Jeff Conine, known as “Mr. Marlin” for his years as a player and staff member in South Florida, is leaving the organization after he said he was offered a lesser role and lower pay from the new ownership group led by Derek Jeter.
“To say I’m disappointed that I won’t have a role in this organization, yeah, I’m disappointed,” Conine told the Miami Herald on Thursday.
Conine had been serving as special assistant to former Marlins president David Samson. When Jeter took over, he reportedly wanted to get rid of Baseball Hall of Famers Andre Dawson and Tony Perez, Conine and 2003 World Series-winning manager Jack McKeon. Jeter then backtracked.
But Jeter and Conine couldn’t agree on a role.
“I spent 7½ years as a player and the last nine years as someone working with the organization,” Conine said, according to the Herald. “I’ve always considered myself a Marlin. I’m a member of this community. I want to see them win again. I want to see them get back to the World Series and the playoffs.”
Conine earned the nickname “Mr. Marlin” for being an original member of the expansion franchise who helped them win a World Series in 1997. After being traded in the post-title purge in 1998, Conine was brought back in 2003, when the Marlins won their second World Series.
He played 17 years in the big leagues for six teams — finishing with a .285 batting average and .789 OPS. He was a two-time All-Star.
As a special assistant, Conine helped the team with everything from counseling players on the field to sitting in on trade and free-agency discussions.