Not many players can say they played on the Major League level with their home town team, and Willie Bloomquist may have thought that dream was shot out the window in 1996.
Position: Utility Man
Date of birth: November 27th 1977 (age34)
Height: 5 ft 11 in
College: Arizona State University
Place of birth: Bremerton, Washington
Debuted September 1st 2002 with the Seattle Mariners
After being drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 8th round, Bloomquist went un-signed and decided to take his game to Arizona State University.
After playing 3 years at ASU and starting all three years, Bloomquist re-entered the draft, and again was selected by the Mariners.Early days
Bloomquist was a stand-out star at South Kitsap High School. Graduating in 1996, Bloomquist had a .463 batting average, and was named Tacoma News Tribune Player of the Year during his senior year.
One of Willie’s teammates was Jason Ellison, who is currently in the San Francisco Giants system.
While Willie was the only player to hit over .400 three years in a row at South Kitsap High, he also was a standout football player. His brother Joe, also a football star, went on to play football at the University of Washington.
Always the joker Bloomquist now plays his ball for the D-Backs.
At ASU, Bloomquist was a Louisville Slugger/Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-American honorable mention during his first year with the Sun Devils.
He went on to start 31 games his freshman year, playing what he plays best in the bigs, utility. It wasn’t until his Junior year that he was developed into an every day short stop, starting all 60 Sun Devils games at that position.Big League career
Willie Bloomquist was a fan favorite of mine, and a lot of others for six seasons in Seattle. As a native of Washington, it’s always nice to go to the extra mile to cheer for one of the home town heroes.
Though he never really caught on as a full time starter during his time in Seattle, he did impress enough after his call up in 2002, when he hit .455 including 4 doubles, to garner himself an opening day roster spot in 2003.
Willie’s first home run in the bigs was a grand slam against the then Tampa Bay Devil Rays, July 13th, 2003.
Not that his power numbers will ever be among the all time greats, Willie does have the tendency to make his home runs count.
With his 1st being the grand slam, and including an inside the park home run in Houston in 2007, and he also marked his 1,000th career hit as a lead off home run on June 26th, 2007.
Since after the 2008 season, Bloomquist has played for the Kansas City Royals, Cincinatti Reds, and Arizona Diamondbacks.
His tenure in Arizona has been the lengthiest to date since leaving Seattle. He currently is still being used as a utility man, more so in the outfield for the D-Backs than any other position.
With the Diamondbacks making both their real, and spring training homes in the Phoenix area, Willie and his wife now live in Peoria, Arizona.
A short drive from the Mariners facilities, but an even shorter drive to the ballpark he calls home now.
I still enjoy watching him play, even if he isn’t with the M’s anymore.
A classy guy with the smile of a kid who gets to go to work at a Major League ballpark everyday.
Don’t grow up Willie, it’s the kid in you that makes your game so great.
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© Clinton Bell for North West Sports Beat, 2012. | Permalink | No comment |
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