Why don’t the Miami Marlins have any retired numbers?

MIAMI - APRIL 10: (L-R) Dontrelle Willis #35, Manager Jack McKeon #15, Miguel Cabrera #24, Jeff Conine #18 and Alex Gonzalez #11 of the Florida Marlins smile and acknowledge the fans after receiving their 2003 World Series Championship rings prior to the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Pro Player Stadium on April 10, 2004 in Miami, Florida. The Marlins won 5-3. (Photo by Victor Baldizon/Getty Images)
MIAMI - APRIL 10: (L-R) Dontrelle Willis #35, Manager Jack McKeon #15, Miguel Cabrera #24, Jeff Conine #18 and Alex Gonzalez #11 of the Florida Marlins smile and acknowledge the fans after receiving their 2003 World Series Championship rings prior to the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Pro Player Stadium on April 10, 2004 in Miami, Florida. The Marlins won 5-3. (Photo by Victor Baldizon/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Marlins have had four different owners

A big part of a jersey number being retired comes down to relationship with the owner … and the Marlins have had a great many owners.

Four to be precise, and four owners in less than 30 years of existence. That’s not much time for forming deep bonds. Two of the handoffs happened either just after or right before major rebuilds, and the group that held the team the longest conducted two rebuilds during their tenure. So Marlins owners weren’t exactly tripping over inherited legends when they took over, and if they were present, were usually more interested in team building with what they could get in exchange for said legend rather than with them as a centerpiece.

What’s more, these owners have often wanted to distinguish themselves from what came before, rather than play up their connection to it. This has been particularly true in the case of the split between the Jeffrey Loria and Bruce Sherman/Jeter regimes, who seem to actually and actively despise each other.

If Loria still owned the team, there’s a very good chance he would have retired Fernandez’s number anyway. There was a real relationship there, between Loria and Fernandez. The Sherman/Jeter group was able to move in and just see the black and white PR ramifications covered on the previous slide. Statue plans were scrapped, as was any other aspect of the stadium or organization that remotely smacked of Loria. They fired Mr. Marlin himself from his team ambassador/adviser role, along with Jack McKeon and other ex-Marlins in emeritus positions.

Each of those decisions on its own can be defended, at least in a cold business calculus sense. Taken all together though, it’s no real surprise that Miami Marlins fans are still waiting on jersey retirements for Conine, Lowell, Luis Castillo, and others because it really looks like this current ownership regime is going to wait to honor players that played for them.

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If that is indeed the case then, only one thing seems certain right now: Marlins fans shouldn’t expect that lack of retired numbers to change anytime soon.