1970-1976: After the Pilots, Seattle’s first Major League team was unable to stay afloat financially in Sicks’ Stadium and moved to Milwaukee, plans began to bring the Majors back to Seattle started almost immediately. The first step was to have a building more suited for big-time professional sports. Plans for a multi-purposed domed stadium were already in the early stages in the attempt to bring the NFL to the Pacific Northwest. While plans for a new stadium were coming together, Seattle filed a lawsuit against Major League Baseball. The owners were afraid of the potential harm of a lawsuit, so in 1973, they decided to promise Seattle a new team during the next expansion. By 1975 it was looking as if the expansion team was a hollow promise, so Seattle tried to land a team in existence to move into the new Kingdome, which was to be completed in 1976. A group of owners was all set to buy the Chicago White Sox and move to the Emerald City. The American League refused to allow one of the American League’s charter franchises to leave the Windy City. Fearful of further lawsuits and relocation threats, baseball finally fulfilled their promise and gave Seattle and Toronto expansion teams that would begin play in 1977.
1977: As the Seattle Mariners prepared for their inaugural season, the city of Seattle threw a big parade to welcome back Major League Baseball to the Pacific Northwest. On April 6th, the waiting finally ended as the Mariners took the field at the Kingdome in the first-ever American League game played in a dome. Ironically former Seattle Pilot Diego Segui was the starting pitcher for the Mariners as 57,762 fans settled in for the birth of Mariners baseball. However, the fans would go home disappointed that first day, as the Mariners were thumped 7-0 by the California Angels. Losing would become a habit that first year as the Mariners finished with a woeful 64-98 record. Thanks to the collapse from the Oakland A’s, the Mariners were able to avoid finishing in last, by a half-game, and were nine and a half games better than their expansion partner Toronto Blue Jays.
1978: With a team full of castoffs and unproven players, the Mariners continued to struggle and fell to last place with a 58-104 record in their second season.
1979: While the Seattle Mariners struggled again in their third season finishing in sixth place with a record of 67-95, the Pacific Northwest had their first taste of the baseball spotlight as they hosted the All-Star Game. It was 50th All-Star game featuring the American League’s best going up against the best of the National League. The game would end up being one of the most exciting in All-Star history as the lead went back and forth. The game turned in the seventh inning when Boston Red Sox Jim Rice hit a fly ball that Pittsburgh Pirates Rightfielder Dave Parker lost in the lights, Rice seeing Parker’s troubles decided to try and stretch the hit into a triple. However, Parker recovered and nailed Rice at third base to keep American League lead at one. The National League would then tie the game on New York Mets Lee Mazzilli homer that hit the Leftfield fair pole. In the bottom of the eighth inning with two outs, New York Yankee Graig Nettles hit a single to right. However, All-Star MVP Parker made another great throw to Montreal Expos catcher Gary Carter who tagged California Angels Brian Downing, who tried to score from second base. The National League would take the lead for good in the ninth inning as Yankees pitcher Ron Guidry walked Mazzilli with the bases loaded.
1980: In their fourth season, the Mariners continued to tread water as they lost 103 games and finished dead last. More disturbing was the M’s continued to struggle at the gate and drew less the one million fans to the Kingdome for the third year in a row. Fans and players were both dissatisfied with Kingdome, which had all the charm of a dungeon and certainly did not invite fans who wanted to enjoy a sunny summer day, as the Dome’s concrete roof not only kept out the rain it kept out any light. It gave the stadium an antiseptic look that did not aid in attempts to draw fans. This all contributed to the doubt that Major League Baseball would ever be viable in Seattle.
1981: The good news for the Mariners was that they avoided losing 95 games for the first time in franchise history. However, the bad news was that if it not for a two-month player’s strike, they would likely reach that depth once again, as they posted an overall record of 44-65. However, what was more disturbing was that the M’s continued to struggle at the gate, only averaging a crowd of 14,000 a game.
1982: In an attempt to help boost attendance, the Mariners sign 43-year-old pitcher Gaylord Perry who only needs three more wins to collect his 300th career win. The move would pay off as 27,369 fans would show up to the Kingdome on May 6th to watch Perry obtain win number 300 with a complete game 7-3 victory against the New York Yankees. That would not be the only positives for the Mariners that year as the team flirts with .500-mark, before finishing in fourth place with a 78-84 record. Helping to spur the M’s improvement was Floyd Bannister, who led the American League in strikeouts, becoming the first Mariner to lead the league in a significant category.
1983: In an attempt to be flashier, the Mariners station a boat beyond the outfield wall called the USS Mariner. The boat would fire a cannon after ever home run and rock during dramatic moments. In addition, the boat would have a tugboat partner that would bring relievers in from the bullpen. Despite the flashy new additions, the team would take a turn downward, finishing in last place with a 60-102 record. The Mariners also angered their fans when they traded the popular Julio Cruz to the Chicago White Sox for Tony Bernazard. Seattle fired Manager Lachemann on June 25th and replaced him with Del Crandall. On that same day, let go of future Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry and their starting shortstop Todd Cruz. This day would be become known as the Saturday Massacre. None of the moves worked as Seattle’s attendance continued to plummet as the M’s barely drew 10,000 a game.
1984: Mariners fans were finally able to have some hope for the future as Rookies Alvin Davis and Mark Langston burst on to the scene. Davis, who was called up a few days after Opening Day, made an immediate impact getting a game-winning RBI when he homered in his second at-bat, off of Boston Red Sox pitcher Dennis Eckersley. After a month, Davis was hitting .347 with nine homers and 28 RBI’s. At the same time, rookie pitcher Mark Langston was setting records. Seattle was beginning to look to build around these two players as a foundation for the future. Davis would go onto win the Rookie of the Year and rewrite the M’s record book by hitting .284 with 27 home runs, 116 RBI’s, 97 base-on-balls, and collecting 161 hits. Meanwhile, Mark Langston finished second in Rookie of the Year voting also finished with an impressive season. His final record was 17-10 with a 3.40 ERA. In addition, he led the American League in strikeouts with 204. With the success of the rookies, the Mariners still struggled to finish 74-88 in fifth place.
1985: While their expansion brother Toronto Blue Jays get their first taste of success, winning the American League East, the Mariners continue to struggle to finish in sixth place with a 74-88 record.
1986: The Mariners sink to the bottom of the American League Western Division again with an awful 67-95 record. The lone bright spot was the strong year put up by rookie Danny Tartabull who hit 25 home runs and drove in 96 runs. In a puzzling move after the season, Tartabull would be traded away to the Kansas City Royals for pitcher Scott Bankhead. The Mariners also found themselves on the wrong end of history, as Red Sox pitcher Roger Clemens struck out a new single-game record of 20 against the Mariners in Boston on April 29th.
1987: Finishing in last place in 1986 would payoff during the Baseball draft as the Mariners had the Number 1 pick and drafted a 17-year old named Ken Griffey Jr. While the M’s would have to wait for Junior to develop in the minors, the team began to show improvements. They would still finish below .500 with a 78-84 record, but it would get them into fourth place only seven games behind the eventual World Champion Minnesota Twins. Helping to spur the upswing was Mark Langston, who established a new franchise record with 19 wins. Meanwhile, Alvin Davis had his best year batting .295 with 171 hits, 37 doubles, 29 home runs, and 100 RBIs. Harold Reynolds would have a breakout season by ending Rickey Henderson’s eight-year stranglehold on the American League Stolen Base crown. Mariners fans would get a glimpse of the future in September as 3B Edgar Martinez made his Major League Debut, with five doubles and a seven-game hitting streak from September 14-20, while batting .372.
1988: While the Mariners sank to the bottom of the American League West again with a woeful 68-93 record, the Mariners continued to build for the future by acquiring a rookie slugger named Jay Buhner from the New York Yankees for Ken Phelps. Buhner would become a fan favorite over the next decade in Seattle, while Phelps only played parts of two seasons with Yankees.
1989: As a 19-year old non-roster invitee to spring training Ken Griffey Jr. was not expected to be ready for the Majors, but he impressed M’s brass so much in Spring Training that he not only made the team but was also in Centerfield on Opening Day. Griffey doubled in his first At Bat on April 3rd, and would collect his first home run a week later in the Kingdome season opener, and would go on to hit .325 his first month. In early July, Junior was leading all rookies with a .287 average, 13 home runs, 45 RBI, and a shoo-in for American League Rookie of the Year. However, he would break a bone in the little finger on his left hand, forcing him to miss the next six weeks. When Junior came back, he batted only .214 with three homers and 16 RBI; because of this, he lost out on the award. The club would also struggle during Jr.’s absence losing 16 of 25 games played, which ended all hopes of the franchise’s first winning season, as they finished in 6th place with a 73-89 record. Another sweeping change for the Mariners came on May 25th when the club dealt longtime ace Mark Langston to the Montreal Expos for three prospects. However, one of these prospects was 6’10” left Randy Johnson, who would make fans forget all about Langston within a few years. In his first year with the Mariners, “The Big Unit” would win seven games, while showing signs of his future dominance.
1990: Ken Griffey Jr. continued to develop into one of baseball’s best players, as he made the All-Star team for the first time in his career. Griffey would hit .300 for the season while hitting 22 home runs and driving in 80 runs. That was not what Griffey’s season would be remembered. On August 29th, the Mariners signed Ken Griffey Sr., who was winding down a stellar career. When the elder Griffey made his first appearance in a Mariners game on August 31st, he was joined by his son, becoming the first Father and Son to play in the same Major League game. In their first game together, each got singles in their first at-bats. Exactly two weeks later, they would make even more history as they hit back to back homers in California off Kirk McCaskill of the Angels. The move, which started as a gimmick, would go on to have a positive impact. Senior Griffey put up good numbers while providing leadership to the young Mariners, who finished in fifth place with a 77-85 record. The Griffeys were not the only ones making history, Randy Johnson in his first full year as a Mariner won 14 games, and pitched the first No-Hitter in franchise history on June 2nd.
1991: For the first time in club history, the Seattle Mariners finished the season above .500 taking home a modest 83-79 record. Ken Griffey Jr. was named to his second All-Star Game and brought home the club’s first Silver Slugger Award, hitting .327 with 22 home runs and 100 RBI. Despite the impressive year, the Mariners decide to fire manager Jim Lefebvre at the end of the season.
1992: Edgar Martinez joined Ken Griffey Jr. (who won the game’s MVP) as an All-Star and earned a Silver Slugger Award and the first batting crown in Mariners’ history slapping out a .343 average. However, the Mariners would sink to the bottom again with a woeful 64-98 record. Among the Mariners’ disappointment was the newly acquired Kevin Mitchell, who only managed nine home runs. Another problem that interfered with Mariners’ chances was the continued instability in ownership. The Mariners would go on to change hands for the fourth time in their 16-year history. What would become abundantly clear was that if the Mariners were ever to have long-term success in Seattle, they would have to get a new ballpark. The Mariners also made more news in proving baseball was a family game when Bret Boone made his Major League Debut becoming the first third-generation family in baseball history. Bret’s grandfather Ray played infield from 1948-1960, and his father Bob was a star catcher from 1972-1990.
1993: The Mariners would enter the season with a new look and a new fiery manager Lou Piniella. The Mariners who rebounded to finish in fourth place with an 82-80 record, were spurred on by their two superstars Ken Griffey Jr. (who hit .309 with 47 home runs, and 109 RBI), and Randy Johnson (who won 19 games while striking out 308). Junior Griffey made history by homering in eight straight games July 20th-28th, tying the record held by Dale Long of the Pittsburgh Pirates (1956), and Don Mattingly of the New York Yankees (1987). However, it was not “The Big Unit” who delivered the best pitching performance. On April 22nd, pitcher Chris Bosio, in just his fourth start as a Mariner, walked the first two batters faced and then proceeded to retire the next 27 for the club’s second no-hitter.
1994: The season was shortened by the August 12th player’s strike, but so was the Mariners’ home schedule. On July 19th, just three hours before game-time, the first of four 15-pound Kingdome tiles fell to the ground. The game was postponed, and the Mariners played the remainder of the season on the road. Playing on the road, for most of the season, dropped the Mariners record below .500 to 49-63. However, because the rest of the newly reconstructed Western Division also struggled, the Mariners were only two games out of first place when the season ended on August 12th. The most disappointing part of the strike was that Ken Griffey Jr.’s pursuit of the single-season home run record was cut short. Griffey, who had 40 home run on August 12th, was well on his way to 50 home runs and even had a shot at Roger Maris’ record of 61.
1995: Coming off a strike, and structural problems with the Kingdome, 1995 was shaping up as the most crucial year in the Mariners history. Success on the field would not be enough since a referendum for a new stadium was due to go in front of voters in September the Mariners had to convince the city of Seattle that the team deserved a new stadium. If the stadium measure were defeated, chances were the Mariners would have to sail out of town within a few years, since long term success at the Kingdome was unrealistic. However, one big problem was that many baseball fans were angry at their sport, after the strike, and were forming their own boycott, by not caring about baseball. If Seattle was not going to get their support, there was no hope for a new stadium. Also hampering the Mariners was the long-held notion that Seattle simply was not and never would be a baseball town. When the season started, the Mariners were among many teams playing in empty stadiums, as jilted fans refused to go to games. The Mariners looked strong and were considered a favorite in the American League Western Division. On Memorial Day Weekend, their playoff hopes took what looked like a fatal blow when Ken Griffey Jr. broke his wrist crashing into the Kingdome wall. During Junior’s absence, the Mariners threaded water thanks to the dominant pitching of Randy Johnson. However, the Big Unit only pitched every five days, and the Mariners were falling out of the race. As August started, things looked bleak as the Mariners trailed the first-place California Angels by 13 games, while the stadium referendum was looking like a lost cause in the polls. Trying to get back in the Western Division race or even the Wild Card race, the Mariners acquired pitcher Andy Benes. Benes’s first start, he defeated the Angels in California little did anyone know at that time it would be the start of something big. With Mariners starting to creep back into the playoff picture, the team got another boost when Ken Griffey Jr. returned from the Disabled List. Junior’s return was just the spark the Mariners needed as they caught fire, and started slicing away at the Angels lead. When the calendar turned to September, the Mariners were suddenly back in the race, and with the slogan “Refuse to Lose,” Seattle fans began to catch on. While the M’s were making their run, the referendum fell to defeat on September 19th. However, the Mariners continued to creep on the Angels, and when the season went into the last weekend of the season, they were among three teams bidding for two playoff spots. While the New Yankees won their last three to clinch the Wild Card, the Mariners caught the Angels and ended the season in a flat-footed tie for the division with a 78-66 record. Since only one team would qualify for the playoffs, a one-game playoff was needed to decide who the American League Western Division Champion was. The one-game playoff would be held in the Kingdome, as the entire city of Seattle was the grips of Mariners fever. The M’s would have another advantage, as they would be sending the Randy Johnson to the mound that dominated the AL all year. On the mound for the Angels was Mark Langston, who was traded six years earlier for Johnson. The game was a pitcher’s duel as the M’s led 1-0 into the seventh when the Mariners erupted for four runs off Langston. The Mariners would continue to tack on runs and would win the division with a 9-1 victory. This performance would also ensure Randy Johnson of winning the Cy Young Award, a first for a Mariner pitcher. His final regular-season stats would be a record of 18-2, 294 strikeouts, and a league-leading 2.48 ERA.
1995: In the first-ever American League Division Series, the Mariners faced the New York Yankees. The Mariners who could not use Randy Johnson in any of the first two games had their backs on the wall instantly as the Yankees took Game 1 by a score of 9-6. Knowing a loss in Game 2 would likely be certain death the Mariners battled the Yankees back and forth into Extra Innings. However, the M’s would lose in 15 innings on Jim Leyritz 2-run homer. The Mariners returned to Seattle down 2-0, needing to win three straight games to advance to the ALCS. In front of a ruckus crowd of 58,000, Randy Johnson got the M’s back into the series with a 7-4 win in Game 3. However, things looked bleak as the Yankees grabbed an early 5-0 lead in Game 4, but the Mariners refused to lose and led by Grand Slam for Edgar Martinez, the Mariners came back to win 11-8 and force a 5th and deciding game. In Game 5, the Yankees would take a 4-2 lead to the eighth inning. The Mariners would tie the game 4-4, and sensing it was now, or never Lou Piniella brought Randy Johnson in to pitch the ninth inning. The Yankees also kept the M’s off the board, and when the Yankees scored a run in the 11th, things looked bleak again. The Mariners would not die, as Joey Cora and Ken Griffey Jr. hit singles to bring up Edgar Martinez. As the crowd chanted, “Refuse to Lose,” Martinez hit a double to score both Cora and Jr. to win the game 6-5. After coming off the decks again, the Mariners were heavy underdogs in the ALCS against the Cleveland Indians. In Game 1, the depleted the Mariners were forced to start Bob Wolcott on the mound; however, in a year of heroes, Wolcott would come up big as the Mariners took Game 1 at the Kingdome 3-2. After the Indians bounced back to take Game 2, the Mariners would send Randy Johnson back to the mound in Game 3. The Mariners would hold a 2-1 lead, as the Big Unit seemed to be cruising to another big win. However, Jay Buhner missed a fly ball that allowed Cleveland to tied the game and sent it into extra innings. However, Buhner redeemed himself by hitting a three-run home run while Norm Charlton shut the door to win 5-2. The Mariners looked like the magic could carry them beyond their fans’ wildest dreams after taking a 2-1 series lead. However, the Indians would bounce back to take the next two games, and sent the series back to Seattle leading 3-2. The Mariners hoped they could force Game 7, and sent Randy Johnson back to the mound, but the magic had run out, and a tiring Big Unit gave up three runs in the eighth inning, while Dennis Martinez shut down the M’s 4-0. While the Indians advanced to the World Series, appreciative Mariner fans gave their team a standing ovation. In the end, the Mariners though not World Champions, were finally champions in Seattle. Seattle was a baseball town, and the playoff drive would force the Seattle Legislator into a special session where they devised a new plan, and finally approved the building of a new stadium.
1996: Alex Rodriguez had a break out year winning the silver slugger award, and the American League batting crown by hitting .358 with 36 home runs and 123 RBI. The Mariners offense quickly established itself as one of the strongest in baseball. However, with injuries limiting Randy Johnson to just 14 appearances, the Mariners pitching struggled all year. Despite the struggles of the pitching staff, the M’s still managed to post an 85-77 record but finished four and a half games behind the Texas Rangers for the division title.
1997: As the Mariners celebrated their 20th Anniversary, the team got a boost as Randy Johnson bounced back from injuries to win 20 games. The Mariners offense led by American League MVP Ken Griffey Jr, continued to be one of the most dominant in baseball, as the Mariners reclaimed first place. Despite riding high in first place, a potential problem was on the horizon as Seattle’s bullpen gave up a lot of runs. In an attempt to make the pen stronger by trading rookie OF Jose Cruz Jr. to the Blue Jays for Mike Timlin and Paul Splojarik. However, Timlin, and Splojarik both struggled, and the Mariners pen continued to give Lou Piniella and the rest of Seattle ajita. However, the Mariners would still go on to win 90 games for the first time in franchise history, capturing the Western Division for the second time in three years. That year, the Mariners broke the three million mark in attendance for the first time, as construction was underway on their future stadium. In the Division Series, the Mariners faced the Baltimore Orioles. However, none of the playoff magic from 1995 could be dredged up as the Randy Johnson was walloped twice while the Mariners lost the series three games to one.
1998: The Seattle Mariners pitching woes caught up to them as they struggled to finish in third place with a record of 76-85. The Mariners got outstanding years from Alex Rodriguez, (who became the third person in baseball history to hit more than 40 home runs and steal more than 40 bases in the same season), and Ken Griffey Jr. (who hit 56 home runs finishing third in the great race for the single-season record behind Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa). However, the year would also see the end of an era as Randy Johnson is traded away with Mariners falling out of the race in July. The Mariners were forced to trade the Big Unit out of fear he wanted to sign with his hometown Arizona Diamondbacks. While Johnson helped guide the Houston Astros to the National League Central Division title, the Mariners received a promising group of prospects. In the end, it turned out that Johnson did want to go home, and the M’s were able to get something for him, unlike the Astros, who watched him slip away via free agency.
1999: On July 15th, in front of a sell-out crowd, the Mariners field of dreams Safeco Field finally opened. While the Mariners lost that first game to the San Diego Padres 3-2, fans fell in love with the new state of the art stadium with a retractable roof. It was immediately discovered that the new park was more pitcher-friendly, and Mariners pitchers could afford to give up more fly balls without the fear of it going out, like previously at the Kingdome. While the Mariners again struggled to a third-place 79-83 season, the M’s young pitching began to show promise. Leading the pitching resurgence was Freddy Garcia, who won 17 games in his first full season after being acquired for Randy Johnson. However, not everyone was impressed with Safeco Field, as Ken Griffey Jr., who saw his offensive numbers declining, demanded the fences be moved in. When the club refused, Junior requested a trade. Faced with the free agency of both Junior and A-rod after the 2000 season, the Mariners were forced to peruse a deal for Ken Griffey Jr., the player most responsible for the franchise’s turn around. After Junior rejected a deal to the New York Mets in December, the Mariners were forced to deal him to the Cincinnati Reds for a group of prospects, including Mike Cameron and Brett Tomko.
2000: With the loss of Junior, not much was expected for the Mariners. However, Alex Rodriguez picked up the slack, hitting 41 home runs and driving in 132 RBI. Despite A-Rod’s offense, the Mariners would need more to return to the top of the division, and that would come in the form of a reliable pitching staff who was one of the strongest in the American League, led by Aaron Sele who won 17 games. Also helping the revamped M’s was the bullpen, which now held leads as Kazuhiro Sasaki came over from Japan and saved 37 games en route to winning the Rookie of the Year. The Mariners held on to first for most of the season, but a hard-charging Oakland A’s team jeopardized their playoff chances. The season would come down to the final weekend, and much like 1995, the Mariners were among three teams vying for two spots. However, this time the Cleveland Indians would fade away, and the Mariners and A’s would both make the playoffs. This would hurt the division title hopes of the Mariners, who finished a half-game out of first with a 91-71 record. Since both teams were in the postseason, there was no need for a playoff, and with the Oakland Athletics winning the season series over the Mariners, Seattle was forced to settle for the Wild Card. In the Division Series, the Mariners were matched-up against the Chicago White Sox. The Mariners would get off to a fast start as they won Game 1 by a score of 7-4 thanks to back-to-back home runs form John Olerud and Edgar Martinez. The M’s would also take Game 2 to take a 2-0 series lead home to Safeco Field. The Mariners would then complete the sweep in Game 3 on Carlos Guillen’s ninth Inning suicide squeeze. In the ALCS, the Mariners faced the New York Yankees who were gunning for their third straight World Series. The M’s would get off to a fast start as Freddy Garcia shut down the Bombers 2-0 in Game 1. The Mariners would also quiet Yankee bats in Game 2 until the eighth inning when the Yankees bats exploded to score seven runs, to even the series. Yankee bats stayed hot into Game 3 as the series shifted to Safeco Field. The Mariners would also be thwarted in Game 4 as Roger Clemens held them to one hit to give the Yankees a 3-1 stranglehold on the series. The Mariners would bounce back as Garcia shut down the Yanks again in Game 5 to send the series back to New York. In between games, the New York Mets clinched the National League Pennant, and the entire city of New York anticipated a Subway Series. However, the Mariners were not going to go down without a fight. They would take an early 4- 0 lead only to have the Yankees chip away, and eventually, go ahead in the seventh inning on David Justice’s upper deck three-run homer. The Yanks would tack on more runs and grab a 9-4 lead, but the Mariners never showed any quit and would score three more runs. It was not enough as the Yanks went on to the World Series. After the season, the Mariners were dealt another blow as Alex Rodriguez took the money and ran to Texas for a record ten-year deal worth a quarter of a billion dollars.
2001: To replace Alex Rodriguez, the Mariners signed Brett Boone to a one-year free-agent deal hoping if he could not fill A-Rod’s shoes. Boone would at least be an adequate replacement. In addition, the Mariners also singed Ichiro Suzuki, who was the leading hitter in Japan. Once again, not that much was expected from the Mariners going into the season, but as the season began, it was clear that the team had something special. The Mariners jumped out of the gate and, by the end of April, were well on the way to a division title. However, that was the story as the season went on the Mariners could not be stopped, and looked poised to make a run at the single-season win record. Leading the way was Ichiro Suzuki, who became a global; baseball phenomenon and won both the Rookie of the Year and MVP while leading the league in hitting and stolen bases. Meanwhile, their other signing Brett Boone drove in 141 RBI, more than making up for the loss of A-Rod. The Mariners would not be denied, and with 116 wins, they were able to equal the all-time single-season record held by the 1906 Chicago Cubs. In what must have been another moment of personal satisfaction for Mariner fans, the team finished 43 games better than A-Rod’s last-place Texas Rangers. In the ALDS, the Mariners would face the Cleveland Indians and find rough seas right away as they were blanked by Bartolo Colon in Game 1. The Mariners would rebound to win Game 2, but after they were blown out 17-2 in Game 3, it looked as if the Mariners’ glorious season would forever be tarnished by a loss in the 1st round. Freddy Garcia would avenge his loss in Game 1 by outdueling Colon 6-2 to force a decisive fifth game back in Seattle. In Game 5, it was Aaron Sele who came up as the hero winning his second game of the series 3-1 to give the Mariners an ALCS rematch with New York Yankees. The Mariners’ struggles continued, and the Yankees jumped out to a quick 2-0 series lead. Following the game manager Lou Piniella boldly predicted the series would return to Seattle. After breaking out with a 14-3 win in Game 3 in the Bronx, it looked as if the Mariners would deliver on Piniella’s promise. Game 4 would be a pitcher’s duel with neither team being able to scratch out a run until the eighth inning when Brett Boone hit a two-out home run. The Yanks would answer with a home run by Bernie Williams in the bottom of the inning. The Yanks would go on to win the game with a home run in the ninth inning to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. The loss ended up being the back breaker s the M’s would fall in five games after a 12-3 loss, that did not ruin their great season, but certainly made it a little disappointing.
2002: Coming off their record-breaking season, the Mariners would get off to another flying start winning 17 of their first 21 games. However, keeping up that pace two years in a row proved impossible, especially with Edgar Martinez missing games due to an assortment of injuries. With a 55-33 record at the All-Star Break, the Mariners were in a position to make the playoffs for the third straight season. In the second half of the season, the Mariners would play mediocre baseball. They would find themselves in a three-way race for two playoff spots in the American League West when an inopportune six-game losing streak in September knocked them out of the playoffs as they settled for third place with a 93-69 record. Following the season manager, Lou Piniella would request out of his contract and was traded to his hometown Tampa Bay Devil Rays for Randy Winn.
2003: Under new manager Bob Melvin, the Mariners would establish themselves as the front-runners in the American League West early as they held a five-game lead in entering June with a record of 36-18. The Mariners would expand their lead to seven and a half games entering July. The Mariners would go into a slump following the All-Star Break as the Oakland Athletics began to cut away at the Mariners lead. Despite their slippage in the standings, the Mariners could not pull off any big deals for reinforcements at the trade deadline. In August, the Mariners would lose their grip on first place, as the A’s went into first place to stay in addition the Mariners would be swept in a four-game series at home by the Boston Red Sox costing them their Wild Card lead as they entered September playing catch up. The Mariners would never catch anyone as they settled for second place with a record of 93-69, thanks to a mediocre 40-41 record after July 1st.
2004: The Mariners pitching struggled from the start of the season as nobody on managed to win more than eight games on staff that had a 4.76 ERA. Jamie Moyer, who went 21-7 in 2003, would only manage a dreadful 7-13 record with a 5.21 ERA as the Mariners sank to the bottom of the American League Western Division early, and never recovered eventually posting an awful 63-99 record. Along the way, the team made several transitions as Freddy Garcia was traded mid-season to the Chicago White Sox, while John Olerud was released in August. The season would also see the Mariners say goodbye to longtime Captain Edgar Martinez, who retired after an 18-year career played entirely in Seattle, collecting a franchise record 2,247 hits along the way. As the miserable season wore on, Ichiro Suzuki would provide the lone bright spot. Ichiro went on a record-breaking base hit tear in the second half of the season batting .423 after July 1st, on the way to breaking George Sisler’s 84-year old record for hits in a season of 259 by collecting 262 hits.
2005: After nearly losing 100 games the Mariners now managed by Mike Hargrove placed their fortunes on two big free agent signings at the corner infield positions Adrian Beltre who was coming off a career year with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Richie Sexson who missed most of the year with Arizona Diamondbacks with an elbow injury. While Sexson paid off with a team-leading 39 homers and 121 RBI, Beltre was a significant disappointment with 19 homers 87 RBI and an ordinary .255 average, way off his previous year’s totals. Meanwhile, the Mariners would struggle again as they found themselves in last place again most of the season the way to terrible 69-93 record. Along the way, there were a few good moments as Ichiro Suzuki collected another 206 hits becoming just the third player since 1900 to collect 1,000 career hits in fewer than 700 games. While the final two months saw 19-year old phenom Felix Hernandez wow fans on the mound with 77 strikeouts in just 84 innings as he posted a 4-4 record with a solid 2.67 ERA.
2006: With the addition of Jarrod Washburn and Felix Hernandez for a full season, the Mariners entered the season with a sense of optimism. Hernandez struggles to live up to expectations posting a disappointing 12-14 record with a 4.52 ERA, while Washburn had an awful 8-14 season with a 4.67 ERA. The Mariners would get off to a slow start with their pitching struggling as they were 23-32 at the end of May. However, June would be a strong month for the Mariners as they won 18 of 25 games and climbed above .500. The June comeback was all but erased in early July, as they dropped six straight. The Mariners would hover near .500 until August when an 11-game losing streak sent them falling into last place where they would remain the rest of the season. As the season winded down, the Mariners traded Pitcher Jamie Moyer past the non-waiver deadline to the Philadelphia Phillies for a pair of minor league prospects. They went on to finish with a 78-84 record.
2007: Following a busy off-season, the Mariners entered the season feeling they could compete in the American League West. Early on, the Mariners wished they could just play as an early-season road trip to Cleveland was canceled due to snow. This would throw the Mariners into a situation where they would have to go back and make up four games later in the season when off days are at a premium. The Mariners managed to hold a winning record most of the first half. Mike Hargrove was not satisfied, as he announced his resignation on July 1st with the Mariners in the middle of a seven-game winning streak. The Mariners would rally to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 2-1 to extend the streak to eight as Jose Guillen tied the game in the eighth and won the game with a single that bounced off Troy Glaus’ glove in the ninth. The streak would end the following day under new Manager John McLaren, with a 3-2 loss on the road against the Kansas City Royals in 11 innings. As the second half got underway, the Mariners made sure they locked up their future signing Ichiro Suzuki to a five year $90 million contract extension. Ichiro had made history during the All-Star Game, becoming the first player to hit an inside the park home run as he was named the game’s MVP. The Mariners stayed in the race for the Western Division through much of August. However, a stretch where they lost 15 of 18 games into September would doom them, as they’re a tightly packed schedule of makeup games came back to haunt them. The Mariners would go on to finish the season in second place with a record of 88-74. Following the season the Mariners concentrated on improving their pitching staff, as they signed Free Agent Carlos Silva from the Minnesota Twins, and traded for Baltimore Orioles ace pitcher Erik Bedard, sending prospect Adam Jones along with pitchers George Sherrill, Tony Butler, Chris Tillman, and Kam Mickolio to Baltimore in return.
2008: With the acquisition of Eric Bedard, the Mariners entered the season with big expectations, but from the very start, they began threading water, as they lost five of their first seven games on the way to posting a 13-15 record through the first month of the season. Things would only get worse in May as they sank to the bottom of the American League Western Division with an awful 8-20 record. Things would not get much better in June, as the Mariners cleaned house firing General Manager Bill Bavasi, and replacing him on an interim basis with Lee Pelekoudas. On June 19th, the house cleaning reached the field as Manager John McLaren was replaced with Jim Riggleman on an interim basis. Injuries would take their toll on the pitching staff as an elbow injury sidelined Closer J.J. Putz, while Eric Bedard, who struggled throughout the first half, was placed on the disabled list in July. Meanwhile, underperforming 1B Richie Sexton and Designated Hitter Jose Vidro were released. Under Riggleman, the Mariners would continue to struggle and ended up losing 101 games while finishing in last place with a 61-101 record.
2009: The Mariners coming off a 101-loss season continued to make changes hiring a new General Manager Jack Zduriencik, and a new manager Don Wakamatsu, who was the first Asian-American manager in Major League Baseball history. On the field, the Mariners made wholesale changes trading away J.J. Putz to the New York Mets in a three-team deal with the Cleveland Indians, which saw the M’s acquire prospect Mike Carp, outfielders Endy Chavez and Franklin Gutierrez. The acquisition that got the most significant press was the signing of Ken Griffey Jr., who returned to finish his career in the place it started. The homecoming for Junior was April 14th, where a sold-out Safeco Field gave him a massive ovation as he went 1-for-3 as the Mariners beat the Los Angeles Angels 3-1 in the home opener. The return of Ken Griffey Jr. seemed to reawaken the Mariners as they played strong baseball and April and led the American League West for most of the first month of the season. On April 16th Ichiro Suzuki achieved a milestone that assured his legendary status in Japan. He recorded his 3,086th hit in a combined career between Nippon Professional Baseball and Major League Baseball, breaking the record among Japanese-born professional players previously held by Isao Harimoto, who attended the game in Seattle. Ichiro would again collect 200 hits during the ninth straight year, breaking the record for consecutive 200 hit seasons held by Wee Willie Keeler. The Mariners would lose their grip on first place as they struggled in May. By posting winning records during June and July, the Mariners were able to get back over .500. Helping to pace the Mariners turnaround was Felix Hernandez, who had the best season of his career by posting a 19-5 record with an ERA of 2.49 and 217 strikeouts while finishing second in Cy Young voting. The Mariners would finish the season with a record of 85-77 while ending on a high note as Ken Griffey Jr. drove home the winning run with an eighth-inning single, and received a standing ovation from the crowd at Safeco Field, as the Mariners beat the Texas Rangers 4-3. Following the game, the Mariners would take a victory lap, with both Junior and Ichiro being ridden upon the shoulders of their teammates. The Mariners would enter the off-season looking to build off their turnaround as they acquired Left-handed hurler Cliff Lee from the Philadelphia Phillies for prospects J. C. Ramírez, Phillippe Aumont and Tyson Gillies. In addition, the Mariners added Chone Figgins of the Los Angeles Angels to their lineup by signing the free agent to a four-year contract worth $36 million.
2010: Following a solid 85-77 season that marked a 24 game improvement, the Seattle Mariners entered the season with high expectations, as they acquired one of the top pitchers in the game, Cliff Lee. However, right from the start, the Mariners were bailing water as they posted an 11-12 record in April. Things only got worse in May, as the team struggled under manager Don Wakamatsu, with reports that Ken Griffey Jr. was asleep in the clubhouse when the team was looking for him to pinch-hit. As the Mariners sank further, Junior retired, as Cliff Lee was dealt to the Texas Rangers for prospects, including 1B Justin Smoak just before the All-Star Break. In July, Wakamatsu scuffled with Chone Figgins as the Mariners posted a horrendous 6-22 record. On August 9th, the team decided to shake things up firing Manager Don Wakamatsu and three other coaches. Replacing him was Tacoma AAA Manager Daren Brown who led the team to a 3-1 win over the Oakland Athletics in his first game. Things would not get much better under Brown as the Mariners went on to finish the season in last place with a terrible record of 61-101. The Mariners offense was the big culprit in the team’s failures. They were ranked at the bottom in every major statistical category in the American League, hitting just .231 as a team, while hitting only 77 home runs as a team. The lone bright spot for the Mariners was the pitching of Felix Hernandez, who led the American League with an ERA of 2.27. However, with the Mariners anemic offense that averaged just 2.6 runs per game, King Felix only managed to post a 13-12 record. Despite his mediocre record, the sportswriters would still award Felix Hernandez for an excellent season, as he won the Cy Young Award. After the season, the Mariners suffered another loss, as original announcer Dave Niehaus died on November 10th at the age of 75 after suffering a heart attack. Through 34 seasons with the Mariners, Niehaus called 5,284 of the 5,385 games the Mariners had played. The Mariners would also make another change in manager, hiring Eric Wedge, who previously managed the Cleveland Indians.
2011: Under new manager Eric Wedge, the Mariners got off to a good start beating the Oakland Athletics 6-2 with Felix Hernandez earning the win. The M’s would win their first two games against the A’s but came home on a four-game losing streak as they were swept by the Texas Rangers. Upon arriving home, they would also were swept by the Cleveland Indians in their first series at Safeco Field. Despite some early struggles in April, the Mariners finished the first month strong, sweeping the Detroit Tigers on the road, and winning two straight against the Boston Red Sox to close the month with a record of 13-15. After starting May in a slump, the Mariners played some of their best baseball in years, as they closed the month winning 11 of 13 games, and climbed within a half-game of first place with a record of 28-26. One of the reasons for the Mariners’ strong play was the pitching of rookie Miguel Pineda who showed posted a 4-1 record in April, as he was named Rookie of the month. Pineda would have a strong first half and was selected as a member of the American League All-Star team with a record of 8-5 at the break. The Mariners had trouble keeping the pace with their strong month in May, but they remained around .500 and held a 43-43 record on July 5th. However, as the All-Star Break arrived, the Mariners ship sprung a leak, as they lost five in a row heading into the break. After the break, things only got worse as the streak continued for another 12 games, setting a new dubious team record of 17 straight losses. Pineda, their first-half star, would win just one game in the second half, finishing the season with a record of 9-10 with an ERA of 3.74. The losing streak would be the turning point of the season, as the Mariners would have a terrible second half as they finished in last place again with a record of 67-95.
2012: After their third 90-loss season in four years, the Mariners looked to make some offensive improvements as they sent Miguel Pineda to the New York Yankees in exchange for Jesus Montero a catching prospect with power-hitting potential. At just 22 and spending his first full season, Montero had a solid season with 15 home runs and 62 RBI. The Mariners would begin the season with two games against the Oakland Athletics in Tokyo, giving Ichiro Suzuki a chance to play in front of his home fans. In the first game, Ichiro collected four hits as the Mariners won 3-1 in ten innings. The A’s would bounce back to win the next game, with Ichiro going hitless in four at-bats. Coming back to the states, the Mariners would win two games against the Athletics in Oakland. After losing three of four games to the Texas Rangers, the Mariners came home and again faced the Athletics winning two of three games. The Mariners had their highs and lows in April, as they ended the first month with a record of 11-13. One of the low points came on April 21st as they were on the wrong end of history with Phil Humber of the Chicago White Sox tossing a perfect game at Safeco Field in a 4-0 loss for the M’s. It would not be the last historic moment in Seattle. On June 8th, Safeco Field was the stage again for another gem; this one was unique as the Mariners beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 1-0. Kevin Millwood got the start for the Mariners and left after six innings with a no-decision, as the Dodgers were held hitless. From there, Charlie Furbush, Stephen Pryor, Lucas Luetge, Brandon League, and Tom Wilhelmsen came on and held the Dodgers hitless for the tenth combined no-hitter in MLB history. Eleven days later, Ichiro made history collecting his 2,500th career hit, in a 12-9 road win against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Only three players (Al Simmons, George Sisler, and Ty Cobb) reached the milestone faster, all of whom are Hall of Famers. It would be the last great moment for Ichiro in a Mariners uniform, as a month later, he would be dealt to the New York Yankees. The trade of Ichiro came on July 23rd, with the Yankees in town. Ichiro would get standing ovations throughout the series, as the Yankees won two of three. The deal which ended an era in Seattle baseball seemed to do immediate good for the Mariners as it allowed them to get younger. After posting a record 43-57 through their first 100 games, the Mariners would win 18 of their next 25 games, as they began to approach the .500 mark. Along the way, history was made at Safeco Field again, as Felix Hernandez tossed a perfect game as the Mariners blanked the Tampa Bay Rays on August 15th. It would be another solid season for King Felix, who posted a record of 13-9, with an ERA of 3.06, with 223 strikeouts. However, after posting winning records during July and August, the Mariners struggled in September, finishing last with a record of 75-87.
2013: With the addition of the Houston Astros to the American League West, the Mariners were no longer the weakest team in a strong division, but they were still far from being able to contend for a playoff spot. Despite winning their first two games on the road against the Oakland Athletics, the Mariners finished April with a poor record of 12-17. The Mariners problems continued to be with a lackluster offense, as no player had more than 80 RBI, while the team had the worst batting average in the American League at .237. At the age of 41, Raul Ibanez was the Mariners leading power hitter with 29 homers, while Kendrys Morales led the team in RBI with 80. Felix Hernandez had another solid year with a record of 12-10 and an ERA of 3.04, pitching again in hard luck. However, the M’s best pitcher was Hisashi Iwakuma, who went 14-6 with an ERA of 2.66. The Mariners’ struggles continued into July before they came close to reach .500 with an eight-game winning streak after the All-Star Break. However, despite his team playing their best ball of the year manager Eric Wedge suffered a mild stroke on July 22nd and missed nearly a month of action. With bench coach Robby Thompson filling in for Wedge, the Mariners continued to lose more than they won, especially at home as they lost 10 of 12 games at Safeco Field in August. Eric Wedge would return for the final six weeks of the season, but the Mariners were doomed to another losing season, finishing in fourth place with a record of 71-91 as their manager stepped down following the season.
2014: There was renewed excitement in the Pacific Northwest after the Seattle Mariners landed the biggest free-agent catch on the market, reeling in All-Star 2B Robinson Cano from the New York Yankees with a ten-year deal worth $240 million. The deal gave the Mariners lineup a much need boost, as they hoped to contend in the American League West. The Mariners, with new Manager Lloyd McLendon, began the season in Anaheim with a matchup against the Los Angeles Angels. Cano went 2-for-4 with a double in his debut as the Mariners beat the Angels 10-3. The Mariners would sweep the season-opening series with the Angels and lost two of three on the road against the Oakland Athletics before again facing the Angels in their home opener. The Mariners would split a pair of games with the Halos, but struggled the rest of April, posting a record of 11-14. The M’s would show signs of improvement in May and finally found their groove in June as they held a record of 51-44 at the All-Star Break. Despite having a reduction in his power numbers, with 18 home runs and 82 RBI, Robinson Cano had a solid first year in Seattle, batting .314 as he was the starting second baseman in the All-Star Game in Minnesota. The unquestioned biggest star in Seattle was Felix Hernandez, who had perhaps the best season of his career, posting a record of 11-2 in the first half, as started the All-Star Game. Between May 18th and August 11th, Felix Hernandez pitched 16 straight outings going seven or more innings and allowing two or fewer runs each time. This is the longest such streak in baseball history, surmounting the record previously held of 13 by Tom Seaver set during the 1971 season. Hernandez would pitch in hard luck at times in the second half of the season, finishing with a record of 15-6, with a league-leading ERA of 2.14 and 248 strikeouts. Despite these numbers, Felix Hernandez missed out on a second Cy Young, losing by ten points in the voting to Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians. Closer Fernando Rodney also made the American League All-Star team, with 48 saves, while Kyle Seager made his first All-Star Game. Seager would be the Mariners leading slugger with 25 home runs and 96 RBI. Catcher Mike Zunino also showed good power numbers with 22 homers with 60 RBI, but his .199 average left room for improvement. The Mariners looked to add offense at the trade deadline, picking up Austin Jackson in a three-team deal with the Tampa Bay Rays and Detroit Tigers. The Mariners would send Nick Franklin to Tampa as part of the trade. While the division title was out of reach, the Mariners would remain in the Wild Card hunt until the end of the season. Unfortunately, a five-game losing streak heading into the final week of the season all but derailed their hopes. The Mariners would finish the season with four straight wins but fell one game short of Oakland Athletics for the second Wild Card spot with a record of 87-75.
2015: After narrowly missing the playoffs, the Seattle Mariners entered the season with high hopes as they were a trendy World Series pick. Helping to bolster the Mariners confidence was the off-season signing of Nelson Cruz, the reigning American League leader in home runs. Cruz signed a four-year contract worth $57 million. The Mariners season would get off to a poor start, as they dropped seven of their first ten games. One issue that contributed the Mariners’ early struggles was their bullpen. A year after setting the franchise record with 48 saves, Fernando Rodney, the Mariners closer, was routinely getting walloped. Posting an ERA of 5.68, Rodney blew one-third of his 24 save opportunities and lost five times before losing his spot in the bullpen, as he was designated for assignment on August 22nd. Another issue for the Mariners was a prolonged slump from All-Star Second Baseman Robinson Cano, who got off to a slow start hitting just two home runs with 16 RBI over the first two months. Robinson Cano would later reveal he was dealing with a severe case of acid reflux that resulted from the treatment of a stomach parasite in the off-season. Cano would have a strong second half and finish the season with a .287 average with 21 home runs and 79 RBI. As Cano struggled to find his swing, the Mariners took on water and went into the All-Star Break with a record of 41-48. The Mariners’ most reliable hitter was Nelson Cruz, who led the team with 44 home runs, 93 RBI, and a .302 average. However, nobody else would be able to step up and provide any support as the Mariners were among the worst hitting teams in the American League. On the mound, things were only slightly better as Felix Hernandez again was the Mariners’ top pitcher, posting a record of 18-9, but his 3.53 ERA was the worst in seven seasons. Hernandez also failed to reach 200 strikeouts for the first time since 2009, finishing the season with 191 Ks. Despite his inconsistency, Felix Hernandez did become the fourth-youngest pitcher in baseball history to reach 2,000 strikeouts during a 4-3 win against the Oakland Athletics on May 10th. The Mariners would get a solid season from Hisashi Iwakuma, who record a record of 9-5, highlighted by a 3-0 No-Hitter against the Baltimore Orioles on August 12th at Safeco Field, while 23-year prospect Taijuan Walker posted a record of 11-8. The Mariners never were able to find their grove, as they finished in fourth place with a disappointing record of 76-86. General Manager Jack Zduriencik would pay the price for the Mariners season, as he was fired at the end of August, he would be followed by Manager Lloyd McClendon who was dismissed at the end of the season.
2016: The Seattle Mariners got off to a rough start under new manager Scott Servais as they lost their first five games at home and six of their first eight. The rest of April was smooth sailing for Seattle as they went 11-4 over the next 15 games. A key to the Mariners strong start was Robinson Cano who after struggling with a sports hernia in 2015, reminded everyone why he is one of the best second basemen in baseball, as he hit .298 with 39 home runs and 103 RBI. The Mariners continued their strong play in May as they spent much of the month at or near the top of the American League West, posting a record of 17-11. June though, would be a different story as the Mariners hit rough waters as they were swept in a three-game series by the Texas Rangers on the way to losing 18 games. A big reason for the Mariners’ struggles was a calf injury suffered by Felix Hernandez when he jumped up to celebrate a home run in the dugout. The injury would affect King Felix the rest of the season as he struggled to finish 11-8 with an ERA of 3.82 and a career-low 122 strikeouts. The Mariners would tread water over the next two months as they hovered near .500 as their hopes of challenging for the division title quickly faded. However, in September, the Mariners made a last-ditch run at getting in the wild card race as they embarked on an eight-game winning streak. Facing the Toronto Blue Jays, the Mariners had one of the Wild Card leaders at Safeco Field, but dropped two-of-three games all but ending Seattle’s playoff hopes. The Mariners would finish the season with a record of 86-76, just three games behind the Wild Card leaders. The Mariners got a terrific season out of Nelson Cruz, who led the team 43 homers and 105 RBI while batting .287, while Kyle Seager hit 30 homers with 99 RBI. At the same time, Corey Seager, Kyle’s younger brother, won the rookie of the year with the Los Angeles Dodgers, hitting 26 homers. It marked the first time in baseball history a pair of brothers hit 25 homers in the same season.
2017: The Seattle Mariner’s 2017 season ended in the same fashion as the previous 15 years: missing the playoffs. They finished the season with a record of 78-84 (.481), placing them third in the American League West and seven games back in the race for the wild card. The Mariners have now extended their MLB leading streak to 16 years of not making the playoffs. With the addition of youth and speed from Jean Segura, Mitch Haniger, and Jarrod Dyson in the off-season, the Mariners had high hopes offensively. However, the theme for the team this year was injuries. Notable players to miss significant time for the Mariners in 2017 were Felix Hernandez, Jean Segura, Mitch Haniger, Nelson Cruz, Robinson Cano, Jarrod Dyson, James Paxton, Kyle Seager, Davis Phelps and many more. Due to all of these injuries, the Mariners tied an MLB record (with the 2014 Texas Rangers) of having 40 pitchers play throughout the regular season. James Paxton led the team in pitching with a 12-5 record in 24 games and 156 strikeouts. Felix Hernandez had a disappointing year with a 6-5 record and a 4.36 ERA with just 78 strikeouts as he battled what was called a “dead arm.” Ariel Miranda was the workhorse lasting 160.0 innings in 31 games. Offensively Jean Segura was the only Mariner to post a .300 BA, and he had 157 hits and a team-leading 22 stolen bases. Robinson Cano had a bit of a down year only hitting 23 home runs, with RBI, as he led the team with 166 hits. Cano also extended his streak to 13 straight years of 30 or more doubles tying an MLB record with Hall of Famer Stan Musial. Nelson Cruz led the team in home runs with 39 and led the American League with 119 RBI. All-Stars from the Mariners in 2017 were Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz. Robinson Cano would go on the win the All-Star MVP with a walk-off home run in the 10th inning as the American League beat the National League 2-1 in Miami. Nelson Cruz was a silver slugger for the second time in his career (2015), winning for the first time as a Designated Hitter.
Written by Cody Stroup
2018: After a disappointing season, the Seattle Mariners looked to rebound in Scott Servais’ third season as manager. Hoping to bring back some magic from the past, the Mariners welcomed home Ichiro Suzuki. At the age of 44, Ichiro no longer possessed the speed and the quick bat that enabled him to get 3,000 hits. Ichiro shut himself down after one month, batting .205 in 15 games. He took a job in the Mariners front office but did not retire. Instead of announcing he would play one game in 2019 when the Mariners were scheduled to begin the season in Tokyo. Seattle got bad news early in the season as Robinson Cano was suspended for 80 games for using Performance Enhancing Drugs. Despite the loss of Cano, the Mariners played well early in the season. One great moment came on May 8th when James Paxton tossed a no-hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. It was an extra special moment for the Canadian born Paxton. James Paxton, who went viral at the start of the season when an Eagle landed on him, was a big part of the Mariners’ strong first half as he posted a record of 11-6 with a 3.76 ERA and 208 strikeouts. Without Robinson Cano, the Mariners offensive production was picked up by Nelson Cruz, who had 37 home runs and 97 RBI. Mitch Haniger had a breakout season, making his first All-Star appearance with 26 home runs and 93 RBI. Marco Gonzales led the Mariners in wins with a record of 13-9. The key was the Mariners bullpen as Edwin Diaz was nearly perfect out of the pen, with 57 saves and a 1.96 ERA. As July began, the Mariners were sitting in Wild Card position, as they were on an eight-game winning streak with a record of 55-31. In July, things began to unravel for Seattle, as Paxton suffered a back injury. The Mariners went into the All-Star Break with a four-game losing streak. It would symbolize troubles the rest of the way, as they lost their grip on the Wild Card, finishing 89-73. When things began to be put into perspective, Seattle had just finished the second winning season of the Scott Servais era. The Mariners had held the Wild Card position into late July when the cracks began to show. The collapse took place during a season in which they gave up more runs than they scored and finished eight games behind the Oakland Athletics for the final spot in the postseason. It is evident that the roster was built for immediate success but could not compete with the other more consistent teams around the league. The Mariners held the tenth highest payroll in the MLB, and it was going to take a complete overhaul to make the future of this team less bleak. After the season, the Mariners decided to begin rebuilding as James Paxton was traded t the New York Yankees for Justus Sheffield, a marquee pitching prospect. They also departed with Nelson Cruz and Edwin Diaz. Diaz was traded to the New York Mets with Robinson Cano for prospects Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn along with Jay Bruce and Anthony Swarzak.
Written by Jake Erickson
2019: With the consensus going into Opening Day that the Seattle Mariners were going to take a steep decline from the previous year. The Mariners began the season with two-game series Tokyo against the Oakland Athletics. The Mariners won both games, as Ichiro Suzuki played his final games, receiving a standing ovation from the fans at the Tokyo Dome. Returning home, the Mariners won 13 of their first 15 games. Seattle quickly came back to earth with a six-game losing streak. This had fans wondering if players like Domingo Santana and Tim Beckham’s critical parts of the future after their red hot could be starts. The six-game losing streak would be more indicative of the Mariners season. One issue that hampered the Mariners was injuries, as Mitch Haniger missed the final four months after suffering a ruptured testicle, when hit by a pitch on June 6th. The Mariners’ struggles lead most to believe that the year was mostly a disaster, but positives can be drawn from it. The Mariners farm system proved to be the best in years with the extremely strong performance from Jarred Kelenic and the emergence of homegrown prospect Julio Rodriguez along with many other promising Single and Double-A players. J.P Crawford had his most potent time in the Majors in 2019 with 0.9 WAR in nighty-three games, and Justin Dunn showed upside after pitching with a 2.70 ERA after four starts. Justus Sheffield was also able to make seven starts, posting a record of 0-1 with a 5.50 ERA. Arguably the best big-league performances came from Shed Long and Kyle Lewis. Long, who was also acquired in a separate trade with the New York Yankees, finished the year with a .263 average and played at four different defensive positions across forty-two games. This came alongside Lewis; a Mariners first-round pick in 2016, who showed great power at the plate after six home runs in his eighteen-game debut year. Marco Gonzales led the team in wins again, with a record of 16-13 with a 3.99 ERA. One pitcher who did not have a good season was Felix Hernandez, who posted a record of 1-8 with a 6.40 ERA in his final season in Seattle.
Written by Jake Erickson
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Page created on August 11, 2001. Last updated on June 12, 2020, at 1:50 am ET.