Which Mariners Legend was Better: Jay Buhner or Kyle Seager?
Looking at the history of the Seattle Mariners franchise, there are several prominent figures and stars who are among the best in the franchise’s history. Two of these such players are Jay Buhner and Kyle Seager. Both are very similar players within the history of the Mariners. Neither were the biggest stars on their teams or the best player on their teams, but they were certainly fan favorites. The question is, which was the better all-time Mariner?
The two are both certainly fan favorites. Both Kyle Seager and Jay Buhner appeared in the Top 10 of our SoDo Mojo Mariners-mas countdown of top 12 Mariners.
The closest similarity between these two is the number of games they played. Kyle Seager played in 1480 games in his 11-year career with the Mariners. Jay Buhner played in 1440 games in 14 years with Seattle. They are 4th and 5th in this category, and they are very similar in several others. Looking at their career totals in multiple statistical categories can help paint a picture of their careers with the Mariners.
- Kyle Seager: 1480
- Jay Buhner: 1440
- Kyle Seager: .251
- Jay Buhner: 255
On Base Percentage
- Seager: .321
- Buhner: .360
- Seager: .442
- Buhner: .497
- Seager: 36.9
- Buhner: 23.0
- Seager: 242
- Buhner: 307
- Seager: 309
- Buhner: 231
- Seager: 807
- Buhner: 951
Both players were incredible for the Mariners in their careers
Based on all of these simple numbers to compare, they are very close in stats for their careers. Jay Buhner led Seager in 5 of these categories, while Kyle Seager led in 3. Seager did have a wide margin of victory in the WAR category, but that is because he was a much better defender than Buhner ever was.
Both players did win one Gold Glove award each, both in the only year that they made the All-Star team. Both also had a few seasons that they finished in the top 20 of MVP voting. Buhner finished 5th in 1995 and then 17th and 19th the following two years. Seager finished 20th in 2014 when he was an All-Star and won his Gold Glove, and then finished 12th in 2016.
Both players had platform years where they were incredibly valuable and special players for the Seattle Mariners. Seager’s best year came in 2016, when he slashed .278/.359/.499 and hit 30 home runs, and drove in 99 runs. Buhner’s best year came in 1996 when he hit .271/.369/.557 and had 44 home runs and had 138 RBI. This came in the middle of a three-year run where he hit 40 plus home runs each year.
Overall, I would take Jay Buhner ahead of Kyle Seager, but it is extremely close. I just think that Buhner’s power numbers were so great compared to Seager, even though Seager was well ahead in career WAR. Seager’s defense is far and away better than Buhner’s, but they were both such great contributors. Seager is clearly the best third baseman in M’s history, but I would rank Buhner ahead of Seager on a list of all-time Mariners.