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Somewhere in the late 80s I took a liking to the Seattle Mariners. I know what you’re thinking…. Oh, I bet it was 1989 when Ken Griffey Jr. joined the team. Not so fast, though, random forgotten baseball fan. My Mariners fandom came to be somewhere around 1987 or 1988. But I’m a lifelong A’s fan, how could I root for a division rival? Well, it’s simple see… I’m a fan of underdogs. In those rare cases where my team is actually good, (see 1988-1990 A’s, 1994 49ers, and 2000-2002 Kings) I’ll sometimes start rooting for a less competitive team. I won’t stop rooting for my own team, it’s just something else to root for to stay grounded, if you will. Well, the 1987-1988 Mariners were that team for me in those days. I believe it started with my admiration for Harold Reynolds, who could’ve had a solid career as an RFP if it weren’t for his later endeavor into the TV world at ESPN. Nonetheless, he was one of the best “average” second basemen of the times, and being a middle infielder myself, those were the players I looked up to. Naturally, I rooted for Reynolds’ double play partner as well. That guy was none other than Rey Quiñones.
Quiñones was acquired by the Mariners from the Red Sox for Dave Henderson, among others, and was really only the starting SS for those two seasons in Seattle. His power numbers were basically identical (12 HRs and 56 and 52 RBI, respectively), but his average dipped from .276 to .248 in ’88. After playing just 7 games and going 2 for 19, the Mariners traded him to Pittsburgh, where he would finish his last season in the major leagues with a lowly .209 batting average.
Quiñones compiled a lifetime average of .243 with 29 HR and 159 RBI in 1,668 plate appearances over his 4 year career.