I knew I'd come across more than a couple of former Seattle Mariners when I read the headline, "The 100 Worst Baseball Players of All-Time." For a team still waiting for its chance to participate in the World Series, it is almost guaranteed that there have been a couple of bad players in the franchise's history. So which of our favorite Mariners made the list? Find out after the jump.
Note: Years played for the Mariners in parenthesis.
Take it away Eric Nusbaum:
No. 1 Mario Mendoza (1979-1980)
Mario Mendoza is the bad player all other bad players are measured by. The Mendoza Line, a .200 average, has been the benchmark of failure for the legions of weak-hitting infielders who came after him. His career average was .215—making him the rare player for whom "lifetime .215 hitter" means he was better than you thought.
Of course a Seattle Mariner ends up being the No. 1 worst baseball player of all-time. I'm glad I wasn't alive to witness a player as terrible as Mendoza. Actually, I take that back. Thanks Chone Figgins.
No. 27 Doug Strange (1995-1996)
In Seattle, Doug Strange is a hero. The highlight of his career—the best thing he ever did on a baseball field—was drawing a game-tying, bases-loaded, full-count walk off David Cone in Game 5 of the 1995 American League Division Series. The walk set up the tie that set up The Double, by Edgar Martinez and scoring Ken Griffey Jr., which decided the series.
No, Safeco Field isn't the House that Griffeybuilt or the House that Edgar's double built. It really is the House that Strange built.
No. 63 Bobby Ayala (1994-1998)
Bobby Ayala is on this list as a stand-in for every Mariners pitcher of the 1990s who wasn't named Randy Johnson or Jamie Moyer. Ayala's spectacular blown saves in big games were the volcanic eruptions of a bullpen that included fellow natural disasters like Heathcliff Slocumb, Omar Olivares, and Bob Wells.
My whole childhood from the late 90's until about 2004 I went to Mariners games with my dad. And every time I said a pitcher stunk, my dad would say, "Well at least he's not as bad as Bobby Ayala!" I've never actually seen Bobby Ayala pitch or watch him blow a save. But I've always wondered why the hell the Mariners would keep such a player and let him keep pitching. If he was that bad, why was he still in games? I am 19 years old and I still don't have an answer for that.
No. 72 Willie Bloomquist (2002-2008)
Bloomquist is a compendium of bad clichés. He is the utility player who can allegedly help your team with his defensive versatility despite not fielding exceptionally well anywhere. He's the scrappy hustling little guy—working his butt off to help the team with his intangibles, but actually hurting the team with his inability to hit.
I like to point and laugh at people who wear Willie Bloomquist jerseys to Mariners games at Safeco Field for two reasons:
1) Bloomquist is not a Mariner
2) Bloomquist stinks.
Guys you've probably never heard of:
- No. 21 Steve Balboni (1988)
- No. 22 Brian Hunter (1999)
- No. 56 Mike Kekich (1977)
- No. 64 Jose Offerman (2002)
- No. 70 Dan Meyer (1978-1980)
- No. 79 Kevin Jarvis (2004)