Mariners OF Marcus Wilson describes MLB debut, 1st plate appearance

Mariners outfielder Marcus Wilson woke up Thursday morning to a major league stat line on Baseball-Reference.com. Eight years in the making, the one game, one plate appearance, one walk, 1.000 OPS was no doubt a beautiful sight.

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“Out of words,” he answered with his voice shaking when asked in his walkoff interview about his emotions following the Mariners’ 9-3 win over the Orioles.

After a long pause he continued.

“It’s just a long time coming. Just put a lot of hours in this sport and just happy, finally a dream come true.”

Every big league debut is special as it represents dreams most are never sure will be accomplished and the hours put in and sacrifices made not just by the player himself, but by his loved ones, came to fruition.

Before the game, Wilson admitted he kind of blacked out when he received the news from Rainiers manager Tim Federowicz the night before that he was getting his callup to the Mariners. When he gathered himself, it was time to tell his loved ones. He shared the moment with his wife and then called his mom.

“My mom has seen me since I was picking up the bat for T-ball. You can just kind of just see it in her eyes all that emotion comes out. There’s nothing like it,” he said.

Drafted by the Diamondbacks out of high school in Gardena Ca., in 2014, Wilson had been claimed off waivers by the Mariners from the Red Sox in 2021. At the end of the season, he was just steps away from a potential callup as the Mariners had placed him on a taxi squad list for a potential postseason roster that never materialized as the team came up short. This week, that chance came around again when Taylor Trammell hit the IL with a hamstring injury.

The Mariners needed an outfielder who could play all three positions and Wilson fit the bill. With the team up 9-3 in the eighth inning, Scott Servais took the opportunity to get Wilson his first plate appearance, pinch-hitting him for Sam Haggerty.

His debut was announced both by PA announcer Tom Hutyler and on the big screen at T-Mobile Park.

The fans quickly noticed and gave him a long ovation, acknowledging his achievement. So calm and collected before the game, the moment caught Wilson off guard for just a moment.

“Oh yeah, I took that one all in for sure,” he said with a smile. “I looked around. I will never forget that moment. I was just trying to keep the nerves down.”

There wasn’t much time for nerves as his preparation had taken place just moments before. He learned he would be facing Baltimore closer Jorge López.

“I didn’t see anything until I saw the (scouting) sheet and I saw 99 with sink and thought, ‘OK, it’s time to go. No more talk and no more development.’ It was just go time. I was ready.”

“It was great,” Servais said after the game. “Anytime guys get called up, you’re hoping to get them in there. I thought it was an awesome at-bat against a really good pitcher.”

What ensued was something you don’t often see in a first big league at-bat. Not a strikeout, not a first hit, not an out on the field. No, Wilson stuck to his plan and earned a walk in an eight-pitch at-bat that saw him fouling off multiple 98 mph sinkers in the zone and laying off four pitches out of the zone.

“I saw a couple nasty 2-seams, he was trying to pound me in, I was trying to see the ball out over (the plate) and I didn’t really get that, ” he said. “He tried to 2-seam me in and then front-hip me and I wasn’t budging on the slider. I was sticking to my plan and it worked.”

It was a quality at-bat that caught the eye of the crowd, broadcasters and his skipper. After the game, the congratulations came from all corners of the dugout. Happy hugs from teammates coaches and staff followed by the walkoff interview. When he emerged from the dugout, the fans once again acknowledged his accomplishment.

“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 getting that little standing O before my at bat and…”

He could not continue. At that point the emotion of the day took over. A big league dream accomplished. Congratulations to Marcus Wilson.

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