Cal Raleigh gets a trim as Mariners celebrate 30th anniversary of "Buhner Buzz Cut" night


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SEATTLE — When manager Scott Servais was told one of his Seattle Mariners players was going to shave his head to help celebrate one of the most popular promotions in franchise history, he wasn't shocked to learn it was catcher Cal Raleigh.

"Cal is all in. He's a Mariner through and through, so it didn't surprise me once I heard his name," Servais said. "He's not the first one that jumped out but when I did hear it was him, 'OK, that makes sense.'"

Raleigh ended up being the only player to participate as the Mariners marked the 30th anniversary of the first "Buhner Buzz Cut" night before Thursday's game against the Chicago White Sox. The promotion started in 1994 as the team created a unique promotion around the popularity of outfielder Jay Buhner and his chrome dome.

The idea was simple — come get your hair buzzed in exchange for a T-shirt and a free ticket.

The event became a promotional anchor every season during the mid-1990s when the club's future in Seattle was solidified and the Mariners grew in popularity. Senior vice president of marketing and communications Kevin Martinez said there were 500 participants that first year in 1994, and about 700 took part in 1995.

But after Seattle made the playoffs in 1995, the event took off. A year later, more than 3,000 turned out to have their head shaved.

The event was held every year between 1994-99 and again in 2001, and a total of 19,391 people got their heads shaved — including 298 women — according to the team.

"Being here a couple of years I heard about it and obviously they were going to bring it back, so thought it'd be a cool thing to do," Raleigh said.

With the night off from the starting lineup, Raleigh plopped down in one of the many barber chairs set up at a venue across the street from T-Mobile Park about four hours before first pitch. Buhner, a member of the Mariners Hall of Fame after spending parts of 14 seasons in Seattle, was right alongside and took off an initial layer of Raleigh's hair before giving way to a professional barber to trim down to the scalp.

"It's just hair. It'll grow back," Raleigh said. "It's fun. We'll look back one day and it'll be a pretty cool moment."

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