Jack Wilson will wear No. 9, which has a uniquely checkered history in Mariners’ lore. (By the way, he’s the fourth Wilson to play for Seattle, following Dan, Glenn and the ever-popular Jim. </strong Make that the fifth Wilson. As RodO points out, I forgot Josh, who was with the M’s as recently as eight days ago. Maybe that’s because I never actually saw him play. And if you really want to get technical, there’s Wilson Valdez, who played 42 games at shortstop in 2005, I don’t count Wilson Delgado, who played in their farm system until getting traded, along with Shawn Estes, for Salomon Torres. )
On the plus side, the number 9 was first worn by Ruppert Jones, (1977-79) the first breakout star in club history (he didn’t break far, but he broke).
It was worn by coach Bill Mazeroski (1980), who would later be inducted into the Hall of Fame (but not for his work with the 59-103 M’s of 1980, managed by Darrell Johnson and Maury Wills. )
It was worn by Luis Sojo (1994-96), who has a treasured spot in Mariner lore (“Everybody scores!”).
It was worn by Barry Bonnell (1984-86), who was very nice to me when I was a rookie reporter for the Bellevue Journal-American in 1986.
It was worn by Scott Bradley (1986-91), who is now baseball coach at Princeton. One of his brothers, Bob, is head coach of the U.S. soccer team. Another of his brothers, Jeff, is a sportswriter for ESPN The Magazine.
It was worn by Jeff Cirillo (2002, pictured above), who was supposed to be the final piece that turned the 116-win team of 2001 into a World Series champion. He wasn’t. Cirillo later switched to No. 7. It didn’t help.
It was worn by Bill Plummer,(as coach in 1982-83, and as manager in 1992), who has the distinction of creating an opening for Lou Piniella by getting fired after one 98-loss season as skipper.
It was worn by Pete O’Brien (1993), whose production numbers after signing a big (for the time) free agent contract don’t look nearly so bad when compared with other free agent flops that followed.
It was worn by Terry Bulling (1981), a catcher about whom I don’t know enough to make a comment, witty or otherwise.
It was worn by Brent Gates (1997), who once said to an Oakland teammate when Dennis Eckersley was on the verge of reaching a historic saves milestone, “Do you think they’ll stop the game to honor Eck when he gets the save?”
It was worn by Jeff Huson (1998), who had the distinction of playing in Nolan Ryan’s seventh career no-hitter and Cal Ripken Jr.’s 2,131st consecutive game.
It was worn by catcher Joe Oliver (1998, 2000), who was Pat Borders when Pat Borders wasn’t cool.
It was worn by Eugene Kingsale (2001), the answer to the trivia question: Who is the best player from Aruba in Mariners’ history?
It was worn by Quinton McCracken (2004-05), who was brought in by manager Bob Melvin to give the Mariners some pop off the bench, only Melvin never used him.
It was worn by Mike Aldrete, one of Melvin’s coaches in 2004, who went to Stanford — but at least his brother, Rich Aldrete, who never made it out of the minor leagues, had the good sense to go to Cal.
It was worn by Ron Hassey, one of Mike Hargrove’s coaches in 2005, who once incurred the wrath of Ichiro by sitting on some of his equipment in the Fenway Park dugout (true story). In a perhaps related development, Hassey was fired in September of ’06..
It was worn by Jason Ellison (2007), who went to high school with Willie Bloomquist at South Kitsap and wound up living with the Bloomquist family in Port Orchard his senior year.
And it was worn by Jeff Clement (2007-09), who did not live up to the promise that led the Mariners to draft him No. 3 overall in 2005 — ahead of Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Braun, Ricky Romero, Troy Tulowitzki, Andrew McCutcheon, Jay Bruce, Jacoby Ellsbury and Colby Rasmus, among others.
Now it’s being worn by Jack Wilson. We’ll see what he can add to No. 9’s storied Seattle legacy.