Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Marlins remember meeting boxing legend Ali

MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

MIAMI -- Muhammad Ali's presence remains at Marlins Park. One reminder is on a plaque in the team's clubhouse, which quotes "The Greatest" saying: "Champions have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill."

Ali, who died on Friday night at 74, has a place in the heart of the organization. He was the surprise guest at the inaugural regular-season game at Marlins Park in 2012.

View Full Game Coverage

MIAMI -- Muhammad Ali's presence remains at Marlins Park. One reminder is on a plaque in the team's clubhouse, which quotes "The Greatest" saying: "Champions have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill."

Ali, who died on Friday night at 74, has a place in the heart of the organization. He was the surprise guest at the inaugural regular-season game at Marlins Park in 2012.

View Full Game Coverage

Giancarlo Stanton and Mike Dunn are the two players who remain from that team. Both have saved the photo the players took with Ali in the locker room.

"It's huge," Stanton said of meeting the boxing legend. "When you grow up, there's like a handful of guys who are at the top. Those are the guys you want to meet. All you need is a photo of them. You don't need to say something to them sometimes. He's definitely one of them."

Tweet from @Marlins: The Greatest's words, as are posted in our clubhouse. pic.twitter.com/QQAtB05zxQ

The picture with Ali is still on Stanton's phone.

Dunn has a picture framed in his house.

"To see an icon like that around is unbelievable," Dunn said. "Impactful."

Marlins manager Don Mattingly recalls meeting Ali briefly at the 2004 All-Star Game in Houston.

"Huge fan," Mattingly said. "I've kind of always been enamored by him from the standpoint, he was the one guy everybody loved worldwide. I just thought that was interesting. I loved his style. The way he fought and talked."

Tweet from @AllStarGame: Forever The Greatest of All Time. pic.twitter.com/bTSGkm1Qar

Hall of Famer Andre Dawson, a Marlins special assistant, was at Marlins Park on Opening Day in 2012 when Ali visited.

Dawson, who grew up in Miami, was in elementary school when he first met Ali. The boxer trained at the famous 5th Street Gym on Miami Beach. Ali came to his class.

Video: NYM@MIA: Dawson discusses the Ali's contributions

"He touched a lot of lives," Dawson said. "This is my own personal opinion, he is probably the most prolific athlete ever. You just think of the word 'champion.' To me, he just championed life."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Miami Marlins