Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Bret Boone brings baseball history to RAP

The date is August 19th 1992. Stepping onto the infield dirt of Baltimore’s Camden Yard, Bret Boone became part of Major League Baseball history. The Boone’s became the first three-generation family of baseball that day - Bret, his father Bob Boone, and his Grandfather Ray Boone had all started a game in the bigs. Only two other families can boast this amazing feat of genetics – the Bell’s (Gus, Buddy, David) did it three years later, and the Hairston’s (Sammy, Jerry, and Jerry Jr.) did it in 2000. As a footnote to the accomplishment, all three of the third generation boys have younger siblings who also made it to MLB - Bret’s brother Aaron, David Bell’s brother Mike, and Jerry Jr’s brother Scott.

Bret is best known around these parts however, from his time with the Seattle Mariners. Many Victoria baseball fans consider the Mariners their “home team”, and spend more than a couple weekends each year riding the ferries back and forth to Seattle to bask in the glory that is now Safeco field, and before that - the monstrosity that was the Kingdome.

Bret patrolled second base for the Mariners twice in his career, staring with the M’s in 1992 and playing in 109 games before being traded to the Reds for C Dan Wilson and P Bobby Ayala to start the 1994 campaign.

In 2001, Bret re-signed with the Mariners as a free agent. Already a Gold Glove winner and All-Star while with the Reds in 1998, Bret shone over his next 5 years as the Mariner’s second baseman winning 3 more gold gloves, and 2 American League Silver Slugger awards – a Solid Silver Louisville Slugger bat - an award given to the most productive player at each position based on batting average, RBI, and home runs. He played in 2 more All-Star games as a Mariner in 2001 and 2003. An extremely durable player, Bret would play 694 games for the M’s over the next 4 seasons, pounding out 770 hits with 127 home runs. He is currently ranked as one of the top 400 hitters of all time.

Baseball stats aside, while with the M’s Bret was also famous for showing off his collection of T-Shirts to the press based on the popular “Chicks dig the long ball” slogan. In fact he had many “Chicks dig” shirts in his collection, seemingly one for every occasion. One day after a game while proudly showing one off, Bret told the throng of reporters “I've got them (t-shirts) for every occasion. If I'm not playing, it says, ‘Chicks love the bench’”.

Personally I’m excited to have Bret on the field for 2010, and am looking forward to watching him grow as a manager. I’m also thinking it won't be long before a new item is added at the Seal’s souvenir stand this season – you better order your ‘Chicks Dig the Manager’ shirts before they sell out!

For a full look at Bret’s career stats, I’d suggest checking out his page at Baseball Almanac: