Retiring a number is one of the greatest honors that can be bestowed upon a player. The Seattle Mariners have only done it for two players, retiring Ken Griffey Jr.’s No. 24 and Edgar Martinez’s No. 11. Oftentimes, teams won’t retire a number of an iconic player to their franchise, sometimes electing to just take it out of circulation. It’s what the M’s did with Jay Buhner’s No. 19 and what they should do with Kyle Seager’s No. 15.
Every fanbase has players that mean more to them than just stats and achievements and Seager is one of those players, the same way Buhner was.
With Kyle Seager retiring last week, the No. 15 should no longer be issued by the Mariners
No, his numbers don’t jump off the page. A .251/.321/.442 slash line with 242 home runs aren’t superstar stats. He made one All-Star game and won one Gold Glove. But part of Seager’s value to the city of Seattle was his longevity, his leadership, and his bright star in dark days.
Seager never played anywhere but Seattle. 11 years on a lot of bad baseball teams, never once reaching the playoffs. But during some of the dark years, Seager was often a bright spot. He always brought power, his defense was elite and he provided some great moments over the years.
The highlight play of James Paxton’s no-hitter, an extra-inning game-tying grand slam against the White Sox, walking off Houston in 2014, and of course, the iconic exchange with Angels pitcher Jered Weaver.
But watching the reaction of the Mariner players around him when he walked off the field in October tells you all you need to know. JP Crawford couldn’t find words in his postgame interview. Jarred Kelenic, who played exactly 93 games with Seager was overcome with emotion. Mitch Haniger, often noted for his lack of emotion was misty-eyed. He was the captain and the leader of the ragtag group of guys that nearly made that elusive playoff appearance. The chants of “Kyle Seager” from the fans showed exactly what they thought of him as well.
So quite frankly, it’s not a hard decision. As Seager hangs up the No. 15 jersey, the Mariners need to do so as well. For a franchise legend who gave it all to this city for 11 years.