We “celebrate” the 2019 Miami Marlins’ National League-worst 57-105 season with a look back to colorful 1950s-era Triple-A minor league franchise that laid the groundwork for South Florida’s eventual ascension to the majors in 1993.
Author and SABR historian Sam Zygner (The Forgotten Marlins: A Tribute to the 1956-1960 Original Miami Marlins and Baseball Under the Palms: The History of Miami Minor League Baseball) joins the podcast to discuss the flamboyant, but little-remembered International League club that introduced Miami to its first taste of high-level regular season baseball.
During their five years of existence, the original Marlins featured outsized personalities such as eccentric manager (and former St. Louis Cardinals’ “Gashouse Gang” member) Pepper Martin, hard-living lefty pitcher Mickey McDermott, maverick baseball promoter Bill Veeck, and even the mythically ageless Negro League hurler (and eventual Hall of Famer) Satchel Paige.
In between, the Marlins featured a who’s who of battle-hardened veterans (like 18-year minor league journeyman Woody Smith; ex-New York Giants World Series-winning pitcher Rubén “El Divino Loco” Gómez; two-time MLB All-Star slugger Sid Gordon; former Brooklyn Dodger outfielder Cal Abrams; and major league All-Star fireballer Virgil Trucks) – as well as a parade of future big-league standouts such as infielder Jerry Adair; outfielders Whitey Herzog and Dave Nicholson; and pitchers Rudy Árias, Don Cardwell, Turk Farrell, Jack Fisher and Dallas Green.
Enjoy a FREE MONTH of The Great Courses Plus streaming video service – including the just-released 24-chapter lecture series “Play Ball! The Rise of Baseball as America’s Pastime” – created in conjunction with the National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum!