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Former Mariner Sojo looks back fondly on time spent in Seattle

Larry LaRue Tacoma News Tribune

SEATTLE – Ex-Mariner Luis Sojo is the third-base coach for the New York Yankees, but his ties to and memories of Seattle run deep.

“I had a lot of fun playing here,” he said. “Some good things happened.”

Among them was the one-game playoff between the Mariners and the Anaheim Angels in 1995 – a marquee matchup of Randy Johnson vs. Mark Langston.

Though not nearly as well-remembered as the Edgar Martinez double to beat the Yankees in the American League Division Series, it was a Sojo extra-base hit down the first-base line that turned the Mariners’ first playoff game around.

A photo in the hallway of the Mariners’ clubhouse shows the moment when Sojo is pumping both arms at home plate, having just scored on a wild throw while Langston lies in the dirt nearby.

“I had to go see that picture,” Sojo admitted. “I got here early so I could.”

It brought back some great memories of that year and that team.

Edgar almost in exclusive club

As Martinez continues to pile up career milestones, his numbers begin to compare to some of the greatest hitters in major league history.

The 39th man to hit 500 doubles, Martinez began the game Saturday one home run shy of 300 in his career. When he gets that, he’ll become one of six players to have at least 300 home runs, 500 doubles, 1,000 walks and a career on-base percentage of .400 or better.

The other five: Stan Musial, Rogers Hornsby, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Ted Williams.

All five are in the Hall of Fame.

Notes

Second baseman Bret Boone returned to the lineup Saturday, and though his ailing lower back was better, he wore a weightlifter’s belt under his uniform to give him support in the field… . Utilityman Willie Bloomquist was cleared to play catch and swing a bat for the first time since going on the disabled list Tuesday. Bloomquist took 30 swings and had no pain, then played catch for a few minutes with teammates. The next step is to begin taking ground balls – but he won’t be allowed to do that before the team gets to Minnesota on Tuesday… . The Mariners began the night with a 2.25 earned-run average through their first six games of May. That’s the lowest staff ERA of any team in the majors this month… . With three more doubles Martinez will catch Andre Dawson on the all-time list at 503. With five, he’ll catch Tony Perez. And he’s now six doubles shy of Babe Ruth… . Outfielder Randy Winn wasn’t in the starting lineup, as manager Bob Melvin gave him a rest while trying to get Quinton McCracken at-bats against a pitcher he’d handled well in the past. Winn is a career .216 hitter against Mike Mussina. McCracken began the night 7 for 12 against Mussina – a .583 average. . . .  In honor of Mother’s Day today, the first 5,000 women through the turnstiles get Mariners Mom’s visors… . Seattle plays host to New York in a 1:05 p.m. game that will be televised on FSN. New York’s Donovan Osborne squares off against Seattle’s Jamie Moyer.

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