John Marzano died two years ago today at his home in Philadelphia. He’d spent his last three years as a player, 1996 through 1998, with the Mariners. To help remember him, here are some quotes and anecdotes from those years (excerpted from a longer article I did at Seamheads).
In 1998, when Marzano came in for an injured Dan Wilson for his last stretch of extended playing time in the majors, Lou Piniella said: "Put it this way. Marzie was well-rested." More gently, he added: "He has done a nice job. He calls a good game, handles the pitching staff and is getting sharper each game he plays. What we get offensively is a bonus."
At the time, Marzano said: "I know this isn’t going to last and we’re all looking forward to getting Danny back. I mean, he’s an All-Star catcher. I told him I’m just keeping the plate warm."
Earlier, in May 1998, Marzano hit one of his two big-league triples and a double (he was thrown out trying for a second triple on that hit) against Roger Clemens in Toronto, driving in four runs to lead the Mariners to a win. Marzano, who was in the midst of his last and possibly greatest season, said of Clemens: "I caught him for six years and those are some of my favorite memories. But this—to have a big game against him, to help us beat him—is as good as it gets for me."
In late May, 2005, Marzano came down from South Philly, where he did postgame shows for the Phillies and hosted a weekly radio show, "View From Marz," to help broadcast some Mariners’ games in Baltimore. He remembered a game on July 20, 1996: it was the last time Edgar played third base until his final game in 2004. Pat Borders, playing for the Angels, hit a pop-up and, as Marzano explained: "I looked up, then looked at Edgar and he was looking straight at me. I thought Edgar had been indicating I should take it. So I looked back up and then went after the ball, and bang."
Marzano and Martinez both went for the ball and collided: Edgar suffered bruised ribs and was out for about three weeks. Meanwhile, Marzano said, laughing: "I was lying there bleeding, I needed 40 stitches, and everyone ran to Edgar. Only one guy came to me. Junior. He leaned over me as I lay on the ground, my eyelid hanging off, and told me, ‘Edgar’s hurt. You’re screwed.’”
Marzano concluded: "And you know what, those injuries, Edgar missing a month in his great years, it was all for nothing. They had called the infield-fly rule."