Mariners Editorials: My Favorite Unsung M’s Heroes
May 18, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Seattle Mariners third baseman Willie Bloomquist (8) in the dugout at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Number 5: Willie Bloomquist
A lot of people are fans of Willie Bloomquist. I was a fan of his the first time around (2002-2008) and I was a fan of his the second time around (2014-15). I’m disappointed Willie couldn’t make it stick in Seattle this year (he was DFA’d earlier this season), but I, like so many others, loved his hustle and defensive versatility.
Bloomquist could play every position on the field and could do so adequately. He could run, and he could hit well enough (until this year) to keep him in the big leagues.
When I was 10-years-old and made my first all-star team, I asked for No. 24 for Junior, and then for my backup choice, I gave No. 16 because I needed simply to say something. That was 2000. I ended up getting No. 16 and it stuck with me throughout my life. So when Willie became a Mariner in 2002, I had a No. 16 in an M’s uniform to look up to and relate to.
And that’s another part of what made Willie a favorite of mine, he was relatable. He didn’t have great power, a great arm, or blazing speed. He looked and the played the game just like I did: hard. And in the end, that may be the best compliment of all.
For performance sake, Bloomquist did own a career .259 batting average in a Mariners uniform. He stole 70 bases across parts of nine seasons. He even hit seven home runs. I’ll miss Willie Bloomquist hustling around the field.
I’ll also remember the game forever where Willie Bloomquist was part of an extra-innings Mariners win that involved the M’s winning on a walk-off balk against the A’s. I don’t remember the year, or the A’s pitcher, but I remember Bloomquist was there.
Next: Number 4: Jason Vargas