MLB’s Lamb returns to hometown to play for Mariners

MLB’s Lamb returns to hometown to play for Mariners

MLB’s Lamb returns to hometown to play for Mariners

Last month, on Aug. 6, Seattle native and Major League Baseball player Jake Lamb made his debut as a third baseman and outfielder for the Seattle Mariners.

With the support of his family and a good portion of Seattle cheering him on, he said, “It hit me at that first game. It was amazing!”

The Lamb family has been playing sports in Queen Anne for over 50 years.

Jake’s father, John, grew up in Queen Anne and chose to stay in the neighborhood with his wife, Deonne, and their four children: Dan, Jake, Megan and Dylan Lamb. Growing up in Queen Anne, Jake played Little League and other sports.

Ed Artis, a Queen Anne resident and marine superintendent who has coached youth from elementary school through college, also recalls coaching the Lamb family members. He coached two generations of Lamb boys at St. Anne’s: John and his brothers, Pat and Tom, and Jake and his brothers.

Artis said that the younger ages are for making memories that youth will take with them for life. At that age, he said, children should be learning how to play and developing a love for the game.

“At 10 years old, anybody can be anything,” Artis said. “If you have a love and want to do it, and the personality and the support of your family, you can do things others cannot.”

Artis said he was not surprised that Jake Lamb made it to the big leagues. He described Lamb as a very good young player who stood out for his focus and ability to be coached.

“His father is the real reason he’s where he’s at,” he added.

Jake recalls his father coaching and attending so many games.

“I was lucky he always said yes,” Lamb said. “He was always there. My dad never said no.”

Like his son, John Lamb played for Queen Anne Little League, and when he became a father, he coached his children’s teams. He has coached everything from Tee-ball and Little League to soccer and basketball, and played more games of catch than he can remember.

“I wouldn’t trade it for the world,” he said. “It was the best time.”  

In addition to his father, Jake also learned from accomplished coaches in the region, including Ray Atkinson, the head coach at Lincoln High School, who also runs the Atkinson Baseball Academy. He remembers Jake as “an enormously gifted player with an extremely mature drive.”

Atkinson said that 12-year-old Jake was not the strongest or the fastest but had the mentality that he would be a major league player and a beautiful left-handed swing.

“We love to have those right-handed players that bat left,” Atkinson said. “It’s special.”

This puts Jake in the company of some of baseball’s greatest players who also bat left and throw right: Ted Williams, Ty Cobb, Yogi Berra and former Mariner Ichiro Suzuki.

Until high school, Lamb was always one of the smaller players, but that never stopped him.

 “I was always just playing for fun,” he said. “I really think kids should play all the sports for as long as you can. It helps growth and you become more athletic.”

In his case, that was true. During Lamb’s junior year in high school, he finally hit his growth spurt.

The scrawny youth who Atkinson had coached grew into a 6-foot-3-inch player who earned a scholarship to the University of Washington.

“It was great,” Jake Lamb said. “We played every day.”

Huskies baseball was a dream come true for Lamb.

While he was playing for UW, his dreams got even bigger and he started to think, “I could get drafted.”

This put the pressure on, but Lamb said he knew he needed to keep his focus on the game and just play.

After three years of college baseball, he was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the sixth round and was an All-Star in 2017. Since then, he has married his high school sweetheart, Hannah, and played for the Oakland Athletics, Chicago White Sox, Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Dodgers.

“This year has been a really cool year,” Jake Lamb said.

For the first time since 2014, he was back playing AAA baseball.

“It was where I needed to be to get more at-bats and to be playing every day.”

Then he got called up by the Dodgers.

“We were winning games and living by the beach,” he said. “I thought: Life couldn’t get better than this.”

Then it did. When he was told that he’d been traded to the Mariners, he called his parents and told them, “I’m coming home!”

It has been a whirlwind of activity since then. Jake and his wife packed up the house and the dog and flew home to Seattle.

“We have been getting so many texts and emails,” Deonne Lamb said. “We are so excited to have Jake at home!”

And after all of the games that she has attended for her four children over the years, she is still looking forward to more.

“It’s fun,” she said. “We will be able to see so many more games!”