Horsehide and Pigskin

March 24, 2014 – On Friday night (March 21), Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino was at George M. Steinbrenner Field for the second time in two years to throw out a ceremonial first pitch.

Marino, who was representing Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza, an Italian restaurant that has locations in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Florida, took a unique approach to the mound.

A few minutes before he went out to the mound, Marino was asked to autograph a football. As he was signing the pigskin, Yankees clubhouse manager Lou Cucuzza suggested that he throw the football rather than a baseball.

“I can’t do that,” Marino said. “Everyone is expecting me to throw a baseball.”

But on second thought, Marino came up with a great idea.

“I’m going to throw the first pitch with a baseball,” Marino said. “Then, I’ll throw the football.”

That’s exactly what he did. Marino tossed a strike to Jorge Posada with a baseball, before picking up a football and completing a pass to the former catcher.

There will be an article in the April Issue of Yankees Magazine on Marino’s first pitches. I also interviewed Marino, who played quarterback for the Miami Dolphins for his entire 17-year career, and Posada, who wore pinstripes for the same number of years, before the Yankees’ game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

During the interview, which can only be read below, Marino shared his memories of being at Yankee Stadium on the mid-winter day that Posada announced his retirement in 2012.

Enjoy this exclusive Q&A piece.

–Alfred Santasiere III

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Alfred Santasiere III: What are your thoughts on catching Dan’s first pitch?

Jorge Posada: It’s a big honor to catch Dan. Watching him play for one team for so long was special, and all the things he does now in the South Florida community is great. Dan is an important part of the community in South Florida, and as a member of that community, he is someone I really admire.

AGS III: Dan, Hall of Famer Goose Gossage caught your pitch last year. This year, you’ve got one of the greatest Yankees catchers of all-time behind the plate. What was your reaction when you found out that Jorge would be your catcher?

DM: Well, I knew it was going to be fun. I’ve always been a big fan of Jorge. He’s had a great relationship with the community in South Florida, as well. And, of course, he was a great Yankee for long time. I’m going to throw my best heat and see what happens.

AGS III: You each played for your respective organizations for 17 seasons. What did it mean to each of you to have only played for one team?

JP: There’s nothing better than putting the pinstripes on. I get chills every time I put that uniform on. I was proud when Dan put that jersey on tonight, because I wore it for so long. Dan wore a Dolphins uniform for 17 years, and I’m sure he feels that same pride. It’s something that has deep meaning to me. I started playing for the Yankees when I was a little kid, and I was a grown man when I left.

DM: Playing for the Dolphins was very special. I created relationships with the fans that will never change. When you play for one team for your whole career, I think you’re always a part of that organization in the hearts of the fans. I’m proud to have done that.

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