Jay “Bone” Buhner

Quick Hits

Position: Right Field

Teams

  • New York Yankees (1987-1988]
  • Seattle Mariners (1988-2001)

Notables

  • Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2nd round of the 1984 draft
  • Hit 40-plus home runs in 3 consecutive years (1995,1996,1997)
  • 5th in MVP voting in 1995
  • AL All-Star in 1996
  • Gold Glove winner in 1996
  • Hit the longest home run in Yankee Stadium since its 1976 renovation (479 ft.)
  • One of only 3 members of the Seattle Mariners Hall of Fame (along with Alvin Davis and announcer Dave Niehaus)

Jay Buhner had some decent years in the early 90′s, but really took off in 1995, a season in which the Mariners won the AL West in dramatic fashion and reached the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. Non-Mariners fans may not understand just how magical those ’95 Mariners were, so check these out: (Book) (Movie) (Website) (Mural at Safeco Field)

Buhner’s stat lines from the heart of his career:

  • 1995: .262 BA, 40 HR, 121 RBI
  • 1996: .271 BA, 44 HR, 138 RBI
  • 1997: .243 BA, 40 HR, 109 RBI

Bad to the Bone

Jay Buhner’s nickname was “Bone”. Before each at-bat with the Mariners, the PA system would blast George Thorogood and the Destroyers’ “Bad to the Bone”, and the fans that sat behind him in right field referred to their section as “The Boneyard”.

Bald to the Bone

Buhner’s signature bald head was the subject of an annual Mariners promotion, Buhner Buzz Cut Night. On Buhner Buzz Cut Night, if you volunteered to shave your head bald (or were already bald), you got free admission to the game and a free t-shirt. Sometimes you could see Buhner himself shaving fans’ heads before the game. Even women took part in the promotion. Check out the year-by-year Buhner Buzz Cut Night stats (courtesy of the BBCN site linked above):

Year Total Fans Already Bald
1994 512 (2 women) 86
1995 717 (2 women) 103
1996 3,697 (28 women) 376
1997 3,436 (46 women) 412
1998 4,071 (52 women) 503
1999 3,623 (56 women) 443
2001 6,246 (112 women) 988
Total 22,302 (298 women) 2,911

The Mariners’ single-A affiliate, the Everett Aquasox, carry on the tradition of Buhner Buzz Cut Night. Check out this commercial:

The Cycle

Buhner was not known for his speed. In fact, he stole just 6 bases in 30 attempts over his career, the lowest rate of success for any player since 1954 (when the MLB started keeping track of times caught stealing). So naturally, you wouldn’t think of Jay Buhner as a prime candidate to be the first Mariner to ever hit for the cycle. But he did it on June 23, 1993, and it took him 14-innings to do it. Having already hit a home run, double, and single, he finally got the elusive triple in the bottom of the 14th. (Read about Buhner’s cycle)

Seinfeld

Our second RFP to be referenced in the TV show “Seinfeld” (Bobby Herbert was the first), Jay Buhner was mentioned in the episode titled “The Caddy” (Season 7 Episode 12 for you Seinfeld DVD owners). George Steinbrenner appears at George Costanza’s parents’ house to (mistakenly) inform them that their son is dead. Mr. Costanza’s only response to Steinbrenner is “What the hell did you trade Jay Buhner for?! He had 30 home runs, over 100 RBIs last year! He’s got a rocket for an arm… You don’t know what the hell you’re doing!”

Retirement

Buhner retired after the 2001 season, and on April 2nd, 2002 the Mariners held Jay Buhner Day at Safeco Field to honor him (Read about Jay Buhner Day)

Youtubes:

Hangin’ out with Jay Buhner at Mariners fantasy camp

Buhner chillin’ with the Mariners at Spring Training ’08

Slideshow tribute

 

>>Return to RFP Homepage

 

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