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The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Marjama hits Major Leagues; Former City College catcher reaches big leagues with Mariners

City College baseball player Michael Marjama at practice in fall 2009. Marjama began playing catcher for the Seattle Mariners this season, making him the 42nd City College alumnus to reach the Major League. | Terri M. Venesio | [email protected]

Megan Swinney
Staff Writer
[email protected]


Growing up, Michael Marjama went to San Francisco Giants games and Sacramento River Cats games with his family. He had no idea he would eventually know what it feels like to sit in a Major League dugout as a professional ballplayer.

In early September, Marjama became the 42nd City College student to reach the Majors after being called up to play catcher for the Seattle Mariners.

“It doesn’t really make sense until you see your last name on a jersey or until you’re on the field,” said Marjama. “It’s something you always dream of, but you kind of want to hope that it’s really going to come true, because it doesn’t happen to many people.”

Marjama made his Major League debut Sept. 3, catching the final three outs in a 10-2 victory over the Oakland Athletics. “Marj” collected his first pair of big league knocks Sept. 27 in his first career start, with a single off A’s starter Kendall Graveman and a ninth-inning double for the Mariners.

“I kind of knew it was coming,” said Marjama, describing the entry into his first game. “(It) definitely started becoming more and more realistic as we started putting up some more runs. You definitely start to get more and more butterflies in your stomach.”

The 28-year-old was born in Roseville, graduated from Granite Bay High School and spent two years on the City College baseball team from 2009–10. In 74 total games as a Panther, Marjama maintained a .317 batting average.

Marjama wasn’t necessarily your standard breakout star in high school, or even in college, according to Derek Sullivan, City’s current head baseball coach, who was an assistant coach while Marjama was at City.
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“He was not physical,” said Sullivan of Marjama’s journey to earn his name on the back of an MLB jersey. “He was not gifted. He was not a guy who you saw in high school or early on here where you went, ‘Hey! That guy is going to play professional baseball.’

“He was more of an, ‘Oh, he’s very intelligent. He could probably be a good college player.’ That was the initial evaluation. He was one of the top three guys who worked the hardest but also worked the smartest.”

Andy McKay, a longtime City College baseball coach and current director of Player Development for the Seattle Mariners, played a significant role in Marjama’s early growth. McKay encouraged Marjama to back up his baseball intelligence and skills with real confidence.   

“It all started with Andy McKay, who was our head coach at Sacramento City,” said Marjama. “The first time I ever met him, he told me ‘if I’m too scared to play baseball at his school, what makes me think I could play pro ball?’”

The Mariners kept their eye on Marjama throughout his thriving career in the minors. He made a name for himself this season by knocking out 12 home runs with 63 RBIs in 93 games with the Durham Bulls, Tampa Bay Rays’ minor league organization, and the Tacoma Rainiers, Seattle Mariners’ minor league organization. Marjama was also selected as the starting catcher for the International League in the 2017 Triple-A All-Star Game.

Despite seeing limited playing time on a crowded September roster, Marjama is happy to be along for the ride in the midst of the Mariners’ push for an American League wild card berth.

“You kind of realize, this is kind of true,” said Marjama. “You know, your dreams are starting to come true.”

For more info on SCC baseball and its alumni, visit


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