Miami Miracle

From BR Bullpen

Team History[edit]

Things were not looking good for minor league baseball in Miami, FL in 1988. The Miami Marlins drew few fans and even moved to Hialeah, FL to try to drum up business. The struggling independent franchise was sold to a group of investors that included Bill Murray and Jimmy Buffett and renamed the Miami Miracle. Miami finished last as usual with a 43-91 record, unable to keep up with the affiliated teams in the Florida State League and their 4.39 ERA was .5 worse than anyone else. The team did have a non-binding agreement with the Cleveland Indians, who loaned the team pitching coach Dean Treanor and 9 players. In May the Indians decided to break the agreement due to "strong philosophical differences to the manager's approach to player development". The Indians pulled the 9 players and Treanor back and GM E.J. Narcise resigned at the same time. The star was future big-leaguer and catcher Mike Maksudian, who hit .313/~.373/.497,who would have led the league in average had he gotten enough plate appearances to qualify. The team drew just 14,972, almost half any other team, despite being based in the largest city.

In 1990 a new group of investors stepped in and Mike Veeck took over as president. The team was moved to Pompano Beach, FL and attendance jumped to 43,157. The Miracle went 44-93 but miraculously avoided last as they beat out the Winter Haven Red Sox and finished 13th in the 14-team FSL. Mike Easler and Fredi Gonzalez managed the club, which scored the fewest runs (437) and allowed the most (703). Long-time wandering pitcher Rich Sauveur went 0-4 with a 3.32 ERA as one of the better players around. Veeck acquired a dog to serve as the team's ballboy that year, a move that attracted a good deal of media attention. Miami had been allowed to participate in the 1990 amateur draft (in 1989, the Boise Hawks had been the first minor league team to draft players since 1971; the Erie Sailors also picked a player that season) and got more attention when they drafted 16 players, signing 15 of them, the most successful being Mike Lansing who was sold to the Montreal Expos in September 1991. All-American OF Paul Carey hit .327/~.474/.477 and Charlie Rogers (2-5, 2.63) struck out 20 in a game to tie the FSL record.

1991 witnessed a near-.500 season from the perpetual doormats as Gonzalez led the team to a 63-67 finish. Tom Michno (11-15, 2.42) completed 13 of 29 starts and led the FSL with 190 strikeouts and was sixth in ERA. Attendance kept on improving, to 56,557. The team boasted several future major-leaguers as the talent level kept improving - SS Mike Lansing hit .286/~.354/.422 and stole 29 bases; Jonathan Hurst was 8-2 with a 2.90 ERA; and Nate Minchey went 5-3, 1.89. Lansing, one of the 1990 draftees, was named to the FSL All-Star team as a utility infielder and sold to the Montreal Expos after the season ended. Hurst and Minchey became more famous for their overseas exploits.

When the Florida Marlins' creation was announced as an expansion team, the Miracle were forced to move. They relocated and became the Fort Myers Miracle as Veeck continued to enhance his reputation as a minor league marketing maven.

Sources: 1990-1992 Baseball Almanacs, Miracle web site

Year-by-Year Record[edit]

Year Record Finish Manager Playoffs Hitting Coach Pitching Coach
1989 43-91 14th Jim Gattis Al Torres Dean Treanor
1990 44-93 13th Mike Easler (34-83) / Fredi Gonzalez (10-10) Bob Fralick Fredi Gonzalez
1991 63-67 8th Fredi Gonzalez Bob Fralick Will McEnaney

Further Reading[edit]

  • Sam Zygner and Barbra Cabrera: Baseball Under the Palms: The History of Miami Minor League Baseball Volume Two: 1962 – 1991, Sunbury Press, Mecanicsburg, PA, 2022. ISBN 978-1-6200-6718-5

Related Sites[edit]