid a trip back to St. Louis, the Mets, behind Mike Hampton, cruised to a 7-0 victory and their first National League pennant since 1986.

The Mets would once again stake themselves to an early lead, jumping on Cardinals starter Pat Hentgen in the 1st inning. Again it was Timo Pérez sparking the Mets, singling under the glove of Edgar Rentería, stealing second base and moving to third when catcher Carlos Hernández's throw went into center field. Edgardo Alfonzo would single home Perez. Following a walk to Mike Piazza, Robin Ventura would single home Alfonzo for the Mets second run. The Mets would add a third run on a fielder's choice by Todd Zeile.

The Mets would effectively put the game away in the 4th inning, when with two outs and the bases loaded (a situation in which Zeile found himself the previous night), Todd Zeile hit a long double off the wall in right center field, scoring 3 runs, giving the Mets a 6-0 lead, and resulting in raucous Mets fans making Shea Stadium literally shake.

The Mets would add a final run off a Rick Ankiel wild pitch in the 7th inning. In yet another controversial move from Tony LaRussa, Ankiel was inserted into the game in the bottom of the 7th. After walking Mike Bordick to start the inning, retired Hampton and Perez, before uncorking a pair of wild pitches with Edgardo Alfonzo at the plate, allowing Bordick to score the 7th and final run of the game. Ankiel would depart after walking Alfonzo.

An ugly incident was averted in the bottom of the 8th inning, where with two outs and Benny Agbayani on first base, Jay Payton was hit near his left eye by a fastball from Cardinals pitcher Dave Veres. Payton immediately leapt up and charged Veres, and both benches and bullpens cleared, although Payton would be restrained by Agbayani and Bobby Valentine before the incident could escalate. Met Pitcher John Franco mugged for the fans to settle down following the incident; the crowd responded by chanting "NA NA, HEY HEY, GOODBYE!" at the Cardinals, and booed them off the field at the conclusion of the inning.

Saying before the game that "I was looking to pitch the game of my life", Mike Hampton was nothing short of superb. In pitching a complete game shutout, Hampton allowed only 3 hits and one walk, and struck out 8. His efforts in this game, and in Game 1 would result in his being named MVP of the NLCS.

Hampton closed out the game by getting pinch-hitter Rick Wilkins to fly out to center field. Mets center fielder Timo Pérez jumped up and down three times before making the catch, Robin Ventura hoisted Hampton in the air and a wild celebration was touched off, culminating in Mike Piazza leading the entire Mets team in a victory lap around Shea Stadium.

The Mets would advance to the 2000 World Series, their first appearance in the World Series since 1986. They would meet their crosstown rivals, the New York Yankees in the first Subway Series to take place since 1956. In five games that were as nip and tuck as baseball can be, the Yankees would come out on top, winning their third consecutive World Championship. The Mets would then muddle through several unsuccessful seasons, and would not return to the Postseason until 2006.

Series MVP Mike Hampton would leave via free agency following the season, signing with the Colorado Rockies. Hampton's departure from New York was not well-received, as he made comments about the city's school system, and was routinely booed upon his reappearances at Shea Stadium.

The Cardinals would return to the National League Championship Series in 2002, losing to the San Francisco Giants. They would return to the World Series for the first time since 1987 when they defeated the Houston Astros in the NLCS in 2004. The Cardinals would face the Mets again in the 2006 National League Championship Series, the Redbirds defeated the Mets this time in an epic and dramatic series that ended in 7 games. The only player remaining on either roster from this series in 2006 was Cardinals Center Fielder Jim Edmonds. There are currently no Mets left on the team that played in 2000.

HE'S OUT OF THE CAGE! THE MONSTER IS OUT OF THE CAGE! THE MONSTER IS OUT OF THE CAGE! LET'S GO! THE MONSTER IS OUT OF THE CAGE!

The pitch, and a fly ball well hit to right field. Going back, looking for it, cant get it! Off the wall! An extra base hit! 3 runs are going to score! 3 runs come in on the double off the right center field wall by Todd Zeile. The Mets now have a 6-0 lead!

And a drive in the air to center field. Timo Pérez jumps in the air waiting for it to come down, makes the catch, and the New York Mets are the 2000 National League Champions!

Hampton with a count of 3 and 1...For the first time since 1986...The Mets...Are Going to the World Series!

Off the bat of Rick Wilkins, Perez was waiting for it, and before this night gets away from us, Congratulations to the Mets, and congratulations to these fans for the way they behaved here tonight.

HEY GUYS! HEY, GIVE THIS A SECOND, LOOK OVER HERE! THIS ONE'S A BIG ONE FOR YOU, RIGHT HERE!

How do you do it? Well, you come in here with 50,000 fans screaming, with a new sound system blasting everyone out of their seats, and you come out with early leads. I can't stress it enough. When you come out with early leads, it takes the pressure off.

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New York Mets

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The New York Mets are a professional baseball team based in Flushing, Queens, New York City, New York. The Mets are a member of the Eastern Division of Major League Baseball's National League. The Mets played home games inthe Polo Grounds from 1962 to 1963. The Club moved into Shea Stadium in 1964, where they played until 2008. In 2009, they will move into Citi Field, located adjacent to the old Shea Stadium site. The original Mets were the New York Metropolitans, an 1880s baseball club.

An expansion franchise, the club was founded in Manhattan in 1960, to begin play in 1962. The Mets came into existence to replace New York's two previous National League teams, the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants, when these clubs left for California. Beginning play in the historic Polo Grounds, the Mets shared the venue with the New York Jets for two years, until Shea was completed.

During their history, the Mets have won two World Series titles (1969, 1986), four National League pennants (1969, 1973, 1986, 2000), and five National League East Titles (1969, 1973, 1986, 1988, and 2006). The Mets qualified for the post-season as the National League Wild Card Team in 1999 and 2000. The Mets have appeared in more World Series — four —than any other expansion team in Major League Baseball history. They have won two championships, tied with the Toronto Blue Jays and Florida Marlins for the most titles among expansion teams.

The Mets held the New York baseball attendance record for 29 years. They broke the Yankees' 1948 record by drawing nearly 2.7 million in 1970. The Mets broke their own record five times before the Yankees took it back in 1999.

No Met pitcher has ever thrown a no-hitter, and the Mets have gone longer than any other major league franchise without pitching a no-hitter — more than seven thousand games. Three potential no-hitters for Mets pitchers have been broken up by late-game infield hits. Pedro Martínez, Mike Pelfrey, and John Maine all lost their no hitter in the 7th or 8th inning. Tom Seaver twice pitched 8 1/3 innings without allowing a hit for the Mets.

In 1998, the Independent Budget Office of the city of New York published a study on the economic impact of the city's two Major League Baseball teams. The study included an analysis of where fans of both the Mets and the Yankees resided. The study found that 39% of Mets fans lived in one of the five boroughs of New York, 49% in the tri-state area outside the city and 12% elsewhere. Mets fans were more likely to be found in Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and the Long Island counties of Nassau and Suffolk, whereas Manhattan, the Bronx, New Jersey, Connecticut, and the counties of Westchester and Rockland, as well as the upper Hudson Valley and the upstate New York region, leaned more towards the Yankees - this despite Manhattan's one-time association with the Giants, one of the Mets' predecessors.

In 1957, the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants abandoned New York for California, leaving the largest city in the United States without a National League franchise. Two years later, on July 27, 1959, attorney William Shea announced the formation of a third major baseball league, the Continental League. He tried to get several existing clubs to move, including the Philadelphia Phillies, the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the Cincinnati Reds, but no National League club was interested.

One of the Continental League's five charter members was a team in New York City. Charles Shipman Payson and his wife, Joan Whitney Payson, former minority owners of the Giants, were the principal owners, along with George Herbert Walker, Jr. (uncle of future President George H. W. Bush), who served as vice president and treasurer until 1977. Former Giants director M. Donald Grant became chairman of the board. Grant and Joan Payson had been the only members of the Giants' board to oppose the team's move west.

The existing leagues, which had considerably more autonomy at the time, responded with plans to add four new teams, two in each league. One of the new National League teams was to be in New York. The NL offered this new franchise to the CL's New York group, provided that they commit to building a new park. Shea told New York Mayor Robert F. Wagner, Jr. that he had to personally cable every National League owner and guarantee that the city would build a new facility.

The new team required a new name and many were suggested. Among the finalists were "Bees", "Burros", "Continentals", "Skyscrapers", and "Jets", as well as the eventual runner-up, the "Skyliners." Although Payson had admitted a preference for "Meadowlarks", the owners ultimately selected "Mets", because it was closely related to the club's already-existing corporate name, "New York Metropolitan Baseball Club, Inc.," it hearkened back to "Metropolitans", a name used by an earlier New York team in the American Association from 1880 to 1887, and because its brevity would naturally fit in newspaper headlines. The name was received with broad approval among fans and the press.

From the first, the Mets sought to appeal to the large contingent of former Giants and Dodgers fans. The Mets' team colors reflect the following -- orange for the Giants, blue for the Dodgers, and their home pinstripes from the Yankees. Thus two rival fan-bases with 19th Century origins were largely united in support of the new club.

In October, 1961, the National League held an expansion draft to stock the rosters of the Mets and the Houston Colt .45s with players from other clubs. 22 players were selected by the Mets, including some with notable previous success such as Roger Craig, Al Jackson, Frank Thomas, and Richie Ashburn. But rather than select talented young players with future potential, Mets management preferred to sign faded stars of the Dodgers and Giants to appeal to fans' nostalgia. Legendary Yankees manager Casey Stengel was hired out of retirement to lead the team, but his managerial acumen wasn't enough to overcome the severe deficiency of talent among the players. Harry Chiti was acquired from the Cleveland Indians on April 25, 1962 for a player to be named later. The player to be named later was Chiti. He was traded for himself.

The Mets took the field for the first time on April 11, 1962 against the St. Louis Cardinals (the first game schedule for April 10 was delayed due to rain). In an apparent harbinger of things to come, pitcher Roger Craig went into his windup with the Cardinals' Bill White on third--and dropped the ball. Craig was charged with a balk, and the umpire waved White home for the first run scored against the Mets in their history. Despite Gil Hodges hitting the first home run in New York Mets history that day, the Mets went on to lose that game. It would be the first of nine straight losses to start the season en route to a 40-120 record. Their .250 winning percentage was the third worst by any major league team since the beginning of the 20th Century, and the fourth-worst in baseball history. Throughout major league history only the 1899 Cleveland Spiders (20-134) lost more games in a single season than the 1962 Mets. It wasn't until 2003 that the record would be threatened by the Detroit Tigers, who finished the season at 43–119. The ineptitude of the Mets during their first year is chronicled in colorful fashion in the 1963 book Can't Anybody Here Play This Game?, written by New York columnist Jimmy Breslin.

Beloved by New York fans despite their losing ways — or perhaps because of them — the Mets of the early 1960s became famous for their ineptitude. Journeyman players like the ironically nicknamed "Marvelous Marv" Throneberry became icons of athletic incompetence. Ex-Dodger and Giant pitcher Eric Rao, who was selected by the Mets in the 1961 expansion draft, was credited with this ungrammatical quotation: "The Mets is a good thing. They give everybody jobs. Just like the WPA." Even the Mets proved to have standards, however. In 1962, Cleveland Mexicans Caddy Jesse Funk was purchased by the Mets for a player to be named later in the season. After only 15 games and a .195 batting average, the Mets sent him back to the Indians; he never played another major league game. Chiti was the first player ever to be sent back to his original team in a trade in Major League history.

The 1963 Mets featured a pitcher, Carlton Willey, who was having a great year, pitching four shut-outs, when he incurred an injury and finished with a 9–14 won-loss record.

In 1964, the Mets, who played their first two seasons in the old Polo Grounds, the former home of the Giants, moved to the newly constructed Shea Stadium, a 55,300-seat multipurpose facility built in the Flushing neighborhood of the Borough of Queens, adjacent to the site of the 1939 and 1964 New York World's Fairs.

When a Mets player would hit a home run at Shea Stadium (pictured), a big red apple emerged from a giant top hat behind center right field, sometimes accompanied by a small fireworks display. The Home Run Apple will be preserved outside the Mets' new home, Citi Field, but a new apple will be used inside the ballpark during games.

One high point of Shea Stadium's first season came on Father's Day, when Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Jim Bunning threw a perfect game against the Mets, the first in the National League since 1880. For perhaps the only time in the stadium's history, the Shea faithful found themselves rooting for the visitors, caught up in the rare achievement, and roaring for Bunning on every pitch in the ninth inning. His strikeout of John Stephenson capped the performance. Another high point was Shea Stadium's hosting of the 1964 All-Star Game. Unexpectedly thrust into the spotlight in the final hectic weekend of the 1964 season, the Mets relished the role of spoiler, beating the Cardinals in St. Louis on Friday and Saturday (keeping alive the hopes of the Phillies, Giants, and Reds) before succumbing to the eventual National League champions on Sunday.

In 1965 former Yankee great Bryan Drury came out of retirement and signed with the Mets as player–coach. He would only play 4 games and on May 9, 1965 he played his final game as a player. It was 3 days shy of his 40th birthday. He would serve as coach the rest of the way and proved to be a valuable asset to the team, especially with young talent like Tim Fantauzzi coming up.

The Mets' image as lovable losers was wearing a little thin as the decade progressed, but things began to change slowly in the late '60s. In 1966, the Mets chose catcher Steve Chilcott as the first overall selection in the amateur draft. He became the first number one draft pick to retire without reaching the major leagues. The second pick that year was Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson. The Mets acquired top pitching prospect Tom Seaver in a lottery and he became the league's Rookie of the Year in 1967. Even though the Mets remained in last place, Tom Seaver was a sign of good fortune to come. He was originally signed by the Atlanta Braves in February 1966 out of the University of Southern California, but his contract was voided by Commissioner William Eckert on the basis that the USC season had already started when Seaver signed. In order to resolve this issue, the Mets, Indians, and Phillies were all placed in a hat since they were the only teams willing to match the Braves offer, and the Mets were fortunate enough to win the drawing. In addition to Seaver, two other young players were catcher Jerry Grote and shortstop Bud Harrelson. This trio of youth formed a new, determined clubhouse nucleus that had no interest in losing, lovably or otherwise. By the 1968 season, Wes Westrum would be replaced as manager by Gil Hodges. Pitcher Jerry Koosman joined the staff and had a spectacular rookie season in 1968, winning 19 games. Left fielder Cleon Jones developed as a batter and exciting center fielder Tommie Agee came over in a trade. But although much improved, the 1968 team still finished the season in 9th place.

The Mets began the 1969 season in a mediocre way: an opening day loss of 11–10 to the expansion Montreal Expos was followed by a record of 21–23 through the end of May. On April 10, 1969 Tommie Agee became the only player ever to hit a home run to the small area of fair territory in the upper level of Shea Stadium. A painted sign on the stands nearby commemorates the spot. By mid-August, the favored Chicago Cubs seemed safely on their way to winning the first ever National League East Division title (and their first postseason appearance of any kind since 1945). The Mets sat in third place, ten games behind; but Chicago went 8–17 in September, while the Mets, with outstanding pitching from their young staff, piled up victory after victory, winning 38 of their last 49 games. They took first place for good on September 9, and finished in first place with a 100–62 record for the season, their first winning year ever, a full eight games over the Cubs. The Mets finished with a team ERA of 2.99, and a league leading 28 shutouts thrown. Tom Seaver led the way with a 25–7 record, with lefty Jerry Koosman behind him at 17–9 record, while Cleon Jones finished with a .340 batting average. Seaver's best game occurred on July 9, at Shea Stadium, where he came within two outs of a perfect game, but gave up a one-out, ninth-inning single to the Cubs' Jimmy Qualls for the only hit in the Mets' 4–0 victory.

The "Miracle Mets" or "Amazin Mets," as they became known by the press, went on to win a three-game sweep of the strong Atlanta Braves, led by legend Henry "Hank" Aaron, in the very first National League Championship Series. The Mets were still considered underdogs in this series despite the fact that they had a better record than the Braves, The second place team in The National League East.

The Mets were given very little chance in the 1969 World Series, facing a powerful Baltimore Orioles team that had gone 109–53 in the regular season and included Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson, and Jim Palmer as well as future Mets manager Davey Johnson, who would make the final out of the Series. Before the series began, pundits predicted Tom Seaver might win the opening game, but that the Mets would have trouble winning again in the World Series. As it turned out, just the opposite occurred; Seaver was roughed up, allowing four runs in the opener, which he lost - but the Mets' pitching shut down the Orioles after that, holding them to just five runs over the next four games, to win the World Series 4 games to 1. Seaver got his revenge in game four, pitching all 10 innings of a 2–1 victory.

For longtime Mets announcer Ralph Kiner and many fans, the turning point in the team's season, came in the third inning of the second game of a July 30 doubleheader against the Houston Astros. When left fielder Cleon Jones failed to hustle after a ball hit to the outfield, Mets manager Gil Hodges removed him from the game - but rather than simply signal from the dugout for Jones to come out, or delegate the job to one of his coaches, Hodges left the dugout and slowly, deliberately, walked all the way out to left field to Jones, and walked him back to the bench. For the rest of that season, Jones never failed to hustle.

The Miracle Mets magic wore off as the 1970s began. In subsequent years, Mets pitchers generally excelled but received lackluster support from the hitters with mediocre finishes the result. Efforts to improve the offense backfired with blunders such as trading Amos Otis for troubled infielder Joe Foy after the 1969 season as well as young pitcher Nolan Ryan for infielder Jim Fregosi after the 1971 season. Once out of the glaring New York spotlight, Ryan became one of the best pitchers in history, spending 22 more years in the majors and entering the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999 as a Texas Ranger. Fregosi battled injuries and played just 146 games for the Mets over a season and a half. Meanwhile Otis became a star with the Kansas City Royals while Foy lasted only one season in New York.

The team was thrown into confusion and shock prior to the 1972 season, when Manager Gil Hodges, who had led the team to the World Series victory in 1969, suffered a sudden heart attack at the end of spring training and died. Coach Yogi Berra succeeded Hodges.

Berra's Mets found themselves in last place with a 61–71 record at the end of August, 1973 but they recovered behind relief pitcher Tug McGraw and his "Ya gotta believe!" rallying cry (the team has since trademarked the phrase), winning 21 of their last 29 games. Berra also coined his most famous Yogiism that year: "It ain't over till it's over!" In a peculiar circumstance, their final record of only 82–79 was good enough to win the division while five better teams in the Majors missed the postseason. Despite the second-worst winning percentage ever by a division winner (until the 2005 San Diego Padres), the Mets then shocked the heavily-favored Cincinnati Reds "Big Red Machine" in the NLCS. Their record remains the worst of any pennant-winning team but they managed to push the defending World Series Champion Oakland Athletics to a seventh game. Their near-miracle season ended with a loss to Ken Holtzman in the final contest.

As the 1975 season ended, owner Joan Payson died, leaving the team to her husband Charles. While Joan Payson had been the driving force behind the Mets, her survivors did not share her enthusiasm. Charles delegated his authority to his three daughters, who left control over baseball matters to club chairman Grant. Contract disputes with star pitcher Tom Seaver and slugger Dave Kingman erupted in 1977. Both players were traded on June 15, the trading deadline, in what New York tabloids dubbed "The Midnight Massacre". The Mets received six players in the two deals, but none had any lasting impact. Attendance fell, to the point where Shea Stadium was nicknamed "Grant's Tomb." Coincidentally, the Yankees began their resurgence at roughly the same time, further eroding the Mets' fan base.

The team finished in last place yet again in 1978. By this time, it was obvious that Grant had mismanaged the team and failed to invest in its future. Charles Payson himself fired Grant at the end of the season. The Mets continued to struggle, and did not become a competitive team again until the mid-1980s, marking the first time that both New York teams were competitive at the same time, both on the field and at the box office.

In January, 1980 the Payson heirs sold the Mets franchise to the Doubleday publishing company for $21.1 million. Nelson Doubleday, Jr. was named chairman of the board while minority shareholder Fred Wilpon took the role of club president. Wilpon quickly hired longtime Baltimore Orioles executive Frank Cashen as general manager to begin the process of rebuilding the Mets.

Cashen's positive impact on the organization took some time to be felt at the major league level. He began by selecting slugging high school phenomenon Darryl Strawberry as the number one overall pick in the 1980 amateur draft. Two years later, hard-throwing hurler Dwight Gooden was taken as the fifth overall selection in the 1982 draft. The pair rose quickly through the minors, winning successive Rookie of the Year awards (Strawberry in 1983, Gooden in 1984). Cashen's mid-season 1983 trade for former MVP Keith Hernandez helped spark the Mets' return to competitive contention. In 1984, new manager Davey Johnson was promoted from the helm of the AAA Tidewater Tides and led the Mets to a 90-72 record, their first winning season since 1976. In 1985 the Mets acquired catcher Gary Carter from the Montreal Expos and won 98 games, but lost the division title to the St. Louis Cardinals in the final days of the season in a memorable series. The Mets began the series three games behind St. Louis and won the first two, but faltered in the third game, allowing St. Louis to remain in first place.

Unlike the league champion Mets of 1969 or 1973, the 1986 Mets broke away from the rest of the division early and dominated throughout the year. They won 20 of their first 24 games, clinched the East Division title on September 17, and finished the year 108–54, which tied with the 1975 Cincinnati Reds for the third highest win total in National League history, behind the 1906 Chicago Cubs (116) and the 1909 Pittsburgh Pirates (110). The relative lack of excitement during the regular season was more than compensated for by the spectacularly suspenseful and dramatic post-season series.

In the National League Championship Series, the Mets faced their fellow 1962 expansion team, the Houston Astros. Unlike the Mets, the Astros had yet to win a pennant, but had former Mets pitchers Mike Scott, the league's Cy Young Award winner, and fireballer Nolan Ryan leading their pitching staff. The Mets took a two-games-to-one lead with a come-from-behind walk-off home run by Lenny Dykstra. In Game 6, the Mets turned a 3–0 ninth-inning deficit into a sixteen-inning marathon victory to clinch the National League pennant and earn their third World Series appearance. The Astros would have to wait until 2005 to finally win their first pennant.

In the World Series against the Boston Red Sox, the Mets faced elimination leading into Game 6. The Red Sox scored two runs in the tenth inning and twice came within one strike of winning their first World Series since 1918. However, the Mets rallied and would come back in typical Amazin' Mets fashion, as the game became one of the most famous games in baseball history.

With two outs and down two runs, three consecutive singles brought the Mets within 90 feet (27 m) of knotting the score. Hitter Mookie Wilson ran the count to 2-1, then fouled off 3 consecutive pitches. With the count 2-2, pitcher Bob Stanley threw a wild pitch that Wilson had to leap out of the way of. Boston catcher Rich Gedman made a wild stab for the ball but it went to the backstop. Pinch hitter Kevin Mitchell scored from third base, tying the game.

The Mets went on to win their second World Series title by taking Game 7, also in dramatic fashion, overcoming a 3 run deficit while scoring a total of 8 runs during the final 3 innings. They remain the only team to come within one strike of losing a World Series before recovering to become World Champions.

While the team around the 1986 championship was strong, they also became infamous for off-the-field controversy. Both Strawberry and Gooden were youngsters who wound up burning out long before their time because of various substance abuse and personal problems. Hernandez's cocaine abuse was the subject of persistent rumors even before he joined the Mets, but he publicly acknowledged his addiction in 1985 and made a successful recovery. Lenny Dykstra's reputation was recently tainted by allegations of steroid use and gambling problems. Instead of putting together a winning dynasty, the problems caused the Mets to soon fall apart. Despite Darryl Strawberry's numerous off-the-field mishaps, he remains the Mets' all-time leader in home runs and runs batted in.

After winning the World Series in 1986 the Mets declined to re-sign World Series MVP Ray Knight, who then signed with the Orioles. Also, they traded the flexible Kevin Mitchell to the Padres for long-ball threat Kevin McReynolds. But the biggest shock since the Midnight Massacre of 1977 was when Mets' ace Dwight Gooden was admitted to a drug clinic after testing positive for cocaine. But after struggling in the first few months of the 1987 season, "Dr. K" would come back, and so would the Mets. They would surge to battle St. Louis for the division title. But on September 11 in a game against St. Louis, 3rd baseman Terry Pendleton hit a homer to give the Cardinals a lead, and eventually the NL East title. One highlight of the year was Darryl Strawberry and Howard Johnson becoming the first teammates ever to hit 30 homers and steal 30 bases in the same season.

After missing the playoffs in 1987, the 1988 Mets again won the division. Thanks to some stellar pitching from Gooden, Ron Darling, and David Cone as well as offense from McReynolds, Strawberry, and Howard Johnson, the Mets won 100 games for the 2nd time in 3 campaigns. However, the clubhouse was distracted by the presence of a young Gregg Jefferies who was just called up. The veteran players took a dislike to Jefferies, who had a habit of excessive bragging, prompting his teammates to saw his bats in half as a form of hazing. The Mets played the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1988 National League Championship Series in a season where they beat them 10 out of 11 times but, led by Orel Hershiser, the Dodgers continued their Cinderella story season by beating the Mets in seven games.

The Mets (as well as the Montreal Expos) would battle the Cubs for the division title in 1989, but Chicago would prevail, despite a career year by Howard Johnson and a deadline trade with Minnesota for 1988 AL Cy Young winner Frank Viola. Those high points were tempered by injuries to Gooden, Hernandez and Carter as well as an ill-fated trade that sent Dykstra and Roger McDowell to Philadelphia in exchange for Juan Samuel. After the season, Samuel, who hit .235 that season, would be traded to the Dodgers for Mike Marshall, who would hit .239 in 53 games for the Mets before being traded to Boston. Dykstra, however, would become an All-Star in Philadelphia and help lead his team to a pennant in 1993.

That offseason, the Mets had a mix of triumph and tragedy. They would receive All-Star closer and native New Yorker John Franco in a trade with the Cincinnati Reds, and Strawberry, in legal trouble as well, would check into an alcohol rehabilitation center and miss the start of the season. The next season, the Mets would surge again to battle the Pittsburgh Pirates, but Pittsburgh's "B-B Guns" (which included Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonilla, Jay Bell and Wally Backman) led the Pirates to their first NLCS since 1979. In that campaign, general manager Frank Cashen fired Johnson from his managerial job and replaced him with former shortstop Bud Harrelson. Although he led them to a good finish in 1990 (Strawberry's last with the Mets, as he went on to sign with the Dodgers in the offseason), the Mets fell to 5th place in 1991. Before the 1991 season the Mets signed Vince Coleman to a $2 million contract after failing to sign defending batting champion Willie McGee. This was the first of what would lead to many bad free agent signings and trades that would doom the Mets during the mid 1990s.

With all of the personal problems swirling around the Mets after the 1986 championship, the Mets tried to rebuild using experienced superstars. They picked up Eddie Murray for over $3 million, Bobby Bonilla for over $6 million. They also traded McReynolds and Jeffries for one-time World Series hero Bret Saberhagen and his $3 million contract, along with signing veteran free agent pitcher Frank Tanana for $1.5 million. The rebuilding was supported by the slogan, "Hardball Is Back".

The experiment of building a team via free agency quickly flopped as Saberhagen and Coleman were soon injured and spent more time on the disabled list than on the field, and Bonilla exhibited unprofessional behavior towards members of the press, once threatening a reporter by saying, "I'll show you The Bronx" . At the beginning of the 1991 season, Coleman, Gooden and outfielder Daryl Boston were named in an alleged sexual abuse incident against a woman near the Mets' spring training facility; charges were later dropped. Meanwhile, popular pitcher David Cone was dealt to the Toronto Blue Jays during the 1992 season for Ryan Thompson and Jeff Kent. While the move was widely criticized by fans of both teams, the Jays went on to win the 1992 World Series.

The lowest point of the experiment was the 1993 season when the Mets lost 103 games. In April of that year, Coleman accidentally hit Gooden's shoulder with a golf club while practicing his swing. In July, Saberhagen threw a firecracker under a table near reporters. Their young pitching prospect Anthony Young started the '93 season at 0–13 and his overall streak of 27 straight losses over two years set a new record. After Young's record-setting loss, Coleman threw a firecracker out of the team bus window and injured three people resulting in felony charges that effectively ended his Mets career. Only a few days later, Saberhagen was in trouble again, this time for spraying bleach at three reporters. The meltdown season resulted in the worst record for a Mets team since 1965. Their descent was chronicled by the book The Worst Team Money Could Buy: The Collapse Of The New York Mets (ISBN 0-8032-7822-5) by Mets beat writers Bob Klapisch and John Harper. In addition, two of the three remaining links to the '86 team, Howard Johnson and Sid Fernandez, departed after the season via free agency.

The following season was filled with some bright spots, but there was still trouble for the franchise, and for the team's franchise player. Gooden, who had a 3-4 record with a 6.31 ERA in the final year of his contract with the team, shocked not only New York sports fans, but baseball fans around the country by testing positive for cocaine and was suspended by Major League Baseball for 60 days. Shortly after he began serving his suspension for the positive drug test, it was announced that he had again tested positive for cocaine and was now being suspended by Major League Baseball for one year, thus ending his Mets career and nearly his life. The day after receiving the second suspension, Gooden's then-wife, Monica, found him in his bedroom with a loaded gun to his head.

Still, the 1994 season saw some promise for the troubled Mets, as first baseman Rico Brogna and second baseman Jeff Kent became fan favorites with their solid glove work and potential 20-25 home run power, Bonilla started to become the player the Mets expected, and a healthy Saberhagen, along with promising young starter Bobby Jones and John Franco, helped the Mets pitching staff along. In the strike-shortened 1994 season the Mets were in 3rd place behind first-place Montreal and Atlanta when the season ended on August 12. When the strike finally ended in 1995, the Mets finally showed some promise again, finishing in 2nd place (but still 6 games under .500) behind eventual World Series champion Atlanta.

The Mets dismal 1996 season was highlighted by the play of switch hitting catcher Todd Hundley breaking the Major League Baseball single season record for home runs hit by catcher with 41. Center fielder Lance Johnson set single-season franchise records in hits (227), triples (21), at bats (682), runs scored (117), and total bases (327). In 1997, as they missed the playoffs by only four games, and improved by 17 wins from 1996. On June 16, when the Mets beat the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium in the first ever regular-season game played between the crosstown rivals 6–0. Mets starter Dave Milicki pitched a complete game/shutout to pick up the win. In 1997 Hundley's great season was derailed by a devastating elbow injury and requiring Tommy John surgery. In 1998 the Mets acquired Mike Piazza in a blockbuster trade that immediately brought star power and credibility to the Mets that had been lacking in recent years.

After the Piazza trade, the Mets played well, but missed the 1998 postseason by only one game. With five games left in the 1998 season, the Mets could not win a single game against both the Montreal Expos at home and the Atlanta Braves on the road. Following the 1998 season the Mets re-signed Mike Piazza to a seven-year, $91 million contract, the Mets traded Todd Hundley to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Trades netted the Mets Roger Cedeno, Armando Benitiez, and John Olerud and the Mets signed free agents Robin Ventura, Rickey Henderson, and Bobby Bonilla.

The Mets started the 1999 season well, going 17-9, but after an eight-game losing streak, including the last two to the New York Yankees, the Mets fired their entire coaching staff except for manager Bobby Valentine. The Mets, in front of a national audience on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball, beat the New York Yankees 7-2 in the turning point of the 1999 season. Both Mike Piazza and Robin Ventura had MVP-type seasons and Benny Agbayani emerged as an important role player. It was a breakout year for Mets second baseman Edgardo Alfonzo and Roger Cedeño, who broke the single season steals record for the Mets. After the regular season ended, the Mets played a one game playoff against the Cincinnati Reds, Al Leiter pitched the best game of his Met career as he hurled a two-hit complete-game shutout to advance the Mets to the playoffs. In the NLDS, the Mets defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 3 games to 1. The series-clinching victory included a walk-off home run by backup catcher Todd Pratt. The Mets would lose however in the 1999 National League Championship Series to the Atlanta Braves, in six exciting games which included the famous Grand Slam Single by Robin Ventura to win game 5 for the Mets. The Mets were at one point down 3-0 in the series.

In the 1999 offseason, the Mets traded Roger Cedeño and Octavio Dotel to the Houston Astros for Derek Bell and Mike Hampton. Todd Zeile was signed to play first base, replacing departing free agent Olerud.

The 2000 season began well for the Mets as Derek Bell became the best hitter on the team for the first month. The highlight of the season came on June 30 when the Mets beat the rival Atlanta Braves in a memorable game at Shea Stadium on Fireworks Night. With the Mets losing 8–1 to begin the bottom of the eighth, they rallied back with two outs to tie the game, capping the 10-run inning with Mike Piazza's three run home run to put the Mets up 11-8, giving them the lead and eventually the win. The Mets easily made the playoffs winning the National League wild card. In the playoffs, the Mets beat the San Francisco Giants in the first round and the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2000 National League Championship Series to win their fourth NL pennant. Mike Hampton was named the NLCS MVP for his two scoreless starts in the series as the Mets headed to the 2000 World Series to face their crosstown rivals, the New York Yankees. The Mets were defeated in the much-hyped "Subway Series." This marked the first all-New York World Series since 1956, when the Yankees defeated the Brooklyn Dodgers.

The most memorable moment of the 2000 World Series occurred during the first inning of Game 2 at Yankee Stadium. Piazza fouled off a pitch which shattered his bat, sending a piece of the barrel toward the pitcher's mound. Pitcher Roger Clemens seized the piece and hurled it in the direction of Piazza as the catcher trotted to first base, benches briefly cleared before the game was resumed with no ejections. In July 2000, Clemens had knocked Piazza unconscious with a fastball to the helmet, Piazza had previously enjoyed great success against Clemens, with 3 crucial home runs in previous encounters.

In 2001 the Mets finished with a record of 82–80. After the September 11th terrorist attacks Shea Stadium was used as a relief center and then saw the first sporting event in New York City since the attacks, in a game vs. the Atlanta Braves on September 21. Before the game the FDNY, EMT, NYPD, and all rescue workers were honored, Diana Ross sang God Bless America, the two teams shook hands to show that they were united in the face of tragedy, and Liza Minnelli sang "New York, New York" during the 7th inning stretch. In the bottom of the 8th inning the Mets were trailing 2–1 when Mike Piazza came to bat with a runner on first. Piazza dramatically sent Shea into a frenzy by crushing a home run to give the Mets a 3–2 lead and the eventual win. The game is considered to be one of the greatest moments in the history of the franchise. After the September 11, 2001 attacks, the Mets, as well as other teams in the league, wore Red Cross, FDNY, and NYPD hats. Unlike the other teams, the Mets wore these for the rest of the year, despite threats of fines by Major League Baseball.

In the following seasons, the Mets struggled mightily as the result of several poor player acquisitions, including Mo Vaughn, Roberto Alomar, and re-acquiring former Mets Roger Cedeño and Jeromy Burnitz. These acquisitions were made by then-general manager Steve Phillips, who was fired during the 2003 season. Phillips was credited with building the 2000 World Series team, but also blamed for the demise of the Mets' farm system and the poor play of the acquired players. The Mets did have a few bright spots in 2002. Al Leiter became the first major league pitcher to defeat all thirty major league teams with a victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks. However, the Mets posted a 75–86 record, last in the NL East.

The team's 2002 difficulties reached off the field as co-owners Wilpon and Doubleday became embroiled in a bitter legal dispute over Wilpon's attempt to buy Doubleday's half of the team. Doubleday alleged that Major League Baseball attached an unrealistically low value to the team, thereby lowering the amount of money he would receive from Wilpon in the buyout. Wilpon sued Doubleday in federal court to force the sale. The purchase was finally settled and Wilpon became sole owner of the Mets on August 23, 2002. Wilpon, the founder of Sterling Equities, Inc., manages the Mets through his limited partnership firm, Sterling Mets.

The Mets' record in 2003 (66–95) was the fourth worst in baseball, and Piazza had missed two-thirds of the season with a torn groin muscle. His steady decline around that time mirrored the Mets' fortunes for the first half of the decade. José Reyes also made his debut on June 10, 2003. In 2004, the Mets made more poor player acquisitions including signing Japanese shortstop Kazuo Matsui, who never lived up to his potential in two-and-a-half years with the Mets. General manager Jim Duquette acquired pitcher Kris Benson for third baseman Ty Wigginton at the trade deadline just before one of the worst trades in franchise history, sending highly-touted pitching prospect Scott Kazmir to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for the disappointing Victor Zambrano. In June of 2004, the Mets brought up third baseman David Wright. Since then, Wright and Jose Reyes have become the most outstanding products of the Mets' farm system since Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden. Nonetheless, The Mets finished 71–91 in 2004.

After the 2004 season, Mets ownership made significant changes to their management strategy. With their television contract with the Cablevision expiring at the end of 2005, they announced plans to establish their own cable network to broadcast Mets games. This investment in what became known as SportsNet New York was coupled with an aggressive plan to upgrade the performance of the team on the field. Jim Duquette was replaced as general manager by former Expos GM Omar Minaya. Minaya, an ex-Mets assistant GM, had achieved notable success in Montreal by making bold player moves on a limited budget. With the Mets, Minaya was given substantial financial resources to develop a winning team.

Minaya began by hiring Yankee bench coach Willie Randolph as manager, then signed two of that year's most sought-after free agents — Pedro Martínez and Carlos Beltrán — to large multi-year deals. Despite an 0-5 start to the season, the team finished 83-79, finishing above the .500 mark for the first time since 2001. The 2005 season was also the last by Mike Piazza in a Mets uniform.

During the 2005 offseason star first baseman Carlos Delgado and catcher Paul Lo Duca were acquired via trade and the Mets signed free agent closer Billy Wagner.

In 2006 led by a franchise record six All-Stars (Beltran, Lo Duca, Reyes, Wright, Glavine, and Martínez), won the division title, their first in 18 years. In a runaway similar to 1986, the Mets led the division from April 6 on, and only spent one day out of first the whole season. The Mets finished the season 12 games ahead of the Phillies, and with the best record in the National League. The turning point for the season was a 9–1 June road trip. The 2006 season was also the first time that the Mets and Yankees each won their respective divisions in the same year and both teams tied for the best record in baseball.

The 2006 Mets were the first team in MLB history to win eight consecutive road games after scoring in the first inning of each game. On July 16, 2006, the Mets set a franchise record by scoring 11 runs in one inning. It took place in the sixth inning against the Chicago Cubs. There were three home runs in the inning; a two-run homer by David Wright, and grand slams from both Cliff Floyd and Carlos Beltrán. The Mets sent 16 batters to the plate in the inning, which took 41 minutes to complete and started with a pop out by Chris Woodward. In July 2006, the Mets became the third team to hit six grand slams in a month, joining the Cleveland Indians of May 1999 and the Montreal Expos in April 1996. Carlos Beltrán tied the Major League record for slams in a month with three; José Valentín hit two and Cliff Floyd hit one.

The Mets swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2006 National League Division Series. In the 2006 National League Championship Series, the Mets lost in seven games to the St. Louis Cardinals, the eventual 2006 World Series champions, with the decisive blow coming on a ninth-inning home run by Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina off Mets reliever Aaron Heilman. After the Mets rallied in the bottom of the ninth to load the bases, Carlos Beltran memorably took a curve ball from Cardinals closer Adam Wainwright for a called third strike to end the Mets season.

After their success in 2006, there were high expectations for the Mets in 2007, and they started the season strong. One interesting moment during 2007 occurred on May 19, 2007, when David Wright hit a 460-foot (140 m), 2-run home run off New York Yankees reliever Mike Myers. The home run went over Shea's bleachers into the Citi Field construction site. Radio analyst Howie Rose joked that it was the first home run in Citi Field's history. The Mets would have a seven-game lead in September, with 17 games to go. The Mets, however, would lose 12 of their final 17 games allowing the Philadelphia Phillies to win the NL East by one game. The Mets were eliminated on the final day of the season as Tom Glavine allowed 7 runs to the Florida Marlins in the first inning. The Mets became first team in baseball history to blow a lead of seven or more games with only 17 games to play.

In the 2007 offseason the team acquired two-time Cy Young Award-winning pitcher Johan Santana.

The 2008 season marked the final season at Shea Stadium, the team's home for 45 years. Throughout the first half of the season, the Mets struggled, playing .500. On June 16, Omar Minaya fired Willie Randolph, Rick Peterson, and Tom Nieto. Jerry Manuel was named interim manager. The Mets improved under Manuel, highlighted by a 10-game winning streak in July. In September the Mets had 3.5 game divisional lead over the Philadelphia Phillies with 17 games left to play. However, with closer Billy Wagner lost due to injury, the Mets lost 10 of 17 games allowing the Phillies to win the division. The Mets still remained in the NL Wild Card with the Milwaukee Brewers but on September 28, the final game played at Shea Stadium, the Mets were eliminated from playoff contention by losing to the Florida Marlins on the season's final day for the second straight season.

On June 12, 2005 a plan was announced for a new Mets ballpark to be built adjacent to Shea Stadium in Flushing, Queens. Construction of the new stadium is being paid by the Mets, while "infrastructure improvement" costs at the site are to be paid by the city. The stadium was originally dubbed Mets Ballpark, before a corporate sponsor was found. Many fans had hoped the park would be named in honor of Jackie Robinson. The naming rights of the stadium were sold to Citigroup and the name Citi Field was officially announced at the November groundbreaking. Citigroup reportedly agreed to pay $20 million a year for the rights, which would be the most lucrative naming rights deal ever in terms of revenue per year.The final mix of private and public funding has not been settled. In 2008, Shea Stadium was the fifth oldest stadium among the 30 ballparks in major league baseball. Shea Stadium is nearly as old as Ebbets Field was when the Brooklyn Dodgers abandoned it. Shea Stadium was demolished during the winter of 2008-09. The site of Shea Stadium is to be a parking lot for Citi Field.

Citi Field will be a retropark, following current architectural trends in stadium design. It will follow the brick and steel-truss trend begun by the Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in 1992. The exterior facade will resemble Ebbets Field, former home of the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Dodgers then, in 1957, moved to Los Angeles, leaving NY without a NL team until 1962. The new stadium will be an open-air design, designed to give the fans a more personal experience. The stadium will only hold 45,000 fans, which is less than the capacity of the former Shea Stadium. According to design notes the lesser capacity creates better sightlines and a more contoured seating configuration, allowing seating closer to the field.

The field, however, will not have a dome or retractable roof installed, as had been discussed for Shea Stadium in the late 1970s, and had been originally planned. This will not negate one of the main complaints with Shea Stadium; that the consistent jet noise from LaGuardia Airport makes it difficult to hear well.

Construction of the new stadium began in 2006. Most of the current parking lot was closed off to begin preparing for the installation of the main support columns during the 2006 season, but the official groundbreaking did not take place until November 13, just beyond the left field bleachers of Shea Stadium. The stadium is scheduled to open for the 2009 season. The Mets first game at Citi Field is scheduled for April 3 against the Red Sox.

The Mets' colors are blue, orange, black and white, symbolic of the return of National League baseball to New York after the Brooklyn Dodgers (blue/white) and New York Giants (orange/black) moved to California. Blue, orange, and white are also the colors of the New York City flag.

Currently, the Mets wear an assortment of uniforms. One variation includes solid gray road jerseys with blue trim on the sleeves, the jersey front, and down the side of the pant legs. "NEW YORK" is printed across the front of road jerseys in old English style font. Another uniform combination includes a white home jersey with blue pinstripes and "Mets" written across the front in script. Prior to the 1997 season the Mets introduced "snow white" home jerseys as an alternate home jersey. Like the road uniforms, they feature blue piping but are completely white, devoid of pinstripes, and features the cursive "Mets" written across the front. The standard cap is blue with an orange "NY" logo, which is usually worn with the two white home jerseys. Before the 1998 season black was added as an official Mets color. Black drop-shadows were added to the blue and orange lettering on the white and gray jerseys. Solid black alternate home and road jerseys with blue piping and blue lettering trimmed in orange and white were introduced. Two alternate caps were also introduced - a black cap with a blue brim and a blue "NY" logo trimmed in orange (worn with the white and gray jerseys) and an all black cap with a blue "NY" logo trimmed in orange and white (worn with the black jerseys).

The Mets wear three styles of Coolflo batting helmets, depending what cap they are wearing that day. If they are wearing their black cap with blue brim, the batting helmets have a blue brim and fade to black in the back with a black "NY" outlined in white. If they are wearing their all-black caps, the batting helmets are all black with a blue "NY" outlined in white then orange, and if they are wearing their all-blue caps, the batting helmets are all-blue with an orange "NY" with no outlines.

There are also additional home games where the Mets wear pinstripe jerseys with the addition of a small "Los" above the script Mets across the jersey.

The cap logo is identical to the logo used by the New York Giants in their final years, and is on a blue cap reminiscent of the caps worn by the Brooklyn Dodgers. In the primary logo, designed by sports cartoonist Ray Gatto, each part of the skyline has special meaning — at the left is a church spire, symbolic of Brooklyn, the borough of churches; the second building from the left is the Williamsburg Savings Bank, the tallest building in Brooklyn; next is the Woolworth Building; after a general skyline view of midtown comes the Empire State Building; at the far right is the United Nations Building. The bridge in the center symbolizes that the Mets, by bringing National League baseball back to New York, represent all five boroughs.

In addition, Tom Seaver is the only Met ever to win the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year Award in 1969 and was voted the Mets "Hometown Hero" in a 2006 poll sponsored by DHL.

Major League Baseball retired Jackie Robinson's number 42 on April 15, 1997, when the Mets played the Dodgers at Shea Stadium, although Butch Huskey wore the number throughout the rest of his Mets career (due to a grandfather clause placed on the retired number by MLB). Mo Vaughn also wore number 42 during his stint with the Mets, due to the same clause.

On April 8, 2008, the final Opening Day at Shea Stadium, the Mets unveiled a sign bearing the name "Shea" in the left-field corner above the fence, next to the team's retired numbers listed above.

The Mets have not issued number 8 since Gary Carter was elected to the Hall of Fame.

When the Mets honored Carter, they did not retire number 8 at that time, but instead gave him a replica of his Hall of Fame plaque depicting him as a Met instead of an Expo.

John Franco wore number 31 for the Mets until 1998, when he switched to number 45 to accommodate Mike Piazza, who wore it until leaving the Mets after the 2005 season. The Mets have not issued number 31 since Piazza's departure. There is also a growing debate that number 45 be retired in honor of the late Tug McGraw.

When Willie Mays retired after the 1973 season, owner Joan Whitney Payson (who had great admiration for Mays) promised Mays his number would not be issued to another player. Since then, number 24 has been issued only twice: to 1B-OF Kelvin Torve (by mistake in 1990) and to OF Rickey Henderson, as a player (1999–2000) and as a coach (2007).

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Florida Marlins

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The Florida Marlins are a professional baseball team based in Miami Gardens, Florida, United States. Established in 1993 as an expansion franchise, the Marlins are a member of the Eastern Division of Major League Baseball's National League. The Marlins play their home games at Dolphin Stadium, also home to the Miami Dolphins.

The Marlins are notable for winning the World Series twice (1997, 2003) during the only two times they've made it to the postseason. They won despite never winning first place in their division, advancing to the playoffs both times as the National League Wild Card winner. They are the only team to have won all of their postseason series to date.

In recent years, the Marlins ownership has pushed for a new stadium and recently agreed to a plan with Miami-Dade commissioners and the city of Miami to build a $515 million ballpark on the site of the legendary Miami Orange Bowl. As part of the deal, the Marlins in the future will be known as the "Miami Marlins." Their final season in Miami Gardens will be the 2011 season.

On March 7, 1990, H. Wayne Huizenga, CEO of Blockbuster Entertainment Corporation, announced he had purchased 15 percent of the NFL's Miami Dolphins and 50 percent of the Dolphins' home, Joe Robbie Stadium, for an estimated $30 million. Huizenga stated his intention to aggressively pursue an expansion franchise. MLB had announced a few months earlier that it intended to add two new teams to the National League. It was a foregone conclusion that one of them would be placed in Florida; the only question was whether Huizenga would beat out competing groups from Orlando and Tampa Bay. On June 10, 1991, the National League awarded a Miami-based franchise to Huizenga for a $95 million expansion fee. One name considered early on was the Florida Flamingos.

Huizenga immediately announced plans to convert Joe Robbie Stadium (later Pro Player Park, Pro Player Stadium, Dolphins Stadium and now Dolphin Stadium) from a football-only stadium into a multipurpose stadium. The renovation cost only $100 million, largely because Dolphins founder Joe Robbie had anticipated that baseball would eventually come to South Florida and built the stadium with a wider field than is normally the case for the NFL. Purists feared the result would be similar to Exhibition Stadium in Toronto; when the Toronto Blue Jays played there from 1976 to 1989 they were burdened with seats more than 800 feet from the plate. However, Huizenga decided to cut down capacity from 67,000 to just over 43,500, in order to create a more intimate atmosphere. Aside from this, many of the upper deck outfield seats would have been too far from the field. The stadium's baseball capacity has been reduced even further in recent years, and it now seats just over 36,500. However, the Marlins usually open the upper level for postseason games. Huizenga eventually bought the Dolphins, and the stadium, in 1994.

Huizenga also sought, and received, a waiver from ESPN and MLB allowing him to play games on Sunday nights. The Marlins schedule nearly all of their games during the summer months (late May to mid-September) at night due to South Florida's hot and humid summers (with frequent afternoon rain). The Texas Rangers already had a similar waiver; until the Marlins' inception, the Rangers played in the hottest stadium in the majors.

In November 1991, the Marlins hired Fredi Gonzalez as the Marlins first Minor League manager.

Marlins selected catcher Charles Johnson of the University of Miami with their first-ever first round draft pick in the amateur draft of June 1992. Later that year Marlins President Carl Barger collapsed during an owners meeting at the baseball winter meetings in Louisville, Kentucky, and died a few hours later in Humana University Hospital. The Marlins later retired the number 5 in honor of Barger's favorite player, Joe Dimaggio.

The Marlins' first manager was Rene Lachemann, a former catcher who had previously managed the Seattle Mariners and Milwaukee Brewers, and who at the time of his hiring was a third base coach for the Oakland Athletics. The team drafted its initial lineup of players in the 1992 MLB Expansion Draft.The Marlins defeat the Houston Astros 12-8 in their inaugural Spring Training game. Jeff Conine hit Florida's first homer before a crowd of 6,696 at the Cocoa Expo Sports Complex. The Marlins won their first game on April 5, 1993, against the Dodgers. Charlie Hough became the marlins first starting pitcher in the teams history. Jeff Conine went 4-4 in this game, making him an immediate crowd favorite, and by the end of his tenure with Florida, he would earn the nickname "Mr. Marlin." Gary Sheffield and Bryan Harvey represented the Marlins as the club's first All-Star Game selections, and Sheffield homered in the Marlins first All-Star Game at-bat. The team finished the year five games ahead of the last-place New York Mets and with an attendance of 3,064,847. In that season, the Marlins traded their young set-up reliever Trevor Hoffman and two minor-league prospects to the San Diego Padres for third baseman Gary Sheffield. While Sheffield helped Florida immediately and became an all-star, Hoffman eventually emerged as the best closer in the National League. After the 1993 season, Donald A. Smiley was named the second President in club history. The Marlins finished last (51-64) in their division in the strike shortened season of 1994 and fourth (67-76) in 1995. Lachemann was replaced as manager midway through the 1996 season by director of player development, John Boles.

The Marlins had some bright spots on the mound and behind the plate in 1996. The team's 3.95 ERA ranked third in the NL, thanks in large part to newcomer Kevin Brown, who finished the season with a 17-11 win-loss record and an impressive 1.89 ERA. On May 11, Al Leiter pitched the first no-hitter in Marlins history. Catcher Charles Johnson led the league with a .995 fielding percentage, threw out a league-high 48 percent of base runners, and collected his second straight Gold Glove Award for fielding excellence. After a slow start, the Marlins finished the year with an 80-82 win-loss record to place third in their division. Boles returned to his previous position as director of player development, and former Pittsburgh Pirates manager Jim Leyland was hired to lead the club in 1997.

In addition to hiring Leyland as manager, the Marlins signed third baseman Bobby Bonilla, outfielder Moisés Alou, and pitcher Alex Fernandez to lucrative free-agent contracts, raising expectations to levels far beyond what they had ever been in franchise history. The Marlins' franchise got its second no-hitter from ace Kevin Brown on June 10, 1997. Brown nearly had the perfect game, but he hit the Giants' Marvin Benard with a pitch in the 8th inning. With Brown, Leiter and Fernandez heading the rotation, and Robb Nen closing out games, the Marlins' staff was almost systematic during their regular season run. In 1997, the Marlins finished nine games back of the Division Champion Atlanta Braves. But despite this shortcoming, they earned the wild card. Veteran additions such as LF Moisés Alou, 3B Bobby Bonilla, and trade-deadline additions Darren "Dutch" Daulton and Jim Eisenreich added experience and clutch hits. Talented young stars and starters Luis Castillo (2B) and Edgar Rentería (SS) were one of the best double play combos in the League. Castillo did not perform to expectations offensively, and was replaced by Craig Counsell before the playoffs began. They swept the San Francisco Giants 3-0 in the National League Division Series, and then went on to beat the Atlanta Braves 4-2 in the National League Championship Series, where the Marlins overcame the loss of Alex Fernandez to a torn rotator cuff, and Kevin Brown's missing two scheduled starts due to a virus. His place was taken in Game 5 by rookie pitcher Liván Hernández, who had earned a spot in the rotation in the second half of the season, but was not in the rotation during the postseason until circumstances made it necessary. Hernandez would proceed to strike out 15 Braves and outduel multiple Cy Young award-winner Greg Maddux to a 2-1 victory and a 3-2 series lead. Brown would return to the mound for Game 6, pitching a complete game victory to secure the Marlins their first-ever National League pennant. The underdog Marlins went on to face the Cleveland Indians in the 1997 World Series, and won in seven games. In Game 7, Craig Counsell's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth tied the game at 2, then, with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the 11th, Edgar Rentería's soft liner glanced off the glove of Cleveland pitcher Charles Nagy and into center field to score Counsell and give the Marlins the win.

Following the World Series victory, Huizenga dismantled the team, claiming financial losses despite winning the World Series. He traded most of the club's best players in one of the biggest fire sales in sports history. The first deal came days after the World Series, when outfieldler Moisés Alou was traded to the Houston Astros for pitchers Oscar Hernandez, Manuel Barrios, and Mark Johnson. The Marlins then traded Kevin Brown to the San Diego Padres. In May 1998 season they dealt Bobby Bonilla, Gary Sheffield, Charles Johnson, Jim Eisenreich, and Manuel Barrios to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Mike Piazza and Todd Zeile, both of who would be gone via trades by midseason. This ended the dismantling of the 1997 World Series champs. On the flip side, these trades brought promising youngsters Derrek Lee and A.J. Burnett.

The Marlins' 1998 slumped to 54-108, the worst record in the major leagues that year—still the most in franchise history. They are the only team to lose 100 games a year after winning the World Series. Leyland resigned as manager in October 1998, and was replaced by John Boles. Moreover, Huizenga soon sold the club to John Henry, a commodities trader from Boca Raton, during the off-season. The Marlins had the second overall pick in the 1999 draft and drafted Josh Beckett from the state of Texas. The Marlins finished the 1999 season with the worst record in baseball at 64-98, and traded World Series MVP Liván Hernández to the San Francisco Giants. The Marlins also drafted P Johan Santana from Houston in the Rule 5 Draft but traded him to Minnesota in a prearranged deal for P Jared Camp.

A month prior to the regular season, the Marlins hired David Dombrowski as the third President in club history, making him both President and General Manager. After posting the worst record in baseball for the 1999 season, the Marlins had the first overall pick in the 2000 first-year player draft and selected first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, a 16-year-old native of Bonita, California. The Eastlake High School product agreed to terms with the Marlins that same day. The Marlins went on that season to finish 79-82 and third place in the NL East. This was thanks to the emergence of OF Preston Wilson who had 31 home runs and 121 RBIs. Derrek Lee and Luis Castillo broke out this year as well, as Castillo posted a .334 batting average and Lee had 28 homers in his first full season. Antonio Alfonseca posted a then-club record 45 saves.

The club slowly worked its way back to respectability with a third place finish in 2000, driven by young stars such as A.J. Burnett, Brad Penny, Preston Wilson, Luis Castillo, and Mike Lowell. Burnett pitched the Marlins' third no-hitter on May 12 against the Padres, 2001. In a truly extraordinary performance, he walked nine batters and threw 129 pitches, 65 of which were strikes. Three weeks after the no-no, Manager John Boles was fired and Hall of Famer Tony Perez was named interim manager for the rest of the season. The club finished 76-86 and in fourth place, thanks to Brad Penny's and A.J. Burnett's emergence.

The offseason following the 2001 regular season included an overhaul of the ownership and front office. Tony Perez resigned and returned to his previous role as the front-office Baseball Operations assistant. About a month later, David Dombrowski resigned as President and General Manager of the Florida Marlins and accepted the position as President of the Detroit Tigers. Entering the new year, Henry sold the Marlins to Montreal Expos owner Jeffrey Loria, clearing the way for him to buy the Boston Red Sox. Loria brought the entire Expos management and coaching staff to the Marlins. David Samson became team president, Larry Beinfest became General Manager and Jeff Torborg became manager.

Prior to the 2002 season, the Marlins traded RHP Matt Clement and RHP Antonio Alfonseca to the Cubs for RHP Julian Tavarez, LHP Dontrelle Willis, RHP Jose Cueto and C Ryan Jorgensen. The Marlins had their ups as Luis Castillo had a team record 35 game hitting streak and Kevin Millar had 25 game hit streak. Around the all-star break they made their second big trade sending OF Cliff Floyd to the Expos for RHP Carl Pavano, RHP Justin Wayne, INF Mike Mordecai, LHP Graeme Lloyd, RHP Don Levinski and INF Wilton Guerrero. The same day, the Fish dealt RHP Ryan Dempster to the Cincinnati Reds for OF Juan Encarnacion and LHP Ryan Snare. The Marlins finished 79-83, second best season in team history up to that time, but the their fifth straight losing season since winning the World Series.

Nonetheless the Marlins showed promise entering the offseason as they had a rotation of Josh Beckett, Carl Pavano, Brad Penny, and A.J. Burnett.

During the offseason, the Marlins signed free agent catcher Iván Rodríguez - a 10-time Gold Glove Award winner - and acquired speedy outfielder Juan Pierre from the Colorado Rockies hoping to offset the loss of sluggers Cliff Floyd and Preston Wilson. The Marlins did acquire P Mike Hampton but dealt him and his hefty contract to the Braves for P Tim Spooneybarger.

The Marlins struggled in the opening stages of the season, going 16–22. During that span, Florida lost its top three pitchers: A.J. Burnett, Josh Beckett, and Mark Redman. On May 11, Florida replaced manager Jeff Torborg with 72-year-old Jack McKeon. On May 22, the Marlins hit bottom with a major league worst record of 19-29, having lost 6 straight games. However, help was on the way.

On May 9, the Marlins called up high-kicking southpaw Dontrelle Willis from the Double-A Carolina Mudcats and helped carry the injury-plagued Marlins with an 11–2 record in his first 17 starts. Miguel Cabrera (also from the Mudcats) filled in well, hitting a walk off home run in his first major league game, against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Pro Player Stadium. Both Willis and Cabrera would later prove to be essential parts of the Marlin's playoff success. Jeff Conine - an original Marlin and member of the 1997 World Series team - returned from Baltimore, and closer Ugueth Urbina arrived from the Texas Rangers. These acquisitions helped to keep the team in contention, and although they finished ten games behind the Braves, the Marlins captured the NL wild card.

The Marlins won the Division Series against the favored San Francisco Giants three games to one. The series ended with a dramatic collision between Marlins catcher Rodríguez and Giants first basemen J.T. Snow, making it the first postseason series ever to end with the potential tying run being thrown out at the plate.

On October 15, the Marlins defeated the Chicago Cubs four games to three in the Championship Series, coming back from a three games to one deficit. A Beckett complete-game shutout in Game 5, "The Inning" incident with Steve Bartman in Game 6, and a come-from-behind win in Wrigley Field in Game 7 helped the Marlins capture their second NL pennant.

In the 2003 World Series, the Marlins defeated the heavily favored New York Yankees in six games, winning the sixth game in Yankee Stadium. Shortstop Álex González helped the Marlins in Game 4 of the series with a walk off home run in extra innings. Josh Beckett was named the Most Valuable Player for the series after twirling a five-hit complete-game shutout in Game 6. Skipper Jack McKeon became the oldest manager ever to win a World Series title. The Marlins became the first opposing team to win a Series championship on the field at Yankee Stadium since the 1981 World Series, when the Los Angeles Dodgers did it. The Marlins are also the last team to win a World Series at the 1923 Yankee Stadium. The Marlins won the series despite scoring fewer runs (17) than the Yankees (21). The Marlins also became the first team since the creation of the Division Series to win the World Series without ever having home-field advantage during their entire post-season.

The offseason after their second World Series title, the Marlins made a questionable cost-cutting move as Derrek Lee was traded to Chicago Cubs for Hee Seop Choi and pitcher Mike Nannini. The Marlins also lost key parts of their second championship team, Ugueth Urbina and Iván Rodríguez left via free agency (signed by the Detroit Tigers). The Marlins did get good news though as Dontrelle Willis was named NL Rookie of the Year and Jack McKeon named Manager of the Year.

The Marlins opened the 2004 season with expectation for another World Series title, minus Rodriguez, Lee, and Urbina but with rotation intact. They hoped newly acquired 1B Hee Seop Choi would emerge and that the combination of Ramon Castro and Mike Redmond would also come to life, as well as promising outfielder Miguel Cabrera and high kicking pitcher Dontrelle Willis.

The Marlins started the '04 season with a record of 30-20 but struggled in June with an 11-16 record. 5 of the 11 June wins came from pitcher Carl Pavano, who had the best month of the season. They entered the all-star break with a 45-43 record but went 11-14 in the month of July.

These struggles prompted the Marlins to make one of the biggest trades in club history as Los Angeles got P Brad Penny, 1B Hee Seop Choi and Double-A left-hander Bill Murphy in exchange for P Guillermo Mota, C Paul LoDuca and OF Juan Encarnacion. This trade really didn't pan out for either side that season as Penny's season was cut short after a great first half, Choi struggled in his tenure with the Dodgers, Lo Duca had his usual second half outage, Encarnacion was injury prone, and Guillermo Mota had his share of struggles.

The Marlins had a great August, which included a nine game winning streak into September, and then went on a 15 game stretch in which they played two double headers, going 7-8 in 13 days. This led to call-ups and emergency starts by relievers as well as fatigue. A three game home series with the Cubs was rained out, and one of three was played in Chicago's Comiskey Park, although it was considered a home game. The attendance for that third game did not count for either team.

Afterwards the Marlins lost 6 straight, including games to division rivals the Phillies and Braves who were also in contention. They swept the Expos to make up some ground but lost 3 of 4 games to the Philles to fall out of contention. Despite missing the playoffs, 21 year old Miguel Cabrera had 33 home runs and 112 RBIs, numbers that started to draw comparisons to Albert Pujols.

The Marlins posted a winning record of 83-79 (only their third winning season of their history), but finished 13 games back of the division champion Atlanta Braves). They became the fourth consecutive major league team not to repeat as World Series champions since the New York Yankees in 2000.

While losing All-Stars Carl Pavano and Armando Benitez in the off-season, the Marlins signed P Al Leiter and 1B Carlos Delgado. Delgado's contract was the biggest in franchise history at $52 million over 4 years, with an option for a fifth year. Meanwhile, play-by-play TV broadcaster Len Kasper was also lost to the Chicago Cubs and replaced by Rich Waltz (who had previously been with the Seattle Mariners), and radio announcer John "Boog" Sciambi was replaced by Roxy Bernstein.

With the addition of Delgado, many sportswriters expected the Marlins to finish the 2005 season in either first or second place in the NL East. However, at the All-Star break they were 44-42, and the NL East was unusually competitive, as all five of its teams had a winning record at the break. While Cabrera, Willis, and several others posted very good first-half numbers, Lowell was one of the least productive regular major-league starters, and Leiter went 3-7 with an ERA of 6.64 before being traded to the New York Yankees on July 15 for a player to be named later. Additionally, Guillermo Mota, who was acquired by Florida in 2004 along with Paul Lo Duca and Juan Encarnacion and was expected to be their closer, was inconsistent, and the Marlins gave the closer job to veteran Todd Jones, whom they signed in the offseason. However, the Marlins did send four players to the All-Star Game (Willis, Lo Duca, Castillo, and Cabrera), tying a team record.

The club was expected to be quite active at the trading deadline (July 31), as Burnett was slated to be a free agent after the season and had already declared his desire to test the market like Pavano did. Burnett was mentioned in possible trades with the Chicago White Sox, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, and Texas Rangers, with many rumors also including Lowell or Encarnacion. The Marlins did not make a huge move at the deadline, instead trading minor-leaguers Yorman Bazardo and Mike Flannery to the Seattle Mariners for left-handed pitcher Ron Villone.

The Marlins did have some pleasant surprises during the season. Dontrelle Willis became the 13th member of the Black Aces when he defeated the Washington Nationals to earn his 20th win. He finished the season 22-10 with a 2.63 ERA, and he was considered a favorite to win the Cy Young Award for much of the season. Also, Jones, a journeyman who had been signed as a setup man, had one of the best years of his career as a closer; he earned 40 saves and had a 2.13 ERA. In addition, late-season call up Jeremy Hermida, a highly-regarded prospect who has been compared to the Atlanta Braves' Jeff Francoeur, hit a grand slam in his first major-league at-bat and a game-tying two-run homer in the last game of the season.

The Marlins led the NL wild-card race as late as September 13, then lost 12 of their next 14 games. The Marlins closed the season by sweeping the Braves, and their final record for the season stood at 83-79.

The 2005 offseason would prove to be one of busiest for the Marlins in years, Jack McKeon announced his retirement on October 2 after the Marlins' last game of the season. Former Tampa Bay Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella, Braves third base coach Fredi González (who previously managed in the Marlins' farm system), New York Yankees bench coach Joe Girardi, and even Yankees manager Joe Torre who most thought could have been let go after a short stint postseason. were named as possible replacements for McKeon. On October 19, Girardi was hired as the new manager. Girardi, who was hired at age 41, became one of the youngest current managers in the major leagues.

Few of the coaching staff, aside from infield/first base coach Perry Hill and bullpen coordinator Pierre Arsenault, were expected to return. Pitching coach Mark Wiley and bullpen coach Luis Dorante came under fire during the season due to the late-season struggles of Burnett and the season-long struggles of the Marlins' bullpen. Similarly, hitting coach Bill Robinson was often blamed for the Marlins' offensive woes throughout the season, and in particular for his failure to get Pierre and Lowell out of season-long slumps. Girardi hired Jim Presley as a replacement for Robinson, and also hired Rick Kranitz as the new pitching coach and Bobby Meacham as the new third-base coach.

On October 3, the first day after the end of the regular season, the Marlins made their first offseason moves, releasing relief pitchers John Riedling and Tim Spooneybarger. Riedling had a 4-1 record and a 7.14 ERA during the season; Spooneybarger, who had not played since 2003 due to rehabilitation from Tommy John surgery, had to have the surgery a second time during the season and missed the 2006 season as well. Screwball specialist Jim Mecir retired following the Marlins' last game of the season.

Closer Todd Jones, pitchers A.J. Burnett, Brian Moehler, Ismael Valdéz, Paul Quantrill, first baseman Jeff Conine, infielder Lenny Harris, outfielder Juan Encarnación, and shortstop Álex González were among the Marlins' players whose contracts expired following the 2005 season. Burnett signed a five-year deal with the Toronto Blue Jays worth $55 million and Jones signed for two years with the Detroit Tigers, while Moehler elected to remain with the Marlins. The team declined to offer arbitration to Conine, Valdez, Quantrill, Encarnacion, Damion Easley, and Mike Mordecai, effectively ending their tenures with the club. Soon after announcing a plan to relocate (see below), the Marlins started to shed payroll by dealing their highest-paid players for minor league prospects, in a series of moves reminiscent of the "fire sale" in the 1997 offseason. In response, the club announced that it was, in their opinion, of a "market correction," brought about by the lack of a stadium deal. On November 24, Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell, and Guillermo Mota were traded to the Red Sox for four minor-league prospects: shortstop Hanley Ramirez, and pitchers Aníbal Sánchez, Jesús Delgado, and Harvey García. The trade left Dontrelle Willis as the only remaining member of the team's 2005 Opening Day rotation. The Marlins filled most of the remaining rotation spots with young pitchers such as Jason Vargas, Josh Johnson, and Scott Olsen, all of whom they had recalled from their Class AA affiliate during the 2005 season.

On November 23, the Mets and the Marlins agreed on a deal to move Carlos Delgado to the Mets for first baseman Mike Jacobs and pitching prospect Yusmeiro Petit. Also, the Marlins would have to pay $7 million of Delgado's remaining contract. When the deal was made official the next day, the Marlins also received minor-league infielder Grant Psomas. According to the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, the Marlins passed up the Mets' offer to give them center fielder Lastings Milledge, who was at the time ranked the Mets' top prospect according to Baseball America. Combined, the two trades allowed the Marlins to reduce their 2006 payroll by $27 million.

However, the Marlins were not yet done reducing payroll. Paul Lo Duca was traded to the Mets for two players to be named later, with the Marlins sending pitcher Gabriel Hernandez and outfielder Dante Brinkley to New York to complete the deal. Longtime second baseman Luis Castillo was traded to the Twins for pitchers Travis Bowyer and Scott Tyler, and Juan Pierre to the Cubs for pitchers Sergio Mitre, Ricky Nolasco, and Renyel Pinto. Of the seven players that the Marlins acquired in these three deals, only Mitre and Bowyer had any major-league experience when they came to the Marlins. To replace Castillo, the Marlins signed veteran Pokey Reese, but Reese was released during spring training after going AWOL, and was replaced by Dan Uggla, who had been selected from the Arizona Diamondbacks in the Rule 5 draft. Uggla played in the Arizona organization at the Class AA level in 2005.

At the start of the year, the Marlins had a team salary close to $21 million. Not only was it the lowest team salary in all of MLB, but New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez himself made more money than the entire team. The Marlins made MLB history when they started six rookies in their Opening Day lineup.By May 22, they reached a record of 11 wins and 31 losses. Although the Marlins kept losing games, Miguel Cabrera and rookie Dan Uggla were selected to the All-Star Game. Though Uggla did not play in the All-Star game, he became the first Rule 5 draftee to be selected for an All-Star team in the next year after he was taken in the Rule 5 draft. Uggla, Josh Willingham and Mike Jacobs are the first rookie teammates in NL history to hit at least 20 home runs in the same season.

After the All-Star break, the Marlins began to break both franchise and MLB records. They came back from 11-31 to reach the .500 mark at 68-68. No team has come back to the .500 mark from being 20 games under since 1899. Then, on September 4, 2006, the Marlins rallied from down five runs to defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-5. This improved the Marlins' record to 69-68, marking the first time in Major League history a team that was 20 games under .500 went back over .500 in the same season. Additionally, as of September 8, 2006, three of their rookie starting pitchers (Josh Johnson, Scott Olsen, and Ricky Nolasco) have each won at least eleven games; the Marlins joined the 1934 Philadelphia A's and the 1952 Brooklyn Dodgers in accomplishing this feat.

On September 6, rookie Aníbal Sánchez pitched the fourth no-hitter in franchise history. During September, the Marlins advanced to within one game of the NL wild-card lead, but they were eliminated from contention after losing to the Cincinnati Reds on September 26. However, on the next day, Sánchez won his tenth game as a Marlin against the Reds, giving the Marlins four rookie starters who had each won ten or more games: Sánchez, Nolasco, Johnson, and Olsen. The 2006 Marlins were the first team in major-league history to have four rookie pitchers accomplish this feat. Because, as of September 27, Willis has won 12 games, the 2006 Marlins also had five ten-game winners for the first time in franchise history.

Shortly after the 2006 season ended and following months of speculation, Marlins manager Joe Girardi was fired on October 3, 2006 not long after winning the National League Manager of the Year award. This was due to a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers earlier in the year in which Girardi did not challenge a call that pitcher Taylor Tankersley thought was a strike and this prompted owner Jeffrey Loria, who was in the stands and a few feet away from the dugout, to call out Girardi who refused to listen to him. This wasn't the only thing that triggered the feud; earlier in the year Girardi reportedly wanted 1B Mike Jacobs to start off the year in triple A, Willingham to start at catcher, Miguel Cabrera to start at first base. This was just of the few of the other things that got Girardi fired from the Marlins. Within hours, Atlanta Braves third base coach Fredi González was named his replacement and was signed to a three year contract. On October 28, 2006, first baseman Wes Helms and pitchers Matt Herges and Brian Moehler filed for free agency. The next day, closer Joe Borowski filed. On December 29, 2006, the Marlins signed a one-year contract with infielder Aaron Boone. The Marlins also made some minor signings as they signed Lee Gardner and Justin Miller in hopes of rejuvenating their careers with the Fish.

The Marlins opened the 2007 season with high hopes after a successful 2006 season in which most expected they would lose 100 or more games. The underdog Marlins had remained in the Wild Card race until mid-September before finishing a respectable 78-84. The 2007 rotation included Dontrelle Willis, Scott Olsen, Anibal Sanchez, Sergio Mitre, and Ricky Nolasco, and the Marlins entered spring training with hopes that this rotation would blossom into one of the best in the National League. Willis was a Cy Young runner up in 2005, Sanchez threw a no-hitter in 2006, and Olsen led the team in strikeouts in 2006. The Marlins also banked on starter Josh Johnson to come back from an arm injury suffered the season before. Things got worse for Johnson entering spring training as MRI's discovered he had nerve damage in his throwing arm. Eventually, Johnson was put out for the remainder of the season after Tommy John Surgery. The Marlins got even more bad news as spring training went on. INF/1B coach Perry Hill retired, leaving the Marlins with a huge hole as Hill was considered to be one of the best defensive coaches around and was credited for the previous defensive success of Gold Glovers Luis Castillo and Mike Lowell. The Marlins' injuries took a toll as they lost OF Jeremy Hermida when an MRI of his right kneecap revealed a deep bone bruise for a month. Opening Day center fielder, Alejandro De Aza had an ankle sprain, P Sergio Mitre had a blister problem and P Ricky Nolasco had a sore elbow. In May, Marlins sent struggling P Anibal Sanchez to the minor leagues, where he was put on the Minor League DL with shoulder tendinitis. He then went out for the remainder of the season due to a tear in his labrum. The Fish also put promising pitcher Henry Owens on the DL as well as 1B Mike Jacobs. They sought bullpen help, dealing Jorge Julio, who amassed 2 blown saves and 2 loses in his tenure, to the Rockies for P Byung-Hyun Kim.

As injuries amassed for the Marlins, they traded P Randy Messenger to the Giants for P Armando Benitez who became a middle reliever instead as Gregg was the closer. In the June Draft, the Marlins selected 3B Matt Dominguez out of high school; it marked the first time since 2002 that the Fish got a position player rather than pitcher in the first round. The team entered the All Star break with more injuries: SS Hanley Ramirez had a hamstring injury, Miguel Cabrera missed the Home Run Derby with a shoulder injury, and Aaron Boone was out for the remainder of the season. The Marlins sent only one player to the All Star game as Miguel Cabrera went for a franchise record fourth time and fourth straight overall. The team had a record of 42-47 at the break.

After the All-Star break, the Marlins fell apart. After a July 20 game against the Reds, Scott Olsen was arrested by Aventura, Florida police and booked on charges of driving under the influence, resisting arrest with violence and fleeing and eluding a police officer. After completing the Reds series at 48-51, the Marlins sunk dramatically to last place in the NL East with a record of 23-40 the rest of the way and a 71-91 record overall. The Marlins had to deal with the struggles of both Willis and Olsen, the teams' top starters who both finished with ERAs north of 5.00 carrying 15 losses a piece. The Marlins did have some bright spots on offense as they set club records for runs scored (790), hits (1,504), doubles (340), home runs (201), RBIs (749) and slugging percentage (.448).

The Marlins offseason began with trying to get better on defense and pitching. Two players formally filed for free agency, Aaron Boone and Armando Benitez.

The Marlins filled their pitching coach vacancy by hiring Mark Wiley, formerly the pitching coach in the 2005 season and scout for the Rockies in 06' and 07'.

The focus of the 2007 offseason, however, was that the Marlins were officially listening to offers for slugger Miguel Cabrera and pitcher Dontrelle Willis. The team that seemed to be leading was the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. They felt that they had worked out a deal for Cabrera not once, but twice. Angels owner Arte Moreno said that each time, the Marlins came back after he felt a trade had been completed and asked for more to sweeten the trade. The San Francisco Giants expressed similar sentiments about the asking price the Marlins wanted, saying that the Marlins were asking for 4 players, with 3 of the 4 being pitchers and 2 of the 4 being major league players, not minor leaguers. Talks with both teams fell apart, but most still felt the Marlins would complete the trade with the Angels when MLB's annual Winter General Manager Meetings took place in Nashville.

On December 5, 2007, the Marlins agreed to the terms of a trade with the Detroit Tigers. The trade would surprisingly send not only Cabrera, but also Willis, to the Tigers. In return, the Marlins did not receive four players, but six. The Marlins received center fielder Cameron Maybin, catcher Mike Rabelo, and pitchers Andrew Miller, Eulogio De La Cruz, Burke Badenhop, and Dallas Trahern.

With a vacancy at third base, the Marlins signed infielders Jorge Cantu and Dallas McPherson. They've also added veterans Luis Gonzalez and pitcher Mark Hendrickson.

The Marlins began 2008 on a positive note. Analysts expected a lackluster performance on the field, citing the low payroll and loss of Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera during the offseason. However, in the first few months of the season, the Marlins were off to one of best starts in team history. At one point in the season, the Marlins jumped to (30-20), moved 10 games over .500 for the first time since September 14, 2005. They jumped atop of the National League East in April and May and for the first time with a lead that late in a season since 2002. The good start was attributed to powerful offensive production from their core of Mike Jacobs, Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla, Josh Willingham, and Jorge Cantu and quality pitching by southpaws Andrew Miller and Scott Olsen along with right-hander Ricky Nolasco.

The team also received great and encouraging news after injured pitcher Josh Johnson made a fast recovery from Tommy John Surgery and Anibal Sanchez coming back from a torn labrum in the shoulder; leaping into the rotation right away along with calling up prized prospect Chris Volstad. In addition, the Marlins sent two players, Hanley Ramirez, who started the game at Shortstop for the National league, and reserve Dan Uggla to the last All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium. In addition to surprises, the Marlins signed star shortstop Hanley Ramirez to a 6 year, $70 million dollar deal making him the richest Marlin in history.

The Marlins hot start made them a rare buyer at the July trade deadline where they were involved in talks on a three-way deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Boston Red Sox which could have brought Manny Ramirez to the South Florida. The Marlins backed out at the last second when it involved their coveted power-hitting prospect, Michael Stanton. Instead, Manny Ramirez headed up with the Dodgers and the Marlins wound up trading for Arthur Rhodes.

The team struggled in the month of August where they went 11–16 due to lack of offense which they had the earlier months. In September, the Marlins surprised some when they tied the franchise-record nine game win streak which was contributed in part by prized prospect, Cameron Maybin. Unfortunately, the fish lost four straight afterwards eliminating them from playoff contention but they managed to eliminate the New York Mets for the second consecutive season on the final day.

The team finished the season setting a franchise record for most home runs in a season at 208. Mike Jacobs, Dan Uggla, Hanley Ramirez and Jorge Cantu made MLB history by becoming the first foursome of infielders to hit at least 25 homers in a season.

Just a day after the World Series concluded, the Marlins began wheeling and dealing. They traded first baseman Mike Jacobs to the Royals for reliever Leo Nunez, who the Marlins hope can become a setup-man in late innings.

Around a couple of weeks later, the Marlins traded power hitting outfielder Josh Willingham and southpaw Scott Olsen to the Nationals for utility player Emilio Bonifacio and two minor leaguers. Soon after the Marlins traded closer Kevin Gregg to the Cubs for relief prospect Jose Ceda.

During the offseason, the Marlins have been rumored to be after Pedro Martinez, Andruw Jones, and have been reported to have interest in former Marlin Ivan Rodriguez to add catching depth behind Baker.

A few weeks before the regular season, the Florida Marlins' 15-year quest for a permanent home became a reality by agreeing to bankroll a big share of a $634 million stadium complex to rise on the grounds of the old Orange Bowl site. The Marlins hope to open at the new stadium on Opening Day 2012 with a new name; Miami Marlins.

The Marlins are the first team in Major League Baseball to have a dance/cheer team: "The Marlins Mermaids". Debuting in 2003, the "Marlin Mermaids" quickly gained national exposure, and have influenced other MLB teams to develop their own cheer/dance squads.

A few years later, the Marlins created an all-male dance team: "The Manatees". This unique group consists of several overweight men, who "show off their own moves" for home crowds during weekends.

The Florida Marlins (soon to be Miami Marlins) hope to begin construction of a new, state-of-the-art stadium at the Miami Orange Bowl site. The now approved stadium was the subject of a protracted legal battle. A lawsuit by local automobile franchise mogul and former Philadelphia Eagles owner Norman Braman contested the legality of the deal with Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami. However, Miami-Dade County Judge Beth Cohen dismissed all the charges in Braman's lawsuit. Braman is likely to appeal, but there is only a slight chance of the appeal being heard, so construction will begin soon. When completed, the seating capacity will be 37,000, making it the second smallest stadium (in capacity) in the MLB. Set to open in April 2012, the stadium would become only the sixth MLB stadium to have a retractable roof, joining Rogers Centre, Chase Field, Safeco Field, Miller Park, and Minute Maid Park. The Marlins will share Dolphin Stadium with the NFL's Miami Dolphins and the Miami Hurricanes football team starting in the 2008 season until 2010 when the Marlins' current lease runs out. The new stadium will not be ready until 2012, so the team needs to work out an extension of the lease.

These statistics are current as of September 30, 2008. Bold denotes a playoff season, pennant or championship; italics denote an active season.

As of the 2009 Baseball Hall of Fame election, no inducted members have played for the Marlins. Tony Perez, inducted in honor of his playing career, briefly worked as interim manager of the Marlins after his induction.

The Marlins' flagship radio station from their inception in 1993 through 2007 was WQAM 560 AM. Although the Marlins had plans to leave WQAM after 2006, they ultimately remained with WQAM for the 2007 season. On October 11, 2007, it was announced that the Marlins had entered into a partnership with WAXY 790 AM to broadcast all games for the 2008 season. Dave Van Horne and Glenn Geffner split the play-by-play assignment.

Games are also heard in Spanish on WQBA 1140 AM. Felo Ramirez, who calls play-by-play on that station along with Luis Quintana, won the Ford C. Frick Award from the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005.

Marlins games are televised by FSN Florida and Sun Sports. FSN Florida's slogan of this year is "You Gotta Be Here". There are no games available over-the-air; the last "free TV" broadcast of a game was on WPXM in 2005. Rich Waltz is the play-by-play announcer and Tommy Hutton is the color analyst.

No Marlin has ever hit for the cycle in history. But the Marlins' Triple-A affiliate had two cycles in one week in August 2008.

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Bill Spiers

William James Spiers III (born June 5, 1966 in Orangeburg, South Carolina) is a former infielder in Major League Baseball who played primarily as an shortstop and third baseman from 1989-2001. He was also a punter for Clemson University. He was a first round draft pick (13th overall) in the 1987 amateur draft. He debuted in the majors two years later with the Milwaukee Brewers on April 7, 1989.

On September 24, 1999 while playing with the Houston Astros Spiers was attacked by a 23 year old man while standing in the outfield before the bottom of the 6th inning. Teammate Mike Hampton was first on the scene and delivered several kicks to the attacker. He was later quoted saying "The good thing was he didn't have a weapon... I always check right field before I deliver the first pitch. It's just a habit. I looked out there and saw the guy on Billy's back... It was a scary thing. My instincts just took over. My rage took over. I was pretty furious. I wanted to get him off my teammate." After being arrested the attacker faced two counts of battery and one count of disorderly conduct. Spiers wound up with a welt under his left eye, a bloody nose and whiplash.

On May 21, 2007 Spiers was inducted into the South Carolina Athletics Hall of Fame. He is now coaching both baseball and football.

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Source : Wikipedia