AquaSox forfeit victory stirs memories of brawls, bus mishaps and Willie Mays

The Everett AquaSox’ forfeit victory Saturday night — when Boise manager Jody Davis pulled his team off the field in the first inning because he believed the wet outfield was dangerous — was a brief topic of discussion in the Mariners’ clubhouse this morning.

It also rekindled a few minor league memories.

Nobody had ever been involved in a forfeit, but manager Don Wakamatsu experienced some only-in-the-minors moments during his days as a player, coach and manager.

“We had the bus break down at 3 in the morning, and one time a bird flew through the windshield of the bus,” Wakamatsu said.

There was one game that had gotten contentious between the two teams and Wakamatsu, the third base coach, waved home a runner who got caught in a rundown. His runner somehow dived into home plate under the tag of the pitcher, who wheeled and spiked the baseball onto the back of the baserunner’s head. The pitcher was kicked out and suspended.

Wakamatsu also remembered a playoff game at Chattanooga that also got testy, especially when the opposing pitcher plunked his hitter.

“Our guy charged the mound,” Wakamatsu said, “and the pitcher bit off half his earlobe.”

Back to the AquaSox, one of my favorite tales is from the days Bob and Margaret Bavasi owned the team. In the early years, they were affillated with the San Francisco Giants and known as the Everett Giants.

Bavasi was able to get Willie Mays to appear for autographs before one game, and he promoted it so well that the line of fans waiting for Willie’s signature stretched around the ballpark. The bigger problem was that Mays arrived only about 15 minutes before the start of the game, and then informed Bavasi that he would sign autographs only until the game began.

Bavasi looked at the long line of autograph seekers and figured it would take a half-hour or longer to get them all an autograph, and the last thing he wanted was for any of his fans to wait so long and go home empty-handed.

So Bavasi pleaded with Mays, but the legend was insistent. He told Bavasi that he would sign until gametime, and when he heard the National Anthem, he was outta there.

That’s when Bavasi made a couple of astute observations. First, he noticed that Mays never looked up as he signed. Second, he noticed that Mays wasn’t wearing a watch.

So Bavasi left the autograph table for a few minutes and spoke with the umpires, then with Everett Memorial Stadium PA announcer Tom Lafferty. He told them the situation and asked that the game not start until he gave them a signal.

As the last person in the autograh line approached the table, well past the scheduled starting time, Bavasi sent word to Lafferty, who played the Anthem over the stadium sound system.

The umpires started the game and Willie Mays never realized how long he’d actually spent signing autographs in Everett.

Talk to us

More in Sports

Marysville Pilchuck’s Christian Van Natta lifts the ball in the air to celebrate a turnover during the game against Marysville Getchell on Friday, Sept. 16, 2022 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Prep football roundup for Friday, Sept. 29

Prep football roundup for Friday, Sept. 29: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report… Continue reading

Who’s that frog? A local high school tennis player, that’s who

Arlington tennis player Robbie Balderas worked as AquaSox mascot Webbly this season, and the busy junior also runs a landscaping business.

Mountlake Terrace’s Zaveon Jones is pulled to the ground by a diving Nicholas Mouser of Monroe on Friday, Sept. 29, 2023, at Monroe High School in Monroe, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Swarming Monroe defense keys win over Terrace in Wesco 3A South showdown

The Bearcats slow down the Hawks’ potent ground game, and quarterback Blake Springer tosses three TDs in a 35-10 victory.

Arlington players lift the Stilly Cup in the air after beating Stanwood on Friday, Sept. 29, 2023 in Stanwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Arlington reclaims Stilly Cup after short hiatus, routs Stanwood 42-7

Leyton Martin registers 277 yards, 4 TDs as Eagles notch fifth straight game with at least six TDs.

Fall prep sports roundup.
Prep results for Saturday, Sept. 30

Prep results for Saturday, Sept. 30: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

Marysville Pilchuck’s Dominik Kendrick (9) runs with the ball during a football game between Marysville Pilchuck and Stanwood at Marysville Pilchuck High School in Marysville, Washington on Friday, Sept. 8, 2023. Marysville Pilchuck takes the win, 36-7. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Marysville Pilchuck proud of 4-0 start, but has loftier goals

The Tomahawks aren’t listening to the outside noise, including a No. 1 WIAA RPI ranking, as a tough stretch lies ahead.

Houston Astros relief pitcher Hector Neris (50) gestures to Seattle Mariners' Julio Rodríguez (44) after striking Rodríguez out to end the sixth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)
MLB investigating Astros pitcher’s alleged use of homophobic slur

The incident occurred during a heated exchange between Houston’s Hector Neris and M’s star Julio Rodriguez on Wednesday night.

Prep roundup for Friday, Sept. 29

Prep roundup for Friday, Sept. 29: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

Stanwood players react to their coach bringing them the Stilly Cup on Sept. 30, 2022 in Arlington. The Spartans snapped a 12-game losing streak in the rivalry matchup last year. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
4 games to watch in Week 5 of the prep football season

An in-depth look at the best games the area has to offer, plus a full schedule of the local action in Week 5.

Most Read