Seattle Mariners Unsung Heroes: Charles Gipson
By Ty Gonzalez
We begin our look at some popular, yet unheralded Seattle Mariners with a role player that transitioned from one golden era of baseball in the Emerald City to another.
Many will look back on Mariners baseball in the ’90s and early 2000s and remember some of the organization’s finest players. From the superstardom of players such as Ken Griffey Jr. and Ichiro Suzuki to fan-favorites like Rich Amaral and Mark McLemore, but dig even deeper and you’ll continue to find quality ball players that contributed to some of the best baseball ever played in Seattle.
That’s where you’ll find Charles Gipson, whose ability to play nearly every position at an average or better level kept him in professional baseball for eight seasons, even though he finished his career as one of the few rare players to have logged more games played (373) than plate appearances (366).
Gipson may not have been a prominent figure in the Mariners’ rise to glory, but definitely had his fair share of memorable moments. He most famously secured Seattle’s 104th win of the 2001 season with a game-ending diving catch to rob Anaheim’s Tim Salmon of an extra-base hit that would have scored multiple runs and brought the Angels back into a 5-1 game.
Author Derek Zumsteg reflected on a moment from the 2002 season in his book The Cheater’s Guide to Baseball in which Gipson fell into the right field stands after trying—and failing—to catch a foul ball. Before Gipson got up, Mariners fans attempted to fool the first base umpire into calling an out by placing the ball in Gipson’s glove; however, the umpire noticed the trick and ruled the no-catch.
It’s stories like these that add to the charm of a team. Stories that display the camaraderie between player and fan, showing that a team goes beyond its roster and staff. Stories of players that didn’t hold the star power of some of their teammates, but laid everything out on the line to help their team win.
Fans will always hold dear the unforgettable memories brought to them by the organization’s legends, but players like Charles Gipson deserve to be recognized for their contributions that unfortunately slip through the cracks. We hope you’ll continue to help us acknowledge these players until baseball returns, where we anticipate to add a few more names to this list.