The Seattle Mariners are celebrating their 40th anniversary this year and are honoring some of the greatest players in franchise history as a result.
To keep things interesting, the M’s are requesting your help in picking their 40th Anniversary team. From now until April 2nd, fans can vote on their favorite players here.
I’d certainly encourage anyone to go vote and help select the all-40th Anniversary squad. You wouldn’t want to miss out on the democratic process and witness Richie Zisk get elected Best Designated Hitter in franchise history, would you? Although I heard something about Edgar Martinez’s emails the other day, so… you know what, it doesn’t matter, just vote.
We went through and made our selections, stopping to enjoy the many photos of current and former M’s in their heyday. Some of the pictures were just too good to be ignored, so we decided to pay homage to the very best photos with the following selection of the greatest Mariners in history as selected by their ballot headshot.
If you find yourself stuck on who to vote for, always use the mugshot as a tiebreaker. That’s our theory, at least.
1B – Bruce Bochte
Bruce Bochte is probably best remembered for becoming the first Seattle Mariner to record a hit in an All-Star Game (at the Kingdome, no less), which makes him a worthy addition to the 40th Anniversary ballot. The photo, though? That’s another story.
Of the 45 players on the ballot, 44 headshots were taken in traditional fashion: indoors, against a solid backdrop. Bochte, however, was apparently kidnapped, taken to a remote location near the Cascade foothills, and forced to pose in the great outdoors for his picture.
Then there’s the hat, perched atop his dome as if dropped from the sky, barely clinging to the mane of hair protuding beneath its brim. Were a slight gust of wind to come along, Bochte’s cap would have been lifted off his person and carried towards the heavens as flowing locks, now undressed, rustled lustily in the breeze. And maybe that’s exactly how he wanted it, the sneaky devil. The ’70s were a wild time, or so I hear.
2B – Joey Cora
“Okay, now… I’m going to need you to lift your bill up so we can see that grin of yours… there you go… a little higher… okay, just a bit more… alright, perfect! Now say cheese…”
It was an annual ritual at the Little League photo shoot. A bunch of nine-year-old badasses with our caps pulled low over our eyes like Dave Stewart on a bad day. There was no way we were going to smile big or lift our bills for a stupid picture in a fake cardboard frame that our parents would stick on the mantle for the rest of the season. Nope, if we were going to be immortalized in our homes, we would look awesome. Like every mean-mugging major leaguer we idolized.
And then we got up there, a photographer flashed his camera, and two weeks later we got our pictures back and they looked just like this, pins and all.
Better luck next year.
SS – Omar Vizquel
Little O. In the prime of his Little O days.
The cherubic face.
The mischievous grin.
The hat with the high crown that appears to be covertly smuggling an entire honey baked ham out the supermarket door.
The turtleneck his mom made him wear because it’s less than 55 degrees outside. Poor guy looks like he’s being strangled by a Smurf.
3B – David Bell
Get a load of this fuckin’ guy. He walked into the party with his fly unzipped and his shirt unbuttoned, halfway through a bottle of Olde E, the stench of three long days without a shower trailing behind him.
Pausing only to grab a fistful of pretzels from the bowl on the counter, he stumbled his way over to the couch and tumbled onto the cushions, evacuating the entire living room in the process.
My god. Just look at him. What a drunken mess. Pull it together, David, good lord.
OF – Al Cowens, Dave Henderson, and Ruppert Jones
Let’s start with Al, who appears to have been presented with the world’s most confusing riddle at a most inopportune time. Hey Al, if one train leaves Los Angeles traveling 60 miles per hour and another train leaves New York at the same time traveling 45 miles per hour, how much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
The late, great Dave Henderson. Hendu. I spent many an evening swinging in the cages at his Ballyard growing up. What an institution in the Pacific Northwest, and what a great human being. He really was one of the class acts in all of baseball. We lost a great one with his untimely passing. In all his youthful glory, young Hendu was a hirsute specimen. Admire the ‘fro. Enjoy the Fu Manchu. Revel in the midst of the soul patch. Hendu was a god among men.
Then there’s Ruppert Jones. Ruuuuuuuuuupe, they called him. Unfortunately, he wasn’t so good with a razor in his hands. What the hell happened there? Did he give himself the half-Wolverine? Are those partial mutton chops? Was he going for the chic Revolutionary War look? Give the man credit, at least he owned whatever that was.
C – Kenji Johjima
He’s so happy. Jubilant, even. Like the photographer just told him the ice cream man was outside, it was Christmas morning, and there was a new puppy in the clubhouse that needed a home. Man, I wish I could be as cheerful as Kenji Johjima.
DH – Ken Phelps
This man right here is a true Seattleite.
A proud Ingraham Ram, Phelpsy looks like the kind of guy who can appreciate a Dick’s Deluxe, a stroll through Pike Place Market, and an ice cold Rainier Beer all on the same day. The steely blue eyes say it. The Magnum P.I. mustache says it. The trade that netted us Jay Buhner says it, too.
Kenny Phelps, you’re one of us.
RHP – Freddy Garcia
Freddy. What’s two plus six, plus eighty-five, minus four, divided by thirty, times forty-seven, minus the square root of eighty-four, times one-fourth, divided by eleven?
Guys, we lost Freddy.
LHP – Randy Johnson
As a kid, I always wondered about this photo as it stared down at me from the Kingdome’s DiamondVision.
First of all, why was Randy Johnson smiling? Randy never smiled. Randy was a stone cold killer, the type of scoundrel who pummeled catcher’s mitts with hundred-mile-an-hour fastballs and caused knock-kneed hitters to pee themselves as they tiptoed into the batter’s box. He once killed a bird mid-flight, and no one ever dared to charge the mound on Randy because all but certain death awaited just sixty-feet from home plate.
So why the grin now? What elicited such an emotion from this ruffian? Should we be worried? We should probably be worried.
Closer – Mike Schooler
Mike Schooler’s career really hit the fan after he removed the ornament that garnished his upper lip throughout the prime of his closing days.
On the bushiness spectrum, Schooler’s porn ‘stache ranged somewhere between a Dirty Sanchez and a Don Juan, paling in comparison to that of, say, Ken Phelps. But despite its relative lack of woolly luxuriance, Schooler’s face fuzz gave the hard-throwing right-hander some much needed character.
Around about 1991, Schooler busted out the Norelco and murdered his fine furry friend. Shortly thereafter, injuries took a toll and his talents succumbed to a balky throwing shoulder. No one can say for sure whether the shaving incident and the shoulder injury were related, but come on, they obviously were, duh.
By 1994, after just six seasons in the bigs, Schooler was out of baseball. According to his Wikipedia page, he transitioned to a career in physical education where he still remains today as a middle school gym teacher — not unlike another Seattle reliever, the fictional Kenny Powers.
Come to think of it, Schooler even looks a bit like Kenny Powers. Same curly mullet. Same physique. Same position. My god. Was Mike Schooler the inspiration for Eastbound and Down?