Seattle Mariners

Wed, 05 Nov 2008 21:18

The history of the Seattle Mariners

Information about the MLB team Seattle Mariners.

Seattle is home to many sports franchises. For Major League Baseball, the city has the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners are one of the few teams that joined the league within the last half century. The team has been aptly named due to the city’s marine lifestyle. The Mariners wore uniforms with a royal blue and gold shade during their first 15 years in the league. Since then, the Mariners have donned navy blue, teal and metallic silver colors for their uniform. Although the team has been in a constant building process, the Mariners are yet to play in a World Series.

The Seattle Mariners: The early history

There were already plans to create a Major League baseball team for the city of Seattle ever since the 1960s. There was a bid to move the Cleveland Indians to the city of Seattle in 1965. However, the deal never went through. The Indians were eventually sold and a consortium was held to get a team for Seattle. This deal created the Seattle Pilots in 1969. Yet, after one year, the Pilots were moved to Milwaukee (where they became the Brewers). The cause of the move was due to financial issues. Still, Seattle knew that they will have a baseball team soon, therefore they allowed the creation of the Kingdome.

An expansion for the Major League was held in 1977. This was the year when the Seattle Mariners was incorporated into the league together with another expansion team, the Toronto Blue Jays. The Mariners’ first game was held on April 6, 1977 against the California Angels. The Kingdome was packed during this match-up. Seattle lost this match but the capacity crowd would come back for more games. In 1979, Seattle would be the host of the 50th Major League Baseball All-Star Game. It was Mariners player Bruce Bochte who hit the game winner for the American League squad.

Although the Mariners had a promising lineup composed of Gaylord Perry, Alvin Davis, Mark Langston, Spike Owen, and Harold Reynolds, the team would still be found at the bottom part of the standings from 1977 to 1989. There were constant management changes that affected the morale of the team. Yet, the team always believed that they will one day reach the playoffs with a winning record. In 1989, the team acquired Ken Griffey Jr., who would help the team in their struggles. After two more years, the Seattle Mariners finally had their first winning season with an 83-79 record. But it still was not enough to get them to the next round as they placed fifth in their standing.

The Seattle Mariners: The 1980s

The Mariners were yet again purchased by another group of businessmen in 1992. This may have been the reason the team changed their uniform colors the following season. Before the season started, the Mariners hired Lou Piniella, the former manager of the Cincinnati Reds when they won their championship in the 1990 World Series. The team hoped to change their losing ways with the leadership style of Piniella. From 1993 to 2002, Piniella would win the American League Manager of the Year award twice. Yet, the team was still unable to reach the World Series.

There were high expectations for the Mariners who, in 1994, already boasted of a formidable lineup. The team has Ken Griffey Jr., Randy Johnson, Jay Buhner, and Edgar Martinez. However, an incident involving the Kingdome roof forced the team to play their next 20 games on the road as repairs were being done on their home stadium. This event tested the resiliency of the players as they came within two games away from the leaders of their division. Unfortunately, a players’ strike happened before the Mariners could compete for the division title. The strike forced the cancellation of all games during the season.

Full of optimism from their previous season, the Mariners hoped to get into the playoffs in 1995. Yet, they were down by 13 games from the division leader California Angels. During this time, the Mariners went behind the slogan “Refuse to Lose” until they are able to tie the Angels record at the end of the season. This forced a one-game playoff for a shot at the playoffs. It was a battle between two of the game’s stars in the Mariners’ Randy Johnson and the Angels’ Mark Langston. In the end, it would be Johnson coming up victorious and the Mariners went on to the next round in what was known as a “come from behind win”.

The New York Yankees would be the opponents of the Mariners in the next round. The first two games were won by the Yankees, which was devastating for the Seattle fans. However, the Mariners did not want to quit just yet and went on to win the next two matches. This forced a crucial fifth game wherein the winner will go on to the next round. At the bottom of the 11th inning, the Mariners were down 5-4 and on the verge of losing the match. Edgar Martinez became the instant hero of this series as he hit a game-winning double that allowed Joey Cora and Griffey to score. The team went on to the American League Championship Series to face the Cleveland Indians.

The Mariners missed the playoff in 1996, despite a winning season with a roster made up of Griffey, Alex Rodriguez, Jay Buhner and Edgar Martinez. The team was hampered by an injury to their ace pitcher Randy Johnson. The team won a division title in 1997 but was defeated by the Baltimore Orioles in the first round of the playoffs. The team already had a good offensive team but they do not have a strong pitching squad. With subsequent losing efforts the following seasons, the team was slowly disbanded. Randy Johnson was sent to the Houston Astros while Ken Griffey Jr. was traded to the Cincinnati Reds.

In the year 2000, the Mariners received a wildcard berth in the American League. The team was now headed by Alex Rodriguez. He was supported by Mike Cameron, Edgar Martinez, John Olerud, Freddy Garcia, Aaron Sele, Kazuhiro Sasaki, and Jamie Moyer. The Mariners also had the services of former MVP Rickey Henderson. In that year’s American League Division Series, the Mariners swept the Chicago White Sox. However, the team lost the following round to the New York Yankees. The team’s problems would only get worse when they lost Alex Rodriguez to free agency the following year. A-Rod was then taken up by the Texas Rangers.

The Mariners still have high hopes that they will win their coming seasons. In 2001, the Mariners have acquired Ichiro Suzuki, who became the American League MVP and Rookie of the Year. They then won the Division Series against the Cleveland Indians but would once again be stopped by the New York Yankees in the Championship Series. The Mariners would have problems in 2004 – 2006 as they failed to qualify for the playoffs. With these disappointments in mind, the management made sure that they would acquire better talents that would help them in their bid for a World Series slot. They would get several veterans that would help their young core. However, fans will never be thrilled with any of these acquisitions until they taste the World Series.