This post is inspired by Mariners VP of Marketing, Kevin Martinez. On Twitter he is counting down the days until Opening Day, via featuring a different player’s jersey number that correspond with the amount of days left. He started at #42 (technically Jackie Robinson), but featured recently passed away Dave Henderson wearing the jersey. Since February 22nd, he has posted a different player jersey every day.
I will spend the next couple days going over my most memorable players, 1-34, leading up until Opening Day. I’ll start with #1 Charles Gibson and end with #34 Felix Hernandez. My choices/favorite players for the numbers will definitely reflect my age and length of Mariners fan devotion, generally not going past the mid 80s. My choices are based stickily off my personal knowledge or fondest memories, so feel free to add your own suggestions! With that, I start with #1:
FYI – Years featured are years player wore that specific number (taking account to number switches), not years of service. Although sometimes the years feature reflect both.
#1 – CHARLES GIBSON (1999-2002)
Charles Gibson’s best known contribution with the Mariners was his role on the 2001, 116 win team. He played in 94 games that season, the most games he played in a full season with the Mariners. Gibson’s role was often as a defensive specialist and pinch running. He also won an AL pennant with the Yankees in ’03 and an NL pennant with the Astros in ’05.
#2 – KENJI JOHJIMA (2006-2009)
My love for catchers will always remain a prevalent bias in my choices, and that is reflected in having Kenji Johjima at the top spot for this number. His first two seasons in Seattle were his best. He posted a +13.5 in defensive adjustments in 2007, for a defensive catcher stat comparison – Mike Zunino posted a +8.9 in 2014, and 2.8 (2006) and 2.5 (2007) WAR. 2 was also the number I was for all my sports teams. I loved Kenji.
Honorable mention: Randy Winn
#3 – MIKE ZUNINO (2013-MANY YEARS TO COME)
Did someone say catchers?! Mariners fans of the recent years all know the story of our young backstop. My hope everyday is that Mike Z will regain his confidence and return to his rightful place in Safeco. Hopefully some time in Tacoma this year will finally give Zunino the time to regain his self-confidence, find his inner Dan Wilson defense, add some 2008-2012 Joe Mauer power in there and make a prodigal son-esque return, mid to late this season. We’re all pulling for ya, big guy.
Honorable(ish) mention: Alex Rodriguez
#4 – HAROLD REYNOLDS (1984, 1987-1992)
Most know Harold Reynolds here in the Pacific Nothwest. Reynolds played 10 out of his 12 major league seasons in Seattle. Most of his success was in Seattle where he won three gold gloves and went to two All-Star games. He still leads the Mariners in multiple offensive categories including total runs, total at-bats and total hits. Most recently he and his partner Tom Verducci were demoted in their roles as broadcasters for Fox Sports, but they will reprise their roles as a commentators for the MLB network.
Honorable mention: Danny Tartabull, Jose Lopez (4 is a good number for doubles hitters), #MartePartay. Cheers to the future everybody!
#5 – JOHN OLERUD (2000-2004)
Do you know how hard it was to find a picture with John Olerud in #5 Mariners jersey? You should try it. It’s not easy. The Washington State University Cougar played 17 major league seasons, with five of those seasons played with the Mariners. Olerud was a 1st baseman, played good defense and was a solid OBP guy. If he played in 2016, Jerry D would be all over that.
Honorable mention: Adrian Beltre 😦 and Brad Miller :(:(
#6 – DAN WILSON (1994-2005)
Dan Wilson is my all time favorite Mariner and is the reason I love catchers so much. He was the backbone for many important teams in Mariners history (1995, 2001), and is still extremely respected within the organization. Wilson did not turn any heads with his bat, but his reputation for being a defensive stalwart gave him the most value. His reputation is what initially formed my likeness for him (plus he took a picture with me at Husky baseball game once), but his knowledge and appreciation for the game is what made him my favorite player.
#7 – KEVIN MITCHELL (1992)
This one was a bit of a cop out for me. None of the players who have worn #7 for the Mariners really resonate with me. There was no way I was putting Miguel Olivo (despite my affinity for catchers), and suffering the wrath of judgement for my bad decisions. Maybe I could chosen Jeremy Reed… Hahaha, no. While Seth Smith current sits on the top of my favorite
dads player list, I could not justify it enough. For #7, I let the professionals do the work.
#8 – CARLOS GUILLEN (1999-2003)
Guillen originally came to the Mariners as a part of the Randy Johnson trade in 1998, and eventually took over as starting shortstop when A-Rod signed a contract worth a small country, in 2001. Guillen’s most notable times in Seattle were throughout the 2001 to 2003 seasons. One of my starkest memories of Guillen comes from 2001, but not for anything he did with a glove or a bat. In 2001 Carlos Guillen played an entire season with pulmonary tuberculosis. A. Whole. Season. He trudged through 140 games with his lungs no where close to properly functioning, but played he did. It was the best display of grit I’d seen on a field (before Willie Bloomquist took the crown). Could you blame him for not wanting to miss a moment of the 2001 Mariners? I sure can’t.
#9 – SCOTT SERVAIS (2016-years that are far away from now)
The #9 jersey was difficult choice for me. I went between not choosing anyone, with my only explanation being “Chone Figgins”, to attempting to learn about Rupert Jones or Scott Bradley in a short time, to ultimately deciding to feature our current skipper. While I tried my hardest to make this exclusively players, Servais seemed like the appropriate choice. He and Jerry Dipoto represent a rebirth of thoughts for the Mariners, separate of the people who have worn it in the past (Chone Figgins, Jeff Cirillo, JACK WILSON circa 2009). #9 will finally be good again folks, get ready for it. The faith will be restored.
#10 DAVE VALLE (1987-1993):
It’s only right that I finish the 1-10 portion of this list with Dave Valle. Valle played 10 out of his 13 major league seasons in Seattle. Not only did he play my favorite position, but he still plays a very influential role in Mariners organization. Throughout the years he has been a featured color commentator, pre and post game host for Root Sports and even managed the 2014 Everett Aqua Socks.
Honorable mention: Adam Jones 😦 and Adam Moore :((… Maybe people named Adam should never touch this number again.