Tuesday, November 29, 2011

#54 Jim Maler

Card:  This is Maler's rookie card.  He would only have two Topps cards in his career.

Pic:  Here Maler is pictured in the Mariner's powder blue road jersey's.  No batting gloves...  He looks quite different a year later on his '84 card.

Player:  Jim Maler was a first round pick (5th overall) of the Mariners in the 1978 draft and by 1980 he already had reached the AAA level.  He repeated at Spokane in '81 and it seemed he was showing the ability that made him a first round pick by batting .309 and hitting 19 home runs.  The first baseman made his major league debut with Seattle in September of '81 and did well hitting .348 in 23 at bats.

As the Mariners starting first baseman, Maler got off to a rip-roaring start to the 1982 campaign by belting home runs in Seattle's first two games.  Maler's production soon waned and by the end of June with only four home runs and a .243 average to show for his 185 at bats, he was sent back down to AAA.  He raked upon his return to the bushes batting .336 and earned a September call-up.  He did little to show he could hit major league hitting and finished the year stuck on four homers and batted a meager .226.

Maler opened the '83 season at AAA, but was called up in May as he continued to shred minor league pitching.  Maler was platooned getting some starts against lefties but failed to deliver batting .182 in 66 games before getting demoted in July.  He went back down for good and hit .332 against in AAA.  The Mariners realizing that perhaps a change of scenery would do Maler some good, sent him to the Mets for minor league pitcher John Semprini

Maler kicked around at the minors the next three years for the Mets, Phillies, and Rangers organizations but never got another look at the bigs.

Flipside: Maler drove in only 17 runs in the 64 games not listed in his highlights. 
The Mariners switched AAA affiliates after the '81 season moving the team from Spokane to Salt Lake City.

Oddball:  Maler is one of only two AL first baseman to have recorded three assists in one inning.  Dick Stuart is the other.  Unlike Stuart, Maler was reliable with the glove committing only one error in 81 games at first base.
Maler retells a very cool story about his rookie card here.

History:  Maler showed some promise in the minors hitting for a high average and sporadic power but wasn't able to duplicate his production in the majors.  Maler was hampered by knee injuries in his career, however all things considered, the former first round pick was a disappointment for the Mariners. 
By no means a dumb jock, Maler is an extermination expert and president of All Florida Pest Control.

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