Imagine If All Your Players Had Career Years.... 2001 Mariners.
The 2001 Oakland Athletics finished the year 102-60, .630, and 14.0 games back...
What happened here??? Well, the Mariner's made history is what happened going 116-46, a ridiculous .713 winning percentage.
Lets take a closer look at the team that tied the record for season wins, and explore the individuals.
Manager Lou Pinella
Great Career, but this is probably his finest hour.
RF Ichiro Suzuki
Maybe its because Seattle is so close to Japan, but why is it that the best examples of Japan-American baseball players happen here. Ichiro has had a ridiculous career in his 8 short years in MLB.
And his addition to this team was a big factor in why they were so darn good. Ichiro's first year in America, went alright I guess. 242 hits, 127 runs, 8 HR, 69 RBI, .350 ave, and 56 steals. Oh, and he became the first player to win Rookie of the Year and MVP, while also claiming his first Gold Glove and Silver Slugger.
CL Kaz Sasaki
Another fine year for the International Veteran. As closer Kaz 45 saves, and 3.24 ERA. A career year (this phrase will be used often) brought him to 19th in the MVP votes.
1B John Olerud
Ole was the perfect fit for this team. He has won numerous gold gloves, but probably due to that fact that they'd already given away so many awards to this team he didn't earn one.
But defense was a key factor in their success and he deserves mention. In 2003, this similar roster would take four Gold Gloves, he was one. 91 Runs, 21 HR, 95 RBI, and .302 Ave.
2B Brett Boone
A defensive second basemen in the midst of the steroid era. I personally think he's guilty of a little experimentation here. Simply put, Boone had a career year, and had it not been for Ichiro, probably would have won MVP. 118 runs, 37HR, 141 RBI, and .331 ave those are all career highs. Also 3rd in MVP voting, All-star, and Silver Slugger that year.
C Dan Wilson
Had it not been for Ivan Rodriquez, Dan Wilson would have a number of Gold Gloves. He unfortunately has none, but his defense certainly helped this team.
CF Mike Cameron
Mike can hit for power and average, and his very fast. Another career year here. 99 runs, 25 HR, 110 RBI, .267 Ave, and 34 SB. Those are either career highs or very close. Mike was also a Gold Glover, All-Star, and 16th in the MVP votes.
DH Edgar Martinez
He Paul Moliter and David Ortiz, will battle for best all-time DH. He didn't have a career year, but 23 HR, 116 RBI and .306 Ave. That'll do pig.
SP Freddy Garcia
Freddy went 18-6 with a 3.05 ERA. Another career year. Third in CY votes.
SP Jamie Moyer
At 38 Jamie won his first 20 game season going 20-6 with a 3.53 ERA. Career year. Fourth in CY votes.
SP Aaron Sele
That's right Aaron Sele gets a mention on this team. He went 15-5 3.60 ERA. Career year? I can see him trumping these numbers next year. Nope.
SP Paul Abbott
Who? Well sure enough Paul Abbott went 17-4 with a 4.25 ERA this year. Yes, Career year.
Pinella had an easy job, his roles were defined, and he only had to use six relievers more than 11 times. Along with Kaz in the ninth, came Aurthur Rhodes, Ryan Franklin, Jose Paniagua, and Norm Charlton. The Bullpen combined for 56 saves.
In addition to leading the league in wins, they Mariners also posted a league lead in ERA 3.54, shutouts 14, Runs 927, RBI 881, and made the fewest errors 83. The team also hit .288 which was second.
2 Gold Gloves, 8 All-Stars (4 starters), 3 Silver Sluggers, RotY, MVP.
This is a very complete team. As a Met fan I know what its like to see players past their prime. We have some players with ridiculous primes that cannot for the life of them find it again. IE: Carlos Delgado, Pedro Martinez Orlando Hernandez, Carlos Beltran, Louis Castillo, Moises Alou. I was interested in what would happen if your whole team pretty much has a career year. 116-46 I guess!
Take note that they were beat 4 games to 2 by the Yankees in the ALCS. History has not been kind to teams with seasons like this, not sure why, but that's just the way it is.
Also take note that this is a small market team. Can you guess they highest paid player? Ichiro? Olerud? Cameron? Moyer? Nope, Aaron Sele: $7 million.
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