April 17, 2013

2002: A season of transition

A new owner in Florida prompts some changes, and eventually the Sea Dogs make the adjustment.

The 2002 season was one of transition. The parent club Florida Marlins were sold to Expos owner Jeffrey Loria, and along with the ownership change came a complete shake-up in the coaching staff.

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Staff Photo by Jack Milton, Thu, Jul 18, 2002: Sea Dogs #21, Jesus Medrano turns a double play in the 7th inning despite the best efforts of Erie Sea Wolves #7, Jhonny Perez.

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Staff Photo by Gordon Chibroski, Friday, May 24, 2002: Sea Dog #9, Adrian Gonzalez gets cudos from teammate, Matt Padget after hitting the teams first home run of the game. Team owner, Dan Burke, seems happy with the effort as well. Padget went on to hit another home run giving the Sea Dogs the lead for a short time. Action at Hadlock Field against the Reading Phillies.

Additional Photos Below

Affiliation: Florida Marlins
Manager: Eric Fox
Attendance: 382,738 (5,713 average)

Final standings

Northern Division
Team Aff W L Pct. GB
Norwich NYY 76 64 .543
New Haven STL 74 65 .532 1.5
Binghamton NYM 73 68 .518 3.5
New Britain MIN 67 72 .482 8.5
Trenton BOS 63 77 .450 13
PORTLAND FLA 63 77 .450 13
Southern Division
Team Aff W L Pct.
Akron CLE 93 48 .660
Harrisburg MON 79 63 .556 14.5
Reading PHI 76 66 .535 17.5
Altoona PIT 72 69 .511 21
Bowie BAL 55 85 .393 37.5
Erie DET 52 89 .369 41

Notable hitters

Player HR RBI SB Avg.
Adrian Gonzalez 17 96 6 .266
Matt Padgett 16 63 6 .234
Matt Treanor 9 28 3 .250

Notable pitchers

Player W L SV ERA
Tim Hamulack 8 4 6 2.88
Justin Wayne 8 5 0 3.12
Nate Bump 7 6 0 3.38

Loria replaced veteran manager Dave Huppert, and coaches Frank Cacciatorre and Jeff Andrews with his own personnel from Montreal, including first-year manager Eric Fox, and coaches Matt Raleigh and Tom Signore.

The new staff had just a few weeks to meet and evaluate their new organization. The transition was made more difficult with 48 different players to play for the team – 10 more than the previous record – and 22 different players were placed on the disabled list.

By late July the team finally began to adapt.  The team was the healthiest it had been in months and the Marlins made several trades that sent top prospects Justin Wayne and Ryan Snare to Portland. As a result the team won nine consecutive series for the first time in team history.

Although the 63-77 overall record was disappointing, several players stood out. Second baseman Jesus Medrano (.297, 39 steals) and left-handed pitcher Nate Robertson (10-9, 3.42 ERA) were named to the All-Star team. Baseball America named Medrano as the best base-runner and the best defensive second baseman in the league. 

First-round draft pick Adrian Gonzalez batted .266 with a team-leading 17 home runs and 96 RBI. Robertson and Nate Bump (7-6, 3.38 ERA) led the pitching staff throughout the year. Both threw three complete games and both threw a complete-game two-hitter. Tim Hamulack was solid in the bullpen with an 8-4 record, six saves and 2.88 ERA.

Both Wayne and Robertson received September call-ups and made their major league debut with the Marlins.

Randy Rigsby had one of the single best games in franchise history on July 11 at New Haven when he belted three home runs. He joined Alex Gonzalez, who achieved the feat in 1997, as the only two Sea Dogs players to hit three homers in a game.

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Additional Photos

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Staff Photo by Herb Swanson, Sun, Apr 14, 2002: Sea Dogs Jose Cueto delivers a pitch to Chris Basak of the Binghamton Mets during Sunday's game at Hadlock Field.


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