The Seattle Mariners have had some fantastic players go through their system since their inception in 1977. While the team hasn’t hit the World Series yet, individual players have etched their careers into Mariners’ fans’ minds. With the new blood on the team creating excitement about deep runs in the playoffs, let’s review those players and attempt to make a Mount Rushmore of the best four Mariners of all time.
Barely Missed The Mountain:
Randy Johnson (1989-1998): The Big Unit joined the mariners after being traded from the Montreal Expos in 1989. He was known for his wild command and a blazing fastball, becoming a “modern-day” Nolan Ryan. While he won a Cy Young with the Mariners, he didn’t hit his groove until his Arizona Diamondbacks days, winning four Cy Youngs in a row from 1999-2002.
Alex Rodriguez (1994-2000): Another first pick of the Seattle Mariners, A-Rod transformed the shortstop position showing that power can come out of that position. While with the Mariners, he hit 189 homers in seven years and gathered four Silver Sluggers. Rodriguez is more known for his polarizing time with the Yankees, thanks to his interactions with fellow shortstop Derek Jeter and his year-long suspension in 2014.
Seattle Mariners Stats: .321/.365/.416/.781 – 99HR 633RBI 438SB
10 All-Star Selections, 10 Gold Gloves, 3 Silver Sluggers, 1 Rookie of the Year, 1 MVP
Ichiro Suzuki, or just Ichiro as he became known, splashed onto the scene in 2001 when the Mariners signed him as an international free agent. He quickly established himself as a dominant player, winning the AL Rookie of the Year, AL MVP, Gold Glove, and Silver Slugger, and being selected to the All-Star game in his first season. He is known for his hitting abilities, leading the league in batting average, hits, and stolen bases multiple times, as well as his speed and defensive skills. He holds the record for the most hits in a single season (262 in 2004), and his ten consecutive 200-hit seasons still stand today. He was also loved for his sportsmanship and humble personality and helped bring international recognition to the Mariners and baseball.
Ken Griffey, Jr.
Seattle Mariners Stats: .292/.374/.553/.927 – 417HR 1216RBI 167SB
10 All-Star Selections, 10 Gold Gloves, 7 Silver Sluggers, 1 MVP
Ken Griffey, Jr. is considered one of the greatest Mariners and MLB players. He was drafted first overall by the Mariners in 1987 and established himself as one of the most promising young players in the league. He was known for his combination of power, speed, and defense, hitting 417 home runs with the Mariners while swiping 167 bases. Griffey also won 10 Gold Gloves, all with the Mariners. These skills brought him an MVP in the 1997 season, hitting 56 home runs, batting in 147 runs, and leading the AL in slugging and intentional walks. Off the field, he was friendly and approachable, endearing him to fans across the league. In 2016, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, the first player to be inducted as a Mariner. He will always be remembered as one of his generation’s most talented and charismatic players and part of the reason for the baseball card boom in the late 1980s.
Seattle Mariners Stats (Full Career): .312/.418/.515/.933 – 309HR 1261RBI 1283BB
7 All-Star Selections, 5 Silver Sluggers
Edgar Martinez, known as “Gar,” is regarded as one of the greatest Seattle Mariners players. From 1987 to 2004, he established himself as a dominant hitter and a leader in the Mariners clubhouse. He was a seven-time All-Star selection, a two-time American League batting champion, and won five Silver Slugger awards. He helped lead the Mariners to their first playoff appearance in 1995. During that first series versus the Yankees, Edgar had an incredible slash line of .571/.667/1.000/1.667 hitting two homers and batting in ten runs. Martinez is also recognized as a pioneer of the modern designated hitter role. He became synonymous with the term “designated hitter” until David Ortiz took that over in the 2010s. Martinez was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2019.
Seattle Mariners Stats (Full Career): 2729.2 IP, 3.42 ERA, 3.52 FIP, 169-136
6 All-Star Selections, 1 Cy Young, 1 Perfect Game
Felix Hernandez, also known as “King Felix,” was a dominant Major League Baseball (MLB) pitcher who spent his entire career with the Seattle Mariners. He made his debut at 19 in 2005 and was the youngest player in the league for the first two years of his career. He went on to win the American League Cy Young award in 2010 and was selected to six All-Star games. Felix threw the first perfect game in Mariners’ history in 2014 versus the Tampa Bay Rays, striking out 12 batters, including striking out the side in both the sixth and eighth innings. While King Felix’s overall numbers may not get him into the Hall of Fame, the lifetime Mariner cultivated a following in his fifteen-year career. The Mariners leaned into his nickname, “King,” by creating a section of the stands called the “King’s Court.” During his starts, they would give each fan a poster with “K” on it. Every time Felix struck out a batter, that entire section would wave those high in the air, celebrating the putout. Considering he did this 2,524 times during his career, I bet those fans would get tired throughout the game.