Historical Moments: 1970-1976: After the was unable to stay afloat financially in Sicks' Stadium, and moved to Milwaukee, plans began to bring the Majors back to Seattle began 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. However 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 were all stet to buy the Chicago White Sox and move to the Emerald City, but baseball 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 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 walloped 7-0 by the California Angels. Losing would become a habit that first year as the Mariners finished with a woeful 64-98 record. However, thanks to a collapse from the Oakland A's the Mariners were able to avoid finishing in last by half of game, and were 9 and half games better then 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 Mariners struggled again in their 3rd season finishing in 6th 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, which was the 50th 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 7th when Boston Red Sox Jim Rice hit a fly ball that Pittsburgh Pirates RF 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 3rd to keep AL lead at one. The NL would then tie the game on New York Mets Lee Mazzilli homer that hit the LF fair pole. In the bottom of the 8th with 2 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 NL would then take the lead for good in the 9th as Yankees pitcher Ron Guidry walked Mazzilli with the bases loaded.
1980: In their 4th season the Mariners continued to tread water as they lost 103 games and finished dead last. However, more disturbing was the M's continued to struggle at the gate, and drew less the 1 million fans to the Kingdome for the 3rd 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 in 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, and 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 2-month player's strike they would likely reached 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 3 more wins to collect his 300th career win. The move would payoff as 27,369 fans would show up to the Kingdome on May 6th to watch Perry collect 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 4th place with a 78-84 record. Helping to spur the M's improvement was Floyd Bannister who led the AL in strikeouts, becoming the first Mariner to lead the league in a major 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 HR 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, then 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 2nd at-bat, off of Boston Red Sox pitcher Dennis Eckersley, after a month he was hitting .347 with 9 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 2 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 2nd 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 AL in strikeouts with 204. However, with their success the team still struggled to finish 74-88 in 5th place.
1985: While their expansion brother Toronto Blue Jays get their first taste of success, winning the AL East, the Mariners continue to struggle finishing in 6th place with a 74-88 record.
1986: The Mariners sink to the bottom of the AL West again with an awful 67-95 record. The lone bright spot was the strong year put up by Rookie OF Danny Tartabull who hit 25 HR, and drove in 96 runs. However, 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 4th place only 7 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 a his best year batting .295 with 171 hits, 37 doubles, 29 HR's, and 100 RBI's. In addition 2B Harold Reynolds would have a breakout season by ending Rickey Henderson's 8-year stranglehold on the AL SB crown. Mariners fans would get a glimpse of the future in September as 3B Edgar Martinez made his Major League Debut, with 5 doubles and a 7 game hitting streak from September 14-20, while batting .372.
1988: While the Mariners sank to the bottom of the AL 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 go on to become a fan favorite over the next decade in Seattle while Phelps only played parts of 2 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 CF on Opening Day. Griffey doubled in his first At Bat on April 3rd, and would collect his 1st HR a week later in the Kingdome season opener, and would go on to hit .325 his first month. In early July he was leading all rookies with a .287 average, 13 HR, 45 RBI and was considered a shoe-in for AL Rookie of the Year. However, he would then break a bone in the little finger on his left hand forcing him to miss the next 6-weeks. When Junior came back he batted only .214 with 3 HR 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 3 prospects. However, one of these prospects was 6'10" left Randy Johnson, who would make fans forget all about Langston with in a few years. In his first year with the Mariners "The Big Unit" would win 7 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 1st time in his career. Griffey would go on to hit .300 for the season while hitting 22 HRs, and driving in 80 runs. However, that was not what Griffey's season would be remembered for. On August 29th the Mariners signed Ken Griffey Sr., who was winding down a stellar career. When the elder Griffey made his 1st 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 1st game together each got singles in the their 1st AB. Exactly 2 weeks later they would make even more history as they hit back to back Homers in California of Kirk McCaskill of the Angels. The move which started out as gimmick would go on to have a positive impact as Senior put up good numbers, while providing leadership to the young Mariners, who finished in 5th placed with a 77-85 record. The Griffeys were not the only ones making history, Randy Johnson in his 1st full year as a Mariner won 14 games, and pitched the 1st 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 2nd 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 also 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 disappointments was newly acquired Kevin Mitchell who only managed 9 HR. Another problem that interfered with Mariners chances was the continued instability in ownership. The Mariners would go on to change hands for the 4th time in their 16-year history. What would also become abundantly clear was that if the Mariners were to ever have long-term success in Seattle they would have to get a new ballpark. In other news the Mariners also made more news in proving baseball is a family game when Bret Boone, made his Major League Debut becoming the first 3rd 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 4th with an 82-80 record, were spurred on by their 2 superstars Ken Griffey Jr. (who hit 309 with 47 HR, and 109 RBI), and Randy Johnson (who won 19 games while striking out 308). Junior Griffey made history by homering in 8 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 22, pitcher Chris Bosio, in just his fourth start as a Mariner, walked the first 2 batters faced and then preceded to retire the next 27 for the club's 2nd no-hitter.
1994: Not only was the season shortened by the August 12th player's strike, but so was the Mariners home schedule. On July 19th, just 3 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 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 2 games out of 1st when the season ended on August 12th. However, what was the most disappointing was that Ken Griffey Jr.'s pursuit for the single season HR record was cut short as well. Griffey who had 40 HR on August 12th was well on his way to 50 HR, 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 important 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 was defeated chances were the Mariners would have to sail out of town with in 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 simply not caring about baseball anymore. If Seattle was not going to get their support there was no hope for a new stadium. Also hampering the Mariners was 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 AL West, but 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 dominate pitching of Randy Johnson. However, the Big Unit only pitched every 5 days, and the Mariners were falling out of the race. As August started things looked bleak as the Mariners trailed the 1st 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. In Benes' 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 DL. 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 Loose" 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 3 teams bidding for 2 playoff spots. While the New Yankees won their last 3 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 1-game playoff was needed to decide who the AL West 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. Meanwhile on the mound for the Angels was Mark Langston, who was traded 6-years earlier for Johnson. The game was a pitcher's duel as the M's led 1-0 into the 7th Inning, when the Mariners erupted for 4 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 1st 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 2 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 3 straight 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 8th. The Mariners would tie the game at 4, and sensing it was now or never Lou Piniella brought Randy Johnson into pitch the 9th Inning. However, the Yankees also kept the M's off the board, and when the Yankees scored a run in the 11th things looked bleak again. However, the Mariners would not die, as Joey Cora and Ken Griffey Jr. hit singles to bring up Edgar Martinez. As the crowed 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 send it into extra innings. However, Buhner redeemed himself by hitting 3-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 2, 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 3 runs in the 8th, 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 in fact 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 AL 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 4 and 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 AL MVP Ken Griffey Jr., continued to be one of the most dominant in baseball, as the Mariners reclaimed 1st Place. Despite riding high in 1st a potential problem was on the horizon as Seattle's bullpen gave up allot 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 2nd time in 3 years. That year the Mariners also broke the 3 million mark in attendance for the first time, as construction was under way 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 hit hard twice while the Mariners lost the series 3 games to 1.
1998: The Mariners pitching woes finally caught up to them as the team struggled to finish in 3rd place with a record of 76-85, despite outstanding offensive years from Alex Rodriguez, (who became the 3rd person in baseball history to hit more then 40 HR, and steal more then 40 bases in the same season), and Ken Griffey Jr. (who hit 56 HR finishing 3rd 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 NL Central 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 new state of the art stadium with a retractable roof right away. Almost immediately it was 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 3rd 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 to 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 the 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 HRs, 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 solid pitching staff who was one of the strongest in the AL, led by Aaron Sele who won 17 games. Also helping the revamped M's was the bullpen, which now held leads as Kazuhio Sasaki came over from Japan and saved 37 games en-route to winning the Rookie of the Year. The Mariners held on to 1st for most of the season, but a hard charging Oakland A's team jeopardized their playoff chances. The season would comedown to the final weekend and much like 1995 the Mariners were among 3 teams vying for 2 spots. However, this time the Cleveland Indians would fade away and the Mariners and A's would both make the playoffs. However, this would have a negative effect on the division title hopes of the Mariners who finished a half a 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 the M's were 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 HRs 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 9th Inning suicide squeeze. In the ALCS the Mariners faced the New York Yankees who were gunning for their 3rd 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 8th Inning when the Yankees bats exploded to score 7 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 1 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 NL Pennant, and the entire city of New York anticipated a Subway Series. However, the Mariners were not going to go down without a fight, and would take an early 4- 0 lead only to have the Yankees chip away, and eventually go ahead in the 7th on David Justice's upper deck 3-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 3 more runs. However 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 10-year deal worth a quarter of a billion dollars.
2001: To replace Alex Rodriguez the Mariners signed Brett Boone to a 1-year free agency deal hoping if he could not fill A-Rod's shoes, he 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 actually 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 then 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 then A-Rod's last place Texas Rangers. In the ALDS the Mariners would face the Cleveland Indians, and would 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. However Freddy Garcia, would avenge his loss in Game 1 by out dueling Colon 6-2 to force a decisive 5th game back in Seattle. In Game 5 it was Aaron Sele who came up the hero winning his 2nd game of the series 3-1 to give the Mariners an ALCS rematch with New York Yankees. However 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 Piniellla's promise. Game 4 would be a pitcher's duel with neither team being able to scratch out a run until the 8th Inning when Brett Boone hit a 2-out HR. However the Yanks would answer with a HR by Bernie Williams in the bottom of the inning. The Yanks would go on to win the game with a HR n the 9th to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. The loss ended up being the back breaker s the M's would fall in 5 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. However with a 55-33 record at the All-Star Break the Mariners were in position to make the playoffs for the 3rd straight season. However, in the 2nd half of the season the Mariners would play mediocre baseball and would find themselves in a 3-way race for 2 playoff spots in the AL West, when a inopportune 6-game losing streak in September knocked them out of the playoffs as they settled for 3rd 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 AL West early as they held a 5 game lead in entering June with a record of 36-18. The Mariners would expand their lead to 7 and half games entering July. However 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 4-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 2nd 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 then 8 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 AL West 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 good bye 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. However as the miserable season wore on Ichiro Suzuki would provide the lone bright spot as he 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 major 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 their were moments of pride as Ichiro Suzuki collected another 206 hits becoming just the 3rd 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 strike outs 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. However, Hernandez struggle 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 however 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, as 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 cancelled due to snow, throwing 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. However, the Mariners managed to hold a winning record most of the first half, though Manager Mike Hargrove was not satisfied, as he announced his resignation on July 1st with the Mariners in the middle of a 7-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 5-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 there tightly packed schedule of make up 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 OF prospect Adam Jones along with pitchers George Sherrill, Tony Butler, Chris Tillman and Kam Mickolio to Baltimore in return.
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