The season is only six days away for Seattle Mariners fans, which means it’s time to take a look at everyone’s favorite backstop, Dan Wilson.
Okay, maybe he’s not everyone’s favorite, but he is definitely the best one that Seattle has had in their history, and he’s had some pretty good moments along the way as well. Like the time he ripped one to left-center and ended up with an inside the park Grand Slam.
Although Dan Wilson may not have been the greatest offensive catcher, he was solid enough that you always wanted him around the Seattle Mariners, especially when paired with that great defense.
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A career .262 hitter, he was always good enough at the plate, as a catcher, that he provided value to the team on both offense and defense. It’s a good combo, and while it wasn’t flashy, it provided the M’s with a good catcher who gave them 11 solid years as a starter, and one as a backup before retiring.
His best offensive seasons came during the M’s playoff stretch of 1995-1997. He hit over .270 in each season, and show a lot of power during 1996 and 1997. He made the all-star game for the first and only time in 1996, but you could argue he was more worthy to make it in 1997. It wasn’t just that he was a good hitting catcher during those two years… it’s that he was a good hitter. Period.
142 Games. .277/.328/.433. 16 HR, 78 RBI, 58 R, 4 SB, 28 2B. That was his average line over those two seasons. Yeah, the OBP wasn’t great, but everything else was. Including his arm, as he turned in his two best seasons in catching would-be thieves. With a league average of 30% and 33% in 1996 and 1997, Wilson caught them at a rate of 39% and 43%, good enough for the top four each year. Sort of tough when you’re chasing Ivan Rodriguez though. No one threw guys out like Pudge.
The defense was the calling card for Dan Wilson. In all 12 seasons he played for the M’s, he recorded a positive dWAR in each of them, finishing with 11.1 over his career. That puts him in the top 45 of defensive catchers all-time via dWAR. Pretty impressive if you ask me.
There are just six days until Mariners Opening Day and the start of a new season, and every pitcher knows how important it is to have a good defensive catcher. That’s why we should all be thankful for Dan Wilson.