Rick Rizzs, Jay Buhner and volunteers from 18 Seattle area social service agencies and charities gathered before sunrise at the Toys R Us in Bellevue Tuesday to spend $250,000 on gifts to brighten the holidays for children across the region.
Toys for Kids started as a good idea over 17 years ago when Rizzs, Buhner, Dave Henderson and several other former Mariners players passed the hat to help needy families. Today, that act of goodwill has grown into a non-profit organization that provides holiday cheer to more than 6,000 children each year.
Various fundraising efforts over the year culminate in a shopping spree at Toys R Us. Volunteers from organizations such as Atlantic Street Center, Broadview Women’s Shelter, Harborview Medical Center, Union Gospel Mission Family Services, and Vision House swarm the store beginning at 6am, lists in hand, to buy gifts for kids who might not otherwise receive one.
Maria Ochoa-Meyers, who was shopping for Communities in Schools of Renton, was looking for art supplies and Barbies. Although the ghoulish Monster High dolls are increasingly popular, “girls still like Barbie,” she said.
A team from Atlantic Street Center turned out in red Mariners T-shirts to fill the wish lists of 1,500 kids. By 6:45am, they had already filled to overflowing 23 shopping carts, with more to go.
Next Thursday and Saturday Santa Moose, Rick Rizzs, and some surprise guests will start delivering the gifts at parties at Seattle Ronald McDonald House and Harborview Medical Center.
It’s not too late to help out. You can make a tax deductible donation online at RicksToysForKids.org, or you can find out how to give some or all of the proceeds from your sales on ebay to help the cause.
He has remained a part of the Mariners family since he retired from baseball in 2005, whether it was on TV & Radio broadcasts, on the Mariners Caravan or at FanFest, but now Dan Wilson is officially back in a Mariners uniform as the Minor League Catching Coordinator.
In his new role, Dan will work with Mariners catchers at all levels, beginning during Spring Training and continuing throughout the minor league season. He will travel to each of the Mariners affiliates several times during the season to work with Seattle’s young catchers.
Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik echoed the thoughts of all Mariners fans:
“We are happy to have Dan, one of our former players, affiliated with us,” Zduriencik said. “His on-field experience and passion for the Mariners organization makes him a great fit in his new role with us. We are looking forward to Dan’s contributions as he spends hands-on time with our players.”
Wilson, 44, spent 14 seasons catching in the Majors, debuting with Cincinnati (1992-93) and spending the bulk of his career with the Mariners (1994-2005). He has caught more games (1,281) than any other player in Mariners history and was the starting catcher on every Mariners team to reach the post-season. Dan owns the Mariners career record for home runs by a catcher (88, including 2 inside-the-park homers), and the Club’s single-season records for catchers RBI (83, 1996) and home runs (18, 1996).
Dan ended his career with a .995 fielding percentage, at the time the highest for any catcher in American League history, and the sixth-highest in Major League history. Wilson was an American League All-Star in 1996, and was inducted into the Mariners Hall of Fame in 2012.
In addition to his on-field accomplishments Dan, and his family, have played an active philanthropic role in the Seattle community. Dan and his wife, Annie, were the 2012-2013 United Way of King County annual campaign co-chairs, and have long supported First Place School, the adoption agency All God’s Children International and Seattle Children’s Hospital.
Mariners Team Stores will hold several exciting events to get you in the Holiday spirit. Looking for that perfect gift for the baseball fan in your family? Be sure to stop by any of the five locations at Safeco Field, downtown Seattle, Alderwood Mall, Southcenter Mall and Bellevue Square.
HOLIDAY GIFT WITH PURCHASE
- Beginning today, receive a FREE Ken Griffey Jr. Hall of Fame Commemorative Photo Mint with a $75 merchandise purchase.
- Limited quantities, while supplies last.
DAN WILSON AUTOGRAPH SESSION
- Meet Mariners legend Dan Wilson on Friday 12/6 from 6:00-7:30 pm at the Bellevue Team Store.
SEASON TICKET HOLDER SHOPPING WEEKEND
- Saturday 12/7 and Sunday 12/8 from 10:00-5:00 pm at the Safeco Field Team Store
- 25% off all merchandise (certain exclusions apply)
- Get a FREE personalized cap with any purchase
HOT STOVE LEAGUE LIVE REMOTE BROADCAST
- Friday 12/13 from 7:00-9:00 pm at the Bellevue Team Store
- Host Rick Rizzs along with special guest Mike Blowers will have interviews with guests from around the game.
- Prizes will be given out throughout the evening!
MEET SANTA MOOSE!
- Bellevue Team Store – Friday 12/13 from 7:00-8:00 pm
- Southcenter Team Store – Sunday 12/15 from 1:00-2:00 pm
- Alderwood Team Store – Sunday 12/15 from 4:00-5:00 pm
CHARLIE FURBUSH AUTOGRAPH SESSION
- Meet Mariners pitcher Charlie Furbush on Saturday 12/14 from 2:00-3:30 pm at the Alderwood Team Store.
CARTER CAPPS AUTOGRAPH SESSION
- Meet Mariners pitcher Carter Capps on Saturday 12/28 from 2:00-3:30 pm at the Southcenter Team Store.
The Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) released the names for the 2014 Hall of Fame ballot today. More than 600 members will vote on the prestigious honor to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.
We are of course biased, but this is also the time of year where we want to share the many honors and accolades of our own Edgar Martinez. One of baseball’s best hitters, Edgar is on the 2013-2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum ballot for the fifth time. Martinez has earned 36.2 percent of the vote in 2010, 32.9 in 2011, 36.5 in 2012 and 35.9 last year.
Pitchers Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Eric Gagne, first baseman-designated hitter Frank Thomas and second baseman Jeff Kent join 17 holdovers (including Edgar) from the 2013 ballot. Writers must return ballots by a Dec. 31 postmark. . The Class of 2014 will be announced Jan. 8. You can watch the announcement live at noon PT on an MLB Network simulcast on MLB.com.
Here is some fun material to browse through to support what we think was a Hall of Fame career for Edgar:
By now, you are likely fully up to speed on the decision by Mariners team president Chuck Armstrong to retire effective Jan. 31, 2014. Chuck has been the president of the Mariners for 28 of the franchise’s 37 seasons, and is one of the main reasons baseball remains a summer pastime in the Pacific Northwest.
Here is an article by Mariners.com beat writer Greg Johns detailing the decision.
USA Today writer Bob Nightengale chimed in with this tweet about Chuck’s reputation around Major League Baseball.
And here is the news release with several heartfelt comments from Chuck, Howard Lincoln and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig:
The Mariners announced the remainder of the coaching staff that will lead the team in 2014. Here are the names and a little background on each of the staff additions.
- Howard Johnson – Hitting Coach
- Mike Rojas – Bullpen Coach
- John Stearns – 3B Coach
- Andy Van Slyke – 1B Coach
- Rick Waits – Pitching Coach
- Chris Woodward – Coach – Infield
In addition to the above hires, McClendon already announced Trent Jewett as his bench coach. Jason Phillips (Bullpen Catcher) and Scott Budner (Left-handed Batting Practice Pitcher) return from last season to round out the staff.
Johnson, who turns 53 on Nov. 29, spent last season as the AAA Tacoma Rainiers hitting coach. He spent the month of September with the Major League club, assisting with hitting instruction. Prior to joining the Mariners organization, Johnson spent 11 seasons in a variety of capacities with the New York Mets. His stint in the Mets organization included spending three full seasons (2008-2010) as the big league hitting coach after being named to that position on July 12, 2007. (He started the 2007 season as the Mets first base coach). Over a 14-year Major League career, Johnson batted .249 with 247 doubles, 22 triples, 228 home runs, 760 RBI and 231 stolen bases in 1,531 games with the Tigers, Mets, Rockies and Cubs. He won World Series titles with the Tigers (1984) and Mets (1986) and was an NL All-Star in 1989 and 1991. In 1991 he won the NL home run (38) and RBI (117) titles.
Rojas, 50, spent the past two-and-a-half seasons as the Detroit Tigers bullpen coach after being named to that position on July 3, 2011. Prior to joining the Tigers Major League coaching staff, Rojas was the Tigers Director of Player Development from Aug. 6, 2010-July 2, 2011. He spent three years as the Tigers minor league field coordinator (2008-2010) prior to being promoted. Rojas began his professional coaching career in 1995 and served as a minor league coach and manager. He also worked as an assistant coach at St. Thomas University in Miami for five seasons (1987-91). Mike is the son of former Major League player, coach and manager Cookie Rojas.
Stearns, 62, entered the 2013 season as Seattle’s minor league catching coordinator, and finished the year as the manager at AAA Tacoma. It was his 39th season in professional baseball, and he has served as a scout, manager, coach, roving catching and hitting instructor, player and ESPN broadcaster. Stearns joined the Seattle organization in 2012 as minor league catching coordinator. In 2013, when Daren Brown joined the Mariners Stearns took over as Rainiers manager. Stearns was the New York Mets Major League third base coaching and catching instructor in 2000 and 2001. Stearns played 11 seasons in the Majors, combing to hit .260 with 152 doubles, 46 home runs and 312 RBI in 810 games with Philadelphia (1974) and the Mets (1975-84). He was a four-time National League All-Star (1977, 1979, 1980 and 1982).
Van Slyke, 52, has been away from baseball for the last four seasons after serving as the first base coach for the Detroit Tigers from 2006-2009. With the Tigers, Van Slyke was part of the same coaching staff as Mariners Manager Lloyd McClendon. Van Slyke was a three-time All-Star (1988, 1992, 1993) and won five Gold Gloves during his 13-season Major League career. He was a career .274 hitter with 164 home runs in 1,658 games with the St. Louis Cardinals (1983-86), Pittsburgh Pirates (1987-1994), Baltimore Orioles (1995) and Philadelphia Phillies (1995). He was also teammates with McClendon with the Pirates from 1990-94.
Waits, 61, joins the Major League staff after spending the last three seasons as the Mariners Minor League Pitching Coordinator. Waits has been instrumental in coordinating the development of the Mariners up-and-coming pitchers, including RHP Taijuan Walker, LHP James Paxton and RHP Erasmo Ramirez. Prior to joining the Mariners organization he spent 15 seasons (1996-2010) in the New York Mets Player Development department, including the 2003 season as the Mets Major League Bullpen Coach. Waits pitched in the Majors for 12 seasons with the Texas Rangers (1973), Cleveland Indians (1975-1983) and Milwaukee Brewers (1983-85). Overall he compiled a 79-92 record with 8 saves, 47 complete games and 10 shutouts at the Major League level.
Woodward, 37, spent last season as the Mariners roving minor league infield coordinator. It was his first coaching position after retiring from a 17-year professional baseball career. With the Mariners last season he played an key role in the grown of infielders Nick Franklin and Brad Miller as they elevated to the Major League level, and worked closely with top prospects Chris Taylor and D.J. Peterson. Woodward played nearly every position on the diamond during his 12 seasons at the Major League level with the Toronto Blue Jays (1999-2004, 2011), New York Mets (2005-06), Atlanta Braves (2007), Seattle Mariners (2009, 2010) and the Boston Red Sox (2009).
Believe it or not, pitchers and catchers report to Peoria, Arizona for Spring Training in less than three months. One of the many precursors to the upcoming baseball season is the release of the annual pocket schedule!
The first edition of the pocket schedule features King Felix on the cover in a vintage baseball card design that you will see plenty of during the upcoming season. Most home game times are listed (Saturday’s are still TBA) and the spring training schedule is also included.
If you are looking to have one of these for your wallet, be sure to stop by one of the five locations of the Mariners Team Store to pick one up. Later editions of the pocket schedule will be widely distributed to merchants around the Puget Sound region (and the Pacific Northwest).
Late last night the Mariners added four players to the 40-man roster, bringing the roster total to 38 players:
- RHP Logan Bawcom selected to Major League roster
- 1B/DH Ji-Man Choi selected to Major League roster
- OF James Jones selected to Major League roster
- OF Stefen Romero selected to Major League roster
These players were added to the 40-man roster to meet the MLB deadline for being protected from the Rule 5 Draft (held Dec. 12 in Orlando, FL at the Winter Meetings).
Here are short write-up on each of the four players:
Bawcom, 25, led all Mariners minor leaguers with 21 saves, ranking 5th in the Pacific Coast League. The right-handed pitcher went 1-4 with a 2.91 ERA (21 ER, 65.0 IP) in 51 appearances, and recorded 64 strikeouts (8.86 K/9.0 IP). Over the last two seasons Bawcom has recorded 47 saves, second-most among all minor leaguers (Jose Valdez, Detroit, 48 saves). Bawcom was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers along with OF Leon Landry on July 30, 2012 in exchange for relief pitcher Brandon League. He was originally selected by the Dodgers in the 17th round of the 2010 June Draft out of the University of Texas-Arlington.
Choi, 22, combined to bat .295 (125×424) with 36 doubles, 6 triples, 18 home runs and 85 RBI in 122 games with High-A High Desert (48 games), AA Jackson (61 games) and AAA Tacoma (13 games). Choi played primarily first base and designated hitter during the season. At the plate he was one of only 20 minor league players to record at least 60 extra base hits during the 2013 season. Choi was selected as a midseason California League All-Star and played for the World squad in the All-Star Futures Game at Citi Field in New York. The native of Incheon, South Korea, was originally signed by Seattle as a non-drafted free agent on July 2, 2009. In 238 career minor league games Choi is a .309 hitter (261×844) with a .922 OPS (.411 OBP, .511 SLG) and 28 home runs.
Jones, 25, spent a majority of the 2013 with AA Jackson batting .275 (100×363) with 44 runs scored, 14 doubles, 10 triples, 6 home runs, 45 RBI and 28 stolen bases in 101 games. He also appeared in 4 games with AAA Tacoma. Jones led the Southern League with 10 triples and was named a Southern League All-Star. In five seasons in the Mariners minor league system Jones has combined to bat .281 (512×1822) with 96 doubles, 38 triples, 40 home runs and 94 stolen bases. He was selected by Seattle in the 4th round of the 2009 June draft out of Long Island University where he was both a pitcher and outfielder.
Romero, 25, batted .277 (104×375) with 23 doubles, 4 triples, 11 home runs and 74 RBI in 93 games with AAA Tacoma. He also set a Tacoma franchise record with three grand slams. He concluded the season playing for the Peoria Javelinas in the Arizona Fall League where he hit a pair of home runs in the annual Rising Stars Game. Romero was the Mariners 2012 Minor League Player of the Year, and over the last two seasons ranks 10th among all minor leaguers with 177 RBI. He was originally selected by the Mariners in the 12th round of the 2010 June Draft out of Oregon State University. He has hit .306 (396×1296) with 50 home runs in 330 games at the minor league level.
Here is the news release that went out to the media, with the updated 40-man roster: