Marlins Vault: Santiago's HR breaks the ice

July 4th, 2021

MLB.com is digging back into its massive video vault to uncover classic plays that you have loved, forgotten about or, perhaps, are discovering for the very first time. Watch these moments and many, many more on the MLB Vault YouTube page.

April 12, 1993: Santiago's homer breaks the ice
It took until the seventh game in franchise history for the Marlins to homer. Catcher Benito Santiago achieved the feat, sending a pitch from Giants left-hander Trevor Wilson over the left-center-field wall at Candlestick Park. The blast capped a game-tying three-run sixth, but the Marlins went on to lose on a walk-off hit in the ninth. Santiago, who had signed a two-year contract with the Marlins after four straight All-Star seasons in San Diego, went deep 23 other times for the franchise across 240 games.

July 11, 1995: Mr. Marlin breaks the mold
Jeff Conine made consecutive Midsummer Classics in 1994 and '95, but he didn't get to play in his first trip. With rosters that included future Hall of Famers like the late Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr., it was Conine who won the '95 MVP for his pinch-hit homer in the National League's 3-2 victory. Conine knocked the go-ahead shot against Steve Ontiveros to lead off the eighth inning. As Conine put it in a postgame interview after accepting the MVP trophy: "Some of my buddies back in Florida said, 'If you get in the game, you've got to swing for the fences.' I wasn't thinking about it, but it happened." He remains the only Marlin to win MVP at the All-Star Game.

July 2, 2015: Fernández returns after Tommy John
José Fernández was must-see viewing. The right-hander had been sidelined for 14 months after undergoing Tommy John surgery in May 2014, but Fernández returned to the mound midway through the '15 season, and a midweek crowd of 32,598 was there to cheer him on with cardboard cutouts of his face. He gave up three runs over six innings with seven strikeouts, reaching 98.7 mph on the radar gun in a 5-4 Marlins win. Fernández, who took pride in his hitting, also knocked his second career homer.

Sept. 7, 2001 -- Burnett's wild warmup
Right-hander A.J. Burnett was known for taking a walk on the wild side on the mound. Look no further than the early part of the 2001 season, when he threw a no-hitter despite issuing nine free passes. And in an otherwise forgettable 6-1 loss to the Mets at Pro Player Stadium, Burnett "missed" on a warmup pitch, shattering the window of a truck passing behind home plate with Billy the Marlin on it. The grounds crew had to come out to sweep up the shards of glass on the grass.

Aug. 26, 2020: When a Berti became a bear
There were many unusual things about the 2020 season, which was played in the middle of a global pandemic. In the second game of a doubleheader at Citi Field, Jon Berti provided us with a sight not seen before. After walking against Jeurys Familia, Berti became the first player in franchise history to steal three bases in an inning, and the first MLB player to pull off the feat since Mallex Smith did so for the Mariners on May 27, 2019, against the Rangers. Berti bolted for home as catcher Ali Sánchez threw back to Familia, but he stumbled on his way to the plate and bear crawled until regaining his footing. Caught off guard, Familia short-hopped a throw that Sánchez couldn't corral. The play went viral, and it gave the Marlins a 3-0 lead in the sixth.

June 28, 2003: Tide turns with big rally
One night after losing 25-8, the Marlins looked to be on their way to another lopsided defeat at Fenway Park. Training 9-2, the Marlins scored four runs apiece in the eighth and ninth innings to capture a 10-9 victory. Juan Encarnacion knocked a three-run homer in the eighth, while Mike Lowell delivered the go-ahead, three-run shot against Brandon Lyon with two outs in the ninth. Braden Looper cemented the win with his 14th save. The Marlins got back to .500 in a game many consider to be the turning point of their season. The club went 50-30 the rest of the way to cement the NL Wild Card berth en route to their second World Series title.

Oct. 4, 2015: Ichiro's wish granted
Future Hall of Famer Ichiro Suzuki had lobbied for years -- both while playing in Japan and in the United States -- to pitch in a game. He finally got his opportunity on the final day of his 15th Major League season. With the Marlins trailing the Phillies, 6-2, the 41-year-old took the mound in the eighth inning. Ichiro gave up a run on a pair of doubles, and his fastball reached a maximum velocity of 88.4 mph. He received a nice ovation from the Phillies faithful and his teammates.

June 22, 2006: Miggy prefers to hit
Remember when intentional walks weren't automatic? In a 5-5 ballgame between the Marlins and Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Miguel Cabrera stepped to the plate. With Hanley Ramirez at second base and one out in the 10th inning, Baltimore wanted nothing to do with the Marlins' cleanup hitter and future Hall of Famer. So Todd Williams lollipopped a throw to catcher Ramon Hernandez to begin an intentional walk, but it caught too much of the plate. Cabrera swung at the offering and lined it into center field. Ramirez easily raced home to score the go-ahead run in an eventual 8-5 Marlins victory.

Aug. 10, 2005: Modern day Houdini
Who's to say whether third baseman Mike Lowell cemented his Gold Glove Award by pulling off the hidden-ball trick? It came at a great time for the Marlins, who led the D-backs 6-5 in the eighth inning. When pinch-hitter Tony Clark singled to left field to put runners at the corners, Lowell cut off Miguel Cabrera's throw to the infield. Unbeknownst to Luis Terrero, Lowell held onto the ball as reliever Todd Jones walked around the mound. After Terrero took a step off the bag to get a lead, Lowell calmly tagged him out. Third-base umpire Ed Rapuano explained what happened to Terrero, while Craig Counsell could only stare in disbelief at the plate. The Marlins would go on to score four runs in the bottom of the frame in a 10-5 victory.

Sept. 12, 2008: Four's company
Though the 2008 Marlins didn't reach the postseason, they accomplished a feat that had never been done in Major League history. When third baseman Jorge Cantu sent a pitch from Nationals right-hander Shairon Martis over the left-center-field wall, it gave every infield starter at least 25 homers. Mike Jacobs (first base, 32 HRs), Dan Uggla (second base, 32 HRs) and Hanley Ramirez (shortstop, 33 HRs) hugged Cantu as he made his way back to the dugout. Cantu hit four more homers to finish with 29 but was unable to go deep over the season's final eight games, just missing out on the 30-homer threshold. "What a great feat those four guys did, to witness it," then-manager Fredi González recently told MLB.com. "That's not one play, but a group of players. He was playing on like one leg. He had a severely sprained ankle. 'Put me in there.'"