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Jay Buhner’s No. 19 has not been given to any player since he retired after 2001. He essentially was a “career Mariner,” only 32 of his 1,472 career games came with another team (and all of those came in 1987-88, before the New York Yankees traded him to Seattle). Both bWAR (20.1) and fWAR (26) unanimously ranks him as the fifth-best hitter in team history. He’s already appeared on a Hall of Fame ballot, so the team is likely just waiting to retire Griffey’s number before anybody else.
Lou Piniella’s No. 14 has also been out of circulation since he left the team, which in his case, was in 2002. His ten seasons at the helm (1993-2002) are easily the most by any manager in team history. No one else has lasted four full seasons. Piniella also presided over the historic 116-win team in 2001, as well as all four of the Mariner’s playoff appearances. I’m not sure if the team will hold managers to the same rules as players, but there’s a good chance Piniella will make the Hall of Fame anyway.
Edgar Martinez is also among those with an out-of-circulation No. 11. Martinez should be a Hall of Famer, but has been struggling to get momentum in his candidacy. Thankfully, it doesn’t matter for him, since he played all 18 years of his career with the Mariners (1987-2004). Both Fangraphs (70) and Baseball-Reference (67.2) place him second in franchise history.
Randy Johnson’s No. 51 was set aside after he was traded in 1998, but it was reissued upon the request of a certain someone in 2001 (give me time. and I will get to that person next). Johnson is still ranked as the Mariners’ top pitcher, with 37.4 bWAR. He was only with the team from 1989 to 1998, but he’s a Hall-lock, so he’ll be eligible. For his career, which lasted from 1988 to 2009, the Big Unit amassed 91.8 bWAR (as a side note, I didn’t officially use fWAR for pitchers in my study, but Johnson got 46 of his 115 career fWAR in Seattle). In addition, he is a member of both the 300-win club (303) and the 3,000 strikeout club (4,875, which is second all-time).