Friday, June 4, 2010


By: Jeff Stoss

A short letter from a local fan to one of the greatest that ever played, and a nostalgic voice representing a fandom of thousands.

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Dear Junior,

I just want to say thanks for all the memories and your stamp on the Seattle area. My friends and I tried to copy your swing and mannerisms every time we stepped up to the plate during recess pickup games. The plate tap, pushing the bat forward, the rhythmic shoulder twitch and the slight undercut swing of perfection. We could all only wish to capture the pure beauty that “the Kid” showed when he took a cut at a pitch. To this day, I still follow the same routine when playing softball games. Years have gone by, and I still cannot come close to mimicking that swing or achieving anywhere near the results you had over your twenty-two year career.

I remember classes coming to a halt when the Mariners were in the playoffs in the mid 1990’s. If a classroom didn’t have the television tuned to the game, the secretaries in the main office were on the intercom giving updates as major developments happened. No other sporting event ever caused the commotion that a Mariners’ playoff run created. Of all the memorable moments in the 90’s, none was bigger than Game 5 of the 1995 ALDS …

Down one run with Joey Cora on second and you on first, Edgar Martinez came up to the plate. He roped one down the left field line, plenty of room to score Cora from second, but a tie wasn’t all we desired. The Kingdome erupted as you rounded third heading home for the winning run. There was no play at the plate, which I found unbelievable as Edgar’s shot to left didn’t seem to have nearly enough to allow a run to score from first. You found that next gear and pushed harder than ever before to wrap up the series and knock out the Yankees. The Mariners’ first season in the playoffs was magical and although our run ended in the ALCS, it provided lasting memories for the entire region.

As 2010 began, I had a feeling this may be the last season we would get to watch you play. I was watching the opening day ceremony at Safeco, and was brought back to my childhood as you were back together again with Randy Johnson, Dan Wilson, Edgar Martinez and Jay Buhner. I was brought to tears and immediately reminisced about the old days. It was really only fitting that the last remaining, and most popular, player from those teams started his last year in the league that way. Although I would have rather seen you play a bigger role for the entire 2010 season, there are still plenty of memories to look back on. I would like to congratulate you on being the best athlete in Seattle sports history and a lock for a spot in Cooperstown. I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors and hope to see you in some sort of role with the M’s. Thanks again for everything.

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