Mariners catcher Cal Raleigh played 18-inning marathon ALDS game with broken thumb, torn hand ligaments

The Seattle Mariners showed plenty of heart in their 18-inning ALDS-ending loss to the Houston Astros on Saturday, but one player in particular showed a next level of toughness.

Mariners catcher Cal Raleigh told reporters after the game that he had been playing with a broken thumb and torn ligaments in his left hand, a condition he'd been dealing with for more than a month.

No game would have taxed Raleigh's hand and body more than that marathon Game 3, in which the Astros finished a sweep with a 1-0 win thanks to a solo homer by shortstop Jeremy Peña in the 18th inning.

The loss ended what had felt like a dream season for the Mariners, who still have plenty of reason for hope in the future.

Seattle Mariners catcher Cal Raleigh, left, and Seattle Mariners first baseman Ty France (23) speak during the third inning in Game 3 of an American League Division Series baseball game against the Houston Astros, Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)
Cal Raleigh caught 236 pitches with a bad hand for the Mariners. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Mariners C Cal Raleigh is one tough dude

In total, Raleigh caught 236 pitches from nine different pitchers over the course of a game lasting six hours and 22 minutes, while also making seven plate appearances (going 0-for-6 with a walk and three strikeouts). It was his 120th game of the season behind the plate after 115 regular season appearances (99 starts) and five postseason games.

Now, Raleigh, who led all MLB catchers with 27 home runs during the regular season, will finally be able to see a specialist for the hand in the next few days, per the Seattle Times' Ryan Divish.

Raleigh, affectionately nicknamed the "Big Dumper," has become something of a folk hero for the Mariners over the last month, or even a regular hero. His walk-off homer memorably clinched a playoff appearance for the Mariners, ending the longest playoff drought among the four major North American sports leagues.

One week later, he recorded the game-winning run in the Mariners' wild-card series-clinching comeback against the Toronto Blue Jays. He apparently did all that with a bad hand, but it didn't stop him from carving out a place in Mariners fans' hearts.