In putting my notes together on every player in camp each year, I often stumble on some interesting tidbits, some related to their histories on the field, others to their histories OFF the field.

By now, every good Marlins fan knows the story of Jose Fernandez’s escape from Cuba or how Giancarlo Stanton had a chance to play football at USC. But here are a few assorted nuggets I put together relating to some of the players in Marlins camp for the first time this spring, some who’ll likely break camp with the club, others who we could see down the road.

We’ll whet your appetite today and share a few more here on Fish Tales every couple of days in the early stages of Spring Training, so keep checking back.


HALL OF FAME CONNECTIONS: New Marlins second baseman Rafael Furcal played for or with 5 of the 6 members of the Cooperstown Class of 2014. Over the course of his 13-year big league career, he’s played for all 3 of the managers who will be going into the Hall of Fame in July. He was with Bobby Cox in Atlanta for 6 seasons (2000-05). He played for Joe Torre in Los Angeles for 3 seasons (2008-10). And he played for Tony La Russa in St. Louis in 2011. Furcal was a teammate of Greg Maddux’s in Atlanta from 2000-03 and in LA in 2008, and he was a teammate of Tom Glavine’s with the Braves from 2000 through 2002. He never played with the final member of this year’s Hall of Fame class, Frank Thomas.

SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE: Non-roster lefty Josh Spence will look to win a bullpen spot this spring. He previously pitched in the big leagues with the Padres in 2011 and 2012. In his 2 major league seasons, Spence’s average fastball velocity was 83.9 MPH. Among all pitchers who appeared in the majors in 2013, only 3 had a slower average fastball velocity: knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (81.9 MPH), Barry Zito (83.2 MPH) and Pedro Feliciano (83.4 MPH).

G’DAY: Spence, a native of Geelong, Victoria, Australia, looks to become the 3rd Australian-born player to appear for the Marlins. Spence, who has previous big league time with the Padres in 2011 and 2012, would join fellow Geelong native Graeme Lloyd, who pitched in 25 games for the Marlins in 2002, and South Adelaide’s Mark Hutton, who pitched in 45 games for the Marlins in 1996 and 1997. 

Check back in the days ahead. We’ll have stories of gridiron heroics, family ties, memorable firsts and more.


For more on the Marlins and Major League Baseball, follow me on Twitter at @GlennGeffner and friend me on Facebook at Facebook.com/GlennGeffner. To have new Fish Tales posts delivered directly to you via email, please click the “Follow” button and enter your email address. And you can catch Marlins play-by-play on the radio all season long on new flagship station 940 AM WINZ and the Marlins Radio Network.


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