Tom Paciorek to throw out first pitch Saturday

Former Seattle Mariners outfielder Tom Paciorek will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Mariners vs. Los Angeles Angels game on Saturday, September 1. Game time is 1:05pm.

Paciorek, who had an 18-year Major League Baseball career, played for the Mariners from 1978-1981. He was a stand-out baseball and football player in high school and college and was drafted by the Miami Dolphins and Los Angeles Dodgers in his senior year of college (1968). He signed with the Dodgers and was one of 14 players drafted that year by Los Angeles to eventually make it to the Majors.

Paciorek came to the Mariners after being twice released by the Atlanta Braves in the spring of 1978. Paciorek was assigned to the Mariners AAA team the San Jose Missions, where he had a slow start. During a series against the Albuquerque Dukes, Paciorek had 10 RBI in two games. When outfielder Ruppert Jones went on the disabled list with an appendicitis attack, Paciorek was brought up. Despite another slow start, Paciorek again hit a hot streak and earned his first regular job in the Major Leagues, finishing the year with a .299 average.

The 1981 season proved to be a breakthrough for Paciorek. Playing full-time for the first time in his career, Paciorek hit .326, second in the American League, was 10th in the A.L. MVP race and was named to the A.L. All-Star team. After 1981, Paciorek was traded to the Chicago White Sox, where he went on to hit .300 his first two years with the White Sox, and helped them win the division championship in 1983.

In addition to the Dodgers (1970-1975), Mariners (1978-1981) and White Sox (1982-1985), Paciorek also played for the Atlanta Braves (1976-1978), New York Mets (1985) and Texas Rangers (1986-1987).

Paciorek was invited back to Seattle as part of the Mariners 35th Anniversary celebration, a season-long tribute to the franchise’s history in which former Mariners are welcomed back to Seattle for special appearances and promotions at Safeco Field.

Paciorek, who was nicknamed Wimpy by Tommy Lasorda in his minor league days, became a successful broadcaster calling games for the White Sox, Detroit Tigers, Mariners, Braves, and Washington Nationals.

Paciorek came from an athletic family. His brothers Jim and John were Major Leaguers. His son and three nephews also played professional baseball. Paciorek now lives near Atlanta where he enjoys spending time with his grandchildren.

Tickets for Saturday’s game, and all other games on the Mariners 2012 home schedule, are available at www.mariners.com/tickets. They can also be purchased with no service charge at Seattle Mariners Team Stores (Bellevue Square, Southcenter Mall, Alderwood Mall, and at 4th and Stewart in downtown Seattle) and the Safeco Field box office. Tickets are also available at Ticketmaster Ticket Centers, or by calling 1-888-SEA-HITS.