Washington State is not known as a hotbed for producing Major League talent. 219 players born in the state of Washington have played at least one game in the Majors. Hall of Famers include Ron Santo, Ryne Sandberg and Earl Averill. But none of those guys played for the Seattle Mariners. Today, i want to give some love to Willie Bloomquist..
Willie Bloomquist was born in Bremerton, Washington back in 1977. He graduated from South Kitsap High School in 1996. As a Junior, he quarterbacked the Wolves to a AAA State Championship. Willie was drafted right out of high school in the eighth round by the Mariners, but decided on going to College at Arizona State University. in the 1999 MLB draft, Willie was again selected by the Seattle Mariners. This time, he was selected in the third round.
Willie made his Major League debut in towards the end of the 2002 season. He would go on to play 7 seasons for the Mariners before a 2 year stent back with the team to end his career. In between, He spent time with the Kansas City Royals, Cincinnati Reds and the Arizona Diamondbacks. He played every position on the field in his career except catcher and pitcher. Instead of retiring and sitting in the rocking chair, Willie became the head baseball coach at his alma-mater, Arizona State University in 2021.
Bloomquist is a local legend. Port Orchard, where he went to high school, is about a 1 hour ferry ride away from downtown Seattle. I was born and raised in the Port Orchard area myself, graduating from the same high school in 2010. I remember Willie coming to the school quite often during his playing days. Other notible players from South Kitsap High School include Jason Ellison ans Sean Spencer (who both played for the Mariners), Aaron Cunningham and Jason Hammel.
He was the ultimate utility player. He was Dylan Moore or Sam Haggerty while they were still in little league. Willie remains one of my favorite Mariners players of all time. I for one am glad he finished his playing career in Seattle. He started his baseball career here, and he finished his playing career here. Who knows? Maybe one day he will be coaching here.