Forgotten Mariners Friday: First Baseman Bryan LaHair
By Connor Tweet
In the 39th round of the 2002 MLB Amateur Draft, the Seattle Mariners selected 6’5″, 245 lb. first baseman Bryan LaHair out of little-known St. Petersburg College. A transfer from Clemson, LaHair shined at St. Pete’s, but his positional limitations and a lack of scouting prioritization in the Suncoast Conference caused him to slip in the draft.
Bryan LaHair spent six years in the Minors, highlighted by a .309 BA, 16 HR, 74 RBI performance between AA and AAA in 2006, before finally being called up to the Mariners in July 2008. LaHair struggled through his first three games at the major league level, but then raced to a six-game hitting streak and held a 1.048 OPS through his first 24 at-bats.
Known primarily for his power, LaHair only ended up hitting three home runs in 45 games during the 2008 season, and his final OPS for the season dropped to a measly .661. He played well at AAA Tacoma in 2009 (blasting 26 home runs with 85 RBIs), but his time with the M’s came to an end after the season, and he signed a minor league contract with the Cubs.
Though his time in Seattle was insignificant, LaHair, to the chagrin of Mariners fans, ended up making the National League All-Star team in 2012 as a member of the Cubs. LaHair was stroking .284 with 13 home runs and 28 RBIs at that year’s All-Star break, but stud prospect Anthony Rizzo earned a call-up and LaHair was moved to a corner outfield/pinch hitter role.
It’s not often you see an All-Star leave MLB the following season, but Bryan LaHair opted to sign with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks after the 2012 season. He would eventually see time on the Spring Training rosters of the Red Sox and Indians after his time in Fukuoka, but was never able to return to a major league field.