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Mariners let catcher lead off for first time in 34 years

May 9, 2012, 9:02 PM EDT

John Jaso Getty Images

Catcher John Jaso is hitting leadoff for the Mariners against the Tigers and Drew Smyly on Wednesday. It’s the first time since 1978 that a Mariners backstop has found himself atop the order.

Larry Stone of the Seattle Times points out that Bob Stinson was the only previous catcher to lead off for the Mariners, doing so twice in 1978.

Jaso has a fair amount of experience leading off, having hit there in 51 games with the Rays. He batted .262/.360/.393 with 33 runs scored in 191 at-bats, which is really pretty good.

However, the odd thing is that the Mariners have him leading off against a lefty tonight. Jaso, a left-handed hitter, has rarely started versus southpaws in his career. He has a .183/.320/.268 line in 82 lifetime at-bats against left-handers.

Of course, the alternative option is probably Chone Figgins, so what’s the harm?

  1. philliesblow - May 9, 2012 at 10:08 PM

    As he was winding down his playing career, Bob Stinson became a founding member of pioneering alternative rock band The Replacements.

    • nworca - May 10, 2012 at 4:21 AM

      Yeah, but it’s kind of weird to think of a baseball player, even a catcher, winding down his career when he is 19. But I guess he had to take care of his little brother.

    • racksie - May 10, 2012 at 6:49 AM

      And then tragically od’d on heroin in 1995. Wasted two careers.

  2. mmason0071 - May 10, 2012 at 12:43 AM

    Don’t snigger at our leadoff catcher. For once the M’s did something right. Jaso just drove in the winning run in the bottom of the eighth.

    • nworca - May 10, 2012 at 3:15 AM

      Jaso is becoming a bit of a local hero, having driven in the winning run in two of the last three games.

  3. thepenaltyflag - May 10, 2012 at 4:05 AM

    Wonder if it worked out that well in 78?

  4. darthicarus - May 10, 2012 at 7:59 AM

    When was the last time a catcher hit lead-off for any team? I’m sure there’s another since Jason Kendall, but he’s the last I can think of quickly without doing any research.

    • acheron2112 - May 10, 2012 at 8:38 AM

      Went to a Red Sox/Orioles game in… 2004 I think, where Varitek led off. This was the last game of the season with the playoffs already set, so the lineup was a bit random. That game also featured Doug Mirabelli pinch running, and Dave McCarty pitching, so.

    • steve7921 - May 10, 2012 at 9:49 AM

      “Jaso has a fair amount of experience leading off, having hit there in 51 games with the Rays.”

      Most of those games were as catcher.

    • tmohr - May 10, 2012 at 10:25 AM

      Craig Biggio hit leadoff during his catching days, but that was circa 1992.

  5. foreverchipper10 - May 10, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    Where has Dustin Ackley been all season? Seriously. I bet M’s fans have filed a missing persons report.

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