Bizarre Baseball Culture: BILLY THE MARLIN guest-starring SPIDER-MAN

In Bizarre Baseball Culture, I take a look at some of the more unusual places where baseball has reared it’s head in pop culture and fiction.

What if I told you there was a comic about Doctor Doom invading 90s Miami in order to kidnap Jeff Conine, only to be foiled by Spider-Man and Billy the Marlin? And what if I told you that Robb Nen also had a brief cameo? Would you be interested in this comic?

Well, seeing as how you are currently looking at this, the answer is probably yes. And, guess what? You are in luck, as this comic does exist:

MarlinsSpideyCover

Yes, it’s time for Bizarre Baseball Culture to jump into Billy the Marlin, guest-starring Spider-Man! Read below to see the background of it, or go below the jump for an overview and analysis:

The comic, as far as I can tell, was given out in either 1996 (that’s the copyright date in the book and also fits with some of the Marlins portrayed) or 1999 (that’s where it’s listed on some online websites, but doesn’t fit since Conine and Nen weren’t on the 1999 Marlins team) for Billy the Marlin’s birthday, a nice little treat for kids who were at the Marlins game. Based on what I could find, Billy the Marlin’s birthday is usually celebrated in August, so presumably this comic came out in August of 1996 or 1999 (I personally think 1996).

The writer and colorist of this comic was Mark Bernardo, who primarily worked as a colorist and editor at Marvel during the 1990s, primarily in Spider-Man books- he was one of the many cooks in the kitchen during the disastrous “Clone Saga” (which was apparently so complicated both in-story and out that I don’t quite understand it even from what I can find online).

Pencilling the story was Alex Saviuk, a prolific artist who is, according to the “Comic Book DB”, best known for his work involving Spider-Man, including a Sunday newspaper strip.

Greg Adams did inks, Janice Chiang did letters and Glenn Herdling was the Editor. All three had plenty of experience in comics.

End of background, go BELOW THE JUMP for overview and analysis (Warning: image-intensive!):

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Famous for something else: John Lynch

John Lynch made 9 Pro Bowls and won a Super Bowl during his career as a strong safety in the NFL, and he now does some broadcasting on FOX. But he does hold a unique spot in baseball history as well: He threw the first pitch in the history of the Florida (now Miami) Marlins.

Well, sort of. You see, in order to let expansion teams get a farm system up and running, it’s not uncommon for them to have farm teams that play even before the parent club does. They also are able to draft players as well.

The Marlins’ first farm team was the 1992 Erie Sailors (remember, the Marlins started play in 1993). And the pitcher who threw out the first pitch for the Sailors in 1992 was… John Lynch. YouTube has video of the event here.

Like most individuals in “Famous for Something Else”, Lynch’s career was short on the diamond, and he probably made a good choice by going into football (although he did do pretty well in his short career).

Year Age Tm Lg Lev Aff W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP BK WP BF WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
1992 20 Erie NYPL A- 0 3 .000 2.15 7 7 0 0 0 0 29.1 24 15 7 1 17 0 16 2 3 0 128 1.398 7.4 0.3 5.2 4.9 0.94
1993 21 Kane County MIDW A FLA 1 0 1.000 3.00 2 2 0 0 0 0 9.0 4 4 3 1 12 0 3 0 0 0 43 1.778 4.0 1.0 12.0 3.0 0.25
2 Seasons 1 3 .250 2.35 9 9 0 0 0 0 38.1 28 19 10 2 29 0 19 2 3 0 171 1.487 6.6 0.5 6.8 4.5 0.66
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/31/2013.