In a new piece, Jim Baker discusses well-known one-game players - that is, guys whose Major League careers lasted all of one day. The list includes the obvious Eddie Gaedel, Moonlight Graham, and Walter Alston (among others), but farther on down the list you stumble across a name that would make any Mariners fan shiver in fear:
Date: April 14, 2002
Opponent: at Rangers
Edgar Martinez was hurt, and the Mariners needed a replacement DH, so they looked to Tacoma, where Ron Wright - a career minor leaguer with 91 home runs and 453 RBI in 666 total games - was hitting in the middle of the order. Promoted from AAA for the first time in his life, Wright stuck with the big league club for four days, but appeared in just one game. One unforgettable game.
Said Wright about his first ML at bat:
With two on in the second inning, Wright struck out looking against Kenny Rogers, but he'd get an opportunity to redeem himself in the fourth, when he again came to the plate with two men on base.
Rogers-Rodriguez-Haselman-Blalock-Rogers-Young. Triple play.
In the sixth inning, Wright came to hit with two men on for the third time in the game.
Rodriguez-Young-Palmeiro. Double play.
Three at bats, six outs. He didn't get a fourth opportunity, as he was replaced by Mark McLemore in the seventh inning.
"Ron," Piniella said in all seriousness, "I'd pinch hit you right now, but I'm (expletive) afraid you've got another (expletive) triple play in your (expletive) back pocket."
Before Wright's lower lip could hit the ground, Piniella broke out into a wide grin and laughed all the way back to his customary seat at the end of the dugout.
Wright was sent back to Tacoma before long, where he hit .273/.351/.460 over 359 at bats. When rosters expanded in September, he stayed home.
In 2003, the Indians signed him to a minor league deal, but he wound up in Detroit before the season ended. Disappointed and dissatisfied, Wright left professional baseball to become an assistant coach with Dixie Junior College in Utah, but made an extended cameo with the independent Sioux Falls Explorers of the Northern League last summer.
After hitting .304/.350/.539 as a 21 year old in AAA back in 1997, it looked like Wright could have a bright future as a slugging 1B/DH type. However, his career was derailed by injuries, and that 0-3 game with the Mariners was the nail in the coffin. A depressing conclusion for a guy who doesn't deserve to be 1/100th as rich as Rico Brogna.