Record: 77-85, Finished 5th (of 7) in AL West
A new ownership group led by Jeff Smulyan purchased the Mariners during the off-season, and with the excitement created by Ken Griffey Jr., home attendance of 1.5 million set a franchise record.
On April 20 at Oakland, right-hander Brian Holman came within one out of a perfect game, allowing just a home run by pinch-hitter and former Mariner Ken Phelps with two outs in the ninth. He retired the next hitter and wound up with a one-hitter.
On June 2, lefty Randy Johnson fired the club's first no-hitter, defeating the Detroit Tigers 2-0 with a six-walk, eight-strikeout performance at the Kingdome. Randy was named to his first All-Star team.Erik Hanson went 18-9, setting a club single-season record for wins by a right-hander, and his 3.24 ERA was fourth best in the AL.Mike Schooler saved 30 games.
In his first full ML season, third baseman Edgar Martinez batted .302.
Baseball family history was made in August and September, when Ken Griffey Sr. was acquired from the Reds. The Griffeys became baseball’s first father-son teammates. In their first action together on August 31 at the Kingdome, they lined back-to-back singles in the first inning vs. the Royals.
Memorable Moment: On September 14 at Anaheim Stadium, the Griffeys became the first father-son duo to hit back-to-back home runs. Senior was 40 years old; Junior was 20. 1990 stats »
Record: 83-79, Finished 5th (of 7) in AL West
For the first time in club history the Seattle Mariners finished the season with a winning record, 83-79), and the fans responded with at the Kingdome with a club record attendance of 2,147,905.
Ken Griffey Jr. started his second straight All-Star Game, and had two hits at Skydome in Toronto. With a line of .327, 22 homers and 100 RBI, he earned his first (and the Mariners first) Silver Slugger Award.
Jay Buhner solidified his role in the lineup and in right field with 27 HR and 77 RBI, and Edgar Martinez hit over .300 again (.307).
Omar Vizquel ranked first or second in the AL among shortstops in most fielding metrics, as did Harold Reynolds among second baseman. 1991 stats »
Record: 64-98, Finished 7th (of 7) in AL West
During the off-season, the Mariners franchise was put up for sale and a move to Tampa Bay was a possibility. Fortunately, The Baseball Club of Seattle, which was headed by Nintendo of America and included several members of the local community, was formed. The sale was approved by MLB on July 1. The Mariners were “Safe at Home.”
With uncertainty surrounding the franchise, team performance suffered under new manager Bill Plummer. In the midst of this, two Mariners made the All-Star team. Edgar Martinez won his first AL batting title (.343), led the league with 43 doubles and earned a Silver Slugger Award.
Ken Griffey Jr. was the MVP of the All-Star Game in San Diego (3-for-3, HR) and had another great season (.308, 27 HR, 108 RBI).
Tino Martinez took over the first base position, and rookie lefty Dave Fleming was 17-10, matching Mark Langston’s rookie season performance on the mound.1992 stats »
Record: 82-80, Finished 4th in AL West
New ownership appointed community leader John Ellis the new CEO. Mr. Ellis and Woody Woodward hired Lou Piniella to manage the Mariners, signed free agent pitcher Chris Bosio and combined them with a very talented group of players already on the roster.
Edgar Martinez suffered a torn left hamstring in an exhibition game just three days before the season opener, and was only able to play in 42 games. On April 22, Bosio, in just his fourth start as a Mariner, walked the first two batters faced, then proceeded to retire the next 27 Red Sox for the club's second no-hitter. The game ended on a bare-handed grab and throw by shortstop Omar Vizquel.
Ken Griffey Jr. slugged a club record 45 home runs while winning Silver Slugger and Gold Glove Awards. On July 28 at the Kingdome vs. the Twins, he homered in his eighth consecutive game, tying the Major League record (Dale Long and Don Mattingly). Shortstop Omar Vizquel won his first Gold Glove Award.Randy Johnson went 19-8 and led the league in with 308 strikeouts, both club records.
Memorable All-Star Moments: At Camden Yards in Baltimore, Junior put on a show during the HR Derby. One drive hit the iconic warehouse far beyond the right field wall, the first and only one to do so. During the game, Randy Johnson faced John Kruk, and after firing the first pitch over Kruk’s head, proceeded to record the most entertaining strikeout in All-Star history. 1993 stats »
Record: 49-63, Finished 3rd (of 4) in AL West
Although the 1994 season is known for the labor dispute that ended the season prematurely on August 12, there were several important points in Mariners history. First of all, it was the first full year in the club’s new spring training complex in Peoria, Ariz.
Ken Griffey Jr. won the HR Derby at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, topping Frank Thomas in the final round. Junior finished the season as the AL home run champ with 40.
On July 19, just three hours before game time, four 15-pound tiles fell from the ceiling of the Kingdome. Not only was the game postponed, but the stadium did not reopen until November when repairs were finally completed. So the Mariners played their next 20 games on the road. However, the baseball season stopped abruptly on August 12 due to the players’ strike, and never resumed. There was no postseason, thus no World Series in 1994.
The Mariners won 9 of the last 10 games on the trip, and were just 2 games out of first place in the first year of league realignment. There were just four teams in the A.L. West.
On the entertainment side, the first-ever “Buhner Buzz Night” took place on May 19. A total of 512 fans had their heads shaved for free admission to the game. It was the first of seven Buzz Nights over the years, and over 22,000 fans honored “Bone” by getting their heads shaved. 1994 stats »
Record: 79-66, Finished 1st (of 4) in AL West
Both on and off the field, this was the most significant year in Mariners history. There were many dramatic storylines and classic performances that carried the Mariners to their first American League West title, led to the new ballpark and stabilized the franchise in the Pacific Northwest. Many credit the 20 games on the road in 1994 with bringing the team together, and setting up the historic year for the Seattle Mariners in 1995.
New ballpark: During the 1995 season, the process of funding a new ballpark took place, and a public vote on a bond issue was scheduled for September 19. It was important that the Mariners play well to help generate support for the new park, and they got off to a good start.
Although Ken Griffey Jr. suffered a broken wrist on May 26, the team stayed in contention thanks to career years from several players. But on August 2, they found themselves 13 games behind the first place California, when one of the great stretch runs in baseball history began.
There were many heroes: Stars like Randy Johnson (18-2, Cy Young Award). Edgar Martinez (.356, A.L. batting champion). Jay Buhner (team highs 40 HR and 121 RBI).Tino Martinez (31 HR, 111 RBI). And Griffey who returned to the lineup on August 15. Role players like Rich Amaral, Alex Diaz, Luis Sojo, Doug Strange, Bob Wolcott and the entire bullpen. And literally everyone on the roster. “Refuse to Lose” was the rallying cry for the fans and the team.
Beginning August 3, the Mariners went 36-20 and finished in a tie with the Angels. In the one-game tiebreaker at the Kingdome, Randy Johnson went the distance to top former Mariner lefty Mark Langston and the Angels, 9-1.
The Mariners-Yankees AL Division Series was one of the most exciting in baseball history. In the best-of-five format, the Mariners dropped the first two games at Yankee Stadium, and needed to sweep three games at the Kingdome. They did it in dramatic fashion. Game 5 went to extra innings, with Randy Johnson coming out of the bullpen for the final three innings. In the bottom of the 11th, down 5-4, Edgar Martinez delivered “The Double” down the left field line to score Joey Cora and Junior with the winning runs. The Indians topped the Mariners in the AL Championship Series, 4 games to 2 to end the incredible run.
Although the vote on September 19 failed to pass (543 votes made the difference), the state legislature provided a funding package for a new ballpark shortly after the season ended.
Memorable Moment: The entire season was a memorable moment. 1995 stats »
Record: 85-76, Finished 2nd (of 4) in AL West
Coming off the exciting 1995 season, excitement and expectations were high for the Mariners, who added 20-year old shortstop Alex Rodriguez to the already potent lineup. A-Rod led the AL in batting (.358), runs scored (141) and doubles (54), earning the AL Rookie of the Year and Silver Slugger Awards. He was also one of five Mariners on the All-Star team, joining Jay Buhner (44 HR), Ken Griffey Jr. (49 HR), Edgar Martinez and Dan Wilson.
Unfortunately, ace Randy Johnson, after a 5-0 start to the season, was bothered with back problems, missing the middle three months and making just a few relief appearances in August before he had to sit out September. Two trade deadline deals to acquire lefty starters Jamie Moyer and Terry Mulholland kept the Mainers in contention.
With the memory fresh of the magical comeback late last season, the Mariners won 10 games in a row in mid-September and trailed the Rangers by just one game in the A.L. West standings with one week to go. But the Rangers held on and the Mariners finished in second place.
With the marketing slogan “Ya Gotta Love These Guys,” home attendance was a club record 2.7 million fans, and local TV and radio ratings reached all-time highs. 1996 stats »
Record: 90-72, Finished 1st in AL West
The 1997 Mariners were the dominant team in the AL West in 1997, sitting in first place after 125 of the 162 games, including from August 15 to the final game. They won 90 games and finished a comfortable 6 games ahead of the Angels. On March 8, ground was broken on the new ballpark. Baseball fever hit Seattle, with home attendance setting a club record 3.2 million.
With the return to good health of Randy Johnson (20-4, first Mariner to win 20), the addition of LHP Jeff Fassero (16-9) from the Expos and a full season of Jamie Moyer (17-5), the trio of lefties were outstanding.
Meanwhile, the Seattle Mariners belted a Major League single-season record 264 home runs, and led all of baseball in runs scored (925). Ken Griffey Jr. was the AL MVP (56 HR, 147 RBI, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger) and Jay Buhner hit 40 home runs for the third straight season.
The Mariners sent five players to the All-Star game, and four were in the starting lineup at Cleveland – pitcher Randy Johnson, outfielder Ken Griffey Jr., shortstop Alex Rodriguez and DH Edgar Martinez. Second baseman Joey Cora made his first All-Star appearance.
The Mariners ran into a hot Baltimore Orioles team in the ALDS, and the Birds won the series 3 games to 1. 1997 stats »
Record: 76-85, Finished 3rd (of 4) in AL West
Following the AL West title in 1997, the 1998 season was a setback. Unfortunate injuries to team leader Jay Buhner limited him to just 72 games. The midseason trade of Randy Johnson to Houston affected the pitching staff, but acquired three key future players.
Milestones and awards: 1) Alex Rodriguez became just the third player in Major League history to join the 40-40 club as he hit 42 home runs and stole 46 bases; 2) Ken Griffey Jr. became the third player in the 50-20 club with 56 home runs and 20 stolen bases, and became the youngest player to reach 350 career home runs; Junior also won the HR Derby at Coors Field in Denver, the first of three he would win; 3) LHP Jamie Moyer earned his 100th career win and recorded his 1,000th career strikeout; and 4) Edgar Martinez received the third of his five Designated Hitter of the Year Awards.
On the entertainment side, the Mariners created the first-ever “Turn Ahead the Clock Night” on July 18, featuring futuristic uniforms and transforming the Kingdome into the year 2027. 1998 stats »
Record: 79-83, Finished 3rd (of 4) in AL West
The Mariners began a new chapter in club history in 1999, closing out 22-1/2 years in the Kingdome on June 27. Ken Griffey Jr. rose to the occasion, belting a three-run homer in the first inning and later making a spectacular catch against the center field wall as the Mariners beat the Rangers 5-2.
Three weeks later in the first game after the All-Star break on July 15, the Mariners hosted the Padres in the Inaugural Game at the new open-air ballpark, SAFECO Field, which featured a unique retractable roof. Radio-TV voice Dave Niehaus had the honor of throwing out the ceremonial first pitch, and Jamie Moyer threw the first pitch of the game.
Milestones and awards: 1) Lou Piniella became the 14th in Major League history to achieve 1,000 wins as a manager and 1,000 hits as a player; 2) Ken Griffey Jr. earned his ninth Gold Glove and his seventh Silver Slugger Awards; 3) Alex Rodriguez tallied his third Silver Slugger, and 4) pitcherFreddy Garciatied a club rookie record with 17 wins. 1999 stats »