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Longtime Mariners catcher Dan Wilson to retire

SEATTLE -- Seattle Mariners catcher Dan Wilson, sidelined
most of the year by a knee injury, plans to retire after this
season.

The 36-year-old Wilson tore the anterior cruciate ligament in
his right knee on May 4 while returning to first base after a
teammate hit a fly ball against the Los Angeles Angels. He has been
on the 60-day disabled list since May 6.

"The relationship between my family and the Mariners' family
has been amazing," Wilson said Monday during an emotional news
conference. "Our relationship is not over, just changing. I look
forward to staying involved in some way, shape or form in the years
to come."

The club would like to bring him back as a coach or in the front
office when Wilson decides what he wants to do.

"This is the end of a generation that remade and saved baseball
in Seattle," club president Chuck Armstrong said. "He's the last
connection to that miracle 1995 team."

Wilson came to Seattle in a trade on Nov. 3, 1993, with
right-hander Bobby Ayala in a deal that sent right-hander Erik
Hanson and second baseman Bret Boone to the Reds. Under manager Lou
Piniella, Wilson became Seattle's regular catcher, a job he held
for 11 seasons until this spring, when he was relegated to backup
duty.

Wilson was part of the Mariners' first playoff team in 1995, a
club that came from 13 games back in early August to tie the
California Angels for the AL West title. The Mariners beat the
Angels in a one-game playoff, then defeated the New York Yankees in
a memorable division series before losing in six games to Cleveland
in the AL Championship Series.

"Certainly the '95 season was at the top of the list, the
emotions day after day," Wilson said. "All those things we went
through were things you never forget. It was just a feeling of
accomplishment, coming back from so far back to tie at the end of
the season."

Wilson played in 30 of the team's 34 playoff games and was the
starting catcher when the Mariners clinched postseason berths in
1995, '97, 2000 and '01.

The 14-year veteran ranks in the top 10 in most of the club's
offensive categories. He also is ranked first all-time in fielding
percentage among American League catchers at .995 and 20th overall
in games played as a catcher with 1,280.

Wilson also is committed to charity work in the Seattle
community. He is the club's nominee for the 2005 Roberto Clemente
Award, which recognizes community service. He and his wife Annie
have four children, two of whom are adopted.

He said regardless of the injury, he and his wife already had
decided this would be his final season in the big leagues.

"Now is my time to give back," he said.

Mariners manager Mike Hargrove added, "When I say Dan Wilson is
one of the good guys, for me, that's the ultimate compliment. Very
few of us, in all walks of life, rarely say and do the same thing.
There's nothing phony about Dan Wilson. He talks the talk and walks
the walk. Anytime someone like that leaves, we're all worse off for
it."

Wilson has a .263 career batting average with 88 home runs, 519
RBIs and 211 doubles. His best season was 1996, when he hit .285
with 18 homers, 83 RBIs and made the All-Star team. He set the club
record for batting average by a catcher at .295 in 2002. He was
batting .185 with two RBIs in 10 games before his injury this
season.

There is an outside chance that Wilson could play at least one
more game before the season ends. He has been rehabilitating his
knee for four months and it's nearly game-ready. The Mariners
finish at home on the final weekend against Oakland.