Pro Player Stadium is the first example of a custom-built professional football venue that was later adapted to permanent major-league baseball use. When he built the stadium for his Miami Dolphins, Joe Robbie insisted on a rectangular grandstand layout that was much wider than needed for football, believing that baseball would inevitably come to south Florida. His instinct was correct, and, after some remodeling for baseball, the Marlins became the stadium's second major-sport tenant.
Some attempts have been made to give this large football facility a degree of traditional baseball character when the Marlins play. Seating capacity is limited to less than 40,000 for baseball (compared to 73,000 for football) by withdrawing many of the upper-deck and left field seats from sale. The inner home run fence has a quirky 434 foot deep notch in left-center that has been nicknamed the Bermuda Triangle. Also, the lower deck seats in the foul corners were angled inward as much as possible.
Thanks to the Bermuda Triangle, Pro Player is a good park for triples. In all other respects it favors pitchers. In 1997, Andres Galarraga launched its longest home run, a blow that reached the third deck in left field and was variously announced as 572 and 529 feet. Although the homer almost certainly fell somewhat short of 500 feet, it was still an impressive clout by any standard.
Before the park saw even five years of baseball use, Marlins' owner Wayne Huizenga began lobbying for a new baseball-only domed stadium. Thwarted in this effort, he put the team up for sale and conducted a massive fire sale of the team's best players after winning the World Series, speculating that another owner might have better luck in convincing taxpayers to part with their money. The man who eventually bought the team, John Henry, promptly announced his intention to build a new ballpark in the Miami area. (JP)
»May 11, 1996: At Joe Robbie Stadium, Al Leiter tosses the major's first no-hitter of the year, burying the Rockies, 11–0. Leiter (6–2), using mostly fast balls, is in control all the way, and retires five batters in the 8th and 9th innings on just one pitch each. He walks two and fans six in his masterpiece.
»August 15, 1996:
Larry Walker, out two months with a broken collarbone, makes his first start for the Rockies, but it doesn't help as they lose for the 10th straight time at Joe Robbie Stadium, 7–6. The Marlins score three in the 8th to win. Gary Sheffield belts his 34th homer for the Fish.
»May 31, 1997:
In Miami, Andres Galarraga golfs a 529-foot grand slam, the longest home run ever at Pro Player Stadium, then gets ejected four innings later. His homer gives the Colorado Rockies a 7-0 lead over the Marlins, and they eventually win, 8–4. Galarraga has three home runs in the past three games against Florida that traveled 1,435 feet, an average of 478 feet. He hit a 455-foot homer Thursday and a 451-foot homer Friday. The longest previous homer at the stadium was 482 feet by Pete Incaviglia of the Phillies off Al Leiter on May 1, 1996.
»April 21, 1999:
A Florida woman is awarded $2.7 million by a jury for an injury she received during a Phillies–Marlins game on August 8, 1993. Linda Postlethwaite had her nose broken by an errant pitch from former Phillies hurler Mitch Williams during a game at Joe Robbie Stadium.
»April 7, 2000:
A boy who was struck in the head with a baseball before a Florida Marlins game in 1997 is awarded $1.05 million by a state court jury. Andrew Klein has permanent brain damage since the injury during batting practice as he took part in a pregame "Bullpen Buddies" program with 100 other youngsters at Pro Player Stadium. A line drive hit by Ray Lankford came into the stands and struck Andrew in the left temple.