On the 10th day of Mariners-mas, the baseball gods gave to me, a catcher with the highest dWAR in team history. We continue on with our 12 days of Mariners-mas by taking a look at the greatest catcher to ever don the gear for the Mariners, Dan Wilson.
As we went through this, I need to provide you with a little bit of insight/behind-the-scenes knowledge of what happened. The three of us (Connor, Andrew, and I) were discussing who made the list, who went where, and at one point someone asked if Wilson was going to make the top 12. I had to stop whoever it was and let them know that if he wasn’t in there, I was going to fight someone.
Not actually, but I was gonna take expert privileges and just put him on the list anyway. Shhh. Don’t tell them that. You can’t have this list without including Dan Wilson on it. He is the 44th best defensive catcher of all time! For a while, it seemed like it was he and Pudge that were the best defensive catchers in baseball in the 90s.
Dan Wilson comes in at number 10 on our Mariners-mas list, and you cannot persuade me otherwise
Maybe that was just 10-year-old me that felt that way, but there were kernels of truth to it. To be 44th all-time in anything in baseball is quite the accomplishment. It would be in any sport, but for one that spans three centuries, it’s incredible. Wilson was a great defensive catcher, has a pretty good arm, and did a great job managing the staff. Figuring out how to catch Randy Johnson and Jamie Moyer on the same staff is an accomplishment in itself.
There are a few things that stand out to me with Wilson. He just seemed like a nice, good, likable guy. Someone you would want to watch as a kid and that you would want your own kids to watch. He also had some odd stretch where he was the only one who could drive in runners in scoring position for the Mariners over a couple of weeks. Like, the team was 3-45 or something, and he was the 3. I remember seeing it on the paper as a kid, and it’s always stuck with me.
Then, there was the Grand Slam. Better yet, it was an inside-the-park Grand Slam. Why was this so important? I was there for it, for my dad’s birthday back on May 3rd, against the Detroit Tigers in 1998. Those are just the things that stick with you for life. Who you were with, where you were at. Shoot, I can close my eyes and see it in my head still. I can see him rounding third base.
Does it instantly make him one of the best Mariners ever? Maybe not. He was around for a long time, was a staple to the team through their most successful stretch in history, and was actually a darn good player. He was the starter from 94-04, and to keep the catcher position as a starter for over a decade is a great feat.
Look, for position players, he’s actually 17th in WAR and 26th overall. He was also the greatest defensive player, by dWAR, that the Mariners have had. That means something to me. The combination of catching skill, longevity, stability, and memorable moments stands out above just the numbers.
Do you want to argue with me? Fine. This is going to be one of the cases where it’s like arguing with a child, though. I’m set in what I think, I don’t really care what you have to say, and I’m not actually going to listen. Dan Wilson is the 10th greatest Mariners player of all time. Happy Mariners-mas!