Flashback Friday Q&A with Brad Penny

May 21st, 2023

This story was excerpted from Christina De Nicola’s Marlins Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

Flashback Fridays hold a more special meaning during the 2023 season for the Marlins, who are celebrating the franchise's 30th anniversary and the 20th anniversary of their second World Series championship.

In this first Q&A installment, we catch up with right-hander , whom the Marlins acquired on July 8, 1999, from the D-backs in a trade that involved reliever Matt Mantei.

Penny began and ended his 14-year Major League career with the Marlins. In two stints (2000-04, '14), he went 50-43 with a 4.12 ERA in 139 games (134 starts). Though Josh Beckett captured World Series MVP honors, Penny won both of his starts in Games 1 and 5.

MLB.com: What was it like going from the rebuilding stage to being a World Series champion?
Penny: I think if they didn't go through that rebuilding stage, that team wouldn't have been together. I don't want to say you want to be a part of a rebuilding stage, but at that point in my career, they basically said, 'Here's the ball. You're going to pitch every five days. Learn to pitch in the big leagues. You did good enough in the Minor Leagues. You're not getting sent down.' There [are] not many situations where a starting pitcher gets to go into a season with zero stress, like I'm not getting sent down. They're going to allow me to pitch, and they told me, 'No matter how bad you do, you're going to pitch every fifth day.'

MLB.com: Was there any pressure starting Game 1 to set the tone?
Penny: I didn't look at it that way. Just give the team a chance. They came out textbook the way we played. I think Juan [Pierre] bunts, gets on. Luis [Castillo] moves him over, "Pudge" [Ivan Rodríguez] drove him in and it's 1-0, and I'm still watching the game. I haven't thrown a pitch yet. A lot of that going on that year to where they just took pressure off of you, and with that defense, if you throw strikes, you're going to be in pretty good shape.

MLB.com: Outside of obviously winning it all, was there another moment for you personally -- whether it was a game, a pitch you threw, a matchup against a batter -- that stands out from that season?
Penny: Not really. You know what sticks out to me? The umpire in Game 5, Ed Rapuano. I don't think he missed a pitch -- ball or strike. I think that was one of the best games I've ever had an umpire call, Game 5 World Series. That's what really sticks out to me about that game. I don't feel like he gave anything, but he didn't take anything away.