Do you remember the last time the Mariners made the playoffs? Pepperidge Farms remembers. It has been 20 (!) years since this occurrence. Despite winning 90+ games several times and a number of winning seasons, they have had as much bad luck as one professional sports team is capable of having.
But, here we are. It’s now 2021. It was 2001 when the team last got in. Ichiro was a rookie (and the best hitter in baseball). He’s now long retired and one of the best hitters in the history of the game.
A lot will have to happen for Seattle to qualify for the 2021 Wild Card game, but it is not impossible. And in honor of their opportunity, let’s look back at that 2001 team.
There were some incredible hitters on the Mariners in 2001. The team did finish the year with a 116-46 record, after all. And that was absolutely no accident. They dominated every single facet of the game and just ran through the league all regular season long. Let’s start by talking about their three 100 RBI players.
The first is Mike Cameron, who was quite the hitter in his day. He homered 25 times and knocked in 110 runs. He batted .267 for the year and scored 99 runs. He also stole 34 bases on 39 tries, proving to be quite the commodity.
There was the ever-impressive Edgar Martinez. He homered 23 times and had 116 RBI’s. He also had an impressive .306 batting average, making him one of four Mariners to hit the .300 threshold.
And of course, Bret Boone. He was a beast all year long. He hit 37 HR’s and drove in 141 runs. He scored 118 runs and batted .331 for the season with a .401 OBP. He finished third in the AL MVP voting behind his teammate, Ichiro Suzuki.
Ichiro Was Insane
As a rookie, Ichiro put on a season for the ages. Being a 27-year-old rookie, it was clear he had a lot of experience already. He was the best hitter in Japan for many years. And his first year in Seattle saw him put up ridiculous numbers.
He had 242 hits in 692 at-bats, good for a .350 batting average. He swiped 56 bases on 70 tries. He hit eight home runs and drove in 69 runs. He scored 127 runs. And not only was he the AL Rookie of the Year, but the MVP as well.
He also played in 157 games, while earning a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger designation.
Pitchers Got the Job Done
The starting pitchers for Seattle were all very good. Freddy Garcia was 18-6 with a 3.05 ERA. Aaron Sele went 15-5 with a 3.60 ERA. 38-year-old Jamie Moyer won 20 games and had a 3.43 ERA. #4 starter Paul Abbott went 17-4. And even John Halama was able to win 10 games.
They got 45 saves from Kazahiro Sazaki. Arthur Rhodes and Jeff Nelson both kept the runs they allowed to very low totals.
In all, Seattle had eight All-Stars. Three of them were pitchers. It was no accident.
Obliterated by the Yankees
Once the playoffs rolled around, there was optimism that Seattle could finally end their drought and make a World Series. They held off the Indians and won the ALDS 3-2. But, then came the Yankees.
Aside from a 14-3 blowout road win in the Bronx in Game 3, the team just couldn’t get it done. They scored three runs or fewer in the other four games, the mighty pitching of NY just silencing their bats.
And that 12-3 drubbing on the road on October 22, 2001, marks the last time they appeared in a playoff game.
A lot has to happen in the next 24 hours for them to make it back. But, anything is possible.
Thank You for Reading
As always, I’d like to appreciate you taking the time to read this. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. Besides, who doesn’t enjoy a good flashback?