On Tuesday night, Michael Accorsi Zunino did something very cool. The Mariners’ former first round pick and longtime catcher started Game 1 of the World Series, crouching behind the plate to catch Tyler Glasnow and taking his offensive swings against Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw. While doing it for the Mariners would have been preferable, Zunino being in the starting lineup of a World Series game tickled the emotional harp a bit.
Zunino, he of the .207 batting average, 714 strikeouts and just 138 walks in his six-year career with Seattle, will be part of baseball history forever. The lineup card from Game 1 of the 2020 Fall Classic (and Game 2 for that matter) proudly displays ZUNINO. While the embattled backstop is still looking for his first hit of the series, his handling of Blake Snell and Tampa’s squadron of late-inning warlocks helped Tampa Bay secure a huge win on Wednesday night.
Since 2008, the last time the Rays played for a championship, 18 different men have occupied the 26 total starting catcher positions in Game 1 of the World Series. Six people have done it multiple times, with two showoffs even going three times. There are also two sets of guys here that share a last name. And, in addition to Zunino, there’s another person with ties to the Seattle Mariners. He was actually Z’s backup in 2017.