The Seattle Mariners currently have nine members in its Hall of Fame. The most recent inductee was Jamie Moyer back in 2015. The Seattle Mariners will be adding a couple more obvious players like Ichiro and Felix Hernandez in the future. Well, why not add Hisashi Iwakuma into that group?
Hisashi Iwakuma was one of the most underrated Seattle Mariners players, to say the least. It is not really anyone’s fault… that’s just the way it was. When you join the Mariners while Felix Hernandez is in his prime, that is inevitable.
Hisashi Iwakuma didn’t have the longest career in Seattle compared to some of the other Mariners HOF members, but that shouldn’t be the deciding factor.
Hisashi Iwakuma’s Seattle Mariners career
When you take a look back, he had an impressive career despite only pitching six seasons in the MLB, all for Seattle. Iwakuma pitched 883.2 innings for the Mariners finishing with a 63-39 record.
He posted an impressive 3.42 ERA and kept his WHIP low at 1.143. Iwakuma also holds a career 111 ERA+ and 3.86 FIP. And some of his numbers are at the top of the Mariners’ records.
His ERA with the Mariners is tied in first place alongside Felix Hernandez, Randy Johnson (Mariners HOFer), and James Paxton. Iwakuma is also 7th in WAR, 7th in wins, 4th in win-loss %, 1st in WHIP, 5th in hits per nine innings, 1st in walks per nine innings, 5th in strikeouts per nine innings, and 6th in FIP.
Additionally, Iwakuma threw the fifth no-hitter in Seattle Mariners history in 2015. That made him the second Japanese-born pitcher to throw a no-no in MLB history.
With that all being said, Hisashi Iwakuma has the statistics to be a Seattle Mariners HOFer, no doubt.
Other factors that increase Hisashi Iwakuma’s chances of being a Seattle Mariners HOFer
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The main criteria for Mariners HOF players is the statistical record created, which Iwakuma has, but they will also take other things into consideration.
The Board of Directors of Baseball of Seattle, Inc. also looks at the player’s statistics before or after their career in Seattle, their positive impact on the pacific northwest off the field, and the positive impact in enhancing Seattle Mariners baseball or Major League Baseball.
I honestly do not know enough about Hisashi Iwakuma’s philanthropical career so I cannot really speak to the first point, but what I do know is that he was one of the fan favorites.
It all began with his nickname “Kuma” which translates to bear in Japanese. From there, the Seattle Mariners used it as a marketing tool and created the bear hat in celebration of Iwakuma. His nickname has stuck ever since.
Iwakuma also logged 1,541 innings in Japan with a 3.25 ERA across 11 seasons.
This analysis also comes at a great time because Hisashi Iwakuma recently joined the Mariners staff as a Special Assignment Coach after ending his playing career in Japan a couple of months ago. He will report directly to the Executive VP and GM of Baseball Operations Jerry Dipoto.
His return to the organization should say a little about Iwakuma’s career, his character, and his impact on Mariners baseball. Now that he is back as a coach, this should even better his chances of making the Seattle Mariners HOF.
Hisashi Iwakuma has to be a Mariners HOF. If not, I would be very disappointed.