Groz Remembers 2001 Mariners: Tom Lampkin, the Kingdome clubhouse boy who joined his hometown team
2001: A Baseball Odyssey – a weekly look back at the record-setting 2001 Mariners and the players who got them there.
As the Mariners rolled through June, there was no slowing down. The record-setting 2001 season was a total team effort and there were some fun stories to uncover. For example, did you know the roster included a player who had been a clubhouse assistant in the Kingdome days?
Backup catcher Tom Lampkin was a 15-year-old student at Bishop Blanchet High School when he started working for the Mariners as a clubhouse boy. He even got to work the 1979 All-Star Game. Undrafted out of high school, he went to Edmonds Community College and the University of Portland, and eventually Cleveland drafted him in the 11th round in 1986.
After nine years in the big leagues with five teams, Lampkin signed a two-year contract to play for his hometown team. Though the Mariners moved into Safeco Field in July 1999, Lampkin returned in time to play half a season in the Kingdome, where he still knew some clubhouse staff.
Lampkin kept his edge and his career going by always asking questions. For example, prior to the ’99 season he worked with Vince Coleman, then a baserunning coach, not because he wanted to start stealing bases but because he wanted to learn what good baserunners think. It was that kind of work that kept Lampkin in the league for 13 seasons.
Lampkin got the start on June 16, 2001, as he often did that year when lefty John Halama pitched. The Mariners cruised to a 9-2 victory in front of a big crowd in San Diego to improve to 52-14. It was Halama’s sixth win, with the 37-year-old catcher behind the plate living the dream of playing for the hometown team when they just happened to be the best in baseball.
Watch Lampkin look back at the 2001 Mariners season along with teammates Bret Boone, Aaron Sele and Norm Charlton in the roundtable video below hosted by Rick Rizzs from the Mariners Virtual Baseball Bash earlier this year.
More 2001 Mariners memories from Groz
• Edgar Martinez cements his legacy with his last great season
• Aaron Sele, the pitcher who ‘fell from the sky’
• Bret Boone gave Seattle a huge, surprising boost
• Paul Abbott, the forgotten hero of the historic ’01 M’s
• Introduction: Celebrating the 2001 Mariners, 20 years later