Seattle Mariners Throwback Thursday: Jay Buhner

Seattle Mariners OF Jay Buhner is greeted by his teammates after hitting a home-run. AFP PHOTO/Dan Levine (Photo by DAN LEVINE / AFP) (Photo by DAN LEVINE/AFP via Getty Images)
Seattle Mariners OF Jay Buhner is greeted by his teammates after hitting a home-run. AFP PHOTO/Dan Levine (Photo by DAN LEVINE / AFP) (Photo by DAN LEVINE/AFP via Getty Images) /
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Jay Buhner is greeted by Mariners teammates.
Seattle Mariners OF Jay Buhner is greeted by his teammates after hitting a home-run. AFP PHOTO/Dan Levine (Photo by DAN LEVINE / AFP) (Photo by DAN LEVINE/AFP via Getty Images) /

“What the hell did you trade Jay Buhner for? He had 30 home runs, and over 100 RBIs last year. He’s got a rocket for an arm. You don’t know what the h*** you’re doin’!”

Oh, Frank Costanza. A voice of comfort for all Seattle Mariners fans, especially when it comes to the Bone, Jay Buhner.

Jay Buhner came to the Mariners pretty early, being traded to the team in 1988, the same year I was born. He was already a fixture on the team when I was old enough to pay attention and had just started coming into his own.

Jay Buhner is a worthy look when it comes to Throwback Thursday’s, and is this week’s selection for the Seattle Mariners.

More from Seattle Mariners History

Left Field has long been a bugaboo for the team and gets more rotation than a subway turnstile. Thanks to Jay Buhner, we never had to worry about that in right field.

In fact, he is one of the longest-tenured Mariners in team history, sitting only behind Ken Griffey Jr., Edgar Martinez, and Ichiro Suzuki in games played. With him and The Kid next to each other, it made fans feel a little better knowing, day in and day out, you would see them next to each other throughout the greater part of the ’90s.

You could see the signs during his first 2.5 years on the team as the fourth outfielder. 22 assists in 197 games, a batting average in the high 250’s, and the potential for 25 homers a season.

Starting in 1991, he would get his opportunity. Three things stood out right away. The guy had pop, an arm, and a big shiny head. He would hit 27 homers in just 137 games while tallying 15 assists. He was an exciting guy to watch, even if he seemed to watch countless 3-0 fastballs down the middle, strike out a little too often, and didn’t cover a ton of ground.

Fitting into the common theme of pre-sabermetrics, his bat and arm made him into quite the player in the eyes of many. He would be the main starter in right field for seven years, from 91-97, and put together stats that looked great on the surface. Check out his averages, which dipped a bit due to the strike in 1994.

140 games, 32 HR, 99 RBI, 85 R, 22 2B, and a slash line of .259/.363/.507. Plus he threw out 10 guys per year. Pretty great, right?

I feel that Buhner would be looked down on a bit if he played now, in large part to the defense. Yeah, he threw out a bunch of people, but he still managed a combined -10.6 dWAR over that time, even though he won a Gold Glove in 1996.

This is the ’90s though. Tons of outfielders were like that.

Buhner ended up being a huge part of the Mariners playoff run from 95-97, receiving MVP votes each year, highlighted by a fifth-place finish in 1995, when he had a 40 HR and 121 RBI season.

The Bone also meant a ton to the community. For years, Buhner would give buzzcuts to anyone who showed up to do it, and they would get free admission into the game to sit in right field and watch him play.

He was involved in some pretty great commercials as well. There were two that always stood out to me. The Eagle Hardware and Garden one, and even better, when he shines up the dome to blind batters at the plate.

When all was said and done, Jay Buhner was one of the better things to happen to the Seattle Mariners in the ’90s. He may not have been the greatest fielder, but he sure was fun to watch.

Next. Mariners Throwback Thursday: Tino Martinez. dark

Go ahead and tell people about this week’s Throwback Thursday player. “Tell um The Bone sent ya.”

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