Miami Marlins (International League)
The Miami Marlins were a minor league baseball team based in Miami, Florida. The original Marlins were a Triple-A franchise in the International League from 1956 through 1960. The International League team was succeeded by a Single-A team in the Florida State League (now the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels) and today's Miami Marlins (formerly the Florida Marlins) of Major League Baseball.
|Minor league affiliations|
|Major league affiliations|
The International League Marlins were a transplanted version of the original Syracuse Chiefs, having been created on December 20, 1955, when the Syracuse club (a member of the IL as early as 1886 and a continuous member since 1934) was sold to Sidney Salomon (future founding owner of the St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League) and Elliot Stein.
The 1955 Chiefs, an affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies, finished only two games out of the playoffs, but drew only 85,000 fans, last in the eight-team league. In the Marlins' debut season in Miami, the club finished third and attracted 288,000 spectators, second in the IL circuit. Attendance dwindled in the following years, however, and by 1960 the Marlins—by then a Baltimore Orioles affiliate—were at the bottom of the IL, with fewer than 110,000 paying fans. The franchise signed a working agreement with the St. Louis Cardinals and moved to San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 1961, although after little more than a month of play the Marlins moved again to Charleston, West Virginia, on May 19.
The former Syracuse Chiefs club, recently rebranded the Syracuse Mets for the 2019 season, reformed in 1961, and was actually the transplanted Montreal Royals (who, in turn, were originally based in Syracuse as the Stars prior to 1927).
Notable Marlins during the 1956–60 period were veterans like Leroy "Satchel" Paige, the great former Negro leagues pitcher then in his 50s, three-time league all-star infielder Forrest "Woody" Smith, ex-New York Giants starting pitcher Rubén Gómez, two-time MLB All Star Sid Gordon, 1959 IL earned run average champ Artie Kay, former Brooklyn outfielder Cal Abrams, and fireballer Virgil Trucks.
Their younger players included future big-leaguers like infielder Jerry Adair, outfielders Whitey Herzog and Dave Nicholson, and pitchers Rudy Árias, Don Cardwell, Turk Farrell, Jack Fisher and Dallas Green.
|1956||80–71||Third||288,582||Don Osborn||Lost to Rochester in first round|
|1957||75–78||Fourth||181,651||Don Osborn||Lost to Buffalo in finals|
In February 2008, it was announced that the big league Florida Marlins franchise would change its name to the Miami Marlins in 2012, upon moving into its new stadium at the former site of the Orange Bowl.
In June, 2013, a book titled: "The Forgotten Marlins: A Tribute to the 1956–1960 Original Miami Marlins" was published by author Sam Zygner.
The IL Miami Marlins were affiliated with the following major league teams:
- Johnson, Lloyd, and Wolff, Miles, ed., The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball, 1997 edition. Durham, North Carolina: Baseball America.
- International League: Encyclopedia II – International League – 1960–1969