Baseball is, unquestionably, an international game. From Tokyo to Tijuana, Vancouver to Venezuela, there are children and grandparents alike who are fully baseball-obsessed. While Africa and Europe are severely underrepresented on Major League Baseball’s international player list (the exact opposite of the NBA, interestingly), the game has expanded far beyond just the United States.
The Seattle Mariners were a big part of this, specifically in their acquisition of successful Japanese players. Of the Mariners’ 20 best players born outside of America, four are from Japan, including the very best one. Interestingly, this doesn’t include the relief pitcher you’re probably thinking of, although it does include another reliever who came a bit later.
This list breaks down, conveniently, into a wonderful five-man rotation, a closer, a setup guy, and at least one player for every field position. This is also a fun reminder that a man who is deeply ingrained in the organization, someone many recognize as a true local legend, was actually born in Germany before attending high school in Spanaway.
Finally, before you start yelling at me on the computer, Edgar Martinez was born in New York.