Mariners outfielder Marcus Wilson woke up Thursday morning to a major league stats line on Baseball-Reference.com. Eight years in the making, the one game, one record gig, one walk, 1,000 OPS was undoubtedly a beautiful sight.
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“Without words,” he replied in a shaky voice when asked about his emotions after the Mariners’ 9-3 win over the Orioles in his Walkoff interview.
After a long pause he continued.
“It just takes a long time. Just put many hours into this sport and just happy, finally a dream comes true.”
Every major league debut is special as it represents dreams, most of which are never certain of being fulfilled, and the hours and sacrifices expended not only by the player himself but also by his loved ones came.
Before the game, Wilson admitted he somehow passed out when he received word from Rainiers manager Tim Federowicz the night before that he had been called up to the Mariners. As he rallied, it was time to tell his loved ones. He shared the moment with his wife and then called his mother.
“My mom has seen me since I picked up the bat for t-ball. You can just see it in her eyes, all these emotions come out. There’s nothing like it,” he said.
Wilson, who was drafted by the Diamondbacks from high school in Gardena, Calif. in 2014, was pulled by the Red Sox by the Mariners in 2021. By the end of the season, he was steps away from a possible call-up, and the Mariners had put him on a taxi squad list for a potential post-season roster that never materialized as the team fell short. This week, that chance came again when Taylor Trammell hit the IL with a hamstring injury.
The Mariners needed an outfielder who could play all three positions, and Wilson fitted the bill perfectly. After the team went 9-3 in the eighth inning, Scott Servais took the opportunity to give Wilson his first plate appearance by pinching him for Sam Haggerty.
Its debut was announced by both PA announcer Tom Hutyler and on the big screen at T-Mobile Park.
On his major league debut, Marcus Wilson! 👏 pic.twitter.com/G8yQuPKIgX
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) June 29, 2022
The fans quickly noticed and thanked him for his performance with long ovations. So calm and collected before the game that this moment caught Wilson momentarily by surprise.
“Oh yes, I definitely took all of that with me,” he said with a smile. “I looked around. I will never forget that moment. I was just trying to calm the nerves.”
There wasn’t much time for nerves as his preparation had only taken place moments earlier. He learned he would line up Baltimore closer to Jorge López.
“I didn’t see anything until I saw the (scouting) sheet and saw 99 sinking and I was like, ‘Okay, it’s time to go. No more talk and no more development.’ It was just time to go. I was ready.”
“It was great,” said Servais after the game. “Anytime guys get called up, you hope to get them in there. I thought it was a great at-bat against a really good pitcher.”
What followed was something not often seen in a first major league at-bat. No strikeout, no first hit, no out on the field. No, Wilson stuck to his plan and earned a walk in an eight-pitch-at-bat in which he fouled multiple 98-mile sinkers in the zone and put down four pitches outside the zone.
“I saw some nasty 2 seams, he tried to pound me in, I tried to see the ball across (the plate) and I didn’t really get that,” he said. “He tried to sew me in with 2 seams and then put a front hip on me and I didn’t budge from the slider. I stuck to my plan and it worked.”
It was a top-notch at-bat that drew the attention of the crowd, broadcasters, and its skipper. After the game, congratulations came from all corners of the coaching bench. Happy hugs from teammates, coaches and staff followed by the walkoff interview. As he emerged from the dugout, fans once again paid tribute to his performance.
“It’s honestly everything,” he said. “I couldn’t ask for a better atmosphere for my debut. The fans came out and showed love and got this little standing O in front of my punch and…”
He couldn’t go on. At this point, the emotion of the day took over. A big league dream has come true. Congratulations to Marcus Wilson.
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