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Baseball

Marjama retires from MLB for a greater calling

Granite Bay alum gives up big league dreams to become Ambassador for NEDA
By: Nick Pecoraro
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ROSEVILLE – Former Granite Bay grad Mike Marjama decided to hang up the cleats after a brief “cup of coffee” stint in Major League Baseball.

“For most of my life, I believed that my purpose was to play Major League Baseball,” Marjama wrote in an open letter posted via Twitter July 6. “Having achieved more than I could ever imagine in this game, I began to realize that my mission in life means more than a baseball career, earnings, or success.”

His new mission: help people who have suffered from eating disorders – an ailment with which he struggled during his time at Granite Bay High.

His tweeted statement explained the reasons behind his abrupt retirement, which included battles with leg and back injuries, concussions and Pulmonary Embolism. His announcement even caught the attention of ESPN broadcaster and political commentator Keith Olbermann.

Olbermann retweeted Marjama’s letter, echoing, “This, friends, is a baseball hero #MarjamaToTheAllStarGame.”

Marjama plans to serve as an Ambassador for the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) to help those who have shared his struggles.

Marjama last played for the Grizzlies’ baseball team in 2007 before joining the Sacramento City and Long Beach State squads in college. Drafted in the 23rd round (711th overall) of the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft by the Chicago White Sox, it seemed a long shot for Marjama to reach the big leagues.

Marjama was with his third organization by 2017 when he was named the starting catcher for the International League in the Triple-A All-Star Game before being promoted to the Seattle Mariners as a September call-up that year.

Marjama made his MLB debut Sept. 3, 2017, against the Oakland Athletics, where he caught the final three outs of a 10-2 win in Seattle. He collected his first big-league hit against the same Oakland ball club Sept. 27, singling off of A’s starter Kendall Graveman in the fifth inning and doubling off of future Oakland All-Star Blake Treinen in the ninth. His first Major League home run came off of Angels’ reliever Jose Alvarez in the final game of the 2017 season.

He began the 2018 season as the Mariners’ opening day catcher. His battery mate: former American League Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez.

In all, Marjama played in just 15 MLB games, but as his letter stated, he seems to have no regrets about his decision.

“As a kid who was not recruited out of High School and was eventually drafted in the 23rd round, I’m hanging up my cleats with memories that go beyond my wildest imagination,” he wrote.

“I AM MORE THAN AN ATHLETE!”