5 Marlins greats not in the Hall of Fame

December 1st, 2021

MIAMI -- Marlins history is filled with impactful players who performed at high levels both during their tenures with the organization and throughout their MLB careers.

There’s a “who’s who” list of former Marlins greats who enjoyed stellar careers, but they did not quite rise to the threshold of being Hall of Famers.

MLB.com ranks the top five former Marlins not in the Hall of Fame. This list is based on players who are retired and made a significant impact during their days in Miami. It also includes the players’ entire body of work, not just how they performed with the Marlins.

1) OF : Career (1988-2009); Marlins’ tenure ('93-98)
Key fact: Hit 509 career home runs, 42 with Marlins in '96

A member of MLB’s famed “500 Home Run Club,” Sheffield finished with 509 home runs in his impactful 22-year career. The Tampa, Fla., native played for eight different teams, with his longest tenure coming with the Marlins for parts of six seasons. As a Marlin, Sheffield hit .288/.426/.543 with 122 home runs and 380 RBIs. With his famous bat waggle, Sheffield’s stance was mimicked by a generation of young players, and he certainly looked to do damage every time up. Sheffield’s 42 home runs in 1996 stood as the single-season franchise record until Giancarlo Stanton blasted 59 in 2017. A nine-time All-Star, Sheffield was a big part of the Marlins’ 1997 World Series championship team.

Sheffield hit more than 30 homers in a season eight times. But he was hardly an “all-or-nothing” slugger, reflected by his career strikeout rate of 10.7 percent.

Sheffield’s Hall of Fame chances have been impacted because he’s linked to the era of performance-enhancing drugs. He’s in his eighth year on the Hall of Fame ballot.

2) RHP : Career (1986-2005); Marlins' tenure ('96-97)
Key fact: Brown no-hit the Giants at Candlestick Park on June 10, 1997

Fiercely competitive, Brown compiled an impressive 211-144 career record, with a 3.28 ERA in his 19-year career. His FanGraphs WAR is 76.5.

While Brown spent just two seasons with the Marlins, he was an All-Star both years. In 1996, Brown went 17-11 with a National League-low 1.89 ERA in 233 innings, finishing second to John Smoltz in NL Cy Young Award voting.

Brown no-hit the Giants in June 1997 during the franchise’s World Series title campaign. He finished that year with a 16-8 record and a 2.69 ERA across 237 1/3 innings.

As a member of the Rangers in 1992, Brown enjoyed his lone 20-win season, going 21-11 with a 3.32 ERA in 265 2/3 innings. He paced the American League in wins and innings that year.

3) 1B : Career (1997-2011); Marlins' tenure ('98-03)
Key fact: NL batting champion with a .335 average in '05

A towering figure and presence in the middle of the lineup, the 6-foot-5 Lee is considered the best defensive first baseman in Marlins history. He was a Gold Glove Award winner in 2003, the first year he topped the 30-home run mark. He hit 31 in the Marlins’ World Series title season.

Lee’s best season came in 2005. In his second year with the Cubs, he paced the NL in batting average, hits (199), doubles (50), slugging percentage (.662) and OPS (1.080). He was an All-Star as well as a Gold Glove Award winner and Silver Slugger Award winner that year, finishing third in MVP Award voting.

Lee finished his 15-year career with 331 home runs and an .859 OPS.

4) 3B : Career (1998-10); Marlins' tenure ('99-05)
Key fact: '07 World Series MVP while with Red Sox

If Jeff Conine is “Mr. Marlin,” then Lowell was “Mr. Consistency” in his years with the Marlins and throughout his 13-year MLB career. The steady third baseman was a four-time All-Star as well as a Silver Slugger and Gold Glove Award winner.

Born in Puerto Rico and raised in Miami, Lowell won World Series titles with the Marlins (2003) and Red Sox ('07). Lowell was named the World Series MVP for Boston, batting .400 with a home run, four RBIs and six runs scored in the Red Sox’s sweep of the Rockies. He collected 20 home runs and a career-best 120 RBIs that year, finishing fifth in AL MVP Award voting.

With the Marlins, Lowell’s career started to take off in 2000, when he hit 22 home runs and drove in 91 runs. He recorded 100-RBI seasons with the Marlins in '01 and ’03. Lowell was an All-Star and Silver Slugger Award winner on the Marlins’ ’03 World Series team, enjoying a career year before breaking his hand after being hit by a pitch. In 130 games, he hit 32 home runs with 105 RBIs. Lowell returned in the NL Championship Series, clubbing the go-ahead home run in the 11th inning against the Cubs in Game 1.

Lowell finished his MLB career with the Red Sox in 2010, finishing with 223 home runs, 143 coming in seven seasons with the Marlins.

5) C : Career (1994-2005). Marlins' tenure ('94-98, '01-02)
Key fact: NL Gold Glove-winning catcher from '95-98

A four-time Gold Glove Award winner and two-time All-Star with the Marlins, Johnson is considered one of the best defensive catchers of his era. The Fort Pierce, Fla., native is one of three catchers in MLB history to catch at least 100 games in a season without committing an error. Johnson was part of the 1997 World Series team.

With the Marlins trailing by a run in the ninth inning of Game 7, Johnson’s one-out single to right field put runners on the corners to set up Craig Counsell’s game-tying sacrifice fly to send the game into extras. The Marlins would go on to win, 3-2, in 11 innings on Edgar Renteria’s walk-off single.

Johnson returned to the Marlins in 2001, and he was dealt to the Rockies as part of a major trade that brought Juan Pierre to South Florida after the '02 season.