Tom Wilhelmsen

Tom Wilhelmsen

Wilhelmsen with the Seattle Mariners
Free agent
Relief pitcher
Born: (1983-12-16) December 16, 1983
Tucson, Arizona
Bats: Right Throws: Right
MLB debut
April 3, 2011, for the Seattle Mariners
MLB statistics
(through 2016 season)
Win–loss record 13–14
Earned run average 3.46
Strikeouts 322
Saves 68

Thomas Mark Wilhelmsen (born December 16, 1983) is an American professional baseball relief pitcher who is a free agent. He has played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers.


Wilhelmsen graduated from Tucson High School,[1] whence he was selected by the Milwaukee Brewers in the seventh round (199th overall) of the 2002 MLB Draft.[2] Later that summer, upon signing with the Brewers on August 19, he received a US $250,000 bonus.[3][4] He began his professional career the next season.

Wilhelmsen played for the AZL Brewers and Beloit Snappers in 2003, going a combined 5-6 with a 2.84 ERA in 17 starts. Following that season, he twice tested positive for marijuana and was suspended for the 2004 campaign. He decided to quit professional baseball during extended spring training after his suspension ended in 2005.[3]

During his five-year hiatus from 2005 to 2009, he worked as a bartender at The Hut, a tiki bar in his hometown. This occupation would later be the inspiration for his nickname.[5]

Tom Wilhelmsen in 2012.

Seattle Mariners

Prior to the 2010 season, Wilhelmsen attempted a comeback and signed a minor league contract with the Mariners.[3] He played for the AZL Mariners, Everett AquaSox and Clinton LumberKings that season, going a combined 7-1 with a 2.19 ERA in 15 games (12 starts).

On May 17, 2011, after being signed by the Mariners he was optioned to Class AA in order to clear room for Franklin Gutierrez to be activated. After a series of trades created an opening on the Mariners' 25-man roster, Wilhelmsen was recalled from the minor leagues on August 2, 2011.[6] He won his first major league game on August 15, pitching a perfect 8th inning against the Toronto Blue Jays.

On June 8, 2012, Wilhelmsen recorded the save in a six-pitcher combined no-hitter which was started by Kevin Millwood who left the game after the 6th inning due to a groin injury. The six pitchers used by the Mariners tied the record of most pitchers used in a no-hitter with the 2003 Houston Astros. The Mariners beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 1-0.[7] Wilhelmsen said after the game that while he was pitching, he had forgotten it was a no-hitter, and only remembered after catcher Jesús Montero reminded him.[8]

Wilhelmsen was optioned to Tacoma on August 6, 2013,[9] and recalled in September. In 2014 Wilhelmsen was back in the Mariner bullpen, appearing in 57 games and finishing the season with a 2.27 ERA and a WHIP of 1.05.[10] It was also in 2014 that Wilhelmsen reached a wider audience in baseball after his formidable dancing ability was captured on video.[11]

During the 2015 season, Wilhelmsen had a brief stint on the disabled list after a bullpen accident; Wilhelmsen was swinging his arms when teammate Danny Farquhar ran into Wilhelmsen's right arm, resulting in a hyperextended elbow.[10]

Texas Rangers

On November 16, 2015, the Mariners traded Wilhelmsen, James Jones, and a player to be named later (Patrick Kivlehan) to the Texas Rangers for Leonys Martín and Anthony Bass.[12] On January 13, 2016, the Rangers and Wilhelmsen agreed to a one-year, $3.1 million contract to avoid arbitration.[13] Wilhelmsen had a rough start with the Rangers with an ERA of 10.55. With this the Rangers optioned Wilhelmsen to Triple A, but he refused making him a free agent.

Second stint with Seattle

On June 22, 2016, Wilhelmsen signed a one-year contract with the Seattle Mariners.[14] He was designated for assignment by the Mariners on November 18,[15] and released on November 22.[16]

Pitch mechanics

Wilhelmsen mainly throws two pitches a four-seam fastball, which is usually 95-98 mph, and a 12-6 curveball, which will be in the upper 70s with a big, 12-6 break. He has experimented with a slider and circle changeup, but he uses these pitches sparingly. However, the changeup was seen more frequently during Spring Training in 2013.[17]


  1. Trotto, Sarah. "MLB: Ex-bartender will serve fastballs for Mariners," Arizona Daily Star (Tucson, AZ), Wednesday, March 30, 2011.
  2. "2002 Major League Baseball Draft Pick Transactions". Retrieved November 16, 2015.
  3. 1 2 3 Baker, Geoff. "Former Brewers pitching prospect Tom Wilhelmsen gets another chance with Mariners," The Seattle Times, Tuesday, March 2, 2010.
  4. "Tom Wilhelmsen Statistics and History -". Retrieved November 16, 2015.
  5. "Ex-bartender Tom Wilhelmsen's seven-year journey to the Seattle Mariners' bullpen". Retrieved November 16, 2015.
  6. "Mariners recall right-hander Wilhelmsen". Seattle Mariners blog. Retrieved November 16, 2015.
  7. Liebeskind, Josh. "Combo special: Mariners fire no-no vs. Dodgers". Retrieved June 9, 2012.
  8. "MLB -- Seattle Mariners' unusual no-hitter takes time to sink in". Retrieved November 16, 2015.
  9. Johns, Greg (August 6, 2013). "Mariners option Wilhelmsen, recall Capps". Retrieved August 6, 2013.
  10. 1 2 "Tom Wilhelmsen Stats, Fantasy & News". Seattle Mariners. Retrieved November 16, 2015.
  11. "Mariners' Tom Wilhelmsen Ends Season With 'Turn Down For What' Dance (Video) - MLB -". Retrieved November 16, 2015.
  12. "Rangers ship Leonys Martin to Mariners for RHP Tom Wilhelmsen in 5-player deal". Dallas Morning News. November 16, 2015. Retrieved November 16, 2015.
  13. Yahoo Sports
  14. Todd, Jeff (June 22, 2016). "Mariners Sign Tom Wilhelmsen". Retrieved June 22, 2016.
  15. Adams, Steve (November 18, 2016). "Mariners Acquire James Pazos From Yankees, Designate Tom Wilhelmsen". Retrieved November 22, 2016.
  16. Dutton, Bob (November 22, 2016). "Mariners release reliever Tom Wilhelmsen". Retrieved November 22, 2016.
  17. "Brooks Baseball · Home of the PitchFX Tool - Player Card: Tom Wilhelmsen". Brooks Baseball. Retrieved May 13, 2012.
Preceded by
Johan Santana
No-hit game
June 8, 2012
(with Millwood, Furbush, Pryor, Luetge, & League)
Succeeded by
Matt Cain
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