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40 in 40: Jesús Sucre

An application to become a member of the Jesús Sucre Fan Club

Seattle Mariners Photo Day
How can you not love a goatee, I mean face, like that?
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Jesús Sucre Fan Club Membership Application

*Disclaimer: Membership in this club does not necessarily mean you believe that Jesús Sucre is/will be a good baseball player. Steamer projects him to be worth precisely 0 fWAR over a predicted eight games and 32 plate appearances, with a 65 wRC+. Other 2017 projection highlights include ZiPS anticipating a 2.9% walk rate and a comical .056 ISO. There is a high likelihood that he is never anything more than a mediocre backup catcher, but that’s okay because there are many other ways to appreciate this cherubic man.

Applicant’s name: Isabelle Minasian

Approximate date of Mariner fandom: Spring 2004

Do you have any prior personal connections with the position of catcher? If yes, describe them below.

As a former softball pitcher I used to beg my coaches to let me catch if it was a game against a bad team, or in the final innings of a blow out. The whole game is laid out perfectly before you, when you’re crouched behind the plate, and you develop truly spectacular quads. My affinity for underdogs means I’m particularly fond of backup catchers, like Jesús Sucre.

Please share any basic biographical information you know about Jesús Sucre. We will know if you look things up. Our organization has eyes, ears, and questionable goatees everywhere.

Jesús Marcelo Sucre Medina was born in Cumaná, Venezuela on April 20, 1988. He is 28 years old and has a wife and two small children, one of whom is precisely his mirror image. Sucre began his career with the Atlanta Braves organization but was released on July 14, 2011 and signed by the Mariners five days later. He spent a season with the Jackson Generals, but over the last three years has continuously traversed the 36 miles between Cheney Stadium and Safeco Field. With the addition of Carlos Ruiz, and the Mariners’ increasingly bizarre faith in Mike Zunino, it seems unlikely that Sucre will play many, if any, games for Seattle this season. However last year, after he broke his leg in the Venezuelan Winter Leagues, we also believed his time with the club was over, so he may hang around yet. Plus, if Steve Baron can remain in this organization for as long as he has, so can Jesús Sucre.

What are some of your favorite Jesús Sucre fun facts?

The Mariners recalled him from Tacoma on September 2, 2016 but he didn’t report to the club officially until September 3, 2016 because his daughter Samara was born on the same evening he was recalled.

He played in just 9 games of the 2016 season but still managed to be awarded the Swelmet.

Also, in those 9 games Sucre was worth 0.5 fWAR and his Fangraphs line perfectly represents the joys (.480/.552/.680, aka a 244 wRC+) and pitfalls (.579 BABIP) of small sample sizes.

As the brilliant Dr. Andrew Rice reminded us, in 2016 he recorded four straight multi-hit games, which makes him technically better than John Olerud, Mike Cameron and Dan Wilson in this one small and insignificant very significant thing.

What is your favorite Jesús Sucre moment?

Well, the easy answer is to say that my favorite Sucre moment was when he caught Hisashi Iwakuma’s no-hitter on August 12, 2015, in just his 44th MLB start.

The goofy, trying-to-be-cool answer is that my favorite Sucre moment was when he came in as a relief pitcher.

No, wait, not that time. That appearance was fine, but the real gem was when he made his major league pitching debut against the Astros with a scoreless 8th inning.

88 MPH to induce a GIDP, and then 90 MPH to ground out and end the inning? Yes please.

But no, that’s still not my favorite. My favorite Sucre moment, by far, was this game on Mother’s Day in 2015. Sucre’s mother had passed away earlier that year, during Spring Training, and so the very backup catcher approached then-manager Lloyd McClendon about starting the Mother’s Day game in her honor. That Sunday also happened to be a Félix start day, which usually meant that Mike Zunino would be catching, but because our King is a great and benevolent King he told Lloyd, “Put ‘Sucy’ in.” In this game Félix recorded his 2,000th strikeout and rightfully consumed most of the spotlight, but in the fourth inning Sucre recorded his first MLB hit of the season, after 20 PAs, and little moments like that make baseball really beautiful.

On a personal note, my mother loves Jesús Sucre. She loves Jesús Sucre because of his smile, and his overwhelming earnestness, and because she has inexplicably managed to attend some of his very best games (his two-run homer last season will be in the Top 10 Excited Mom Moments for many years to come). I grew to love baseball because of my mother, so naturally I love Sucre because of her, too, which is what makes this moment all the more special in my memory.

Why should other people become fans of Jesús Sucre?

Rather than answer this in my own words, since this whole application should make this question self-explanatory, I’ll simply conclude with the words of another reputable source...

...and an image that will always warm my heart.

Thank you for taking the time to fill out this application for membership into the Jesús Sucre Fan Club. Simply by completing this form you have now devoted enough time to thinking about Jesús Sucre, and subsequently we are pleased to welcome you into the club. Your complimentary Sweet Jesús Edible Figurine™ will arrive in the mail shortly.

*Author’s Note: if you too are interested in joining the Jesús Sucre Fan Club, go ahead and leave your answers to the questions in the comments below. I probably won’t send you a Sweet Jesús Edible Figurine™, but I’d love to read your answers anyway.