Through their first 28 seasons, the Marlins have gone 12-16 on Opening Day. There have been history-making moments and memorable debuts. Stellar pitching performances and clutch homers, too. Here are the top 5 Opening Day moments in Marlins history.
1. Baseball in the sunshine
April 5, 1993
Though Florida had been the Spring Training home for Major League clubs for decades, the first franchise in the Sunshine State didn't debut until a Monday afternoon in front of 42,334 fans at Joe Robbie Stadium. The Marlins' inaugural game was a magical one, starting with 45-year-old Charlie Hough's first-pitch knuckleball for a called strike. The Hialeah, Fla., native went six innings before four relievers held the Dodgers scoreless over the final three frames in a 6-3 win. Walt Weiss and Scott Pose each collected two RBIs, while Mr. Marlin Jeff Conine went 4-for-4.
2. A home of their own
April 4, 2012
After sharing a multipurpose stadium with the NFL's Miami Dolphins for their first 19 seasons, the Marlins moved to Miami's Little Havana neighborhood. Marlins Park features a retractable roof, aquariums on both sides of home plate, a home run sculpture and Downtown Miami skyline views. To go along with the new digs, the rebranded organization changed its name from “Florida” to “Miami” and made big splashes during the Hot Stove season (signing José Reyes, Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle). But after flashy pregame festivities and Josh Johnson's first-pitch strike, the Marlins lost to the Cardinals, 4-1, in front of 36,601 fans and a national TV audience.
3. Mad dash around the bases
April 6, 2009
Acquired over the offseason in the Scott Olsen-Josh Willingham trade with the Nationals, utility player Emilio Bonifacio made quite the introduction to Marlins fans. Starting at third base and batting leadoff, he went 4-for-5 with four runs and two RBIs against his former club. In the fourth inning, the speedy Bonifacio sent a drive to straightaway center and raced around the bases for a two-run inside-the-park homer. His first career MLB home run garnered a standing ovation and a curtain call from the 34,323 fans in attendance. The Marlins would go on to beat the Nats, 12-6, at Land Shark Stadium.
4. Tagging a Hall of Famer
April 5, 2005
How about a John Smoltz vs. Josh Beckett pitchers' duel to open the season? The Marlins had other plans, chasing the future Hall of Famer after seven runs (six earned) in 1 2/3 innings. Juan Encarnación punctuated that outburst with a two-out grand slam in the first. Beckett, the 2003 World Series hero, held the Braves to two hits over six innings. Three relievers followed to preserve the shutout in a 9-0 win in front of 57,405 fans at Dolphins Stadium.
5. Allow me to introduce myself
April 1, 2011
Newcomer John Buck stole the show in a lineup featuring former batting champion Hanley Ramirez, future National League MVP Award winner Giancarlo Stanton and former NL Rookie of the Year Award winner Chris Coghlan. Signed to a three-year, $18 million contract, Buck went 2-for-4 in his Marlins debut. His fourth-inning grand slam to right-center field propelled the Marlins to a 6-2 win over the Mets in front of 41,237 fans at Sun Life Stadium. Josh Johnson recorded a quality start in his second of three straight Opening Day assignments.