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Conine to retire a Marlin

Conine to retire a Marlin

VERO BEACH, Fla. -- Fittingly, Mr. Marlin will ultimately retire as a Marlin.

According to a source, Jeff Conine, one of the most popular players in Florida history, will sign a one-day contract on March 28, and then retire as a member of the Marlins.

Nicknamed "Mr. Marlin," the 41-year-old was a member of the team's inaugural roster, and he enjoyed two stints with the organization. A versatile performer who mostly played first base and the outfield, he was a vital part of the franchise's World Series titles in 1997 and 2003.

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Conine, who resides year-round in South Florida in Weston, is scheduled to sign his one-day contract March 28, when the Marlins play an exhibition game against the Yankees at Dolphin Stadium.

The team also plans on honoring Conine during an on-field ceremony before their March 31 season opener against the Mets.

The Marlins, however, are not planning on retiring Conine's number. He actually wore two. From 1993-97, he donned No. 19. When he returned in a trade from the Orioles on Aug. 31, 2003, he was given No. 18.

He remained with the Marlins through 2005.

Conine is currently training for an Ironman triathlon competition, which is consuming much of his time these days. The team is leaving open the option of bringing Conine back to the organization in an advisory capacity.

Conine enjoyed a 17-year big league career, breaking in with the Royals in 1990. He also played for the Marlins, Orioles, Phillies and Reds before he finished up last year with the Mets.

Respected for his hard-nosed style of play and his professionalism, Conine finished with a .285 career batting average. He added 214 home runs and 1,071 RBIs.

Conine ranks among the Marlins' leaders in a number of categories. He is second in team history in games played (1,014), total hits (1,005), singles (688), RBIs (553) and total bases (1,579). He is the franchise leader in grand slams with six.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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