The 1995 season was a magical one for the Seattle Mariners. It ended with their first division title and postseason berth, along with the most memorable play in franchise history.
Following the strike of 1994, nobody really knew what to expect from the M's in 1995. The club had just two winning seasons in 18 years, putting a lot of pressure on third-year manager Lou Piniella.
With superstars Randy Johnson, Edgar Martinez and Ken Griffey Jr. on the roster, a playoff run certainly wasn't out of the question. In December of '94, Seattle signed Jay Buhner, which would prove to be a vital move and key to its success.
Even though the Mariners won 116 games in 2001, 1995 is the trademark season for this club. Here are the moments that helped to keep hope alive for baseball in the Emerald City.
A few trades and signings during the '95 season were huge factors in helping the Mariners come from behind to take the division crown.
Norm Charlton: The veteran right-handed relief pitcher was signed on July 14 after struggling with the Philadelphia Phillies. Charlton went on to appear in 30 games for the M's, saving 14 contests with a team-best 1.51 ERA.
Andy Benes: At the trade deadline, Seattle acquired righty starting pitcher Andy Benes from the San Diego Padres. He was a valuable addition to the end of the rotation, going 7-2 in 12 starts.
Vince Coleman: The most important midseason acquisition was speedster Vince Coleman. Although he was past his prime base-stealing days, Coleman still had a presence on the basepaths, stealing 16 bags in 40 games at the end of the year. He hit .290 with Seattle en route to the postseason.
Jay Buhner was a free agent at the end of 1994, and the Mariners couldn't have been more right in re-signing him.
"Bone" exploded offensively, posting team highs in home runs (40) and RBI (121). He was also huge in the postseason, hitting .383 with four home runs.
Buhner's breakout season was the first of three consecutive in which he hit 40 or more homers and drove in at least 109 runs.
Injuries marred the end of his career, but Buhner will always be an integral part of Mariners history.
The Big Unit won his first of five Cy Young awards for his efforts during the '95 season after finishing in the top three in 1993 and '94. He was also the first Mariners pitcher to win the award.
Johnson went 18-2 with a 2.48 ERA that year and won two games in the pivotal division series against the Yankees. The M's ace definitely kept fans in their seats for 1995 and the years to follow.
The 18th of September in 1995 is a very important day in Mariners history. This date marked the start of 12 straight games against division foes to end the season. With an 8-1 win over the Rangers, the Mariners started a seven-game winning streak which would put them within reach of the division title.
They eventually played their way into a one-game playoff with the Angels, winning 9-1 and securing the first postseason berth in Mariners history.
The most memorable Mariners play ever. Edgar Martinez capped an ALDS victory over the Yankees, who were up 2-0 in the series.
Although Seattle would eventually lose to Cleveland in the ALCS, the 1995 season will always be remembered among Mariners fans for the unbelievable run the team made to get into the playoffs and beat the New York Yankees in dramatic fashion.