Franchise Four honored at Marlins Park

Franchise Four honored at Marlins Park

MIAMI -- The Marlins honored their Franchise Four during the middle of the fourth inning of Wednesday's game against the Red Sox at Marlins Park. Jeff Conine, Gary Sheffield, Giancarlo Stanton and Mike Lowell were cheered on by the fans during an on-field ceremony in front of the Marlins' dugout.

The Franchise Four was voted on by the fans and announced at the Major League All-Star Game on July 14 in Cincinnati. The Marlins' Franchise Four winners beat out Josh Beckett, Luis Castillo, Charles Johnson and Livan Hernandez.

"It's definitely an honor," Lowell said prior to the game. "When you see the other three guys and the guys that were on the list ... they're all very good players. So I'm appreciative of everyone who voted. The recognition is great."

Lowell on 'Franchise Four'

Sheffield agreed when he spoke to the media after the top of the second inning.

"It's quite an honor for me," he said. "I always felt close to this organization, and I felt like this was home for me. The fans have spoken and it makes me feel good."

Sheffield on his playing days

Lowell played for the Marlins for seven seasons and was the starting third baseman on the 2003 World Series club that defeated the Yankees. He holds the franchise record for doubles (241) and RBIs (578).

Sheffield, meanwhile, was with the Marlins from 1993-98. He won a World Series with the team in 1997, and for his career with the Marlins, he hit 122 home runs, including a franchise season-high 42 in 1996.

"It was like being a fish out of water," Sheffield said of joining the team in its expansion season in 1993. "It was new for everybody -- nobody knew what to expect. [Former general manager] Dave Dombrowski talked to the team constantly, and everyone knew where we were going as a team and how many years it was gonna take us to get to the promise land. After the third year, he told me, 'Be patient, give us two more years. I said the number was five and we'll get it done.' And he did that."

Conine was a member of the franchise since its expansion as well. During his first five years with the Marlins, he earned the 1995 All-Star Game MVP Award and was part of the '97 World Series title team. Conine came back to Miami in 2003 and won another World Series championship with the Marlins.

Stanton, currently on the disabled list, was drafted by the Marlins in 2007 and made his debut in '10. He already holds the franchise record for home runs with 181, and he has hit more than 20 homers in all six seasons, including 30-plus three times. His season high is 37 in 2012 and '14.

"Of course he is," Sheffield said when asked if Stanton will break his single-season home run record. "It's just a matter of time. Once he stays healthy for a full season, he'll be able to do it."

Steve Wilaj is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.