Almost every sports cliché is born from the idea that each team member is but a small part of a whole: “There is no I in team,” “The name on the front of the jersey is more important than the name on the back,” etc. Individuality may not necessarily be frowned upon, but it is far from encouraged. This is why Logan Morrison made such a splash when he made his debut with the Miami Marlins. His 23 homers last year brought him plenty of attention, as did his colorful tweets (@LoMoMarlins) and extensive ink.
In order to trace the path Morrison took to get to the big leagues, one really needs to look no further than his tattoos: He has a sleeve detailing every place he has lived prior to his spot in left field at the newly constructed Marlins Park. Included in the piece is a conch shell for Key West, a fleur-de-lis for New Orleans, and a fountain for Kansas City.
Morrison was able to build such a significant sleeve thanks to his father, an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard who moved the family around a lot. And when Morrison’s father, Tom, passed away from cancer on December 9, 2010, Morrison got a memorial to him on his arm. Artist Brandon Bond worked with Morrison to design the fitting tribute, which includes his father’s favorite handgun, his Coast Guard rank insignia, a silhouette of a father holding a child, and the corner of a $100 bill. The money refers to a challenge his father gave him in Little League. “I didn’t want to use wood bats, so he told me that if I hit a home run with a wood bat by the end of the summer he would give me a hundred dollars,” Morrison recalls. “I hit a home run after two days of using it and rounded the bases yelling, ‘You better pay up!’”
The tattoo also includes a baseball diamond with third base adorned by a starburst, since Morrison hit his first big league triple at the first game his father could attend (his father couldn’t make it to his very first game in San Francisco because his immune system was too weak for him to fly; he had to wait until the Marlins were in New York later in the week). “He had to take a train from New Orleans to New York,” Morrison remembers. “Thirty hours later he arrived in New York to see me play on my birthday.”
As the Marlins move into a new stadium this year, they’ll be sporting redesigned jerseys that haven’t been met with much praise. “At first I didn’t like them, but they have grown on me. Honestly, it’s a big league jersey—it could say ‘I’m with stupid’ and I would still wear it,” Morrison jokes. But even though the Marlins jerseys are more colorful now, they’ll still pale in comparison to the ink Morrison sports underneath his number 5.