Seattle Mariners' Players of the Decade for the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s
Established in 1977, the Seattle Mariners have competed in three complete decades: the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s.
The Mariners have featured few true "franchise players" who could be instantly recognized as the face of the franchise. Edgar Martinez, Ken Griffey Jr., and Ichiro Suzuki have all had a turn, but other prominent players, such as Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, and Tino Martinez, have come and gone.
In the three tumultuous decades of Mariners history, there have been studs (Ken Griffey Jr., Edgar Martinez, etc.) and duds (Richie Sexson, Jeff Cirillo, etc.). In this article, I will try to sort out the best players from each decade on both sides of the ball.
For each decade, I nominated two hitters and two pitchers, and then selected the one that I considered to be the "Best itter/Pitcher of the Decade.
Please comment below with any agreements, disagreements, compliment, or criticisms.
Best Hitter of the 1980s
Alvin Davis – 1B (Years Active: 1984-1989)
Nicknamed “Mr. Mariner,” Alvin Davis is a fitting player to start this article. One of only four members of the Seattle Mariners Hall of Fame (along with Edgar Martinez, Jay Buhner, and Dave Niehaus), Davis broke into the Majors with the Mariners in 1984.
Davis quickly established himself as a key member of the team, earning AL Rookie of the Year honors in 1984 while slugging 27 home runs and driving in 116 runs.
During the 1980s, Davis played six seasons for the Seattle Mariners, averaging nearly 147 games played, 22 home runs, and 88 runs batted in per season. In 1987, Davis hit a career-high 29 home runs, and in 1989, Davis posted a career-high .305 batting average.
In all, Davis ranks fourth in Mariners history in runs batted in (667), fifth in at-bats (4,136) and home runs (160), and sixth in games played (1,166). Davis’ tenure with the Mariners ended in 1992, but his most productive years certainly came in the 1980s.
Harold Reynolds – 2B (Years Active: 1983-1989)
A scrappy, defensive standout, Harold Reynolds spent seven seasons with the Seattle Mariners in 1980s—the majority of his career.
Drafted by the Mariners in the first round in 1980, Reynolds made his major league debut in 1983, but did not earn a starting position until the 1986 season.
By the end of the 1980s, Reynolds had established himself as one of the premier defensive second basemen in Major League Baseball.
From 1986-1989, Reynolds averaged nearly 67 runs scored and 38 stolen bases per season. Additionally, Reynolds earned an All-Star appearance in 1987 and 1988, and three consecutive Gold Gloves from 1988-1990.
Also worth mentioning, albeit outside of the 1980s, Reynolds was awarded the Roberto Clemente Award (for sportsmanship and community involvement) in 1991.
In all, Reynolds ranks third in Mariners history in stolen bases (228), sixth in total at-bats (4,090), and seventh in runs scored (543).
His career continued after the Mariners with one-year stints with the Baltimore Orioles and then-California Angels, but his best years came in the late 1980s.
Verdict: In the end, deference is given to the guy who is in the Mariners' Hall of Fame: Alvin Davis.
Best Pitcher of the 1980s
Mark Langston – SP (Years Active: 1984-1988)
Maybe known better for his stint with the California Angels from 1990-1997, Mark Langston emerged in the Seattle Mariners organization in the mid-1980s and took Major League Baseball by storm.
In 1984, his rookie season, Langston led the American League in strikeouts (204), while posting a 17-10 record and a 3.40 ERA.
Langston played four more seasons for the Seattle Mariners before being traded to Montreal in 1989. In his Mariners tenure, he compiled three Opening Day starts (1987-1989), two Gold Gloves (1987-1988), an All-Star appearance (1987), and three American League strikeout crowns (1984, 1986-1987).
Despite playing only five seasons with the Seattle Mariners, Langston ranks fourth in Mariners history in wins (74), third in strikeouts (1,078), and fourth in games started (173).
Yes, he was traded to the AL West rival California Angels, but that transaction was very sweet for the Seattle Mariners.
First, the Mariners received a guy named Randy Johnson in return (not bad), and second, Langston was with the Angels in 1995...something involving a comeback and an AL West crown for the Mariners...
Regardless of his years in California, Langston went down as one of the most influential pitchers in Mariners history.
Mike Moore – SP (Years Active: 1982-1988)
With the first overall pick in the 1981 Major League Baseball Draft, the Seattle Mariners selected starting pitcher Mike Moore.
Moore ascended the minor league ranks quickly, making his major league debut in April 1982, and staying on with the Mariners for another six seasons.
In seven seasons with the Seattle Mariners, Moore started 217 games, but never quite lived up to his potential.
After leaving Seattle, Moore won a World Series Championship with the Oakland Athletics and earned an All-Star selection in 1989. With the Mariners, however, he was hit-or-miss.
Moore’s best year as a Mariner came in 1985, in which he posted a 17-10 record with a 3.46 ERA.
In all, he ranks third in Mariners history in games started (217), fifth in wins (66), first in complete games (56), and fourth in strikeouts (937).
Moore was never an outstanding pitcher, but he contributed for the majority of the 1980s, and was one of the most tenured pitchers in Seattle Mariners history.
Verdict: Mark Langston won several awards, made an All-Star appearance, and landed Randy Johnson in return. That makes it pretty easy... Mark Langston.
Best Hitter of the 1990s
Ken Griffey Jr. – OF (Years Active: 1990-1999)
“The Kid” is probably the most recognizable face in Seattle Mariners history. Making his Major League debut in 1989, at 20 years old, Griffey spent the entirety of the 1990s with the Seattle Mariners.
Griffey’s resume in the 1990s is unbelievable. From 1990-1999 (10 seasons), Griffey earned the 1997 American League MVP Award, 10 All-Star appearances, 10 Gold Gloves, seven Silver Slugger Awards, four American League Home Run Crowns, three Home Run Derby Championships, countless endorsements and video game deals, and even a candidacy for President of the United States in 1996.
Quite simply, Griffey dominated the American League for the majority of the 1990s.
Griffey’s numbers are impressive in the All-Time lists, but in Seattle Mariners history, they are incredible. Griffey ranks first in Mariners history in home runs and second in RBI, as well as second in Mariners history in games played, at-bats, and runs scored (behind Edgar Martinez in each category).
Griffey was one of the greatest players in all of baseball in the 1990s, and accordingly, he was one of the greatest Mariners in that span as well.
Edgar Martinez – 3B/DH (Years Active: 1990-1999)
Edgar Martinez played alongside Ken Griffey Jr. for the entirety of Griffey’s first stint with the team. While Griffey was wowing the fans with top-tier defense and elite home run power, Edgar Martinez kept them happy by roping doubles, earning RBI, and collecting batting titles.
In the 1990s, Edgar Martinez earned four All-Star appearances, three Silver Slugger Awards, two American League batting titles, and even an American League RBI crown (it was in 2000, but close enough).
Martinez’s career certainly continued to be successful into the 2000s, where he earned three more All-Star appearances, two more Silver Slugger Awards, and a Roberto Clemente Award, but he was instrumental to the Seattle Mariners successful years in the 1990s.
In all, Martinez ranks first in Mariners history in games played, at-bats, hits, total bases, doubles, runs scored, and runs batted in, and second in batting average.
In maybe his finest hour, Martinez hit the series-winning double that scored Ken Griffey Jr. to defeat the New York Yankees in the 1995 American League Divisional Series. By Martinez’s own admission, that double “defined [his] career.”
Still one of the two or three greatest fan favorites in Seattle (along with Griffey and Ichiro), Martinez enjoys a place in the Seattle Mariners Hall of Fame, a soon-to-be retired No. 11 in the Mariners history books, and even a street named after him next to the stadium. In Seattle, the man is an icon.
Verdict: My heart says Edgar, but my mind says Griffey. Edgar committed his entire career to the Mariners, but considering only the 1990s, where both of these men played all 10 years in Seattle, Griffey simply had a more productive run. Ken Griffey Jr.
Best Pitcher of the 1990s
Chris Bosio – SP (Years Active: 1993-1996)
The 1990s is a wasteland of Seattle Mariners pitching talent. For every Mariners pitcher not named Randy, the 1990s were forgettable.
Throw in the eclectic mix of Chris Bosio (four seasons), Erik Hanson (four seasons), and Jamie Moyer (four seasons), and you get a forced choice of mediocrity.
Even the mulleted Sheriff Norm Charlton only tossed three seasons for the Mariners in the 1990s...It’s slim pickings.
Sure, other pitchers exist, but they are below John Halama (at No. 13) on the Seattle Mariners All-Time wins list, and I refuse to recognize any pitchers below that point. That is, any pitchers who haven’t thrown a no-no...
Chris Bosio is known for one thing, and one thing only. I remember this because I was eight years old at the time and wondering who the pudgy bald man was that was jumping around on TV.
Bosio tossed the second no-hitter in Mariners history in 1993 (see below for the first one), cementing him with at least one all-time highlight reel clip to play at Mariners games.
Kudos to you, Bosio. You get the silver medal in the most one-sided competition since that high school basketball game down in Texas...
Randy Johnson – SP (Years Active: 1990-1998)
Randy Johnson has some of the most memorable highlights in Seattle Mariners history. In 1990, he threw the first no-hitter in franchise history. In 1995, he earned the first Cy Young Award in franchise history.
Also in 1995, he froze Tim Salmon and launched the one of the most memorable post-game celebrations in franchise history. Oh, and the mullet wasn’t bad, either.
Johnson is clearly the Seattle Mariners’ best pitcher of the 1990s. In his time with the Mariners during that decade, he earned five All-Star appearances, four American League strikeout crowns, and an American League Cy Young Award. Not too shabby.
In all, Johnson ranks second in Mariners history in wins and games started, first in complete-game shutouts, and first (by 900 or so) in strikeouts.
Like Griffey, he was one of the best in baseball over this entire decade, so its difficult not to give him the nod here for the Mariners.
Verdict: Hmm...tough call. Randy Johnson.
Best Hitter of the 2000s
Raul Ibanez – OF (Years Active: 2000, 2004-2008)
The 2000s Seattle Mariners featured a number of hitters who excelled for only half of the decade. 2B Bret Boone (2001-2005), OF Mike Cameron (2000-2003), 1B John Olerud (2000-2004), and 3B Adrian Beltre (2005-2009) are just a few examples of Mariners hitters who excelled at certain points, but did not continuously produce for the entire decade.
From 1996-2000, Ibanez was a reserve player with the Mariners, but he blossomed into an outstanding hitter upon leaving for Kansas City in 2001.
Ibanez returned to Seattle in 2004, and contributed five stellar offensive seasons. From 2004-2008, Ibanez averaged 85 runs scored, 23 home runs, 98 runs batted in, and a .291 batting average.
No offense to Raul Ibanez, but in this category he is the proverbial lamb being sent to slaughter...No one can keep up with the next hitter on this list.
Ichiro Suzuki – OF (Years Active: 2001-2009)
Coming to Seattle in 2001, Ichiro Suzuki was expected to be a solid hitter with above-average speed. In short, he has exceeded these expectations.
In Ichiro’s tenure in the big leagues, he has pieced together one of the most dominant runs in Major League history.
In nine seasons with the Seattle Mariners, Ichiro has averaged 158 games played, 225 hits, 108 runs scored, and 38 stolen bases per season, along with a career .333 batting average.
He broke the single-season hits record in 2004 with 262 hits, and currently holds the Major League record by starting his career with nine consecutive 200-hit seasons.
Additionally, Ichiro has earned nine All-Star selections, nine Gold Gloves, three Silver Slugger Awards, two batting titles, one Stolen Base Crown, an American League MVP, and American League Rookie of the Year Award.
Quite simply, Ichiro is one of the most dominant players ever to play the game. He is a top-tier hitter, top-tier defender, and has speed to burn.
Without a doubt, he was the Seattle Mariners greatest hitter of the 2000s.
Verdict: Plain and simple, he owned the entire decade in Mariners history: Ichiro Suzuki.
Best Pitcher of the 2000s
Felix Hernandez – SP (Years Active: 2005-2009)
The 2000s Seattle Mariners pitching staff has a similar problem to the hitters: There were a number of good pitchers for half a decade, but very few who put in significant time in Seattle.
Felix Hernandez made his Major League debut for the Mariners in 2005 at the age of 19. “King Felix” has developed into one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball (still only 23 years of age) and finished as high as second place in the American League Cy Young vote.
Despite only four full seasons in the bigs, Hernandez already ranks sixth in Seattle Mariners history for wins (58), and could jump into third-place with an outstanding 2010 campaign...and he would still be 24!
Felix Hernandez is certainly the pitcher of the future for the Seattle Mariners. Had he played a full decade, his numbers would certainly warrant a “Pitcher of the Decade” title, but for now he is left to battle it out with other pitchers from the 2000s.
Jamie Moyer – SP (Years Active: 2000-2006)
Jamie Moyer joined the Seattle Mariners in 1996, and played there until his departure for Philadelphia in 2007. During his time with the Mariners, Moyer was a four-time Opening Day starter, and a staple in a pitching staff which carried the Mariners to success in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
During the 2000s, Moyer pitched seven seasons, averaging 13 wins, nine losses, and 195 innings pitched per season. His 93 wins during that stretch dwarf the nearest pitcher (Felix Hernandez with 58), and his four Opening Day starts are the most of any pitcher during that span.
Moyer posted two 20-win seasons, in 2001 and 2003, and was named to his only All-Star Game appearance in 2003.
In all, Jamie Moyer is first in Mariners history in games started, innings pitched, and wins. It was never fancy, and it was never flashy, but Jamie Moyer went out there and got it done day in and day out.
Verdict: Felix Hernandez is certainly the future of Seattle Mariners pitching. Given two more years in this decade, he could have assumed the leading role.
That being said, Moyer's numbers dominated Felix in appearances and wins, and he made significant contributions to the team's success in the early 2000s. Jamie Moyer wins.
That's it for now. Sound off on the comment board if you see any errant inclusions, obvious omissions, or sheer stupidity!