Wilhelmsen in 2013
|Seattle Mariners – No. 54|
December 16, 1983 |
|April 3, 2011 for the Seattle Mariners|
(through August 10, 2015)
|Earned run average||3.05|
Prior to playing professionally, Wilhelmsen graduated from Tucson High School, whence he was selected by the Milwaukee Brewers in the seventh round (199th overall) of the 2002 MLB Draft. Later that summer, upon signing with the Brewers on August 19, he received a US $250,000 bonus. 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.
Prior to the 2010 season, Wilhelmsen attempted a comeback and signed a minor league contract with the Mariners. 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. 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. 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.
Wilhelmsen was optioned to Tacoma on August 6, 2013, 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. It was also in 2014 that Wilhelmsen reached a wider audience in baseball after his formidable dancing ability was captured on video.
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.
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 70's 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.
- Trotto, Sarah. "MLB: Ex-bartender will serve fastballs for Mariners," Arizona Daily Star (Tucson, AZ), Wednesday, March 30, 2011.
- 2002 Major League Baseball Draft, Rounds 1–10 – Pro Sports Transactions.
- Baker, Geoff. "Former Brewers pitching prospect Tom Wilhelmsen gets another chance with Mariners," The Seattle Times, Tuesday, March 2, 2010.
- Tom Wilhelmsen (statistics & history) – Baseball-Reference.com.
- Caple, Jim. "A toast to Tom Wilhelmsen," ESPN.com, Friday, April 15, 2011.
- Spratt, Gerry. "Mariners recall right-hander Wilhelmsen," seattlepi.com, Tuesday, August 2, 2011.
- Liebeskind, Josh. "Combo special: Mariners fire no-no vs. Dodgers". MLB.com. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
- Johns, Greg (August 6, 2013). "Mariners option Wilhelmsen, recall Capps". mlb.com. Retrieved August 6, 2013.
- "Brooks Baseball · Home of the PitchFX Tool - Player Card: Tom Wilhelmsen". Brooks Baseball. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
June 8, 2012
(with Millwood, Furbush, Pryor, Luetge, & League)