If you are a brand new fan of the Miami Marlins, you may be lacking in your knowledge of the history of baseball in South Florida. In recent years, save a throwback weekend during the 2018 season, it would have been very easy for someone to walk in and out of loanDepot park none the wiser to the club’s chronicles. In 2023, the 30th year of the organization’s existence, the team plans to change that. And at the forefront of the endeavor is one of the club’s most iconic names: Jeff Conine.
The first domino fell last season when the Marlins welcomed back Conine as a special guest to loanDepot park in April. Replacing the two small teal flags that used to reside on the left field foul pole, the two-time champion ascended into the rafters to finally affix two massive World Series banners high above the stadium.
Seven months later, Mr. Marlin went from being a distinguished guest to once again being an employee. On November 17th, 2022, it was announced that Conine would be rejoining the Marlins as a special advisor to majority owner Bruce Sherman, similar to the mantle he held from 2008 to 2017 when he served in a similar capacity for then CEO David Samson. Speaking Saturday alongside fellow inaugural year teammate Luis Aquino and fellow alumni Gaby Sanchez, Conine joked with fans about a return to the field — a feat which he stated would take “an act of God” to complete — before announcing measures the team plans to take in 2023 to honor the first 30 years of Marlins baseball. Headlining the plans is the return of the Marlins’ iconic teal pinstripe home uniforms and all teal caps. According to the Marlins, the uniforms will be worn during a minimum of five Friday home games and merchandise will be available to fans for purchase at a date to be announced.
Conine stated it is a priority for the organization to improve how it honors the team’s history.
“Moving forward, we are going to do a lot better glorifying this franchise and celebrate what it has done over 30 years,” he said. “Having the alumni come back, and wearing teal on select Fridays, and the special guests throughout the year that celebrate this franchise. There have been great players that played here that maybe went on to great things in other places, but they played in Florida. We have to make special note of that.”
For fans visiting loanDepot park during the rest of the week, there will be plenty of opportunity for them to reminisce on days gone by. Currently being installed on the promenade level of the stadium in the shadow of the aforementioned banners is a team museum. Similar to the Florida Panthers’ Den of Honor, the museum will be accessible to ticketed fans and will house pieces of the past including jerseys, memorabilia, photography, and more.
According to Conine, despite the club’s relatively young age, the Marlins will not be short on players, accomplishments, and moments to honor.
“We’ve got no hitters, we’ve got All-Star Games, we’ve got milestones,” Conine said. “Being here for Ichiro’s 3000th (hit) and I played with Andre Dawson for his 400th home run. I could sit down and make a list and I’m sure during the season I’ll come up with some others that I’ll spring on and say, “Hey, we’ve gotta do that.””