Top 5 moments in T-Mobile Park history

December 1st, 2021

SEATTLE -- T-Mobile Park has only been open since 1999, but it has already been home to some of the most memorable moments in Major League history. Nestled one block south of where the Kingdome once stood, which itself housed some of Seattle’s most iconic memories, the open-air, retractable-roof replacement has blossomed into one of the favorite West Coast stops on the big league circuit.

Here are the Top 5 moments for the Mariners in the ballpark’s history:

1) The 116th win: Oct. 6, 2001 vs. Rangers
The number 116 is synonymous with Seattle, and that history was solidified on the penultimate day of the 2001 season, the most memorable year in Mariners history.

That day, Bret Boone hit his 37th homer in the first inning, which proved to be the difference, as the Mariners defeated the Rangers, 1-0, and handed Texas its first shutout all season. Making it even sweeter was Kazuhiro Sasaki ending the game with a strikeout of an upset Alex Rodriguez, who months prior had jettisoned the Mariners for his historic contract. Legendary Seattle broadcaster Dave Niehaus nearly blew a gasket on the call.

The win that day tied the Mariners with the 1906 Cubs for the most in Major League history, and they had already taken the American League record from the ’98 Yankees, who have been widely viewed as one of the greatest teams ever.

2) Ichiro makes hit history: Oct. 1, 2004 vs. Rangers
The pressure had been mounting for weeks, but Ichiro finally broke George Sisler’s single-season hits record of 257 with a grounder he punched into left field during the third inning, his second hit of the night. Even the reserved Ichiro couldn’t hide emotion as fireworks erupted and he was embraced by teammates on the first-base line.

Three generations of Sislers were in attendance to watch the 84-year-old record fall, and they were among the first Ichiro approached to offer his congratulations and appreciation.

As Niehaus said on the call, he and Mariners fans were relieved that Ichiro accomplished the feat in front of a home crowd instead of on the road. Ichiro would finish with 262 hits that season -- a record that may be unbreakable.

3) The King is perfect: Aug. 15, 2012, vs. Rays
On that sun-soaked Seattle afternoon, Félix Hernández was untouchable. The King coronated himself by throwing the Mariners’ first perfect game and just the 23rd in MLB history, when he struck out 12 Rays, including eight of the final 12 batters he faced, then kissed the tattoos of his children on his pitching wrist and hurled his arms into the sky while arching his right leg -- a gesture that has since been monikered “Felixing.”

It was a getaway day, and despite a hearty King’s Court, the stands were roughly half full. But some who were there say that the intimacy played into the experience. Those in attendance enjoyed far more than a Ferris Bueller experience of missing work or school to be at a ballgame -- they witnessed MLB history.

4) All-Mariner All-Star Game: July 10, 2001
The 2001 Midsummer Classic had just about everything. Set to retire at season’s end, Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn capped their illustrious All-Star Game careers with Ripken homering then being honored with Gwynn in a ceremony of recognition that halted the game. Tommy Lasorda took an infamous tumble when Vladimir Guerrero’s broken bat went flying down near Lasorda’s post as third-base coach. Roger Clemens and Mike Piazza faced off for the first time since their bizarre meeting in the World Series.

And at the center of it all were the Mariners. The game was in their home digs. They were represented by four in the starting lineup -- Ichiro, Bret Boone, John Olerud and Edgar Martinez -- and four more on the bench: Mike Cameron, Sasaki, Freddy Garcia and Jeff Nelson. Manager Lou Piniella was on the AL’s coaching staff. Ichiro boldly beat out an infield single off Randy Johnson in the first inning then immediately stole second base. Sasaki picked up the save for the AL’s 4-1 win.

5) Squeeze and shock: Oct. 6, 2000, vs. White Sox
The first postseason game in the new yard was an epic one, as Seattle finished a sweep of Chicago on the heels of an unexpected squeeze play by Carlos Guillen that scored pinch-runner Rickey Henderson for a ninth-inning walk off.

The 48,010 on hand -- the largest crowd in the park’s history to that point -- erupted from shock to shout as Guillen’s ball dribbled past pitcher Keith Foulke, first baseman Frank Thomas and second baseman Ray Durham into right field. Guillen’s intent, at Piniella’s urging, was to hit in Thomas’ direction, given that the Big Hurt wasn’t playing the field regularly. That sparked some improvisation to bunt, even with the White Sox playing in to account for Henderson's speed.

The Mariners continued their pace as the hottest team in the league at the time, having clinched the playoffs on the final day of the season.