In the sixth inning, Mariners catcher José Godoy made his MLB debut and replaced starter Tom Murphy behind the plate. With that, Godoy became the 20,000th player in MLB history. The milestone was not acknowledged at the ballpark, though the Mariners tweeted out a video featuring Jeopardy! legend (and Mariners fan) Ken Jennings celebrating Godoy's accomplishment.
Godoy, 26, spent nine years in the Cardinals' farm system, including a stint at their alternate site last season, before signing with the Mariners as a minor league free agent this past offseason. He was called up earlier this week when incumbent backup catcher Luis Torrens was demoted to Triple-A.
Astros righty Tyler Ivey and Cleveland righty Jean Carlos Mejía made their MLB debuts earlier on Friday and became the 19,998th and 19,999th players in MLB history, respectively. Had Godoy not appeared in Friday's game, Rays shortstop Taylor Walls likely would have become the 20,000th player on Saturday, Willy Adames.
Hall of Famer Deacon White is widely considered the first player in major-league history. He batted leadoff in the first ever game of the National Association between the Fort Wayne Kekiongas and Cleveland Forest Citys on May 4, 1871. According to Baseball-Reference.com, Andy Kosco was the 10,000th player in MLB history. He debuted with the Twins on August 13, 1965.
Godoy is already the 98th player to make his MLB debut last season. A whopping 212 players made their MLB debuts during the 60-game 2020 season thanks to the expanded 28-man rosters, as well as COVID outbreaks and a spike in injuries. In 2019, the last full 162-game season, 261 players made their MLB debut.
It is pretty incredible that this sport is 150 years old and only 20,000 players have appeared in an MLB game. That is enough to fill Fenway Park, the sport's oldest stadium, to a little more than half-capacity (37,731 full capacity). Being a major leaguer is a very, very exclusive club.