It seems people have their fondest memories for the first.
The Seattle Mariners would have started their 2020 season last Thursday, had sports not come crashing to a halt as we attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus. Therefore, it seemed appropriate to make this week’s Seattle Sidelines poll about the M’s, and I wanted it to stir up some positive memories.
So this week’s Seattle Sidelines poll asked readers which Mariners season generates the most positive memories for them:
POLL: In honor of what should have been the Seattle Mariners season getting started, which Mariners season generates the most positive memories for you? Full context, including a closer look at the seasons, here:
— Nick Patterson (@NickHPatterson) March 30, 2020
Add up the votes from Twitter and the blog and 1995, the Mariners’ first sojourn into the postseason, was the big winner, pulling in 70% of the vote. The 2001 season, when Seattle tied the major-league record for wins in a season, finished a distant second at 27%. A mere 3% voted for “other.”
It’s remarkable that 1995 is the most memorable season because, for so long, it was anything but. On Aug. 23 the Mariners were a below-.500 team, sitting at 54-55 and 11.5 games behind the California Angels. It seemed just like all the other fruitless seasons in franchise history, and with polls showing the vote on funding for a new stadium failing, it seemed the Mariners’ time in Seattle was fleeting.
But the Mariners got red hot from there, going 25-11 to close out the season and tying the Angels for first in the American League West. What’s often forgotten is Seattle actually passed the Angels and were up two with two to play, but dropped their final two as California forced a one-game playoff. But the Mariners, with ace pitcher Randy Johnson working on three days rest, dominated the Angels 9-1 to earn their first ever postseason berth. The race to the playoffs is credited for prompting local government to find funding for the new stadium, even after the vote went down.
Then in the playoffs the Mariners met the New York Yankees in the Division round. Seattle dropped the first two games in New York, but returned home and won three straight, including the 11-inning thriller in the decisive Game 5, which ended with “The Double” that gave Seattle a 6-5 victory.
Make no mistake, 2001 was great, too. Ichiro Suzukl was a revelation. The team defense was incredible. The bullpen was fantastic and a big reason why Seattle always seemed to win games in the eighth inning. The team finished with 116 wins, matching the 1906 Chicago Cubs for the single-season record. But given how well the regular season went, losing to the Cleveland Indians in the ALCS was a letdown, so it’s understandable that fans would have fonder memories of 1995.
Finally, I want to address the fact that the Mariners have played 44 seasons, I offered just two specific voting options, and “other” received just 3% of the vote. Or, more specifically, I’ll let @BradKnowsHomes address it:
It’s sad but telling that there’s only two choices, then other in almost 50 years 😩
— BradKnowsHomes (@BradKnowsHomes) March 31, 2020