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Juan Pierre

Guest marlins02

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Guest marlins02











Posted on Fri, Sep. 26, 2003



To family and teammates, Pierre no small wonder

The Marlins center fielder has big numbers -- 200 hits, 62 stolen bases -- and bigger goals. And those who know him best say he won't stop until he reaches them.


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LITTLE BIG MAN: Marlins center fielder Juan Pierre celebrates with teammates after Thursday's victory. Pierre went 2 for 2, becoming the first Marlin to reach 200 hits in a season.



'A perfect fit' for Marlins


Marlins center fielder Juan Pierre was 3 when he fell at his aunt's home, broke his hip, spent eight weeks in a body cast and, after a brief ker-plunk on his keister as the cast was removed, ''started running and never stopped,'' said his mother, Derry Pierre.


He was 8 or 9 when he shattered a window playing baseball in the backyard and hid until dusk in fear of ''catching a whipping,'' which he never got because taking away his bat and ball did wonders.


And he was 17 when, as salutatorian of his Alexandria (La.) Senior High class of about 200, he spoke of ''not being the strongest nor the biggest to play ball,'' his mom said, but of being ''the first on the field and last to leave it'' -- and how such diligence can compensate for God-given limitations.


The years have unfolded, but little Juan Pierre, now 26, hasn't changed much. He still can smack a baseball, evidenced Thursday when he became the first Marlin to reach 200 hits in a season in Florida's 8-4 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. He still hasn't stopped running as the wispy major-league stolen bases leader with 62, hasn't grown tired of his beloved baseball as the only Marlin to play in every game in 2003, and is the first to arrive, last to leave and most compulsive in his meticulousness to master any nuance that would make him the best.


''Wow, this season has been so much fun,'' said Pierre, acquired in November from Colorado in a trade that sent catcher Charles Johnson, center fielder Preston Wilson, reliever Vic Darensbourg and utility player Pablo Ozuna from to the Rockies in exchange for Pierre and pitcher Mike Hampton, who was traded to Atlanta. ``Here, nobody is concerned about egos. There have been so many great memories already.''


Pierre, 6-0, 180 pounds and affectionately dubbed ''Peanut Head'' by teammates because the smallest cap he could find is too big to fit snugly, enters today's first game of a regular-season-ending series against the New York Mets with large accomplishments. Along with his achievements on the base paths, Pierre -- batting .303 -- is the major-league singles leader with 164.


Named after San Francisco Giants legendary pitcher Juan Marichal -- ''My husband's father was a big baseball fan and liked him,'' Derry Pierre said -- Pierre is in the second year of a four-year, $7.5 million contract.


This leadoff hitter doesn't hit for power but punches singles from foul line to foul line, and bunts a ball so magnificently one wonders if he's willing it to stop midstream. He doesn't have a strong arm but is so fast he catches almost everything in sight. He might get trampled in a brawl, but his boyish enthusiasm, fanatical work habits and cerebral view of the game have inspired older teammates.


''He's relentless, he's tireless and you will not find a nicer young man,'' said hitting coach Bill Robinson, who has instituted a ''Juan Pierre batting practice rule'' that sometimes forces him to come in and rest a few minutes instead of shagging balls from left field to right field.


'I tell him, `Listen, I can't say no to you, I don't want to say no to you, but when I come to the ballpark at 1 p.m., hide from me, please,' '' Robinson said. ``Because I don't want to start working that early.''


But Pierre does. He hits balls off a tee in the batting cage, retrieves them and starts over. He arrives early at road stadiums to roll balls up each baseline to see how bunts will break, then measures the distance from the center-field wall to various spots on the field to prepare himself for running grabs.


About six hours before home games, he watches videos of opposing pitchers to learn tendencies that might help him steal bases.


Pierre wears his black socks stretched to his knee-high knickers like a Little Leaguer. He's the first one cheering his teammates in the dugout, regardless of how his night is going. He's the one who does choreographed dances with teammates to fire them up -- simple moves with Derrek Lee, complicated ones with Miguel Cabrera, semi-complicated with Dontrelle Willis.


''A sweetheart,'' manager Jack McKeon said of Pierre. ``An outstanding young man, a workaholic, the guy that jump-starts our offense, plays outstanding defense and provides us with speed.''


''He's my MVP,'' pitcher Josh Beckett said. ``We wouldn't be where we are without him. Besides all those stolen bases, he's a great clubhouse guy, a perfect fit for us. I really can't say enough about the guy.''


Infielder Andy Fox said Pierre ``instituted Throwback Friday so we could wear our throwback jerseys. I got Joe Montana so I could join him. He loves Pistol Pete Maravich because he got a game-winning hit that day.


'You know, Juan is kind of a throwback player. He plays hard, he doesn't want to be taken out of games, his SUV is always the first car here -- we actually think it's too big for him -- and he's the one that created the `Hey, we're never out of it' attitude.''


Pierre's mother is a Head Start teacher for preschoolers. His father, James, is a service technician for a phone company in Louisiana.


''I've never seen Juan so relaxed and happy,'' Derry Pierre said. ``The first couple of years in Colorado, he was not like that. He always had the game on his shoulders, very tense.''


Pierre believes the most fun is yet to come.


''It's awesome to be in this situation,'' he said. ``Playoffs, World Series -- anything is possible.''





? Name: Juan Pierre.


? Age: 26.


? Home: Alexandria, La.


? Position: Center field.


? Distinction: Leads the majors in steals (62) and singles (164) and is the first Marlin to reach 200 hits in a season.




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Since I saw him drive Al Leiter absolutely nuts one night at PPS, having bunted for a hit and stolen second, standing twenty feet off the base, Leiter simply could not concentrate on his next pitch. Juan Pierre has been my personal Marlins MVP. There's lots of reasons why Mike Lowell or this player or that is more valuable, but for me, for most of the year, its been Juan. He's everything you want in a player, and in a man, hard-working, straightforwad and diligent. He never gives up, on base, in the outfield where he's made some catches that defy gravity, he's one of the reasons we are where we are, and for that he get's my vote.

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Guest marlins02

the broken hip really got my attention.


but everything you say is true, he's always going at full throttle. thats all you can ask from an athlete and a lot dont actually dont do it all the time. you got to love peanut head

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What struck me in that article was the reference to his high school days, wherein he already knew he wasn't gifted with the body of the typical professional ballplayer ("And he was 17 when, as salutatorian of his Alexandria (La.) Senior High class of about 200, he spoke of ''not being the strongest nor the biggest to play ball,'' his mom said, but of being ''the first on the field and last to leave it'' -- and how such diligence can compensate for God-given limitations.") that he just kept following his dream, kept forcing his way into the lineup with his dedication to the sport, until we have the man we have today.


I said to the guy sitting next me Wednesday night "He's the James Brown of baseball", meaning of course no one works harder than JP. The guy roared with laughter and high-fived me.


God I love him and thank you Admin Beinfest.

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I finally read the Herald today and appropriately to this thread I see that "Juan Pierre was voted the Marlins MVP by members of the South Florida chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America".


Gee, aren't these the same guys who ridiculed the Marlins for trading for him not too many months ago? :wacko :


You the man JP !

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