First Mariner Who Was Younger than You
Scott Bankhead lives on, baby


At Ax Bill, they sez


Hey Bill, Jose Rijo was the first player younger than me to play in the majors ,and Jamie Moyer was the last older than me. Do you know who you're two were ?
Asked by: tbookas
Answered: 8/7/2015
Oscar Gamble and Charlie Hough, I believe.


The first 'significant' part-time Mariner younger than me was Edwin Nunez in 1983.  So from 1977-1982 I was a kid looking up at the men playing baseball in the Kingdome.  Then Nunez arrived, and it was downhill on a motor scooter.  On a whale of a lot of levels.

The M's first two rookie stars were Alvin Davis and Mark Langston, who arrived together in 1984 like Jim Rice and Fred Lynn.  Like Ruth and Gehrig.  Like Aaron and Mathews.  (Cindy and I were in the Kingdom the day Alvin was called up on a lark, and used that half-swing to swat a pitch into the third deck.  "His head is bigger than the infield," Cindy kinda snarked as Mr. Mariner trotted around the bases.

But 1984-1990 did not feature a string of Red Sox-like pennant races.  By 1986 the M's had slashed their loss total to 95 per season, though by 1992 they had regressed at 98 losses per season.  Well, it was still only 15 years out of expansion.  These things take time.

By 1986 the M's had a starting ballplayer almost precisely my age, a few weeks older:  Danny Tartabull.  He slugged .489 that year en route to 10 years as a big-time cleanup hitter ... in Kansas City.  The M's thought that Tartabull was too big for his britches, too high-maintenance, and they swapped him for Scott Bankhead.  THE Scott Bankhead.  Anyway, it was clear that Dr. D was not a teenager any more.  The Mariners were beginning to deploy players of Dr. D's age.

In 1987 the Mariners finally deployed two players that Dr. D looked 'down' at:  shortstop Rey Quinones and the immortal Scott Bankhead.  So that's the answer to the question TBookas asked Bill.  Quinones and Bankhead 1987, that was the moment that Dr. D crested the hill of youth and began to glide down the path towards death and Sheol.

:: winning Anthony Hopkins grin ::  No Mariners quips, please.  But Dr. D would be interested in hearing about your own fave Mariner 'junior'.


IceX, super-poster from Japan, sez,


Is there any medicalish knowledge that could be shined on our current scenario of young guns? - See more at:


You guys know as much as Dr. D does.  It reminds of an old-fogey 1920's grandmaster who started losing to the next generation.  Once he started losing, he rolled off the top of the table real quick and was out of chess.  "What can I do?," he wailed.  "They read my book!"

There are like 7 major variables you use to pronounce pitchers healthy from behind your monitor.  SSI used them to great effect when it demanded the Mariners draft Tim Lincecum.  We'll cheer you up by listing the first two ...

First of all, Lincecum was a great bet because --- > he could throw 140 pitches and then enjoy a friendly game of 400-foot long toss the next day.  James Paxton, as you've noticed, throws 110-120 pitches and they come to get him and he looks at them quizzically, like, "What are you doing on the mound?  Am I tipping my curve ball?"  ... that's an actual outcome.  You can visibly watch James Paxton throw tons of pitches with great ease.

Second:  Bill James proved, a long time ago, that the more K's a pitcher has, and the harder he throws, the better a bet he is to stay healthy.  That's *BET* you moron!  Here's a Hey Bill from just last week, echo'ing what he's been saying for 30 years:


Hey, Bill, why don't you like groundball pitchers?
Asked by: flyingfish
Answered: 8/3/2015
There just aren't very many good ones. Most GOOD pitchers are Randy Johnson/Roger Clemens guys who throw high fastballs as their bread and butter, or else they are Move the Ball Up and Down and In and Out guys like Maddux, Kershaw, Greinke, etc. who mix their pitches up. There are very few guys who try to live on the Ground Ball and are actually good at it. . .about one a generation. Kevin Brown was really good, Tommie John late in his career, Roy Halladay.
Brandon Webb was going to be the next great groundball pitcher, but sadly, his career ended far too soon. 
Asked by: Adam
Answered: 8/4/2015
They always do. That's part of the problem with ground ball pitchers; the good ones almost always get hurt after a couple of good years. Randy Jones was going to be great, but then he got hurt. Wayne Garland was going to be great, but then he got hurt. Scott Erickson was going to be great, but then he got hurt. Mark Fidrych was going to be great, but then he got hurt. Rick Langford was going to be great, but then he got hurt. Chien-Ming Wang was going to be tremendously sensationally great, but then he got hurt. They all get hurt. . .not literally ALL of them; Derek Lowe was great one year and pretty good for a long time, Halladay, Kevin Brown. Mostly they just get hurt.


The basic idea is that Erasmo Ramirez has to go all-out on his fastball at all times.  Whereas James Paxton fires the ball easily, with joy, and with a couple of MPH still in the tank.  Max Scherzer has commented on this, that he always (in the 8th inning) has "bullets" in reserve.  A 90 MPH pitcher is throwing "bullets" every pitch.

So despite Taijuan's pinchy shoulder (since relieved some) and despite Paxton's short-rib muscle or whatever, I'll take them 100 years before I'll take Mike Montgomery.

By the way, Erasmo is 8-4, 3.83 with a 7.1 / 2.6 / 0.8 ratio in Tampa.   The ratio is most comparable to (2013-15) Michael Wacha, Jake Peavy, Ervin Santana, and Chris Archer.   Thanks Lloyd, Jack.  Really appreciate the little grudge sagas.  Roenis Elias is next, we presume?

By the way Ice!  You haven't given us a prospective on Hisashi Iwakuma recently.  At this moment in time, you expect how much more pitching of him?


You guys have all seen Carter Capps' hop-step and throw from the front of the mound?  LOLOL!  Go to the 1:40 mark on the video.  His 99 MPH fastballs are effectively 105 MPH now and he's striking out 16.8 men per game.  (Of course, all pitchers release the ball with their back foot DRAGGED off the rubber a good ways -- Chris Young especially -- but Capps adds the hop.)

Bill James has a great article up now, behind the paywall, one of his lightest and most entertaining.


Looks like Jesus Montero is hitting #5 tonight?  Go baby :- )  The Mariners have had five good players this year:  the stars, and the Logo, and Seth Smith.  Montero could make it 6, taking the whole idea into 2016.  Six good position players is a lot, especially by Mariner standards.

Playoff odds right now, according to Baseball Prospectus, are 2%.  Talk about generous.  ... no, actually, those are the odds if we're playing Strat-O-Matic.  Real teams get hot, so any given tailender has better chances than the computer 'thinks.'  


Dr D




Never heard of one of them!  Never!!

The first M to be younger than me (Birthdate: Oct. 14, '57) was some pitcher guy named Rafael Vasquez in 1979.  He was born on June 28th, '58, and appeared in a total of 9 games in April and May of '79.  That was his total MLB experience.  He was sent down and never came up again, for any team.  But he left the game with a 1-0 record, 16 innings and an ERA of 5.06.  Rafael, we hardly knew ye!

The last M to be older than me was lefty Tony Fossas in 1998.  He was born on Sept. 23rd, '57.  He cae out of spring training with them M's in '98, appeared in 23 games, the last one on June 1st, then was released on June 10th.  He played with the Cubs and Rangers that year, and pitched in 5 games with the yankees the next.  He was 0-3 with the M's, with an ERA of 8.74 in 11.1 inninigs (a loogy).  No wonder he was released.  He had some decent loogy years, actually.  And I remember his name.  He appeared in 567 MLB games.

That's it for me.  


On July 31 of 2004 the Mariners debuted infielder Jose Celestino Lopez, who (born Nov 24 of 1983) was the first Mariner player younger than I (born Nov 16, 1982). Rene Rivera (Jul 31, 1983) would also come up in September of that year - but too late for this magnificently memorable milestone to apply.

Travis Blackley (Nov 4, 1982) debuted on July 1st, and would have beat out Lopez by nearly a month but unfortunately for him (maybe?) he is just barely 12 days older than I am.

Of course, in 2005... one Felix Hernandez was called up on August 4th, and he (born April 8 of 1986) was younger than my younger BROTHER (born January 29 also in 1986). So much for the old milestone! I'd say Felix was the first player I consciously 'looked down on' (hah), though Lopez was really the first true regular in that position for me.

There are still plenty of Mariners older than me, so I'll have to look forward to that statistic another year (maybe another decade?). I consider myself still in my baseball prime at 32. =)


Born Dec. 1981 so it was forgettable players Jose Lopez and Renee Rivera in 2003.  Not cool.  But,  I learned through this exercise that I was born a few days apart from Chris "Yoda" Snelling.  Very cool.


Here we talk about a pitcher's need for balance, and rock-steady eyes, through the accel and release.  And then Capps just decides he's going to bounce at the critical moment.

Then again, here he is on the DL, so...

Brent's picture

Thanks, Moe. You did all the research for me. I'm two weeks and a day older than you, and the two players you mentioned fit the bill for me as well.


The first M's younger than me were Mike Hampton and Marc Newfield for their cups o' coffee with the M's before being traded.  The last Mariner older than me was Ken Griffey Jr.


Actually I didn't get the "last Mariner older" thing.  They're all older than me if born before '63 ...oh.  Active Mariner older than you, setting the boundary for whether you could dream about playing yourself.  :: sheepish ::

Moyer's my age to within a week or two, so can I count him? 


I believe the first player to be younger than me and get significant playing time was Jose Lopez.  (birthdate 10/16/81...anyone want to check me on that)?

I still haven't hit the last to be older period.

EDIT: NOPE!  I forgot about Blackley  He beats the Joser.


Don't know how I missed this thread originally. Love it!

First players younger than me: pitcher David Clyde (1973 Texas Rangers, at age 18, less than a month younger than me). I well remember the hubbub over Clyde debuting at age 18. The next year, when I was 19, Robin Yount debuted for the Brewers and he was younger than me by almost six months. (I can punch it up on B-Ref. Pull up a season and select New Debuts, and look at the Birth Date field.)

The last players older than me: When I was 43 in 1998, both Dennis Martinez and Dennis Eckersley pitched their final seasons. Both were born in 1954 and therefore older than me. (B-Ref, look at season MLB Batting Record, uncheck "Hide non-qualifying players," then sort by age descending. Confirm by checking retirements and birthdates of individual players if necessary.)


Daddy,  You've made my day.

I nearly mentioned both Clyde and Yount in my response.  Was going to allude to them as very young guys when I was just a little younger (couple of years) than they were.  I vividly remember all the David Clyde hype.  I read years later that Clyde really was a one-trick pony:  He could throw it really hard.  Beyond that, he didn't have too much.  Somewehre I read a scout describing him (after the fact) as being an atrocious athlete.  I always thought that was an interesting remark.  

Yount was my favorite player for quite a while.  His youth surely had someting to do with that.  After a short season in A- ball as a 17 year old, he was an everyday MLB SS at age 18.  In '82-'83 it was easy to argue that he was the best player in the game.  10.5 WAR in '82, btw.  Sheeeeesh....He led the league in Slugging that year (and in total bases, 2B's and OPS+) AND AND AND he won the Gold Glove at SS.  Holy smokes....

As a SS, Ernie Banks led the league in '58 in Slugging and HR's....but he didn't get a GG.  

Mays led the league in Slug. AND won the CF GG 3 times. In '65, when he did it, he had a WAR of 11.2.  

Schmidt did it 4 times at 3B.  Now that's pretty impressive...but his WAR topped out at 8,8 in those years.....

Ripken slugged .566 in '91 (his career year), but it didn't lead the league.  He did get the MVP AND GG that year, however.  His WAR was 11.5 that year.

In '70 and '72, Bench led the league in HR's, won the MVP and the GG...but didn't lead in Slg.  Catcher WAR is too weird to trust (as is all WAR, really).  The greatest catcher in history, in his best batting year ('72) also threw out 56% of would-be base stealers (also leading the league) but only got 8.8 WAR.  Come again?

In '62 Mantle led the leage in SLg., OPS, OPS+ OBP (.486!) and won the MVP & GG.  He led the league in Slg and HR's 4 times, but that was his only GG.  In '56 and '57, when he didn't win a GG, Mantle was worth 11.2 and 11.3 WAR

Joe Morgan, in '76 won both the MVP and GG as well as leading the league in Slg. and OPS+.  He had a 10.9 WAR that year.

So in terms of up-the-middle defense AND slugging....Yount's '82 was one of the greatest in hihstory.

Clyde did not lead the league in WAR, to the best of my recollection!  :)

Good stuff...thanks for the memories...


You bet, moe. Most welcome. And thanks for your rehearsal of some great players. As your post makes clear, WAR is AN ATTEMPT to capture total player contribution, but not necessarily a COMPLETELY ACCURATE AND BALANCED attempt.

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