My favorite Dan Wilson memory

Longtime Mariner catcher Dan Wilson announced his retirement today. I’m sorry to see him retire, though I understand why. He blew out his ACL in his right knee earlier this season and had season-ending surgery early on. He’s 36, has kids at home, and I can see where it would be the right time to go.

This really is the end of an era for the M’s, though – Wilson was our last active roster player from the miraculous 1995 season. Those were the good old days of “Refuse to Lose.” With him gone, there is no one from that season left on the team. 1995 was the foundation for the awesome 2001 season, and it is so important in M’s history.

The Dan Wilson memory that is my favorite, though, happened in 1998. I had split a game package with a friend of mine and one of his friends, so I went to a lot of games during that season and got to know downtown Seattle quite well on foot. I used to park at the girls’ house (where several friends lived on Aurora) and take the 358 Metro to Jackson and then walk to the Kingdome (yes, we we still playing in the Kingdome then). After the game, my friend and I would walk back to the building where he worked on Lenora (about a half-hour walk from the Kingdome) and he would drive me back to my car on his way home (he lived further down on Aurora).

At one particular game in 1998, Wilson came up to bat with the bases loaded. He smashed the ball deep into left center field, where it skittered around before the outfielder could come up with it. It was easily a triple, but Wilson kept going. His batting helmet had fallen off in his run around the bases, and he was heading for home. The crowd was roaring as he rounded third and beat the throw home. He had just hit an inside-the-park grand slam. It was a wonderful sight. Yes, we went on to win that game, and Wilson’s speed and guts were the highlight of the game.

I’ll have more about the M’s tomorrow, but Wilson is easily one of the nicest and best team players we have. It’s a shame to see him retire, but he’ll always be a Mariner. He’s earned a place in the hearts of fans forever.

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