This morning, the Marlins will make history, holding the official ceremonial ground-breaking for their loooong awaited ballpark.
The ceremony is expected to be full of optimism and forward-looking, but it will also include a tinge of history: the Marlins’ first-ever pitcher-catcher battery of Charlie Hough and Benito Santiago will perform a ceremonial first pitch at the former Orange Bowl site.
With that in mind, when the Marlins take their new field, expected in 2012, they’ll be making another nod to the past -- changing their name to Miami Marlins. It’s a requirement of the ballpark deal struck with Miami-Dade County and city of Miami, which are paying the bulk of the ballpark’s price.
While the name isn’t expected to change until the new ballpark opens, the team is already quietly easing into the transition. Its Web site is now just marlins.com without the Florida.
As for the original Miami Marlins, they were a minor league team that played in the International League from 1956 to 1960 at Miami’s famed and now-demolished Miami Stadium (renamed Bobby Maduro in 1987). Satchel Paige pitched for the team. Later, there was a Florida State League team named the Miami Marlins, which played at the stadium from1962-1970 and then from 1982-1988.
The original Miami Marlins are immortalized in a T-shirt produced by Ebbets Field Flannels, a Seattle mail order company (ebbets.com) that sells authentic flannel and felt-lettered reproductions of minor league baseball jerseys, jackets and caps, favored by the likes of Spike Lee, David Letterman and former Sex Pistol John Lydon. As you can see, the shirt’s orange – one of the Major League Marlins’ colors - and shows a baseball bat-wielding marlin popping out of old Miami Stadium.