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The Official Site of the Seattle Mariners

10 players you forgot were Mariners

Feb. 4th, 2019

SEATTLE -- For a franchise that hasn't made a ton of postseason memories, the Mariners have had more than their fair share of unforgettable stars -- from Hall of Famers Ken Griffey Jr., Randy Johnson and Edgar Martinez to Alex Rodriguez, Félix Hernández and Ichiro Suzuki.But not all Mariners have

SEATTLE -- For a franchise that hasn't made a ton of postseason memories, the Mariners have had more than their fair share of unforgettable stars -- from Hall of Famers Ken Griffey Jr., Randy Johnson and Edgar Martinez to Alex Rodriguez, Félix Hernández and Ichiro Suzuki.
But not all Mariners have been so memorable. Here are 10 players who many might have forgotten once wore a Seattle uniform:
Steve Yeager, 1986
For 14 of his 15 Major League seasons, Yeager was a Dodger. An outstanding defensive catcher, he helped the Dodgers reach the World Series in 1974, '77, '78 and '81 and shared World Series MVP Award honors with teammates Pedro Guerrero and Ron Cey in '81. But the Dodgers traded the veteran backstop to Seattle for reliever Ed Vande Berg prior to the 1986 season and Yeager hit just .208 with two homers and 12 RBIs in 50 games as a backup to Bob Kearney before retiring at the end of the year.
Wally Backman, 1993
Backman had a solid 14-year Major League career as a second and third baseman with a .275 average, including a .320 mark as a key member of the 1986 World Series-champion Mets. But he signed on with Seattle as a 33-year-old at the tail end of that run and wound up hitting just .138 in 29 at-bats before being released just 38 games into the season.
Rich Gossage, 1994
In a Hall of Fame career that spanned 22 seasons for nine different clubs, "Goose" had to end it somewhere. And that somewhere wound up being Seattle, as Gossage pitched in 36 games with a 4.18 ERA in relief for a team that wound up going 49-63 in that strike-shortened season. As one of the pioneers of the closer role in MLB, Gossage racked up 310 saves and nine All-Star berths. He got just one of those saves with Seattle and it came in his final Major League appearance at Texas on Aug. 8, when he threw three hitless innings to finish out a 14-4 win at age 43.
Bobby Thigpen, 1994
Thigpen racked up 57 saves as an All-Star closer for the White Sox in 1990 -- a mark the Mariners' Edwin Díaz tied in 2018 for the second-most saves in a season in MLB history -- and he totaled 201 saves with a 3.26 ERA over eight years with Chicago. But Thigpen started dealing with back issues later in his career. And after signing with Seattle in 1994, he went 0-2 with a 9.39 ERA in seven appearances, allowing three home runs and 12 hits with five walks in 7 2 /3 innings before being released just three weeks into what turned out to be his final season in the big leagues.
Dennis Martinez, 1997
The man known as "El Presidente" won 245 games in his 23-year MLB career, but just one of those came with the Mariners when he signed late in spring as a 43-year-old free agent and then went 1-5 with a 7.71 ERA in nine starts before being released two months into the season. The four-time All-Star landed a job in the Braves' bullpen the following year before calling it a career.

Rickey Henderson, 2000
When you play for 25 years, you often wear a lot of hats. And one of the game's greatest speedsters donned a Mariners cap for the final four months of 2000 at age 41 and still had enough left to steal 30 bases in 92 games. While his offensive numbers were down (.238 with four homers and 30 RBIs), Rickey still got on base at a .362 clip and was the starting left fielder down the stretch for a club that won 91 games and reached the American League Championship Series before losing to the Yankees. The 10-time All-Star played three more seasons -- with the Padres, Red Sox and Dodgers -- before retiring in '04 and being a first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee in '09.
Rich Aurilia, 2004
Aurilia played 15 years in the Majors and was a 2001 All-Star and Silver Slugger Award winner with San Francisco, where he spent his first nine seasons before signing with the Mariners as a free agent to solidify their infield at shortstop. But his stay with Seattle turned into a disappointing 73-game stint during which he batted .241/.304/.337 with four homers and 28 RBIs before being shipped to San Diego in mid-July for cash.
Carl Everett, 2006
A year after Everett helped the White Sox win a World Series title, the Mariners signed the two-time All-Star to fill their designated hitter role at age 35. But Everett, who bounced around to eight different teams in a 14-year career, wound up hitting just .227/.297/.360 with 11 homers and 33 RBIs in 92 games before being let go in late July in what turned out to be his final Major League stop.
Jason Bay, 2013
Bay was a prodigious slugger for much of his 11 seasons in the big leagues, being named National League Rookie of the Year with the Pirates in 2004 and going on to three All-Star berths and four seasons of 30-plus homers and 100-plus RBIs. But by the time he reached Seattle as a 34-year-old left fielder, Bay was just about done. He hit .204/.298/.393 with 11 homers and 20 RBIs in 68 games before being released in early August.

Carlos Ruiz, 2017
Because he played so recently, many fans will still recall Ruiz's final year came with the Mariners. But as time passes, "Chooch" will undoubtedly be remembered exclusively for his 11 seasons in Philadelphia, where he was a big part of World Series teams in 2008 and '09 and earned his lone All-Star bid as well as a reputation as a defensive stalwart and clutch hitter. A career .264 batter with a .350 on-base percentage, Ruiz hit just .216/.313/.352 in 53 games as a backup for Seattle in his final MLB season.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

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