BEST MARLINS PLAYER - 2004
Readers' Choice: Mike Lowell and Josh Beckett
As leadoff hitter, Alabama-born center fielder Juan Pierre set the pace for the 2004 Florida Marlins and helped slay giants (and Cubs and Yankees, oh my). The main artery in a world championship team filled with heart, Pierre gave his all to hitting, base running, and fielding. He almost always put himself in the right part of the outfield at the right time to make the play. On those rare occasions where his positioning failed him, Pierre compensated by flying rather than diving to get to the rock and leave hitters feeling robbed. That speed served him around the bases as well. Clocking in at 3.6 seconds from home to first, Pierre led the National League in steals. And who can forget the team's first at-bat in World Series play, when Pierre tapped the ball into a dead zone in the Yankee defense, showing again that even in the age of steroids and home run kings, it's the small things that make champions. That and giving it your all.