Huizenga leaves Florida scattered

Four members of the 1998 Marlins have managed to hang on with the club to see it rise again.

Updated: October 21, 2003, 4:26 PM ET
By Jim Baker | MLB Insider
It is well-known that teams that come out of nowhere to win the World Series reap the real benefits of their on-field success at the box office the season after their rise. Somebody forgot to tell that to Marlins owner Wayne Huizenga six years ago. In the wake of his team's seven-game victory over the Cleveland Indians, he dismantled the club and sent them plunging in the standings to a place so low it's taken them until this year to recover. What is more, attendance was lower in '98 than it was in '97, something that rarely happens to World Champions. While it may have seemed like a smart business decision to toss all his high-priced talent, the residual effects were devastating at the gate as the Marlins attendance declined in all but one of the next five seasons.

As the result, the Marlins fell 38 games off their '97 record, representing one of the greatest collapses ever by a champion team. Now, 1998 might seem like an eternity ago, especially in the relatively short context of a major league ballplayer's career. Surprisingly though, a large number of this team that lost two-thirds of its games is still active in the majors. Four of them have managed to hang on with the club to see it rise again. Let's take a look at the 1998 Marlins who were still active in 2003:

Still there
Derrek Lee (first base): Got to Florida just in time to miss the fun and reap the heartache. The Marlins unloaded ace pitcher Kevin Brown to San Diego just two months after they won it all and Lee showed up in exchange along with two other players, one of whom never made the show and other -- Rafael Medina -- posted some alarmingly high ERAs in his brief time in the majors. Lee took over at first base and has the job ever since.

Jim Baker is an author at Baseball Prospectus and a frequent contributor to Page 2. You can e-mail Jim at bottlebat@gmail.com.

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