Mariners #2 RF: Jay Buhner – 22.3 fWAR
Buhner Buzzcuts. For those that are old enough to remember, this was something that happened every year while Buhner was here, starting in 1994. Hundreds and then thousands of people would show up before the game to get their hair buzzed, Jay Buhner style, and go into the game. You’d have a boatload of fans, a lot of which would be situated in RF behind Buhner, all rocking the same buzz that The Bone was rocking. It actually had its own name… The Boneyard.
It just further cemented his place as an All-Timer with the Mariners. Kids (and adults) all over the state of Washington were shaving their heads. I know I rocked the shaved head for quite a long time, and it was all because of Buhner.
Oh, it helps that he was a darn good player too. At least at the plate. He wasn’t great in the field, and like Guillen and so many others, was out there because he had a rocket arm. 100 assists in his career, highlighted by 14, 14, 9, 11, 5, 10 from 91-96 with the Mariners.
Even though he wasn’t fast by any means, Buhner was still a decent base runner, only 9.0 runs below average throughout his entire career. For someone who only had 6 SB in his entire career, that’s actually a pretty good number.
What everyone always wants to talk about though, is the bat. Buhner was hitting home runs with the best of them for a while, 27, 25, 27, and then 21 in the shortened 1994 season. Coming into 1995, he became a true force alongside Griffey. He would hit 40, 44, and 40 from 95-97, driving in 121, 138, and 109 over that same time frame.
His WRC+ shows how good he was as well, going 127, 127, 132. It’s a shame for Buhner that 1994 was shortened, as he was having a great season. He was at .279/.394/.542 with a 138 WRC+ with 21 HR in just 101 games. He was also at a 2.5 fWAR. All in all, it ended up being a strong five-year run for Buhner once you throw 1993 in. He went 2.3, 2.5, 2.6, 3.7, 3.0 over that stretch, giving a wonderful outfield partner to The Kid in Center.
Buhner was a joy to have, and it would be cool to see someone take over in that underrated mold of Buhner and Seager.