Monday, January 26, 2009

SEATTLE MARINERS - ALL TIME HOME GROWN TEAM vs. ALL TIME ACQUIRED TEAM

Man, pitchers and catchers are already making their plane reservations and I still have 16 of these bad boys to finish.

No time to catch up on Big Love.

Today we focus on the Seattle Mariners.

Seattle got their second chance at being a major league city (after the Pilots flopped.)
It took 15 seasons to finally put a winner on the field.
They didn't see the post season until their 18th year and haven't been a playoff team since 2001.

Last year they became the first team to lose 100 games with a payroll over $100 million.

So at first glance you'd think the pickings would be slim for a Home Grown vs. Acquired comparison.

Well all I know is the Acquired team has the most dominating pitcher of the 1990s and 2000s and the Japan's biggest import ever.

Home Growns have the best player of the 1990s and one of the best DHs of all time. Not to mention the player who very well might be the greatest in history.

Looks like an intriguing comparison.

As always the rules for the roster can be found here.

Dig up those Trident Hats and look out for the Moose!!!
It's time to talk Seattle Mariners baseball


ALL TIME HOME GROWN MARINERS TEAM

STARTING CATCHER
DAVE VALLE

The New York native was a steady if not spectacular catcher when the Mariners seemed to be on the cusp of putting together a winner. He had decent power and handed a series of talent pitchers like Mark Langston, Mike Moore, Bill Swift and Randy Johnson.

On October 2, 1991, he slammed a 2 out 2 run double off of the Rangers Jose Guzman that gave the Mariners the win. It was their 81st win, assuring that the Mariners would at least finish .500 for the first time in their history.

He and his wife have formed the Esperanza group to raise money for impoverished families, literally putting his money where his religious mouth is.



STARTING FIRST BASEMAN
TINO MARTINEZ

In game 3 of the 1995 Division Series, the Yankees were looking for a clean sweep of the Mariners. The Yankees were trying to win the World Series denied them by the 1994 strike... and have their beloved Don Mattingly finally get a ring.

The Yankees were up against Randy Johnson and had a lead in the 5th. But Mariners first baseman and one time Olympic star Tino Martinez crushed a 2 run homer off of Jack McDowell to give the Mariners the lead.

The next inning he drove in another run and the Mariners came back to win the game.
Seattle would win the next two games and Mattingly would remain ringless thanks to the clutch hitting of Tino.

The next year the Yankees would bring in Tino to replace Mattingly and win 4 rings in the Bronx.
Mattingly has yet to appear in a World Series as a player or coach.


STARTING SECOND BASEMAN
BRET BOONE

It pays to double check things sometimes.

I had Bret Boone on the acquired team originally because I remember him as an All Star in Cincinnati and playing in the World Series with the Braves before coming over to Seattle in time to finish third in the 2001 AL MVP voting.

But I had forgotten this future Gold Globe and Silver Slugger winner with Seattle was originally drafted by the Mariners. He was shipped off to Cincy for another future beloved Mariner Dan Wilson.

Well, if I didn't catch that mistake, no doubt some blogger out in Mariner land would have shown me the error of my ways,



STARTING SHORTSTOP
ALEX RODRIGUEZ

I am going to speak slowly and clearly so as to avoid confusion.

Listen to me very carefully.

Alex Rodriguez is the greatest player you will ever see play.

In the end he might end up being the greatest player of all time. He has more than a legit shot at becoming the All Time home run champ, the all time runs scored champ and have well over 3,000 hits if he doesn't get hurt.

And some of his best years were in a Mariners uniform.

So while you boo baseball's answer to Wilt Chamberlain, keep his greatness somewhere in the back of your mind.

OK, go ahead and boo him.



STARTING THIRD BASEMAN
JIM PRESLEY

I became a believer in the Mariners when Dick Williams took over the team in the mid 1980s. One of the reasons I felt they were about to be a great team is they had a dynamic young infield that I thought was about to be one of the best in baseball.

He was hitting 20 some odd homers a year, played solid defense and made the 1986 All Star team.
And maybe he made an impression on me on July 17, 1986. The Red Sox were in first but slumping and it was beginning to look like they were yet another Sox team that would whither and die before summer ended. In the 11th inning with the score tied at 1 and two outs, the Mariners took advantage of a Rey Quinones error and loaded the bases for Jim Presley.

He hit a walk off grand slam off of Bob Stanley that everyone knew was gone before he even swung the bat.
The Red Sox eventually recovered, but I always considered Presley a threat!


STARTING LEFT FIELDER
PHIL BRADLEY

When I started overrating the Mariners in the mid 1980s, one of their big budding stars was Phil Bradley. He seemed like a prototypical #2 hitter. He got on base (second in the league with on base percentage in 1986) he had power (topping out at 26 homers in 1985) and consistently hovered around .300.

He never reached those levels when he was dealt to Philadelphia and is now a big wig at the Player's Association.


STARTING CENTER FIELDER
KEN GRIFFEY, JR

My dad and I went to a San Jose Giants-San Bernadino Spirit game at San Jose Municipal Stadium in 1988. We were both curious to see the Mariners new prospect and #1 pick in the previous year's draft, Ken Griffey Jr.

He did not disappoint. He hit a pair of triples and threw out a runner rounding first from center field.

After the game, I caught up with Griffey in front of the team bus and I asked him the stupidest question in history.
I asked him if he was Ken Griffey's son.

He not only didn't brush me aside but he took the time to tell me about how much fun he had in Fenway Park as a kid during the 1975 World Series.

We chatted for a bit and you would have thought he was a guy from my highschool.

When he boarded the bus I said "Good luck! The Mariners need you!"
He smiled and said "I know."

Ever since then Ken Griffey Jr. has become my favorite non Red Sox player of all time.
Oh yeah, he's the greatest player of the 1990s.



STARTING RIGHT FIELDER
DAVE HENDERSON

Hendu keeps popping up in these "Home Grown vs. Acquired" comparisons.

Well Red Sox and A's fans have the Mariners to thank for drafting him and developing him. He hit for power and had a great glove and had a winning attitude and persona that the Red Sox nearly rode a title and the A's did.

Mariner fans have the consolation prize of having Hendu return to Seattle to call games and we all can benefit if we sign up for the Dave Henderson Baseball Adventures.

Their motto was "You Don't Need To Be Good... You Just Need To Love The Game."

Hendu WAS good... and he loved the game.



STARTING DESIGNATED HITTER
EDGAR MARTINEZ

Next year there will be a lot of hand wringing and soul searching done by baseball writers as they contemplate voting for Edgar Martinez on their Hall of Fame ballots.

"Can we possibly vote for a DH to get into the Hall of Fame?" They will ask themselves and treat it with the gravity of a juror in the Scopes trial.

Yes you can. Why not? If they deserve to be, vote him in.

What there is no debate about is Edgar was a great hitter. The two time batting champ also lead the AL with an OPS of 1.107 in 1995. He also had some memorable post seasons, including being the one man wrecking crew against the Yankees in 1995 and winning a second Retroactive Sully Baseball Division Series MVP in 2000.

Now Edgar's candidacy will require a lot of scrutiny in terms of his lifetime numbers, but don't make his being a DH be the deciding factor.



THE STARTING ROTATION

MARK LANGSTON

Another big reason I felt the Mariners were on the verge of greatness in the mid 1980s is they had a legit ace to go along with their deep line up. Of course he was a legit ace! He won 17 games one year and 19 another for losing teams! He led the league in strikeouts three out of four seasons... including Roger Clemens' first two Cy Young seasons.

Plus he was capable of throwing a masterpiece or two. On May 10, 1988 he threw a complete game against a star studded Blue Jays team. He walked none and struck out 16 batters on the way to a 4-2 win.

Alas the Mariners never did turn into a powerhouse and Mark Langston took his show on the road to Montreal, California and San Diego.

At least his trade brought about another fireballing ace left hander to Seattle: Some guy named Randy Johnson.


MIKE MOORE

No, not the liberal filmmaker.

I think the reason the Mariners never clicked despite having a ton of young talent in the 1980s had to do with Mike Moore and Mark Langston not having great seasons at the same time.

It looked like the Mariners had a dynamic left handed ace and an equally talented right handed ace with Langston and Moore. But when Langston was good, Moore would flop.
When Moore looked great, Langston would flounder.

Moore put together a great 17 win season for a lousy Mariners team in 1985 but couldn't put it together the next few years. The Mariners would throw him into the bullpen and dangle him as trade bait before he went to Oakland and became a Cy Young contender and steady starter.


ERIK HANSON

Hanson was a tremendously talented pitcher who put it together for a season and a half in Seattle and one All Star season in Boston.

He returned from an injury in 1989 to win four of his last five decisions. The next year he struggled early but ended the year 6-0 to finish with an eye popping 18-8 record for a sub .500 team.

He left baseball and now is a golfer on the PGA tour.


JOEL PINEIRO

The Mariners couldn't make it back to the playoffs in 2002 nor in 2003. But they did win 93 games each year and a big reason for those high win totals was Pineiro's emergence.

He started 2002 in the bullpen and after posting a 0.50 ERA for the first month was inserted into the rotation. He would jump out to a 10-3 record before finishing the season 14-7.

He would be in the rotation the whole season in 2003 and won a huge game for the Mariners on September 20th in Oakland. His 7 inning 4 hit performance gave him a career high 15 wins and pulled the Mariners to within three games of the first place A's and a game and a half of the Wild Card leading Red Sox.

They didn't catch either team, but don't blame Pineiro!



FELIX HERNANDEZ

Let's give a blog world Thumbs up to the site USS Mariner for giving Felix Hernandez the nickname "King Felix."

They tabbed him while he was still a Mariner farm hand, but he's talented enough to possibly be one of the top starters in the AL. He certainly showed that potential when he 1 hit the Red Sox on April 11, 2007, upstaging the Daisuke Matsusaka/Ichiro Suzuki showdown.

Baseball needs more cool nicknames, and King Felix is as bad ass as they come.
Stay healthy and win games, King Felix.

And USS Mariner, keep bestowing names on Mariners prospects!


THE BULLPEN

J. J. PUTZ

Sometimes you have to be careful who you give a tip to.
Eddie Guardado was the Mariners closer and he taught his teammate J.J. Putz how to throw a split fingered fastball.
Suddenly, Putz took over the role of closer and Guardado was out of a job.

Puts made the 2007 All Star team and was the Rolaids Relief Man of the Year that season.

Perhaps it is appropriate that a guy named Putz would be dealt to a New York team.


MIKE SCHOOLER

Ahh another Mariner from those late 1980s teams I overrated.

Seriously with all of their hitting and Langston and Moore in the rotation and Schooler anchoring the bullpen, how did they NOT at least go .500?

He was a rookie of the year candidate in 1988 when he took over the closer role from perpetual prospect Edwin Nunez. In 1989 and 1990 saved 30 games a year.

His entrance music at the Kingdome was "School's Out" by Alice Cooper. Get it? School's out! Schooler!

Ahhh those late 1980s Mariners!


BILL SWIFT

Yikes! More pitching talent on those late 1980s Mariners team?

The second pick of the 1984 draft (ahead of players like Mark McGwire, Terry Mulholland and Hall of Fame vote getter Jay Bell) Swift was rushed to the bigs and stumbled at first. But in 1990, the Mariners tried him in the bullpen and he became an effective reliever. In 1991 he posted a sub 2.00 ERA and saved 17 for the first ever winning Mariners ball club.

He was dealt to the Giants where flourished as a starter, winning 21 games in 1993.

I'm sure the Mariner front office thought "Where was THAT when he was pitching with Mike Moore and Mark Langston???"



MATT YOUNG

Matt Young made the 1983 All Star team as a starter in his Rookie year. It was a classic Mike Sharperson selection and he didn't recapture his rookie success in the next few years.

But when he switched to the bullpen in 1986, he became the club's top reliever. He saved 13 games on a 95 loss squad.

His most impressive outing that year was on July 26th when he pitched 3 2/3 shutout innings for the save in a 5-2 win over the Brewers.

He would pitch for the Dodgers and A's (pitching in the 1989 playoffs and getting a ring.) He returned to the Mariners and lost 18 games and translated that to a $2 million a year contract from the Red Sox.

Good work if you can get it.


LEE GUETTERMAN

Lee Guetterman's name always comes up in discussion of the Yankees futility in the early 1990. He led the 1990 Yankees with 11 wins, all in relief. But just because those teams stunk didn't mean Guetterman did.

Before coming over to the Yankees in the Steve Trout trade, he was a reliable left handed swing man who also won 11 games for the 1987 Mariners.

Somehow 11 wins wasn't considered a stigma for that team.

THE BENCH

RESERVE INFIELDER
OMAR VIZQUEL

You know the bench is stacked when the first reserve is one of the great defensive shortstops of all time.

Vizquel earned the first of his 11 Gold Gloves in Seattle.

If the Mariners had kept Vizquel instead of sending him to Cleveland for Felix Fermin and Reggie Jefferson, they'd have A-Rod and Vizquel on the same team for a generation.

Ah, you can't second guess every deal.



RESERVE INFIELDER
HAROLD REYNOLDS

Over a 12 season stretch, from 1980 to 1991, Rickey Henderson led the league in stolen bases every single year except one.

In 1987 Harold Reynolds, the number 9 hitting pain in the butt second baseman, stole 60 to take the crown away from Henderson for one season. Granted Henderson missed more than 60 games that year to injury and finished only 19 bases behind Reynolds... but that doesn't matter. Reynolds won it.

He won three Gold Gloves in Seattle and won the Roberto Clemente award given to one of the good guys of the game and now is one of the faces of MLB TV after a misunderstood hug ended his ESPN days.



RESERVE OUTFIELDER
RAUL IBANEZ

I am sure the Angels are going to send the Phillies a thank you note for signing Raul Ibanez this off season. Raul was originally a catching prospect in the Mariners system. He went to Kansas City and then returned to the Mariners 2004 and pulled what I would like to call a "Reverse Mitchell Report."

His offense IMPROVED after testing as he knocking in 100 some odd runs three straight seasons while keeping his average hovering around .290.

He batted .371 against the Angels in 2008, including a 2 homer performance on April 11.

I'm sure the Angels are happy the only way they will face Ibanez in 2009 is if they play the Phillies in the World Series.


RESERVE OUTFIELDER
MICKEY BRANTLEY

Well it's another Mariner from the late 1980s.
Man I really drunk the Kool Aid with that team. Maybe I still am by putting so many of this team!

Brantley had a ton of raw power and made Phil Bradley expendable. He hit 14 homers and batted .302 in only 106 games for the 1987 Mariners.

Alas he never met that potential, much like the Mariners of that era never met their potential. He was pushed out of the lineup in favor of some guy named Griffey.


RESERVE CATCHER
CHRIS WIDGER

Well I pushed Chris Widger off of the Expos post, so I figured the least I could do was put him in the Mariners post.

He actually only played 31 games in a Mariners uniform (plus 5 more playoff games for the 1995 Mariners) but he did drive in a run in the Mariners extra inning victory on July 17, 1995. And the Mariners needed every single win to force the one game Divisional playoff with the Angels... so he did his part!


25TH MAN
ALVIN DAVIS

How could I do a list like this and NOT include Mr. Mariner?

Before Griffey, Big Unit, A-Rod and Ichiro, it was Alvin Davis who was the face of the franchise.
When being a Mariner meant playing in an empty dome and wearing a cap with a Trident on it, it was Davis who gave Mariners fans to cheer.

When the Mariners were such a joke that their futility was a source of jokes on Family Ties, the 1984 AL Rookie of the Year gave Mariner fans reason to cheer.

His timing was bad, but he played his heart out for the Mariners and belongs on this list!




That's a lot of talent!
Some fulfilled... some merely hinted at.

So we know the Mariners can spot good talent, but can they steal talent from other teams?
Well how does the only Cy Young Award in team history sound?

Better read on!



ALL TIME ACQUIRED MARINERS TEAM



STARTING CATCHER
DAN WILSON

Manager Lou Piniella obviously liked what he saw in Dan Wilson when he was in Cincinnati and the Mariners brought him over in 1994. He was the starting catcher for 11 seasons including all four post season runs in Seattle.

He made an All Star team, had a few solid offensive seasons and never saw his numbers suspiciously bulge. I always considered him to be a solid all around player. But looking up articles written about him by the Seattle press, I had NO CLUE how loved this guy was.

This article compares him to a Beatle and a Saint!

Well who am I to question the love of the Mariners fan? He's on the roster!


STARTING FIRST BASEMAN
JOHN OLERUD

He seemed destined to play with the Mariners, didn't he?
The quiet unassuming Olerud, a one time hitting AND pitching star at Washington State became a 2 time World Champion in Torono. After a stint with the Mets he signed a contract to come home.

He won three Gold Golves, continued to hit with power and be among the league leaders in on base percentage and homered in the 2000 Division Series and ALCS as well as the 2001 ALCS.

And refreshingly, his body shape and stats stayed constant throughout his 17 year career.
Not a bad baseball life... especially for a guy who had brain surgery earlier in his life.




STARTING SECOND BASEMAN
JOEY CORA

By remembering Bret Boone was indeed home grown, I put Cora right into the starting line up.

Now every Mariner and Yankee remembers the heroics of Ken Griffey Jr, Randy Johnson and Edgar Martinez in that clinching game 5 of the 1995 Division Series. But let's not forget Joey Cora played a huge part as well.

In the bottom of the third, he got the Mariners on the board with a solo home run off of David Cone.
And then in the 11th, with the Mariners a mere 3 outs from elimination, he lay down a drag bunt and got on base in front of Ken Griffey Jr and Edgar Martinez. Now Yankee fans say he went out of the basepaths... umps saw it differently.

And everyone saw him score the tying run before Griffey scored the winning run on Edgar's double.

You can't win with just stars... you need that pain in the butt little guy like Cora!


STARTING SHORTSTOP
CARLOS GUILLEN

Guillen was part of the haul from Houston in the Randy Johnson trade and helped the Mariners not lose a step when A-Rod left after the 2000 playoffs.

Now some Seattle fans might overrate him, like this one, but he did have the second series ending walk off hit in Mariners playoff history.

With the score tied in game 3 of the 2000 Division Series against the White Sox, the Mariners put the series ending run at third in the form of Rickey Henderson. (Yes that one.)

Keith Foulke (yes that one) was trying to get the White Sox out of the jam and Piniella sent up Carlos Guillen to pinch hit for Joe Oliver. Instead of a booming double like Edgar Martinez's game winner in 1995, Guillen placed a perfect bunt past the drawn in infield sending the Mariners to the ALCS.

Sometimes it isn't how hard you hit it but WHERE you hit it!!!



STARTING THIRD BASEMAN
MIKE BLOWERS

When Lou Piniella took over the Mariners in 1993, he made one key change to the lineup:
Edgar Martinez was no longer the starting third baseman. He would be the DH and Mike Blowers was at third.

This allowed Edgar to do what he does best: Hit.
Blowers did some hitting of his own. That May he hit grand slams in consecutive games and in August of 1995, when the Mariners made their big move to overtake the Angels, he drove in 33 runs.

He's now an announcer who has some contest where a lucky fan gets some french fries, making Mariner fans fatter one fry at a time.


STARTING LEFT FIELDER
ICHIRO SUZUKI

A-Rod left Seattle.
Big Unit left Seattle.
Griffey left Seattle.

The marquee names were gone. So who should arrive but possibly the biggest star the Mariners ever put in a uniform.

I'm not saying he's the best. Nor am I saying he's more famous than A-Rod.
But Ichiro became the most visible and dynamic Mariner while in a Mariner uniform.

When every player looked like Bruce Banner on a bad day, this little stick figure was a genuine pain in the butt with his hits, that strange swing and his speed. Plus he had star charisma... so much so that he took Unit's #51 and nobody seemed to mind.

I love people who get on him for just trying to get basehits.
ISN'T THAT WHAT HE'S SUPPOSED TO DO?

He is getting very close to being a Hall of Famer when you consider his American and Japanese production.


STARTING CENTER FIELDER
RUPPERT JONES

Seattle had a new team to begin playing in 1977 but they needed players for that team. In the 1976 Expansion draft, the Mariners used the first pick to take Royals minor league outfielder Ruppert Jones.

He rewarded the Mariners with a 24 home run season and became the first ever All Star in Mariners history. He popped up against Don Sutton in his lone at bat in the game.


STARTING RIGHT FIELDER
JAY BUHNER

My friends who remained loyal to the Yankees during the dark days of the late 1980s and early 1990s always growled when Jay Buhner would come up to bat for the Mariners.

He should have been a Yankee! He WAS a Yankee! He was exactly what the Yankees needed in their line up. A young hungry exciting run into walls player with power. The Yankees had plenty of overpaid veteran outfielders in those days.

Enough with the Mel Halls, the Jesse Barfields, the Claudell Washingtons, the Gary Wards, the Jose Cruzes and the Pat Sheridans of the world. Buhner was a young player Yankee fans were ready to call their own.

And off he went to the Mariners in the Ken Phelps trade. And he became a Gold Glove, 40 home run hitting, head shaving, fun loving crowd favorite who always seemed to get a big hit against the Yankees, including his home run in game 4 of the 1995 Division Series that put an exclamation point on the Mariners huge comeback.

Ken Phelps didn't help the Yankees that day.



STARTING DESIGNATED HITTER
KEN PHELPS

Well speak of the devil! It's Ken Phelps!

Now I make Phelps sound like a bad player based on the Jay Buhner post. He wasn't... at all. He was exactly what he was:

A left handed DH with a LOT of power. He was consistently among the league leaders in home runs per at bat. He would club 20 some odd a year (back when that meant something) and do it with fewer than 400 at bats.

So I guess you can't blame the Yankees for coveting him, especially thinking about how he could bust them into the right field porch.

The problem was he couldn't play the field. And the Yankees already had Jack Clark at DH, Don Mattingly at first, Rickey Henderson in left, Claudell Washington in center and Dave Winfield in right.

There was nowhere to put him! And the arrival of Phelps meant Mattingly, the best defensive first baseman in the game, had to play some games in left field and the clutch veteran play of Washington was on the bench.

Phelps was dealt from the Yankees the next year to the A's, where he won a World Series ring and on April 20th 1990 broke up Mariner pitcher Brian Holman's perfect game with a 2 out homer.

It's not HIS fault the Yankees made a bad move.


THE STARTING ROTATION



RANDY JOHNSON

I've said before and I'll say it again... Randy Johnson is the most terrifying pitcher I have ever seen in my life.

I don't understand how a human being can stand in a batters box and not soil their pants when facing Randy Johnson.

In his prime, it didn't seem fair to face him, and he transformed from a wild 6'10" freak Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn to the most imposing pitching figure of his generation.

I'll take it a step further... I believe he should be in the discussion for greatest pitcher of all time.
He has the best strikeout to innings pitched ratio of all time.
He is second in all time strikeouts. ALL TIME... not just his era. Not adjusted... EVER!
He has 5 Cy Young awards including 4 in a row... and I think should have won it over Roger Clemens in 1997 and 2004.

Throw in his 100 complete games in an era of pitch counts and his ERA often being three runs below the league average and doing it all in the 'roid age. I'm not saying he IS the best... but he belongs in the conversation.

He's certainly the best bird destroying ace in baseball history.


JAMIE MOYER

I guess the Red Sox thought they were selling high with Jamie Moyer. He was a 9 year veteran whose fast ball wouldn't get a speeding ticket when he signed with the 1996 Red Sox. He compiled a 7-1 record for the Sox and they quickly shipped him off to the Mariners for Darren Bragg.

The Red Sox needed an outfielder who could play some defense and Moyer's 7-1 start was a fluke! Who knows if he was even going to be in the big leagues in 1997!

He was in the bigs for 1997. He won 17 games for the AL West Champion Mariners. He became a fixture on the Seattle staff, twice winning 20 games. Three times he finished in the top 10 voting for the Cy Young award.

He continued winning through the turn of the century. Hell he's STILL pitching! He threw 6 1/3 solid innings for the Phillies in last year's World Series. He'll probably pitch until he strikes out Darren Bragg Jr!!!



FREDDY GARCIA

You've got to hand it to the Mariners front office. They get value for their aces.
When they dealt Mark Langston, they got Randy Johnson back.

When they dealt Randy Johnson, they got Freddy Garcia and Carlos Guillen in return!

Garcia won 17 games and came in second for the 1999 Rookie of the Year vote and in 2000 won two starts against the Yankees in the ALCS. He was even better in 2001 when he finished third in the Cy Young balloting, winning 18 games leading the league in ERA.

The Mariners dealt Garcia off to the White Sox... alas they didn't get an ace in return.


AARON SELE

Whenever Aaron Sele won a game for a period of time, I would want to spit. I mentioned this already in my Rangers post, but Sele was supposed to be a big winner for the RED SOX! And they dealt him for Jim Leyritz... all the while he put up big win totals for the Rangers and the Red Sox were desperate for a #2 starter.

My anger continued when he made the All Star team as a 17 game winner for the 2000 Mariners while the Red Sox missed the playoffs despite a Cy Young season from Pedro Martinez.

I used to be angry a lot.
I'm not any more.

But seeing Aaron Sele's name reminds me of my old fury.



FLOYD BANNISTER

Bannister was from the Seattle area. I'm sure when the one time #1 overall pick was dealt by the Astros to Seattle in 1978, he thought he could turn around the struggling expansion franchise. The team did improve his first season by 11 wins. Granted they were still miserable but 67 wins was still better than 56 wins.

Alas they never did turn the corner but Bannister still pitched well in a Mariner uniform, making the 1982 All Star team.
He went to the White Sox where he not only helped them win the 1983 Western Division title but also found a uniform uglier than the "Star Trident" unis the Mariners wore!


THE BULLPEN


KAZ SASAKI

Will we ever know why Kazuhiro Sasaki really ended his American career so suddenly?
He came over to Seattle after 10 seasons with the Yokohama team and won the Rookie of the Year in 2000. He was the bullpen closer for the 2000 and 2001 playoff teams. He closed out the 2001 Division Series.

And then he left the Mariners in 2003... to be with his family.
Evidently he was specific which one. He was married and had a long affair with a much younger girl... who happened to have his baby.

He earned $20 some odd million with the Mariners. I am guessing he doesn't have much of that anymore.



BILL CAUDILL

The 1982 Mariners looked like they might be the first good squad in the team's history. They were above .500 in early August and actually only 3 games behind the Royals and a game behind the evenutal division champion Angels in early July.

One reason for the turn around was the arrival of Caudill in spring training. He had by far the best year of his career to that point, winning 12, saving 26 and striking out 111 in 95 2/3 innings, all in relief, finishing in the top 10 for the Cy Young.

His best performance came on June 8 of that year. Caudill entered the game against the Rangers in the bottom of the 9th, 2 outs and the winning run in scoring position. He got out of the jam and threw a perfect 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th, facing the winning run with each pitch in the launching pad known as Arlington Stadium.

He got the win as Todd Cruz drove in the winning run in the 14th.

Alas the Mariners didn't finish the season above .500 and they lost 100 games the next year.
But for a while, the Star Trident Hat squad looked like they had a winner with Caudill as the anchor.



NORM CHARLTON

The Phillies released Norm Charlton on July 10, 1995 and he was quickly signed by the Mariners. Lou Piniella didn't care that his ERA was above 7 in Philadelphia. He remembered that Charlton was one of the Nasty Boys of the 1990 World Champs, and he needed that swagger for his Mariners pen.

They were in last place when Charlton joined the club on July 14, 7 games behind the Angels and on their way to another pathetic worthless season. There was even talk about the club moving.

Charlton became the closer, posted a 1.51 ERA and struck out 58 in 47 2/3 innings, saving 14.
The Mariners would go 45-29 the rest of the way, beat the Angels in a one game playoff, beat the Yankees in the greatest Division Series of all time and get within 2 games of the World Series.

I'm going out on a limb, but I think the Charlton signing worked out well for Seattle!



SHIGETOSHI HASEGAWA

Hasegawa was a reliable middle reliever for the Mariners and became an All Star in 2003 with a tremendous season first as a set up man and then a closer for the 93 win squad.

And he had his mind on things other than baseball. He read the Wall Street Journal, talked investments during batting practice and unlike a lot of Japanese players, spoke English fluently.

Isn't it odd that with so many players earning millions of dollars, reading about finance is considered quirky?

I'm guessing some of his old teammates will some day be asking him for money.



ARTHUR RHODES

I mentioned the earring incident in the Orioles post. Arthur Rhodes' earrings were too shiny and he had to remove them during a game. There is something I find wonderful about that fact. I don't know why.

Either way, Arthur Rhodes is a very talented left handed pitcher who seems to have recovered from his 2007 Tommy John surgery. He went 8-0 with a 1.72 ERA for the 2001 squad. He went 10-4 with a 2.33 ERA for the 2002 Mariners.

He has already pitched for 17 seasons and will no doubt find a job for another 4 or 5 seasons and make several more millions. Parents, if your kid throws left handed, teach them to pitch!


THE BENCH


RESERVE INFIELDER
JULIO CRUZ

Cruz was selected in the expansion draft and gave Seattle their first legit base running threat. He stole 59 in 1978, his first full season, second to Ron ReFlore. He continued stealing 40 a year for the next 4 seasons.

When the Mariners were trying to compete in 1982, Cruz came up big in several games including July 5 against the Yankees.

Already with an RBI double earlier in the game, Cruz came up in the 7th with the Mariners trailing. He singled home the tying run... then stole second... then stole third... and scored when Dave Edler singled him home.

He went to the White Sox and joined Floyd Bannister for the 1983 Division Title. But there must be something about Seattle. Cruz is now an announcer for the Mariners' Spanish broadcast.


RESERVE INFIELDER
RICH AMARAL

Amaral got kicked around to a few organizations before making the big league squad as a Jack of All Trades. He became a super sub for Lou Piniella's AL West winners of 1995 and 1997. He would start in the infield, the outfield and be a useful pinch runner as well.

In 1996 he was 8th in the league in stolen bases despite only starting 71 games. He played until he was 38 years old and now coaches the Mariners as a base stealing instructor.



RESERVE OUTFIELDER
MIKE CAMERON

Ken Griffey Jr put the Mariners in a serious bind after the 1999 season. He wanted a trade out of Seattle and a new big contract. And he made it clear he wanted to only go to the Cincinnati Reds. The Mariners had a grand total of zero leverage in dealing with the Reds.

The Reds could have offered Seattle a minor leaguer and used toilet paper and they'd have to take it.
So I guess we should give the Mariners front office some credit for plucking a power hitting Gold Glove winning centerfielder like Cameron from the Reds.

And Cameron did give the Mariners something that Griffey couldn't deliver. He had 4 seasons without injury where he played almost every day. And first inning home run gave the 2001 Mariners a big boost in game 2 of the Division Series.



RESERVE OUTFIELDER
BRUCE BOCHTE

One of these days I will write a post about how the Kellogg's 3D Superstar Cards have permanently affected my opinion of which players were great from the 1970s.

I already mentioned how I gave Ellis Valentine an All Star vote because he was endorsed by Tony The Tiger.

Well that brings us to Bruce Bochte. When I was growing up in Massachusetts, we didn't see a lot of Mariners games nor many highlights that weren't Red Sox related. And in the late 1970s I was just developing an appreciation of stats. So a really good barometer of figuring out which players were good was seeing who was on a 3D card.

I remember Dan Meyer was the only Mariner in the 1978 collection. Bochte was the only Mariner in the 1980 collection. He made the All Star team in 1979 when he and Willie Horton became the first Mariners to ever drive in 100 runs for a season.

Hey, if he was good enough to be in my box of Frosted Flakes, he's good enough for Sully Baseball!


RESERVE CATCHER
KENJI JOHJIMA

I wonder how big the Mariners following is in Japan.
Well I am guessing if they keep bringing over players like Kenji Johjima, it will continue to be strong. At age 30, he was 4th in the 2006 Rookie of the Year vote, batting .291 with 18 homers and striking out only 46 times. He homered in his first two games and "Jo Mamma" has become popular with his Seattle teammates.

So why did he choose Seattle? Was it the chance to play with Ichiro? Did he want to turn the pitching staff around?

Nope. He liked a Japanese grocery store he found there.

Hey, I've heard of worse reasons to sign with a team.


25TH MAN
GAYLORD PERRY

After the 1981 season with the Braves, Gaylord Perry couldn't get a job and he had 297 wins. He needed 3 measly wins and he'd be at 300 and lock up his Hall of Fame resume (something that Bert Blyleven knows all too well)... but Spring Training came and went with no offers for the 2 time Cy Young winner.

The Mariners gave him a shot but he lost his first two starts despite pitching well. He won his next two decisions and on May 6, 1982 he faced the Yankees, one of his many former clubs. The Mariners erupted for 5 off of Doyle Alexander and gave Perry all the runs he needed.

He retired the Yankees in order in the 9th inning and got win #300 and the Mariners got their only national attention for their first decade of existence.


WHO WOULD WIN A HEAD TO HEAD SERIES?

How can I pick against a squad that has Randy Johnson at the head of the rotation and Ichiro leading off?

Well let's just say a middle of a line up with A-Rod, Junior and Edgar would be tough to beat. (Granted the 1997 Orioles DID but that's nitpicking!)


VERDICT: THE HOME GROWN TEAM WINS! A-ROD WOULD EVEN GET A FEW CLUTCH POST SEASON HITS IN THE PROCESS!!!!

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Another one down.

That's the Mariners
And the Nationals
And the Angels
And The Padres
And The Twins
And The Orioles
And the A's
And the Astros
And the Giants
And the Rockies
And the Mets
And the Rangers
And the Marlins
And the Yankees
And the Red Sox

15 to go... halfway there!

NEXT ALL TIME HOME GROWN VS. ACQUIRED TEAM:
THE ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

10 comments:

  1. Anonymous5:18 PM

    I believe that Matt Young while able to throw darts at times to his catcher had a mental problem with making a throw to first base....

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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  3. For a relatively young franchise, some serious talent came through that clubhouse.

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  4. Anonymous10:59 AM

    Nice read! How long does writing a thing like this normally take you?

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  5. Anonymous1:37 PM

    Home grown, no doubt! I almost forgot how great Mariners baseball used to be.

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  6. Anonymous11:29 AM

    Beltre should have been the 3B for the acquired team, but other than that, good read.

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  7. Anonymous10:31 AM

    +1 on Beltre. Definitely better than Blowers.

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  8. I don't care how few games he played for them, Jason Varitek HAS to be the Mariners catcher. Any Red Sox fan should know that. And Edgar played enough 3B and was good enough to be on the team at 3B. Then, Davis or Ibanez can be on the team in LF.

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