Lamenting John Mayberry Jr. in Seattle

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Lamenting John Mayberry Jr. in Seattle
(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Major League Baseball’s annual first-year player draft hasn’t always been kind to your Seattle Mariners (Point of Evidence #1, Point of Evidence #2).

Back in 2002, the M’s spent the 28th overall pick on a high school first baseman named John Mayberry, Jr. A lanky 6′6″, Mayberry resembled a bigger version of his father, John Mayberry, Sr., a two-time All-Star who himself had a been a first-round pick in 1967.

Based on his pedigree, his size, and his limitless potential, the Mariners’ selection of Mayberry was by no means a bad one.

What the Mariners didn’t realize (or, perhaps did realize, but were too stubborn to care) was that Mayberry had no intention of signing with a professional baseball team. No, Mayberry had every intention of attending Stanford University, and not even first-round money could sway him on that.

But the M’s drafted Mayberry anyways, carried out a long negotiation process, and eventually watched their investment don the Cardinal red by the time Autumn came around. It was a metaphorical swing and a miss.

Seven years later, many Mariners fans are probably wondering whatever happened to that Mayberry kid.

As it turns out, the Stanford product is now an outfielder for the Philadelphia Phillies and yesterday he made his major league debut at the age of 25.

In his second career at-bat, Mayberry connected on an Andy Pettitte fastball and turned it around for a three-run home run. Not a bad start.

By day’s end, Mayberry had added a double to his stat line and finished with an impressive box score: 2-3, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, R. Not a bad debut.

Mayberry came to Philadelphia in a November, 2008 trade with Texas, who had made Mayberry a first-round pick (for the second time) in 2005. After three years in the Rangers’ organization, Texas sent the two-time first-rounder to Philadelphia for outfielder Greg Golson, a first-round pick by the Phillies organization in 2004.

Interestingly enough, the man who was primarily responsible for drafting John Mayberry, Jr. with the Mariners — ex-Seattle GM Pat Gillick — ended up acquiring the first baseman/outfielder in the final days of his tenure with Philadelphia.

That seven-year itch for Mayberry has now come to benefit the Phillies after two franchises missed on the youngster. Not a bad situation. Unless you’re the Mariners, that is.

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