New President... New Marlins?
The Florida Marlins first took the field back in 1993. This means they have played games under four different U.S. presidents. Now it may not be surprising that the team has a losing record under all four presidencies. Frankly, the team has sucked for much of their existence, but will Joe Biden be the first president to see a Marlins record over .500 when he is in office?
Let's look at this president by president:
BILL CLINTON: 1993-2001 (.448 Win %)
The Marlins had a number of firsts under President Clinton. First season, first World Series title, and of course, the first major fire sale (something Marlins fans have grown custom to over the years).
The high point for this presidency is easily the team's first World Series (and postseason) run in 1997. The '97 racked up a 92-70 regular season record earning a spot in the postseason as the wild card. That team would become the first-ever wild card team to win the World Series, led by players such as Gary Sheffield, Craig Counsell, Bobby Bonilla, and Kevin Brown, to name a few. However, 1998 did not bring the same success for the Fish. As a matter of fact, it was almost like a complete opposite; the team managed to go 54-108 that season, which almost seems impossible for a defending World Series champion.
The rest of Clintons years were mighty pedestrian for Florida, who didn't see any more winning seasons, peaking at 79-82 during the 2001 season.
George Bush: 2001-2009 (.498 Win %)
Bush was in office for some of the best years in Marlins history, and it's proved by their winning percentage during these years. Early on in the Bush administration, the Marlins also went through a change of power when Jeffrey Loria purchased the team in 2002. I will give Loria and his little sidekick, Dave Samson, a little bit of credit as they were able to bring Florida their second title in 2003. I do believe that the previous front office helped lay the ground pipes for the title run, but Loria and company did put the finishing pieces together when they signed HOF catcher Ivan Rodriguez and called up Fish favorites Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera midseason.
But much like the 1997 title, it was gone almost as quickly as it came. The team sold off nearly all of their key players within two years of reaching the top of the mountain and found themselves back fighting to be a .500 team again.
When it was clear that the team was not trending towards more success, it was time to move our biggest asset, Miguel Cabrera, and get a load of prospects in return. Unfortunately for Marlins fans Loria and Samson were still in charge of baseball operations, and if you know anything about the Marlins, you know that is a scary sentence. They shipped Cabrera and Willis to Detroit for stud prospect Cameron Maybin. Clearly, that trade did not work out for the Fish, but hey, at least Cabrera and Willis were here to help us to one title.
The team ended the Bush-era with a glimmer of hope as Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla was looked at as two of the better young players in the game in 2009, but I bet you can imagine what happened next when that team wasn't performing up to standards…
Barrack Obama: 2009-2017 (.461 Win %)
The Obama era started with hope (no pun intended) as the Marlins did have a couple of certified All-Stars, as we talked about earlier. But the big move for the Marlins under Obama was… too Little Havana. In 2012, the team relocated from what is now known as Hard Rock Stadium into a brand new gem of a ballpark all for themselves.
This new colorful ballpark brought new excitement to the franchise, and shockingly the team was ready to spend big money to help build around the hype. That offseason, not only did they change their name and logo, but they also brought in some big names. Ozzie Guillen was set to be the new manager, and he had some new toys to play with. Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, and Heath Bell were all brought in to add to an already young, exciting club led by Hanley Ramirez and Mike/Giancarlo Stanton.
When this new "superteam" did not live up to expectations…. The front office blew it all up and decided to rebuild… again.
This time it was different though, the team wasn't coming off a championship; this was just a full-on fire sale after one down season surrounded by new talent.
The team would continue to struggle, even with an outfield led by Stanton, Ozuna, and Yelich and a pitching rotation led by the young ace Jose Fernandez.
The darkest day for the Marlins during the Obama administration is when their best player, arguably of all-time, Jose Fernandez, lost his life in a boating accident late during the 2016 season. This loss set the team back years, but it did eventually lead to a change in the front office, something much needed for the organization. RIP JDF16 ❤️.
Donald Trump: 2017-2021 (.418 Win %)
The Trump administration started off with a brand new front office in Miami as well. Bruce Sherman and HOF SS Derek Jeter took over for the Marlins and immediately… went on a fire sale. This, however, may have been the one time the team actually NEEDED to sell off everything they had. The new ownership was almost $400M in debt and had the 30th (out of 30) ranked farm system in the MLB. In just a few years, Jeter and Sherman have gotten the Marlins back to contention, and they did it from the bottom up. 2020 saw the Marlins reach their first postseason since 2003, and quite frankly, the team doesn't look to be slowing down anytime soon. They currently sit with a top 5 farm system, and when the time is right, this front office won't be scared to spend the money needed to put a competitive team out on the field every day.
While Trump may have seen the worst of the Marlins compared to other presidents, his administration may end with the highest hopes for Marlins fans moving forward.
As Joe Biden is sworn into office today, Marlins fans can only hope that the team will be making at least one trip to meet him at the White House to celebrate winning another World Series title!