This last edition was the hardest. My main goal of this exercise was to find a player that a) evoked some kind of personal positive memory for me and/or b) had solidly woven themselves into the fabric of the Seattle Mariners franchise. These last few numbers were especially difficult to find someone that was more than just a filler player. For that reason, I have pictures of some players without many personal anecdotes. The players without descriptions are more often than not, the most recent player to wear the number, or just something that makes us go “oh, oh God no”. However you interpret it, here goes nothing:
#24 – George Kenneth Griffey Jr.(1989-1999, 2009-ETERNITY)
#24 will be the first (other than Jackie Robinson’s #42) retired number in the Mariners franchise. This number will entirely belong to none other than the 99.3% Hall of Famer, Ken Griffey Jr. Junior’s accolades and praises have been sung for years. He created the threshold of greatness for Major League Baseball. The Mariners would not be the same Mariners they are today, without emergence of of a 19-year-old kid in 1989, wearing that beautiful #24.
#25 – Rickie Weeks (2015)
It seems rather wrong to follow up Junior with Rickie Weeks, but hey we can’t all have nice things. Rickie made the Opening Day roster with the Arizona Diamondbacks, you go Rickie.
#26 – Brendan Ryan (2011-2013)
Defense = good. Everything else = bad. To this day I am convinced that he was the straw that broke the black hole at shortstop’s back, and we’ve been repaying his debt ever since. We traded him in 2013 to the Yankees, and his regular playing time has steadily declined since then. He currently plays for the Washington Nationals organization.
#27 – John Jaso (2012)
John Jaso caught Felix’s perfect game in 2012, so I guess there is that. He plays for the Pirates now, and his dreads are a national phenomena.
#28 – Raul Ibanez (2004-2008, 2013)
Rauuuuuuuuuuuuuuuul was drafted in the 1992 draft by the Mariners but did not make his debut until 1996. He played in three separate stints with the Mariners, 1996-2000, 2004-2008 and 2013. Raul played a total of 19 years in MLB, 11 of the seasons played with the Mariners. Raul currently sits as a advisor in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. He will always be a memorable name in the franchise. One of my more recent good memories of Raul include his two home run night against the Yankees in 2013. He hit a grand slam in the 1st and then hits a two-run shot off of Brett Marshall in the 5th. The Mariners won that game 12-2 and even won the next day 3-2, but then proceeded to lose the next 8 in a row. Moving on…
#29 – Brett Boone (2001-2005)
Boone was another guy that had multiple stints with the Mariners. He was drafted by the Mariners in 1990 draft, and debuted in 1992. He played the 1993 season with the Mariners before going on to play with the Cincinnati Reds, Atlanta Braves and San Diego Padres. Boone returned to the Mariners in 2001, which he earned his second All-Star nod and a Silver Slugger. In 2001 he had 206 hits, 37 doubles, 37 home runs and 141 RBI. He was pretty dang good from 2001-2004. He also won three Gold Gloves in that time period. The kicker is that Boone may
or may not have been on steroids. True or not, I have mostly good memories with Boone out there at second base.
#30 – George Kenneth Griffey, Sr. (1990-1991)
Ken Griffey Sr. spent the last two years of a long MLB career in Seattle. I know him best throughout this moment in Mariners history. Griffey Sr never played more than 51 games in those two seasons, and I’m sad I cannot recall/we did not have many memories with the elder Griffey.
#31 – Bobby Ayala (1997-1998)
I could not go this whole list without a Bob Ayala reference. While he is not anyone’s favorite (that I know of but I understand why you would hide), he is still referenced to this day among Mariner baseball land. He also wore number #13 throughout his time with the Mariners. I am borderline too young to remember when he actually played, but I still know he was bad. This fact is confirmed when I still hear Dave Sims throw shade at someone via a Bobby Ayala comp, in 2016. This one is just in here to keep you on your toes, people.
#32 -Taijuan Walker (2014-2015)
Taijuan Walker has switched to #44 for the 2016 season, but #32 will always the number that he got his fist taste of the majors in. I’ll think of the #32 for Taijuan to be a tribute to all the growing pains, and hopefully the start of a comfortable career for him in Seattle.
#33 – Chris Iannetta (2016-who knows)
Originally I left #33 out. I did this because my choices were the likes of Frankie Rodriguez, Chad Cordero, Casper Wells, HENRY BLANCO, and most recently, J.A. Happ. It was pointed out to me after I published this article this morning (thank you Blake), that Chris Iannetta might be a good choice for the #33 slot. How could I forget a catcher?! I know, I know.We don’t know what exactly he’ll do for the Mariners this year, but he has already got a leg up on our ghosts of catchers past (sorry Mike Z we love you). He went 2/2 in yesterday’s opener against the Texas Rangers and is currently batting 1.000! Weeeeee! Catchers that can hit (so far).
#34 – Felix Hernandez (2006-present)
Our heartbeat. Our Ace. Our King. Felix Hernandez. Much like Edgar or Griffey, writing about Felix is redundant, but in a good way. I can sit here and spew numbers and accolades and all-time great comparisons, but that would not even begin to cover who Felix Hernandez is to this franchise. Even when that scary, looming decline starts to set in, and he starts being less “Felix like” by the day, he will always be loved.He will always be the one that did not leave. Every roar, every strike out, every smile. No one will ever be a special as him.
Happy 2nd day of 2016! Can’t wait for the rest of the ride. Go Mariners.