Eric Byrnes appeared in just 15 games for the , coming to the plate just 38 times. He was set free on May 3rd a day after going 0-4, and at that point Cliff Lee had only made one start. This was a month before Griffey retired. It was a month before Kanekoa Texeira went away. Casey Kotchman was slugging .440. Franklin Gutierrez was batting .320. Doug Fister had a 1.29 ERA. Milton Bradley was an everyday player. The Mariners were two games back from the division lead.
Eric Byrnes started eight games, appeared in 15, and got released on May 3rd, and still I have far more memories of him than I do of, say, Chris Seddon, or David Pauley, or Luke French, who somehow combined to throw 14% of this team's total innings.
And that's Eric Byrnes. At least, that's who Eric Byrnes was. He was a 6'2, 205 nuclear-powered memory machine. Eric Byrnes was never a great player, and he was never a guy you'd want to build a franchise around, but he wasn't forgettable. Everything he did was an experience you'd want to tell your friends about the next day. Did you see that diving catch? Did you see that crazy swing on his strikeout? Did you see the way he sprinted around the bases after he popped a ball up? Did you see him throw his helmet, or leap, or awkwardly slide into second?
Eric Byrnes never failed to make an impression. He made an impression on the field, and when he wasn't on the field, he made an impression in the clubhouse. Last April, Eric Byrnes rode out of the locker room on a bicycle. And when he wasn't in the clubhouse, he made an impression anyway. Eric Byrnes finished off his three-year contract playing softball with his friends.
Though his time here was brief, Eric Byrnes was a character. This is how I choose to remember him.