Florida Marlins: the first pitcher in franchise history, Charlie Hough

At 45 years of age, Charlie Hough took the mound to pitch on opening day for the expansion Florida Marlins and gave them what was left of his right arm.

How does a guy pitch in the major leagues at the age of 45 years? His knuckleball danced like it was the last song of your high school senior prom, that’s how. Florida Marlins pitcher Charlie Hough lasted in the league twenty-five years and won over two hundred games, even though the first eleven years he was a reliever.

Hough had a solid resume for his time in the majors, two hundred wins, an All-Star appearance, he pitched in three World Series’. Now he found himself on the mound for the expansion Marlins, on opening day.

They were a team in their first year of existence and they needed a veteran pitcher who could chew up some innings while mentoring some of the younger pitchers. Hough was that pitcher and he served as the rock for the rotation in the first year.

On opening day against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Hough spun six innings scattering six hits and striking out four. He would go on to get the win as Florida prevailed 6-3 in their first game in franchise history. Hough would pitch eight innings of one-run ball his next time out to run his record to 2-0, before losing his next six decisions.

All told Charlie Hough led the 1993 expansion Marlins in games started, innings pitched, and strikeouts, while running out a record of 9-16.

At age 46 he returned to the Marlins the following year and again was saddled with opening day responsibilities. In the strike-shortened season, Hough saw his numbers drop drastically and his ERA rise to 5.15.

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With the uncertainty surrounding the player’s strike, Hough decided to hang up his cleats. A veteran of 25 major league seasons when it was all said and done. He’ll be remembered as the knuckleballer who defied the test of time, and for being the first pitcher in Florida Marlins history.

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