Diego Segui, who threw out the very first pitch in Mariner history, returns to the mound before Saturday night’s game as part of the Mariners 35th Anniversary celebration.
On April 6, 1977, Segui pitched in front of a crowd of over 57,000 at the Kingdome for the Seattle Mariners inaugural game vs. the California Angels. Although, this would not be the first time he pitched as a Major Leaguer in Seattle, or even the first time he would throw across the plate on a Seattle baseball team’s inaugural opening day.
Segui was a relief pitcher for the Seattle Pilots, a team that played all of one season in Seattle in 1969. The Pilots moved to Milwaukee in 1970 and became the Brewers, while Seattle would have to wait out a seven-year itch for Major League baseball to return to the city.
Segui pitched in the first game ever played by each Seattle franchise, appearing in relief in the Pilots 4-3 win over the Angels on April 8, 1969, and is the only man to have played for both of Seattle’s Major League teams.
He was chosen by teammates as the MVP of the Seattle Pilots in 1969 after going 12-6, pitching mostly out of the bullpen, recording 12 saves, 113 strikeouts and a 3.35 ERA (53 ER, 142.1 IP). As a Mariner he set an early club record by striking out 10 Red Sox in a game. Segui ended his 16-year Major League career in a Mariners uniform in 1977.
Will fans see his famous forkball when he makes his appearance at Safeco Field on Saturday?
– Krista Staudinger
Former Seattle Mariners outfielder Tom Paciorek will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Saturday’s game vs. the Los Angeles Angels (1:05 pm) at Safeco Field as part of the Mariners 35th Anniversary celebration.
Paciorek, who had an 18-year Major League Baseball career, played for the Mariners from 1978-1981. He was a stand-out baseball and football player in high school and college and was drafted by the Miami Dolphins and Los Angeles Dodgers in his senior year of college (1968). He signed with the Dodgers and was one of 14 players drafted that year by Los Angeles to eventually make it to the Majors.
While Tom was known for many things as a Mariner, including a great player, his humor was one of his greatest characteristics.
When the Mariners were creating their commercials for the 1981 in conjunction with local personality Pat Cashman, the “Funny Nose Glasses” spot was produced to promote “Jacket Night” in a humorous way.
Tom’s line “What am I going to do with 30,000 pairs of funny nose glasses?” generated many calls and letters to the Mariners from fans wanting to know when Funny Nose Glasses Night would be. In fact, some fans came to the “Jacket Night” game in August and were disappointed – they wanted a pair of funny nose glasses.
During the next off-season, with still a lot of talk about funny nose glasses, the Mariners decided to give the fans what they wanted. The club announced that Saturday, May 8, 1982, would be “Funny Nose Glasses Night” at the Kingdome. Amazingly, 36,716 fans showed up for the game against the Yankees, the fourth largest crowd of the year. Prior to the 1982 season, Tom signed with the Chicago White Sox, so he wasn’t here for the event, which took place one year to the day of the first of his two consecutive ninth-inning, game-winning home runs at the Kingdome against the Yankees.
Mariners Manager Rene Lachemann even took the lineup card to home plate before the game wearing a pair, and when the team photo was taken, one shot was taken with the entire squad wearing the glasses.
It was all in fun, and it was an event that many fans still remember. And to the best of our knowledge, it was a sports promotion that has never been repeated….which is probably a good thing.
Former Seattle Mariners pitcher Bob Wolcott, who was a key member of the 1995 Refuse to Lose team, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Mariners vs. Minnesota Twins game on Saturday, August 18 (6:10pm start).
If you tried to pinpoint the moment that the Mariners remarkable Refuse to Lose run began, an argument could be made for the bottom of the 9th, August 24, Mariners vs. New York Yankees.
Coming into the month the Mariners were 13 games behind the Division-leading California Angels. By August 24, the Mariners had lost eight of their last 12 games, and were trailing the Yankees 7-6 in the bottom of the 9th.
Then, Ken Griffey Jr. hit his first ever walk-off home run and the Mariners beat the Yankees 9-7. The Mariners went on to win 25 of their final 36 games to tie the Angels for first place.
Thrust into this improbable situation was a 21-year old rookie from Medford, Oregon named Bob Wolcott.
“That was a lot of fun. My main goal was to contribute, to pull my weight, do my part. Everyone was playing well and contributing at the right time,” said Wolcott.
Wolcott made his Major League debut on August 18, with a strong outing against the Red Sox, defeating Tim Wakefield 9-3.
It was tough to walk into the Mariners clubhouse as a rookie, said Wolcott. “I was like a fish out of water on that veteran team. Two months before I was at Double A and around 21-23 year olds. I think the average age of the team was 32, so it was a little different,” said Wolcott.
But the veterans embraced the rookie, including Jay Buhner, Norm Charlton, Joey Cora, Griffey, Randy Johnson, Edgar Martinez and Luis Sojo.
“That was a great team to be on. It was such a positive atmosphere, everyone got along, it was a ‘team’ atmosphere. It was something else.”
Wolcott’s second start—and win—was at Fenway Park, when Randy Johnson couldn’t get loose during his warm-up. Wolcott allowed just two runs in six-plus innings.
As the Mariners adjusted their roster, Wolcott was optioned to Single A Wisconsin on August 31. He was recalled a few days later and finished the season 3-2 over seven appearances.
On the strength of his pitching performances, Wolcott was named to the Mariners postseason roster, and manager Lou Piniella surprised the baseball world when he named the now 22-year old rookie his starter for Game 1 of the American League Championship Series against the Cleveland Indians.
“When I got the call, I was at my place in Federal Way. My parents were visiting, and I was building a fly rod. When I got off the phone, I went right back to building my fly rod,” said Wolcott. No pressure, no problem.
Piniella may have second guessed his decision when Wolcott walked the bases loaded in the first inning. But the rookie, who was facing the American League’s best offense, wiggled out of the jam like a veteran. He struck out Albert Bell, got Eddie Murray to pop up to third and Jim Thome to ground out to second. Wolcott scattered eight hits over seven innings, giving up two runs for the 3-2 win.
The Indians went on to win the series 4-2, ending one of the most memorable runs in Mariners and Major League Baseball history.
Wolcott pitched two more years for the Mariners, went to the Arizona Diamondbacks in 1988 and the Boston Red Sox in 1999. He also pitched a year for the Kintetsu Buffaloes in Japan.
Shoulder surgery ended his baseball career, but opened the door to a new profession. While rehabbing his shoulder, he took a series of aptitude test that confirmed his interest in science and physics would be the right path for him. (Wolcott was offered a scholarship to Stanford, but he turned it down to sign with the Mariners in 1992.)
In 2001, Wolcott enrolled in Southern Oregon University, then went on to Oregon State, where he graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering. Today, he is the owner of Wolcott Design Services, an engineering firm in Newberg, Oregon, just outside Portland.
Over the years, Wolcott has been to Safeco Field, including a 2005 reunion of the 1995 team. But he hasn’t stepped on a Major League mound since 1999. Wolcott says he’s looking forward to Saturday’s first pitch. He’s bringing the family to “show them what dad used to do.”
The first dominant closer in Mariners history will return on Monday (August 13) to throw out the ceremonial first pitch in the opening game of the upcoming nine-game homestand. Bill Caudill, who earned 26 saves in both 1982 and 1983, was a colorful character, so colorful that he had two nicknames to go with his 90-plus MPH fastball. The Mariners are celebrating their 35th Anniversary throughout the 2012 season.
The right-hander was known as “Cuffs” because he carried a pair of real handcuffs with him when he wasn’t on the field, and just for fun, of course, he would handcuff anyone and everyone to the dugout bench or any other spot that worked. In fact, when Manager Rene Lachemann made the call to the bullpen for him, he would put the inside of his wrists together and hold them high to signal his closer.
Caudill, who still lives on the Eastside, also earned the nickname “The Inspector” because he wore an “Inspector Clouseau” hat and was often seen “inspecting” the bats of Mariners hitters, looking for missing hits. Because of the nickname, the Kingdome organist, the late Dick Kimball, would break into the “Pink Panther Theme” whenever Lach signaled to the bullpen for Bill, a tribute to Inspector Clouseau himself. Sports Illustrated did a feature article on the Mariners reliever, whose single-season saves mark stood as a club record seven seasons. (Mike Schooler saved 33 games in 1989.)
Does anyone remember the Mariner Tugboat?
Bill was a master practical joker, and one of his best was on Opening Day 1982, his first regular-season game in a Mariners uniform. That was the first year of new marketing director Bill Long, whose two Kingdome innovations were the USS Mariner Victory ship in center field and the Mariner Tugboat, which was meant to transport the relief pitchers from the bullpen in foul territory down the left field line to the mound. The USS Mariner had a good 18-year run, with the cannon blast that signaled the national anthem before every game as well as every Mariners home run and victory.
The Tugboat didn’t last very long. The pitchers wanted no part of it. On Opening Night 1982, the Tugboat was introduced in pregame ceremonies, and it was eventually parked near the Mariners bullpen, just in foul territory as game time approached. Starting pitcher Gaylord Perry had completed his warm up pitches and the umpire was about to signal him to throw out the first pitch of the season, when he noticed that the Tugboat was still sitting on the left field line. The staff member who was assigned to drive it to its designated parking space was frantically looking for the keys. With the game delayed a few minutes, Caudill stood up from the bullpen bunch, held the keys high for everyone to see and he handed them to the driver. Quite a colorful start to a colorful season for “Cuffs”, a.k.a. ”The Inspector” on his way to a great season on the mound for the Mariners.
Needless to say, no Mariners pitcher ever rode in the Tugboat when he entered a game at the Kingdome, and the Tugboat was quickly put in dry dock.
Tonight, “Mr. Mariner” Alvin Davis will throw out the ceremonial first pitch as part of the on-going celebration of the 35th Anniversary of Mariners baseball. The original member of the Mariners Hall of Fame is also in town for the festivities inducting Randy Johnson and Dan Wilson into the Mariners Hall of Fame. In addition, Alvin is joining the Mariners Player Development staff as a roving minor league instructor.
Those that have met Alvin can attest to how great of a person he is. Humble, reserved, gracious, strong, passionate…are all words that can describe the former Major League first baseman. Alvin caught up with the local media prior to tonight’s game, and we think you’ll enjoy hearing from Mr. Mariner as he talks about what he’ll be doing for the club, how he views young players and what he has been up to over the last few years. We hope you enjoy!
As the Mariners season-long 35th Anniversary celebration continues, two former Mariners will be honored with ceremonial first pitches this week at Safeco Field.
Brian Holman, who is perhaps best remembered for his oh-so-close encounter with a perfect game on April 20, 1990 (Ken Phelps, former Mariner, then Oakland A, hit a two-out, 9th inning home run to spoil Holman’s perfecto), will be honored on Wednesday, (vs. Yankees) when he throws out the ceremonial first pitch.
Holman, who came to the Mariners from the Montreal Expos in the Randy Johnson trade, was a workhorse– logging 14 complete games over three years. His promising career was cut short due to injuries. Since 2000, Holman has worked for Ronald Blue & Co., a national financial, estate, tax, and investment consulting firm. He also gives individual and group pitching clinics through Brian Holman Baseball. While he’s in Seattle, Holman will be participating in a series of instruction sessions for the Sammamish Baseball Academy at Marymoor Park.
Rounding out the week on Friday, and leading into Saturday’s Mariners Hall of Fame induction ceremony for Randy Johnson and Dan Wilson, will be Alvin Davis, Mr. Mariner, the first member of the Seattle Mariners Hall of Fame. Alvin will also participate in Saturday’s induction ceremony scheduled to start at 12:30pm, before the matchup with the Kansas City Royals.
Former Mariners pitcher Mark Langston has fond memories of Seattle and he says he’s looking forward to throwing out the ceremonial first pitch on Saturday night at Safeco Field, part of the Mariners season-long 35th Anniversary tribute.
Langston broke into the Major Leagues in 1984. He won 17 games and was named Rookie Pitcher of the Year by the Sporting News. He might have been the American League Rookie of the Year but for another pretty good young guy who was his teammate, Alvin Davis.
“He was my closest friend, bar none. There’s not a better human on the planet than Alvin Davis. If he called me today and asked me to do anything, I’d do it.”
Langston and Alvin were roommates on the road “the whole time I was in Seattle.”
After games, the two would go back to their hotel room and “digest the game. I’d hear from the hitter’s standpoint, and Alvin was one of the better hitters in the game, and that really helped me formulate my pitching plan. I’d listen to him, he’d listen to me,” says Langston.
Langston laments that players today no longer have roommates on the road. “Everyone goes back to his own room and watches SportsCenter or whatever, and the communication isn’t as good as it used to be.”
Langston now works for the Angels as a radio analyst for 50 home games a season. He says it’s a great way to stay connected with the game without the demands of 162 games and traveling half the summer.
“While the team is on the road, I’m watching games, studying the opposing players, learning about the other teams. It feels like I’m doing scouting reports when I pitched,” says Langston.
During his pitching days, Langston says he was always a student of the offensive side of the game. “On the bench, I never sat with pitchers, I always sat with hitters. I usually hung out with Rod Carew (Hall of Famer who was the Angels hitting coach from 1992-1999). He’d break it down for me, deconstruct an at-bat. He’d say ‘watch where his hands are.’”
Langston listened to Carew and the other hitters and that helped him formulate his approach to pitching. That experience gave him a deeper knowledge of both sides of the game, which comes in handy as an analyst. “I may not get all the mechanics of the offense, but I’ve got a good understanding,” says Langston.
Although Langston won’t be traveling with the Angels to Seattle during the season, he’s likely to find a lot of opportunities to head north. His oldest daughter Katie, 27, is moving to Seattle this week.
“Katie was born in Seattle, and she was three when we got traded to Montreal. But she’s always had this connection to the city,” says Langston, who calls Seattle a “special place for our family.”
When asked if Katie has any idea about the difference between the climate here and in sunny Southern California, he says he “relayed the information about the weather,” but she’s undaunted. “She may miss the Southern California weather, but she and her husband are looking forward to disconnecting from L.A., and Seattle will be a nice change.”
As for the rest of the family, Langston’s younger daughter, Abby, just finished her freshman year at Texas Christian University, where she is on an equestrian scholarship. And his wife is in her second season working with the Angels as a real estate consultant helping players find housing, something she has a unique perspective on because “she understands every aspect of their needs.”
Next on tap for the Mariners 35th Anniversary celebration is Bill Caudill, July 15.
As part of the on-going celebration of the 35th Anniversary of Seattle Mariners Baseball, former catcher Bob Stinson (better known around these parts as Scrap Iron) will throw out today’s ceremonial first pitch prior to the Father’s Day game vs. the San Francisco Giants (1:10 pm).
Stinson carved out a 12-year Major League career as a catcher, including four seasons with the Mariners from 1977-1980. Stinson was selected by the Mariners in the expansion draft, and was the starting catcher in the Mariners inaugural game April 6, 1977 vs. the Angels.
In 652 Major League games with the Mariners, Royals, Dodgers, Expos, Cardinals and Astros, Stinson recorded408 hits in 1634 at-bats for a .250 batting average, with 33 home runs and 180 RBI.
Mariners legend Edgar Martinez will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Friday’s game against the Dodgers. It’s part of the continuation of the team’s 35th Anniversary celebration.
Edgar was already planning to be at the ballpark for a fundraiser for his foundation, The Martinez Foundation. A portion of the cost of each ticket purchased through an exclusive online offer benefits the Foundation.
Felix Hernandez got into the act purchasing 100 tickets through the special offer that he donated to the South Park Community Center. This is the third year Felix has helped The Martinez Foundation and donated the tickets to benefit local children.
The Martinez Foundation was created by Edgar and Holli in 2008 to provide teaching scholarships and support programs to future teachers of color in Washington State. The Martinez Foundation’s mission is to prepare and support diverse and highly-qualified teachers who will raise expectations, accelerate learning and close the achievement gap.
If you’d like to learn more about the good work Edgar and Holli are doing through The Martinez Foundation log onto www.themartinezfoundation.org.
Mike Jackson, former Mariners relief pitcher, is making a return trip to Seattle this weekend to throw out the ceremonial 1st pitch on Saturday before the Mariners vs. Dodgers game.
Jackson, who had two turns with the Mariners (1988-1991 and 1996), was invited back to Seattle as part of the Mariners 35th Anniversary celebration, a season-long tribute to the franchise’s history.
Jackson’s 17-year MLB career ended after his stint with the White Sox in 2004. Since then, he’s been coaching his eldest son Ryan. He’ll be a senior next year, and Jackson says he’s a prospect. Ryan Jackson is a center fielder, who his dad describes as “fast, good arm, can swing the bat.”
Jackson is also a coach at the Big League Baseball Academy in Tomball, Texas (north of Houston). They coach kids there from age nine through high school. The kids Jackson coached and mentored when he first started at the Academy are just now getting to draft age and he’s hoping there are some prospects among them.
Jackson gives the kids some real-world advice about making it as a professional baseball player. “It’s difficult. But if you have determination, patience and talent, you can make it.” And for those who don’t have what it takes to be a Major Leaguer, Jackson says they work to help them find scholarships to further their educations.
During his MLB career, Jackson pitched for seven teams other than the Mariners including the Phillies, Giants, Reds, Indians, Astros, Twins and White Sox. He never spent more than three years with any team other than Seattle, where he played five seasons.
Jackson says he’s looking forward to coming back to Seattle, a city he always enjoyed. Although he played his entire Mariners career in the Kingdome, he has been to Safeco Field with the Indians, Twins and White Sox, and is looking forward to returning to the mound on Saturday.