CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. -- When Juan Pierre arrived at North Community Park on Tuesday afternoon, Marlins top prospect Lewis Brinson was already playing catch and warming up.
Pierre observed the rangy 23-year-old outfielder and said, "If he wears No. 9, that will be the only thing we have in common."
A surprise visitor at Brinson's workout, Pierre, one of the most respected players in Marlins history, formally met one of the organization's promising young future stars.
"On a 1-to-10 scale, meeting J.P. is probably a 20," Brinson said. "I was so excited driving here, knowing that he was going to come out, meeting him for the first time. The only time I've seen him was when he was playing center field for the Marlins."
Acquired last Thursday from the Brewers in the Christian Yelich trade, Brinson, the No. 27 prospect in the Majors per MLB Pipeline, grew up in Coral Springs idolizing Pierre, who lives in nearby Parkland. In the trade, Miami brought in four prospects, with Brinson being the centerpiece, along with outfielder Monte Harrison, infielder Isan Diaz and right-hander Jordan Yamamoto.
"This is literally a dream come true," Brinson said. "My hero growing up, I used to watch [Pierre] all the time with the Marlins, all of those guys. That team was my idols, but he was the one who stood out for me. It was a real honor to meet him."
Brinson's most memorable season watching the Marlins was 2003, when Pierre served as leadoff hitter and was the catalyst on the World Series championship team.
Brinson's admiration for Pierre is so great that he is openly lobbying to wear No. 9. The number is available now that Dee Gordon was traded to the Mariners.
Pierre noted he has no say in number designations, but gave his approval if Brinson wanted to carry on the legacy.
Pierre, 40, enjoyed a 14-year big league career, compiling 2,217 hits and 614 stolen bases. He retired following the 2013 season, after completing his second stint with the Marlins.
A slap hitter who made things happen with his speed, Pierre, 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds, is taken aback that Brinson, 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, calls him his favorite player.
"For me to be his favorite, I told him, when he was about 10 years old, we were probably about the same height and size," Pierre said. "He's a lot bigger than I thought he was. I just tell him, the sky is the limit for a guy like that. But it starts with hard work [and] getting your work in every day."
Brinson was also working out with Marlins Minor League outfielder John Silviano and Alvaro Gomez, who is on the Minor League coaching staff.
Over his career, Pierre's work ethic was legendary. When he joined the Marlins in 2003, he regularly arrived to Spring Training camp around 6 a.m. That was unheard of before he became a Marlin, and it set a standard that players follow today.
"I'm just trying to pick his brain right now and go about my business like he would," Brinson said. "I'm a very hard worker. I like to get stuff done, get it done right, get it done efficiently, make sure I'm not just half-working, half-stepping. We do everything with a purpose out here. I know he's a man of that, and working hard, and his 'beast mode' thing and everything like that. I try to model myself after guys like that. The harder I work, the better the success will be one day."