Longtime Everett AquaSox trainer Marion "Spyder" Webb has been helping baseball players get ready for games in the Northwest League for 30 years. But Webb does more than tend to injuries. He's helped out with travel, snacks and as a source of guidance for young planers.
EVERETT — Longtime Everett AquaSox trainer Marion “Spyder” Webb has been taping ankles, loosening muscles and bandaging cuts for Northwest League clubs in Everett and Bellingham for 30 years.
But that’s far from all he does.
Before a recent AquaSox trip to play the Vancouver Canadians, Webb filled the role of travel agent. He gathered passports, declaration cards, and even separated each player by country — all requirements for crossing the border.
He’s responsible for team snacks — peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, fruit and PowerBars — after batting practice.
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“This job is special because you accomplish something every day,” Webb said.
“To me, he is AquaSox baseball, the way he gets things done,” said Teresa Sarsted, director of accounting and player housing.
The nickname? As a JV football player at McClenaghan High School in Florence, S.C., the varsity coach had trouble remembering the name Marion. So the coach called him “Spyder” and the name stuck.
“And I walked across the stage [at graduation] as Spyder Webb,” he said.
Webb gets so involved during games he has been ejected several times. Former AquaSox manager Pedro Grifol was there for most of them.
But what stands out in Grifol’s mind isn’t the ejections.
“If I were to describe Spyder in one word, it’d be loyalty,” said Grifol. He and Webb remain friends after their years working together.
Webb, 54, has been a part of the Northwest League and the Mariners organization since 1979. He got into the business in the summer of 1977 with a phone call to a team in the Atlanta Braves organization. Two years later, he was in Bellingham.
On June 22, Webb was honored for his 30-season milestone, receiving an award in a pregame presentation.
Times have changed; so has the job.
Webb’s job requires more instruction of players, more time on the field. And his work doesn’t stop with the AquaSox.
In the offseason, he lives in Florence, S.C., and serves as the head athletic trainer for Francis Marion University. In Webb’s 35 years at FMU, he has developed a reputation for being thorough.
“He’s friendly, but doesn’t beat around the bush,” said cross country and track coach Mark Bluman. “When it comes to his job, he tells it how it is. Some people don’t do that.”
Michael Hawkins, Francis Marion’s sports information director, remembers seeing Webb riding in school buses in his early years as trainer when FMU was an NAIA school.
The tales surrounding those bus rides live on.
On a basketball trip one year, the team stopped by a burger joint. When they realized the restaurant was about to close, Webb and then-basketball coach Louis Hill hopped over the counter and started bagging burgers and fries. “We still had 3 ½ hours to drive,” he said, “and we just needed to get out of there.”
Webb, with a thick handlebar mustache a la Goose Gossage and a Southern drawl, says he takes his job seriously. “I want things done a certain way,” he said.
AquaSox general manager Brian Sloan said Webb serves as a bridge between players and staff.
“He’s the link to the ballclub and our front office,” said Sloan. “I don’t know where we’d be without him.”
Luckily, that’s Webb’s goal.
“My job here is controlling chaos,” he said, “The only thing I want my manager and staff to worry about is the game. I worry about the rest of it.”
He’s also a mentor.
“Spyder is a source of guidance and encouragement for the players, but it’s hard not to be when you’re around a group of guys for 76 out of 78 days [of the season],” Sloan said.
Webb has turned down job offers from the Cleveland, Detroit and New York Mets organizations, saying he wants to be “a Seattle Mariner for life.” Even those outside the AquaSox organization have recognized Webb.
When Webb walked into the Spokane Indians’ clubhouse at Avista Stadium earlier this season, he was surprised to find his name on the wall. He did a double take. He had never worked in Spokane.
That didn’t mean the team didn’t appreciate him for his years of NWL service. Spokane named the clubhouse after him.
“To have another team name their clubhouse after you was a sobering moment,” he said, eyes welling with tears.