The newest Mariners folk hero is a man named ‘Big Dumper’

Cal Raleigh’s pinch hit-home run ended a 21-year drought in Seattle



The Seattle Mariners

BRANDON WILLMAN, Multimedia editor

Let the drought end and plentiful rain fall down in Seattle for years to come. 

Cal Raleigh hit the most iconic home run in Mariners’ history on Sept. 30, 2022. Facing a 3-2 count against Athletics reliever Domingo Acevedo, Raleigh took a low pitch and smacked it down the right field line. 

It was home run number 26 of the season and number 28 of his career in a mere 500 at-bats. He is a switch-hitting power-hitting catcher, something that is not common in Major League Baseball. 

A product of Florida State University, Raleigh was drafted in the third round of the 2018 MLB draft. After getting called up, it took only 10 days to hit his first bomb of the season.

He saw limited action in his rookie season as he would platoon with other catchers and struggled early in 2022. Leading to his demotion back to the minors. Now, at the end of the season, even with missing games due to early-season struggles and injuries, he is leading the league with home runs by a catcher. 

As a young catcher, Raleigh has impressed with his ability to work with the young pitching staff while not sacrificing offense. 

His home run will go down as the most iconic bomb in Mariners history, as it officially ended the playoff drought that prevented many college-aged students from ever seeing the Mariners in the playoffs.

That may not be what he will most be known for by Mariners fans however, his nickname is also one of the most memorable and iconic in all of baseball. He is dubbed “Big Dumper.” 

The nickname comes from his ability to hit huge clutch home runs, as well as the fact that he has a big butt. 

In a minor league game, fellow iconic September Mariners player Jarred Kelenic had a postgame interview following a Cal Raleigh walk-off home run where he explained it was a “Big hit by the Big Dumper.” 

Kelenic and Raleigh have been friends since they met playing in the minor leagues together, both hoping for the call-up to the majors. During this September run, they both stepped up massively and have gotten admiration from the fans. Kelenic specifically loves the fans and is always getting involved by thanking the fans for their support and rallying them up. Whether on the field post-game or in a press conference, Kelenic has nothing but love and gratitude for the Mariners faithful. 

He could also not be happier for his friend Cal after he hit his walk-off. 

“This is what we dreamed about. This is why you play baseball. And for Cal to put a good swing on that ball and drive it out of the ballpark, that’s what we’re trying to do,” Kelenic said while celebrating. 

The name “Big Dumper” has stuck and has become very popular amongst the fans of the Seattle Mariners. Several of those fans own shirts of a dump truck with a Mariners’ logo or even custom jerseys with the “Big Dumper” nickname on the back. 

All in all, Raleigh’s introduction to the Mariners organization came as the team was entering a full rebuild, sending off many all-stars. But only four years later, he was the guy who sent the team back to the playoffs for the first time in over two decades and will forever be remembered as a legend for the team.