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Conine to sign, retire Friday with Florida

Conine to sign, retire Friday with Florida

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JUPITER, Fla. -- One of the most popular all-time Marlins will be back at Dolphin Stadium.

Before Florida faces the Yankees on Friday night, Jeff Conine will officially retire as a Marlin.

An original Marlin and key contributor on both of Florida's World Series title teams, Conine will sign a one-day contract and then promptly retire. Additionally, the team will honor him during a pregame ceremony at Monday's season opener against the Mets.

Nicknamed "Mr. Marlin," the 41-year-old Conine 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 made an impact on the franchise's World Series title teams in 1997 and 2003.

The Marlins also have extended an invitation for Conine to eventually become an adviser.

Conine, 41, broke in with the Royals in 1990. A 58th-round Draft pick in 1987, Conine made his Major League debut in the same season as current Marlins outfielder Luis Gonzalez.

Gonzalez, 40, was a fourth-round pick of the Astros in 1988.

"I played against him a lot, in the Minors and throughout the Major Leagues," Gonzalez said. "He is 'Mr. Marlin.' He played here so long, and just the way he carried himself, I have a lot of respect for a guy like that. He is still involved in the community. He played hard all the time."

Conine resides in Weston, Fla., in Broward County.

While Conine will exit as a Marlin, the team does not intend to retire his number. Actually, he wore two different numbers in South Florida. 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.

Conine last played for the Marlins in 2005.

Conine enjoyed a 17-year big league career, playing also for the Orioles, Phillies and Reds before he finished up last year with the Mets.

Of late, Conine has been training to compete in an Iron Man triathlon competition.

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.

"This is a nice honor for him," Gonzalez said. "It's well deserved for Jeff."

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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