On the 6th day of Mariners-mas, the New York Yankees traded a young ballplayer to the Seattle Mariners who would eventually hit 310 major league home runs, and in return, they received a 33-year-old first baseman who they would end up trading away a year later. That’s right, folks, I’m talking about the greatest trade in Mariners history: Ken Phelps for Jay Buhner.
Jay Buhner, cemented in Mariners lore as ‘The Bone’, put together one of the best careers as a Seattle Mariner that we’ve ever seen. Buhner posted a .255/.360/.497 career slash line as a Mariner, with 307 home runs, 951 RBIs, and 125 OPS+ (where 100 is the league average); his home run and RBI total are both 3rd all-time among Mariners, behind Ken Griffey Jr. and Edgar Martinez and ahead of Kyle Seager.
A major factor in Buhner’s high ranking on our list is the important roles he played on some of the most successful teams in Mariners history: the legendary 1995 AL West and ALDS champions, the 1997 AL West champions, the 2000 AL Wild Card and ALDS champions, and the 2001 AL West and ALDS champions who won a historic 116 games.
Jay Buhner was adored by Mariners fans, was nearly a career player in Seattle, and was one of the most statistically prolific players in team history.
SoDo Mojo contributor Derek Richwine wrote a “Throwback Thursday” piece on Jay Buhner in recent weeks; instead of regurgitating his words, I encourage you to check out his article to get a feel of the impact Buhner made on baseball in Seattle, as well as some of the great highlights of his career. Most notably, Buhner was the first Mariner to hit for the cycle, he hit two home runs in the same game during the 1995 ALCS, and he ended his career on a high note with a massive blast in the 2001 ALDS.
All that’s left is the Top-5: keep an eye on SoDo Mojo over the next five days as we wrap up the 12 Days of Mariners-mas!