18 years ago, the Mariners played their 1,765th and final game at the Kingdome
The Mariners called the Kingdome their home from their inception in 1977 up through the 1999 season. The turn of the century called for a new stadium, though, and Safeco Field was ready to welcome the team after the 1999 All-Star break.
Although the Mariners never managed to celebrate a pennant at the Kingdome, it was the site of some fantastic moments for the franchise, especially during the 1995 campaign. They rallied from a 13-game deficit in August to force a one-game playoff in Seattle for their very first AL West crown. Future Hall of Famer Randy Johnson delivered:
Six days later, Edgar Martinez sent the Kingdome into a frenzy by delivering the most iconic hit in franchise history:
The double did more than just send the "refuse to lose" Mariners to the ALCS. It paved the way for last-minute legislation to save baseball in Seattle with the approval of funding for Safeco Field.
So, it was a somewhat-bittersweet moment a few years down the road on June 27, 1999, as the Mariners hosted the Rangers and said farewell to the Kingdome with its 1,765th and final game.
Naturally, the star of the show was the man who put Seattle on the baseball map -- Ken Griffey Jr. His first Major League home run had come on the first pitch he ever saw in the Kingdome. It was only fitting for Griffey to send it off with the stadium's final big fly:
That wasn't enough for the Cooperstown-bound "Kid." Griffey's trademark was also home run robberies, and he checked one more of those off the list, too:
Griffey's heroics ensured that Kingdome went out with a victory, and the Mariners won, 5-2. Thousands of fans captured a last memory by filling the stadium with flashbulb lights after the final out.