There are just 19 days until the Seattle Mariners open their 2021 season. What better way to celebrate that than remembering the days of Jay Buhner? Buhner, also known by his nickname The Bone, is one of the best and longest-tenured Mariners in the history of the franchise. And he is remembered for other things than simply being a Seattle baseball player.
The Mariners trade for Jay Buhner
In one of the shrewdest movies in Seattle baseball history, in July of 1988, the Mariners moved the mediocre Ken Phelps to the New York Yankees for Buhner. Buhner was simply a prospect a the time but one with the potential to hit for tons of power. And Buhner did just that.
Buhner hit 307 home runs in his 14 seasons with Seattle, third-most in franchise history. Between 1995 and 1997, Buhner averaged 41 home runs a year and each of those three seasons hit 40 or more. He also drove in 109 runs or more between 1995 and 1997 and earned his only All-Star appearance in 1996 when Buhner had 44 home runs and 138 RBI.
But no one was more upset by the trade of Buhner from New York to Seattle than the fictional character Frank Costanza on an episode of Seinfeld. Costanza asked an actor playing Yankees owner George Steinbrenner if he knew what the heck he was doing by trading Buhner. Clearly, in real life, the real Steinbrenner did not and this worked out very well for the Mariners.
Jay Buhner’s career
Buhner’s Seattle numbers are impressive and definitely put him among the best to ever don a Mariners uniform. Besides ranking third in home runs, Buhner is fourth in games played (1,440), fifth in offensive WAR (31), sixth in slugging percentage (.497), third in RBI (951) and third in extra-base hits (557).
Buhner also played on every Mariners team that made the playoffs. Between 1995 and Buhner’s final season in 2001, Seattle made the playoffs four times and Buhner was a huge reason in at least three of those years. Buhner was inducted into the Mariners Hall of Fame in 2004.
Since Buhner left baseball he might be even better remembered by a younger generation for being the minority owner of NorthWest Motorsports, the largest truck center on the west coast and based in Puyallup, Washington, and being the voice of the business in their TV commercials.
I mean, if you are going to buy a truck in the Seattle area you might as well go to Northwest Motorsports. But you must remember while there to tell the staff that the Bone sent you.