Jeff Conine’s page at Baseball Reference doesn’t list his nickname as Mr. Marlin, but I’m quite sure that’s the only nickname he really has. Conine was with the Marlins from the beginning, selected by the club in the 1992 Expansion Draft after the Kansas City Royals left him unprotected.
Conine promptly made his mark in Miami, placing third in the Rookie of the Year voting in 1993. Conine made his only two All-Star Game appearances in the following two seasons. 1994 and 1995 were strike shortened seasons, yet Conine made the most of them, posting OPS+ totals of at least 130 in each season. He was with the the Marlins all the way as they began their ascent to respectability and playoff contention.
During his time with the Marlins, Conine appeared in 6 playoff rounds. His clubs won each round, winning World Series titles in 1997 and 2003. He wasn’t with the Marlins the entire time as he bounced around the league a bit in-between, playing for both the Royals and the Orioles.
As he matured in his career, Conine bounced around from team to team and from position to position. Primarily a first baseman, Conine also played left field, rightfield, and third base. After that first run with the Marlins, Conine really moved around, often as a trade deadline trade chip. He was involved in trades that included the following less-than-mediocre players:
- Blaine Mull
- Chris Fussell
- Don Levinski
- Denny Bautista
- Angel Chavez
- Brad Key
- Javon Moran
- Jose Castro
- Sean Henry
Quite a collection of crap, right? No offense to those listed above, but that should tell us a little bit about Jeff Conine. Conine played 17 big league seasons and collected over 1,900 hits and 200 home runs. His career highlights include those two All-Star games and two World Series rings. In fact, Conine was named the MVP of the 1995 All Star game and was a career .304 hitter in the playoffs. Conine ended up sticking around until he was 41 years old and was one of the more respected players in the game. Since retiring he has working with numerous charities, done some broadcasting for the Marlins and completed triathlons.
While he was a semi-star early in his career, Conine’s body of work suggests that he was largely mediocre…and that’s part of what makes him so memorable.