Monday, March 4, 2013
March 4- Seattle Mariners
In lieu of yesterday’s post on Alex Rodriguez I was tempted to go back to the beginning of THE franchise in Seattle, the Mariners. While I realize that baseball had existed prior to 1977, this post will merely serve as a setup for something way more thorough in the future.
It’s kind of funny how many of my posts, thus far, have started with, “it’s kind of funny that this is the first time I’ve worn this cap.” It’s not really my intention; I just occasionally lose sight of which ones I’ve worn and haven’t since I purchased them. Not to mention, with as crazy as my last year was in regard to traveling, it was easy to not have a few (most) of them with me when I hit the road. A lot of that came as a result of my intense superstitions, especially with all of the Oakland Athletics hats that I own. As for this one, there really wasn’t much of an excuse to give.
I’ve always (and I mean always) been a huge fan of the trident in any variation on the Mariners caps and uniforms. Something about its simplicity and use within the name itself has always been a clever and praiseworthy move by any company/sports franchise. The one thing I didn’t understand about it was the color choice. That’s not to say that gold is an odd choice for a trident, especially when you [I] think back to those useless Greek Mythology classes you [I] took in Junior College, but in combination with royal blue it seemed a bit weird. All of these feelings stem from the one and done 1969 Seattle Pilots who became the Milwaukee Brewers and pioneered the color combination within Major League Baseball. I fully understand that a large part of it had to do with Seattle’s protest of the franchise breaching their contract with the city/MLB in the first place, but sometimes it’s just better to carve your own path; which the Mariners did in the early 90s when they changed to navy/teal/silver. From 1977-1980 the Mariners rocked this bad boy, and lost a lot of games under then manager Darrell Johnson. Over their first four seasons the Mariners went 246-402, but don’t worry, Johnson was fired with 58 games left in 1980 and the remaining 20-38 record the M’s posted was credited to interim manager Maury Wills. Still pretty bad though. It wouldn’t be until 1995 that the Mariners would sniff the postseason for the first time in franchise history.
If there’s one thing I can feel confident in saying as a result of these posts it’s that I can always find something incredibly interesting, as minute as it may seem, to write about and relate it to my daily routine. Seriously, not matter what the era or team may be, there I can always find a moment in my life in which it played some kind of role. My markings on this hat, for example, played a major role. Going through all the names on all four rosters left me at a bit of a head scratch. I didn’t want to make it too obvious with the names and numbers I pulled. I preferred to find something a bit meatier to embellish upon, but I suppose these will do.
#40- Sometimes, in order to win a World Series ring, you have to suffer a lot of really bad and questionable years. Very few know this path more than Rick Honeycutt. Originally selected in the 17th round of the 1976 draft, Honeycutt made his MLB debut toward the end of the Mariners’ inaugural year. He began his career as a starter, going 26-41 with a 4.22 and one All-Star game appearance in 1980, during his time in the Pacific Northwest. He only made one more All-Star appearance in 1983 with the Texas Rangers for the rest of his career. His one World Series ring came in 1989 with YOUR Oakland Athletics. It should have been three, but we got hosed.
#45- Other than his name, Dick Pole wasn’t really much a spectacle within the League. He played a total of six years after making his debut with the Boston Red Sox in 1973, but after he was signed as a free agent in 1969. Pole played his final two seasons with the Mariners, which happened to be the Mariners first two. He went 11-23 with a 5.74 ERA in Seattle, and like I said, he wasn’t much to sniff at. The biggest reason I marked him on my cap actually has something to do with a story from the MLB Fan Cave… which coincidentally happened to take place during Game two of the A’s/Mariners Opening Day series in Japan.
Twitter was still a “new” concept to me. I had had an account since 2009, but up until the Fan Cave process I never really used it. When I got to New York I did my best to start chatter and respond to every fan who wanted to talk to me; something I take a lot of pride in. Since it was about 6:30 AM Eastern a few of the other Cave Dwellers and I were a bit delirious after staying up super late the previous night. In order to stay awake/pass the time/interact with others we started tweeting out the greatest baseball player names of all-time. After about 20 minutes of this someone outside of the Fan Cave named Brian Kong-Sivert (@BrianKongSivert) had mentioned Dick Pole. All of us were laughing hysterically when his name came up. It’s at that moment I leaned back and asked Tyler Hissey, the social media stooge, if I could drop a name. Despite chuckling it up with us in the process of our name game, he immediately said no to the player I had in mind. That player: former Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago White Sox great Johnny Dickshot. Yes, that is in fact his real name. Look it up! This was the first moment when I felt the sting of censorship. Little did I know, it was going to be a constant head-butting issue of mine over the next few months. I mean, it was ridiculous that I couldn’t drop a guy’s name down on account that the English language has included the first half into the curse word category. At the same time, it’s because of that distinction that Dickshot’s and Pole’s names are funny in the first place. But still; the Fan Cave was supposed to be a safe haven for fans to talk and joke about the game, not to have mom and dad leering over our shoulders, inspecting everything we wanted to say.
So, with that, I tip my cap to Brian, and I especially tip my cap to Pole’s parents for electing to name him Richard.