Happy first day of July/Canada Day! I hope you all woke up and whispered “Trebek Trebek” instead of “rabbit rabbit.” Today is Canada Day, which celebrates the ugh I don’t know let’s check wikipedia
Mmmm scintillating. Love me some federal statutory holidays and enactments and dominions. So many dominions! Anyway, this is a thinly-veiled excuse for us to look back at every player of Canadian origin who has donned a Mariners uniform. Honestly, I’m surprised the list—sourced from Baseball Reference, obviously, that garden of the stats gods—is so short. It just seems like talented players would leak through the Peace Arch, a la Michael Saunders and James Paxton. But this is beside the point! Which is celebrating all things Canadian. So go grab yourself a pack of Molson Ice and enjoy our ranked list of all Mariners players from Canada.
Dave Pagan - Nipawin, Saskatchewan
Dave Pagan was selected in the 1976 expansion draft and played one season with the Mariners, in which he had a 6.14 ERA. The most interesting thing about Dave Pagan is actually a thing about some of his Yankee teammates:
In March 1973 – just prior to Pagan’s first big league call-up – Yankees pitchers Mike Kekich and Fritz Peterson announced they were swapping wives and children. This bizarre transaction served as prime tabloid fodder.
By the time the Yankees promoted Pagan, Kekich had been traded to the Indians. But unfortunately for the young Canadian, he inherited Kekich’s No. 18.
“There are no names on the back of the Yankees’ uniforms,” explained Pagan. “So a lot of fans thought I was Kekich. They would be yelling at me about wife swapping and stuff like that.”
Canadianness: 8/10 (Being mistaken for someone else with a far more tawdry story? Seems very Canadian.)
Wait, I’m informed we have a picture of Dave Pagan?
Oh, those haunted eyes with the thousand-yard stare. That mustache. The general confusion over typeface in that card. FULL MARKS.
Mike Gardiner - Sarnia, Ontario
Played for Team Canada in the 1984 Olympics and was drafted by the Mariners in 1987. Had a 10.66 ERA during his one year as a Mariner, then got exponentially better as a member of the Red Sox. Currently runs a youth baseball program based in Charlotte, NC.
Marinerness: 7/10, for the whole getting better when he leaves part.
Dave Wainhouse - Technically born in Ontario, although basically grew up here
Dave had a lengthy nine year MLB career wherein he never exceeded 29 IP. The righty reliever from Toronto was a first round pick out of Washington State by his childhood rivals, the Montreal Expos, but a few significant injuries led him to be traded to the Mariners for INF Frank Bolick, who was not missed. Wainhouse appeared just thrice for the Mariners, including striking out Harold Reynolds of the Baltimore Orioles in his first appearance. His second appearance was uneventful.
His third, well, was.
The Mariners would go on to lose this game 20-3 and Wainhouse wouldn't pitch in the MLB for another year and a half. Wainhouse now coaches baseball in the Tacoma area and taught me to throw a slider. He is a nice, hard-working Canadian man.
Paul Špoljarić - Kelowna, British Columbia
I only ever knew Paul Spoljaric’s name as something I desperately inputted on Sporcle quizzes featuring pitching, but he actually spent the better part of four years pitching for the Blue Jays. On an unrelated note, I’m pretty sure I had this baseball card:
Rob Ducey - Toronto, Ontario
Ducey played for the Mariners from 1997 to 1998, but the most interesting thing about him is that he was traded to the Blue Jays by the Phillies in 2000, and then was traded back to the Phillies about two weeks later. Is the first of four players (him, Matt Stairs, Denis Boucher, and Shawn Hill) who have ever played for both Canadian professional teams (the Expos and the Blue Jays) and team Canada.
Ryan Radmanovich - Calgary, Alberta
Three Point Percentage lower than his cousin Vladimir: 3.77/10
Home Runs more than Vladimir: 2
Jordan Zimmerman - Kelowna, British Columbia
Jordan William Zimmerman, aka Not That Jordan Zimmerman, played part of one season for the Mariners in 1999. The Mariners selected him in the 32nd round of the 1994 draft. The most interesting thing about him is he played one game against his brother, Jeff, who was later signed to a minor-league deal by the Mariners. Jeff got the victory. Jordan recorded only no decisions as a Mariner.
Steve Sinclair - Victoria, British Columbia
Steve Sinclair was part of the David Segui trade, acquired from the Blue Jays along with Tom Davey. There’s like one suuuuuper blurry picture of him pitching wearing a Mariners uniform. As a reliever, he allowed more hits than innings in which he appeared.
Marinersness: 3/10. Just a lotta meh here.
Erik Bedard (stylized Érik Bédard for maximum French Canadian effect) - Navan, Ottawa
Bédard is best known as the guy who came over from the Orioles in 2008 in exchange for Chris Tillman, George Sherrill, and Adam Jones. We all know how that one turned out.
Bédard actually put up decent numbers for the M’s––that is, until his shoulder imploded into a tepid pile of poutine. He never played a full season in Seattle and was shipped to the Red Sox for fringe prospects in 2011, closing the door on the Bill Bavasi era once and for all. Merde.
Canadianness: 9/10 (As a Franco-Ontarian, English isn’t even his native language)
Marinersness: 10/10 (To be the centerpiece of arguably the worst trade in franchise history is about as Mariners as it gets)
Michael Saunders - Victoria, British Columbia
Michael is a good B.C. boy who became a very irrational fan favorite during his longer-than-you’d-think tenure in Seattle. He’d have flashes of putting it together at the plate, crush a few dingers, then go 0 for a billion and end up back in Tacoma for 2 months until an injury would force his return. 2009-2014 fucking sucked for the most part, is what I’m getting at, but the Condor (CAW CAW MOTHERFUCKER) was our frustrating yet endearing Canuck and we loved him dearly. May he fly forever in the true north, strong and free.
Canadianness: 6/10 (really does not come across as very Canadian when he talks)
Marinersness: 10/10 (irrationally loved, injury-plagued career, became an All-Star after he left, you know the drill)
James Paxton - Ladner, BC
Big Maple. The lefty from Ladner. The only active Canadian Mariner currently. Just looking at this face makes me want to eat at Tim Horton’s and throw a 97 mph fastball.
Jason Bay - Trail, British Columbia
The native of Trail, British Columbia put together an excellent major league career as a three-time All-Star with the Pirates, Red Sox, and Mets, before finishing his career with the Mariners where for some ungodly reason Eric Wedge made him play outfield and hit freaking leadoff as a 34-year-old former-power hitter with a body decaying faster than permafrost in the Northwest Territories.
But hey, at least he brought that same chipper attitude to the M’s as he did to Team Canada in the 1990 Little League World Series. Here he is in a photo taken shortly before his squad lost in the semifinals to eventual champions Chinese Taipei 20-1:
Canadianness: 8/10 (By all accounts a “very nice guy”)
Marinersness: 8/10 (A quintessential Jack Z player whose career ended in a quintessentially Jack Z fashion)
Of note: Currently in the minors, the Mariners have three other Canadian-born players: Tyler O’Neill (duh); Gareth Morgan (also duh) and recently drafted Louis Boyd, the ex-Arizona Wildcat. Boyd and O’Neill are both from BC, while Morgan hails from Toronto. Views from the six, baby.