By Gary Hill
Raul Ibanez swatted his 10th home run in the month of June on Sunday against the Chicago Cubs. The event marks the 25th time in the history of the Mariners that a player has hit 10 or more homers in a month. It is also the first time the feat has been accomplished in 10 years.
In May of 2003, Edgar Martinez belted 10 homers in his second-to-last season in the Big Leagues. The 40-year-old Martinez ended the season with 24 long balls, which tied his sixth-highest total in a season. Edgar crushed 13 home runs before June but managed just 11 the rest of the way. One of his June homers was delivered by current Mariners pitcher Jeremy Bonderman.
Raul Ibanez is the first Mariner since 2003 to hit double-digit homers in a month. (AP)
Ken Griffey Jr. hit 10 or more homers in a month 13 times in his brilliant career. He crushed 15 home runs in his magical May of 1994 and hit 14 in June of 1998. He has reached double figures in a month more times than all other M’s hitters combined.
Ken Griffey Jr., 13
Alex Rodriguez, 3
Jay Buhner, 2
Edgar Martinez, 2
Raul Ibanez, 1
Bret Boone, 1
Jim Presley, 1
Steve Balboni, 1
Gorman Thomas, 1
Gorman Thomas was the first Mariner to swat double-digit homers in a month. He went the first nine days of July 1985 without hitting a home run, but made up for lost time by hitting six homers in the last five days of the month. Thomas pumped 32 homers into the seats in 1985 while hitting .215.
The Milwaukee Brewers are celebrating Thomas with “Gorman Thomas Bobblehead Night” on Sept. 1. Thomas famously maintained one of the most celebrated mustaches in M’s history. However, some serious mustache competition presented itself in 1988.
Steve “bye bye” Balboni played for the Mariners for part of one season. In late May of 1988 he was released by the Kansas City Royals. The Mariners picked him up and he finished the season by clubbing 21 homers for Seattle. Ten of them came in a single month.
Jay Buhner whacked 14 home runs in the final month of the 1995 season. He hit eight homers in eight calendar days from the 5th to the 13th.
More on Raul
Eight of Ibanez’s 19 homers have either tied the game or given the Mariners the lead. Fifteen of his homers have been hit in a two-run game or closer.
All 10 of Jason Bay’s home runs this season have been solo blasts. Ken Singleton set the record for most homers, all solo, with 15 for Baltimore in 1975. All 10 of Ian Desmond’s homers were solo shots in 2010. Jason Bartlett hit 14 solo home runs in 2009. There have been three players with 12, one with 11 and four with 10 solo-only-homers in a season.