For as much flack as the Yankees take for spending ridiculous amounts of money in free agency, there's never been a more egregious abuse of baseball's salary structure than the 1997 Florida Marlins. In 1995 or 1996, the Marlins signed Kevin Brown, Bobby Bonilla, and Moises Alou, won the World Series and then traded all of them plus Gary Sheffield, Al Leiter, and probably others that I'm not even remembering before the 1998 season ended, going from an 80-win team in 1996 to a World Series title in 1997 to a 54-win team in 1998.
The man responsible for it all was Wayne Huizenga, who got the World Series he so badly wanted, stripped the Marlins down to bare parts and sold them to John Henry, who then bailed on the Marlins for the Red Sox, which allowed the Marlins to be bought by franchise destroyer Jeffrey Loria. But hey! At least Huizenga's sorry about it. Kind of.
"We lost 34 million dollars the year we won the World Series and I just said, 'You know what? I'm not going to do that,' " Huizenga said at Dolphins headquarters when asked if he had any regrets about dismantling the Marlins in the aftermath of their World Series triumph over the Indians.
"If I had to do it all over again I'd say, 'OK, we'll go one more year. I'm telling you right now at the end of this year I'm out of here.' That's what I would've done, but that's in hindsight. There's nothing you could do about it. The decision was made and we made it."
Yeah! He would've tried to buy one more World Series, then ripped the team apart and sold them. I'm sorry, Wayne, but apology not accepted. The 1998 Florida Marlins were one of the worst affronts to baseball since the strike. Look at Jim Leyland. He's only 64! You know why he looks 75? The 1998 Florida Marlins is why! (OK, and all the cigarettes.) That team scored 667 runs and allowed 923! Someone named Andy Larkin was allowed to make 14 starts with a 9.64 ERA.
I'm sorry, you can't say, "I probably should have waited a year," and just be forgiven for unleashing an atrocity like that team on the world.
Wayne Huizenga Sort of Regrets Destroying the Marlins originally appeared on MLB FanHouse on Wed, 11 Feb 2009 11:23:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.