Cincinnati Receives: OF Ken Griffey Jr.
Seattle Receives: OF Mike Cameron / SP Brett Tomko / P Jake Meyer / INF Antonio Perez
If you asked me what name would appear most on the list of “Most Important Trades in Seattle Mariners History,” I highly doubt that I would have guessed Antonio Perez. Low and behold, however, here he is again.
Now that we know how Perez left Seattle (in the 2002 Tampa Bay trade) we can learn how he came to the M's.
Ken Griffey Jr. is the most iconic figure in Seattle Mariners history. Quite probably, he is the most iconic figure in Seattle sports history (although part of me says Steve Largent).
His resume is unprecedented in Seattle sports. In 10 years with the Mariners (1989-1999), he earned 10 consecutive All-Star appearances (1990-1999), 10 consecutive Gold Glove awards (1990-1999), seven Silver Slugger awards (1991, 1993-1994, 1996-1999), and an American League MVP (1997). Oh, and don’t forget that he also partook in the most memorable Seattle Mariners’ seasons of all time.
Sadly, his time in Seattle came to an end in 2000. Citing personal reasons (some have credited his father’s influence, or the death of his neighbor in Florida, professional golfer Payne Stewart), Griffey openly requested to be traded following the 1999 season.
The Mariners shipped Griffey to Cincinnati in exchange for his replacement in center field (future Gold Glove outfielder Mike Cameron) and a few other players.
Cameron enjoyed success in Seattle, winning Gold Glove Awards in 2001 and 2003 and helping the Seattle Mariners win an MLB-record 116 games in the 2001 season.
Although his stint in Seattle was relatively brief (he departed in 2004), Cameron was a fan favorite in Seattle and a key contributor to the Seattle Mariners' winning seasons from the early 2000s.
This success, however, was no match for a player of Ken Griffey Jr.’s caliber. Griffey played one full season in Cincinnati, posting 40 home runs and 118 RBI, before succumbing to injuries that hampered his playing time for the remainder of his tenure in Cincinnati.
Regardless of how either man played for the rest of his career, this trade was destined to be one of the most important trades in Seattle Mariners history.
Griffey was the face of the Seattle Mariners franchise, and any time a player of such importance leaves his club, it has an immediate and long-lasting impact on the team, the fans, and the city. For those reasons, this was the most important trade in Seattle Mariners history.