The Seattle Mariners entered Major League Baseball in 1977 as an expansion club and they played their home games in the Seattle Kingdome. It would be 14-seasons before the Mariners would be able to post a winning record and it was in 1991 that they did so. The Mariners posted an 83-79 record but did not make the playoffs. The team was led by Ken Griffey Jr. who a year earlier teamed with his father to become the only father-son duo on the same team.
The franchise was sold in 1992 to the chairman of Nintendo, Hiroshi Yamauchi and in 1993 the team hired Lou Pinella to lead the team. Pinella had recently won the 1990 World Series with his Cincinnati Reds team. He would stay with the team through the 2002 season. It would be Pinella who would finally lead the team to its first Division Title in 1995 despite losing Griffey Jr. for the beginning of the year. The franchise would go on to win 25 of their final 36 outings. In the ALDS, the Mariners lost the first two games of the series to Yankees but rebounded to take the series. In the ALCS, the Mariners faced the Cleveland Indians who won 100 games in the season. Led by SP Oral Hershiser and managed by Mike Hargrove, the Indians took the series four games to two to face the Atlanta Braves in the 1995 World Series.
The team would continue to improve and post better records but continued to miss the playoffs until the 1997 season when they again captured the AL West title but were again knocked out of the playoffs by the Baltimore Orioles three games to one in the ALDS. The franchise would post losing records with pitching was the major cause of the demise of the team. In an effort to rectify, the team traded SP Randy Johnson to the Houston Astros.
In 1999, the team moved into a new stadium dedicated to baseball only, Safeco Field. In 2000, the team won its first Wildcard Berth after posting a 91-71 record. In the playoffs, the Mariners faced and swept the Chicago White in the ALDS and went on to face the New York Yankees in the ALCS. In the ALCS, the Yankees would take six games to dispose of the Mariners to go on to the 2000 World Series.
In 2001, the franchise improved by 25 games and posted a 116-46 which tied for the most wins in the modern era and were led by Bret Boone and Ichiro Suzuki with Suzuki winning the AL MVP, the AL Rookie of the Year and a Gold Glove Award (one of three). They would defeat the Cleveland Indians in the ALDS and faced the New York Yankees in a rematch of the prior season. The outcome, however, would prove the same as the Yankees again knocked the Mariners out of the ALCS four games to one. The team would again miss the playoffs in 2002 which ended up being Lou Pinella’s final year to manage the team as he moved to manage the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. In 2003 they again competed for the Division and were managed by Bob Melvin but lost the division to the Oakland Athletics.
The team spent two seasons rebuilding the team but it would not be until the 2005 season that the team again posted a winning record (88-74). That same year, the franchise hired Mike Hargrove as their new manager. By 2007, the team was again on the winning track and posted an 88-74 record. Hargrove would step down mid season and was replaced by Bench Coach John McLaren. They would compete for the AL Wildcard spot but fell into a 3-15 skid late in the season to miss the playoffs.
The team’s recent record of up and down records continued as they would post another losing season in 2008 going 61-101. They again bounced back in ’09 to post an 85-77 record but again fell in 2010 posting an uneventful 61-101 record.
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