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Fish to commemorate '97 season


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MIAMI -- The dramatic image of then 22-year-old Edgar Renteria slapping a soft single to center field, scoring a leaping Craig Counsell to clinch the 1997 World Series, will forever be etched in the minds of Marlins fans.

In just their fifth season, the Marlins became the fastest franchise in big-league history to win a World Series. That distinction was erased in 2001, when the D-backs won the title in their fourth year.

However, nothing will erase the memories of one of the best played and most exciting World Series in many years. The thrills of the 1997 championship season will again be revisited in 2007, as the Marlins organization plans a number of promotions and dedications to honor the 10th anniversary of the franchise's first World Series crown.

For the upcoming 2007 season, the Marlins will wear their 1997 World Series victory literally on their sleeves. The team will sport a patch to commemorate the season, and the patch will feature a logo with "1997, Tenth Anniversary, 2007" enscribed above a sketching of the championship logo.

The Marlins began play in 1993, and after four straight losing seasons, the 1997 squad won 92 games -- still a club record -- and captured the National League's Wild Card berth. After knocking off the Giants and Braves in the playoffs, the Marlins outlasted the Indians in a gripping seven-game series, pushing across the winning run in the 11th inning.

The 1997 Marlins featured a star-studded roster that included Gary Sheffield, Moises Alou, Bobby Bonilla, Charles Johnson, Jeff Conine, Renteria, Kevin Brown, Al Leiter, Livan Hernandez, Alex Fernandez and Robb Nen.

Some young players on that club were Cliff Floyd, Luis Castillo and Antonio Alfonseca.

In 2003, the Marlins won their second title, finishing with 91 regular-season wins.

Cabrera ready for winter: Three-time All-Star Miguel Cabrera once again will get a head start in preparation for Spring Training by playing Winter League ball in his native Venezuela.

The Marlins have granted Cabrera permission to play for the Aragua Tigers. The 23-year-old sensation will begin playing on Dec. 20.

Cabrera has played for the Tigers every year since he was brought up to the big leagues in 2003. A month ago, Cabrera finished second in a home-run contest in Venezuela.

He likes to join the Tigers in late December, where he plays about a dozen games before the playoffs in January.

Last spring, Cabrera represented Venezuela in the inaugural World Baseball Classic.

McKeon hip surgery: Former Marlins manager Jack McKeon was scheduled to have hip replacement surgery on Friday. A resident of Elon, N.C., McKeon is a special adviser to Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria.

McKeon's hip has been bothering for him a while, and he thinks it may have been caused by his daily walking. Still active with the club, the 76-year-old McKeon attended the recent Winter Meetings in Orlando.

McKeon is employed by Florida to help scout players, especially Minor Leaguers. Two of the Marlins' affiliates are based in North Carolina: Double-A Carolina and low Class A Greensboro.

Recovery will last about a month and McKeon plans on being ready to attend Spring Training.

Monitoring competition: Because of financial limitations, the Marlins haven't made many dramatic offseason moves. The organization feels that it has a strong, young nucleus to build around, and the Marlins don't get caught up in thinking that they have to make a move because other teams are more active.

Several of the Marlins' National League East rivals have been very active, especially the Phillies and Mets.

Still, general manager Larry Beinfest doesn't feel pressure to make a deal in reaction to what his division rivals are doing.

"They are our competition and we always monitor our competition, but we don't really worry about it," Beinfest said. "We worry about ourselves and try to be as good as we can be. This division has never been easy, nor will it ever be easy. But we just kind of worry about ourselves. We see what the other teams are doing."

Toy distributions: Manager Fredi Gonzalez, team president David Samson and a number of members from the front office distributed toys to two Miami-Dade County elementary schools on Friday.

More than 1,000 children participated in the days' activities at West Little River Elementary and Little River Elementary schools.

Gonzalez, Samson, Beinfest, assistant GM Michael Hill and mascot Billy the Marlin were among the organization's representatives at the schools, handing out toys, gifts and refreshments to the students.

Fish bites: Gonzalez and catcher Matt Treanor spent Thursday afternoon mingling with team sponsors at the team's "Business 2 Business" luncheon at Michael's Kitchen in Hollywood, Fla. ... On Saturday, the Marlins are hosting a "Select-A-Seat" event at Dolphin Stadium from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. ET. The day will allow fans the chance to secure the best available seats for the 2007 season. The Marlins now have a special Holiday Pack promotion on their Web site, offering 25 games for $99. It's a limited-time offer.

*need to find vector image of the logo*

This is what they've showed us so far.


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Once I get this whole Cyberface stuff figured out and finish up the faces I want to do (Nolasco, Sanchez, Olsen, Amezaga, etc) I'll try doing the uniform editing to add in the patch. I've seen a clean version of the patch image (not vector, but better than that pic) posted, let me know if you want a link.

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1997. The year I really started getting mad about the Braves losing in the post season. After that It really started getting me dejected.

I have a VHS tape of the playoff game where that ump kept giving bad calls to the Braves pitching staff because he wouldn't give anything outside of the plate-which is where each and every single Braves pitcher is tought to throw it. Braves threw a ball, Marlins don't swing, and the ump makes the right call. Any other ump would have given our pitchers those pitches.

It was all down hill from there.

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Once I get this whole Cyberface stuff figured out and finish up the faces I want to do (Nolasco, Sanchez, Olsen, Amezaga, etc) I'll try doing the uniform editing to add in the patch. I've seen a clean version of the patch image (not vector, but better than that pic) posted, let me know if you want a link.

tell me if you need a pic, he went to a high school in the same conference as mine, and I might be able to dig up some photos on the school's website

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