Conine was not your superstar athlete that wooed the crowd with countless home runs and outstanding defensive plays. Conine was a hard-nosed, clutch-hitting, solid all-around baseball player that was there through thick and thin. His lengthy tenure with the Marlins dubbed him the name "Mr. Marlin" - the living, breathing symbol of Marlins success. Jeff was not only there for the 1997 World Championship, he came back in 2003 to be a part of the magical 2003 World Championship run as well.
Conine spent a total of 8 seasons with The Fish and was recognized for each and every on of them. For his career, he recorded 7 out his 8 best batting averages in the south side of the Sunshine State (try and say that 5 times fast). In other words, his best days were played in Joe Robbie/Pro Player Stadium, today's Dolphin Stadium. He hit a total of 120 HRs and 553 RBIs with the Marlins - talk about production.
What solidified Conine as an iconic figure in South Florida sports was his community service beyond the cleats and dirt. He's done everything from hosting golf tournaments to supporting Joe Dimmagio Children's Hospital to running the Ironman Triathalon. He now has a stake in Joe Dimmagio Children's Hospital as they created "Conine's Clubhouse" in order to commemorate his service. Now underprivileged children and families have another place to stay when the times get tough. We honor Mr. Marlin for everything he's done in South Florida.
Any person that observed or met Jeff Conine during his time with the Marlins, will attest to the genuine care he displayed for his fans and the sport. Jeff wasn't the type to shy away from public showings and avoid fans. Jeff was the type that understood that the fans are what fueled his enduring career with the Marlins. In our books, he deserves the utmost respect from the Marlins and the South Florida community - and we think the best way to show that respect is by retiring his number when the new stadium is erected. It will ultimately make Mr. Marlin the symbol of our past success and our model for future glory.