As part of the celebration of the 70th anniversary of Topps baseball cards, we've asked fans (as well as our staff) to submit their all-time favorite baseball cards, and we've broken them down by team. We'll be revealing submissions regularly throughout the season, ranging from the famous to the weird, and everything in between.
Josh Beckett, 2003 Topps
This is the year that Beckett was absolutely sensational for the Marlins on their run to the 2003 World Series championship.
The 23-year-old had a 2.11 ERA in six games in his first career postseason, which he capped off by shutting out the Yankees in the clinching Game 6 of the Fall Classic. Beckett was named World Series MVP.
His Topps card from that year looks nice, too, as Beckett follows through on a pitch clad in his teal-and-black Marlins uniform.
Hanley Ramirez, 2006 Upper Deck
Ramirez’s ‘06 Upper Deck rookie card is a rarity. There aren’t many cards that show a player in uniform with one team but the logo of another.
Ramirez was traded from the Red Sox to the Marlins in a seven-player deal that sent Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell and Guillermo Mota to Boston in November ‘05, and Upper Deck evidently did not have time to procure another photo. So the company ran with the image of Ramirez in a Red Sox uniform and slapped a Marlins logo on the card. The candid shot depicts the young shortstop chilling out on the tarp with his glove nearby.
Upper Deck would put out a card showing Ramirez in a Marlins uniform in its '06 Series 2 set. -- Thomas Harrigan
Dontrelle Willis, 2003 Topps
D-Train before he was D-Train. Here’s a great look back at Willis before he burst onto the Major League scene in 2003. Here he shares a Marlins prospects card from '03 with Jason Stokes, a first baseman/left fielder who didn’t make it to the Majors.
Willis was the 2003 National League Rookie of the Year thanks to a great campaign, in which he posted a 3.30 ERA in 27 starts for the Marlins, later helping the them win the World Series in six games over the Yankees.
Brett S. of Cleveland submitted this card in our survey, and his response was short, sweet and something many of us can identify with:
“Prospect cards were fun for me,” he wrote. -- Manny Randhawa
Giancarlo Stanton, 2017 Topps
This is probably a home run swing from Stanton. Why? The then-Marlins slugger hit 59 dingers in 2017, en route to the NL MVP Award.
Stanton's chase for 60 was the biggest storyline in baseball throughout the summer of '17. Though he didn't quite get there, Stanton still put up the highest single-season home run total since Barry Bonds' record 73.
You can see Stanton's strength in his 2017 Topps card, which has the added bonus of featuring the Marlins' excellent color scheme.
Dontrelle Willis and Jason Stokes, 2003 Topps
The Marlins acquired Willis in a six-player trade that sent Matt Clement and Antonio Alfonseca to the Cubs in March ‘02. Stokes, meanwhile, was a second-round pick in the ‘00 MLB Draft.
The two appeared together on a prospect card in Topps’ 03 set, both wearing classic Marlins teal. It was submitted via our survey by Cleveland’s Brett Shaver.
Stokes never reached the Majors, but Willis debuted that May and went on to win the National League Rookie of the Year Award in ‘03, going 14-6 with a 3.30 ERA in 160 2/3 innings. The left-hander won a World Series ring with the Marlins the same year. -- Thomas Harrigan
Marlins: Gary Sheffield, 1997 Pacific
There’s always something special about our favorite team winning it all during our childhood. For Danny E. of Miami, that team was the 1997 Marlins.
Danny submitted this great card of one of the key sluggers on that club, Gary Sheffield. The card itself is awesome in that it goes with the “5th season” of the franchise on the front, with a shot of Sheffield in those sweet solid teal jerseys from the Florida days.
In his survey response, Danny elaborated on why he loved that year and that team so much, and it goes beyond baseball.
“It takes me back to my childhood and the ability for a city to unite via a championship ring and baseball,” he wrote. -- Manny Randhawa
Best Marlins facial hair card: Mike Lowell, 2003 Topps
Lowell's trademark goatee is front and center on this card from the 2003 season.
You might remember that as the year the Marlins won their second shock-the-world World Series title, upsetting the Yankees in six games in the Fall Classic.
Lowell was a leader of that team, making his second of three straight NL All-Star teams with the Marlins and hitting a career-high 32 home runs with 105 RBIs that season.
Lowell won the only Silver Slugger Award of his 13-year career and placed 11th in the MVP voting. -- Manny Randhawa
José Fernández, 2014 Topps Chrome
The late Fernández was known as much for his youthful exuberance as he was for his dominant stuff, and this card, which was submitted by William Blas-Lizarazo, manages to capture that perfectly.
"I collect Marlins [cards], and José Fernández is my favorite Marlin of all time, so anytime I see a unique card of his I have to pick it up," Blas-Lizarazo wrote. "This card just embodies who José was as a person -- always having fun. It wasn’t cheap, but I’m so glad I own it. I hadn’t seen another one prior nor have I seen one since buying it. It’s truly a gem in my eyes."
The card shows Fernández having a fun moment with the Phillie Phanatic, a broad smile on his face. This wasn't the only time the two interacted, of course, as they ended up starting a friendly rivalry. Their most memorable confrontation came in '16, when the Phanatic pretended to arrest Fernández after the pitcher jokingly swiped the keys to the mascot's ATV. -- Thomas Harrigan
John Lynch, 1992 Upper Deck
He’s a Hall of Famer -- in the NFL. And he’s also the general manager of the San Francisco 49ers. So it’s pretty cool that he was also a pitcher in the Marlins organization, making possible a card like this.
Lynch was a nine-time Pro Bowl defensive back over a 15-year pro football career from 1993-2007 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Denver Broncos. But he was a pretty decent right-handed pitcher, too, and he was selected by the Marlins out of Stanford in the second round of the 1992 MLB Draft.
Lynch pitched for two Minor League seasons, posting a 2.35 ERA over nine starts between Low-A Erie and Class A Kane County from 1992-93. But he decided on a football career over baseball, and he did all right.
This card was submitted by a huge Lynch fan who didn’t know his hero played baseball until he first set eyes on it.
“My favorite football player of all time is John Lynch, and when I found out that he played baseball for the Marlins, I freaked,” wrote R.J. from Tampa, Fla. “My dad surprised me with the card for my birthday when I was 13, and it’s been my favorite card since.” -- Manny Randhawa
Dave Weathers, 1995 Fleer
The color scheme of Weathers' 1995 Fleer card is … loud. But that's what makes it unique. The neon greens and oranges in the background photo, coupled with the aquatic blue Florida Marlins uniform the right-hander is wearing in the foreground photo, makes for an eye-popping combo.
But let's get to the main event: Weathers' crazed grin as he delivers the pitch. It's in the foreground (as he reaches his arm back to deliver the pitch) and in the background photo (during his follow-through).
Flip the card over and see it again, lurking to the right of Weathers' career statistics, the very last two lines of which show his Marlins tenure, which began in the franchise's inaugural season in 1993. Weathers is an original Marlin, and he would produce a 17-22 record with a 5.16 ERA and 216 strikeouts for the Fish.
As the fan who submitted the card put it: "This is the best ball card ever! Front and back! This man will enter your dreams at night!"
Iconic Marlins card: Miguel Cabrera, 2000 Topps Chrome Traded
Though he wouldn't make his MLB debut until three years later, this Topps Chrome Traded "rookie" card (hey, he was a rookie if we're talking professional baseball, because he debuted in the Minors in 2000) is a beauty, as are so many of Topps' Chrome offerings. It's got the baby-faced Miggy at the age of 17 in his batting stance with the classic Marlins solid teal uniform from the early years of the franchise.
They knew this kid was going to be good, but did they know he'd be knocking on the door to 3,000 hits and 500 home runs heading into the 2021 season?
In Cabrera's first pro season in 2000, he hit .259/.338/.347. Suffice it to say, he improved from there. He opened his Major League career with a bang, launching a walk-off homer to straightaway center field to lift the Marlins over the Rays on June 20, 2003. Cabrera spent his first five MLB seasons with the Marlins, helping them win the 2003 World Series over the Yankees. That postseason, the slugger belted four homers, including a first-inning blast off Roger Clemens in World Series Game 4.
The Marlins traded Cabrera to the Tigers, along with left-hander Dontrelle Willis, prior to the 2008 season, and Detroit is where the young star became a legend -- he won the first Triple Crown in 45 years in 2012, and despite injury trouble, he posted a .931 OPS with 349 homers in his first 13 seasons with the Tigers.
It's always fun when we see a card of a superstar when he was young, let alone a teenager, and in Miggy's case, there's something even more fun about it. Maybe it's that he has that youthful nature about him even now. The 2000 Topps Chrome Traded Cabrera takes us way back with a glimpse of the future Hall of Famer before he even made his big league debut.