Seattle Mariners: 10 Biggest Moments in Franchise History
The stretch and the 0-1 pitch on the way to Edgar Martinez—swung on and lined down the left field line for a base hit! Here comes Joey! Here is Junior to third base, they're going to wave him in! The throw to the plate will be...LATE! The Mariners are going to play for the American League championship! I don't believe it! It just continues! My oh my!
...that's a pretty spectacular group of people. The Mariners have had a lot of great players, coaches, fans and announcers since 1977. They have had a rich history that we hope will continue for years to come.
Here are 10 of the biggest moments in franchise history.
(I did not include any signings/trades since there are a lot more than just 10.)
Ichiro's Inside-the-Parker in 2007 ASG
This didn't happen during a Mariners game, but Ichiro made everyone in Seattle proud and made everyone else jealous when he hit the only quadruple in All-Star Game history.
We can't tell if he was aiming for Triples Alley at AT&T Park in San Francisco, but knowing Ichiro, he probably had the whole thing planned out. His four-bagger ultimately made the difference in the American League's 5-4 victory, continuing its unbeaten streak.
We can pretty much attribute every AL victory since 2001 to Ichiro, though, because of his pregame speech that players like David Ortiz look forward to every year.
Greg Halman's Death
This recent tragedy struck the Mariners community hard. Greg Halman was a young, up-and-coming prospect with lots of major league potential. It is truly unfortunate to have such a sad thing happen to such a promising player.
Mike Carp, one of Halman's closest friends, gave a heartfelt, earnest speech at the funeral a few weeks ago, adding, "There's not a single day that a funny memory hasn't popped into my head about [Halman]. It just hits me and I cherish those."
Griffey's First Pitch at Kingdome Slugged
On April 10, 1989, the Kid went yard on the first pitch he ever saw at the Kingdome. That obviously set a precedent for the next decade in Seattle, where Griffey hit 398 home runs. He came back in 2009 to push his total over 400.
Ken Griffey Jr. will always be remembered as the happy-go-lucky, extremely talented, vibrant face of the Mariners, so it is fitting that he kicked off his career in Seattle with such splendor.
Ichiro's 257th Hit
Ichiro is rightly and widely known as the greatest contact hitter of the modern baseball era. His 10 straight 200-hit seasons are an MLB record. Featured here, however, is his single-season hit record.
In 2004, Ichiro broke George Sisler's longstanding record of 257 hits in a single season. In the video, you can watch Ichiro's 257th hit. There was a long standing ovation, and Ichiro shook hands with Sisler family relatives who were in attendance.
Ichiro went on to get five more hits that season; his total of 262 hits is a pretty mighty feat, and it may last for quite a while until the next great contact hitter comes along.
Double Back-to-Back Homers
One year after the "Mariners' Magical Season" in 2001, they were still going strong. Most of the starting lineup remained in 2002, so it was not a surprise that even more history was made.
For the first time in MLB history, two players, Bret Boone and Mike Cameron, hit back-to-back home runs twice in the same inning. It was the first inning of a game against the Chicago White Sox that amounted to 10 runs for the M's.
Those two home runs for Cameron, however, were actually only half his home run total for the game. He hit two more bombs, tying the major league record for most home runs in a game. Only 14 other players have ever knocked it out of the park four times in one game.
Ceiling Tiles Fall from Kingdome
The Kingdome was a noble home for the Mariners (and Seahawks) for a while, but its collapse (literally) led to greater things—namely, Safeco Field.
Several ceiling tiles falling from the Kingdome shortly before a home game led to the franchise's request for a new stadium, one it would not have to share with its NFL counterpart.
Safeco Field is a beautiful, green home for the M's. Mariners fans love it, visiting fans love it, pitchers love it; it is pretty much just hitters who despise the place for its endless outfield—the outfield that serves as adequate roaming space for Ichiro and Franklin Gutierrez and their Gold Gloves.
Barring a natural disaster, we should see the Mariners playing at Safeco for plenty of years to come. That means a lot more rally fries, a lot more "Louie Louie" and a lot of new tradition.
Ichiro to Seattle
It didn't take long for everyone in America to realize that Ichiro was the real deal. In his rookie year, 2001, he won the AL Rookie of the Year award, a Gold Glove, a Silver Slugger and the MVP Award.
From 2001 until 2010, Ichiro was a magnificent force of consistency. Last season, 2011, was a bit off his average, but I think he will bounce back in 2012.
Ichiro does not strike me as the kind of hitter who deteriorates with time. He may lose a step and lose some of his infield hits, but it is his ability to put the bat on the ball that is unparalleled in today's game. Who knows—maybe he will switch to a power-hitting style next year. After all, he does seem to joke a lot...
My Oh My Tribute
This was an incredibly special tribute for Mariners fans around the world, especially those in the Pacific Northwest who had been listening to Dave Niehaus for 33 years.
Macklemore really captures the type of feelings Niehaus used to evoke from fans and listeners. You can hear the crowd get very involved throughout the tribute, signifying how big of an impact the man had on people.
We'll miss you, Dave.
In 2001, the Mariners won an MLB record-tying 116 games. The year before, they won 90, which was a club record. You could attribute some significant portion of that 26-game bump to the coming of Ichiro or just the perfect chemistry that developed that year.
The M's went in as underdogs in the AL West that year, having recently lost Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson and Ken Griffey Jr., so to win so many games was all the more glorious.
Is this the third record held by the Mariners that might never be broken?
The Double. The pinnacle of the Mariners' history. Just enjoy the video.
If you have other favorite moments in the history of the franchise, feel free to comment below. My view of the Mariners is unique, and I would love to hear about yours.