The 2001 Seattle Mariners are regarded as one of the best baseball teams of all-time. They won 116 games, which is tied with the 1906 Chicago Cubs for the most of any team. Since the team never managed to win the World Series many people forget about them. For what should have been an incredibly memorable team, most of the stars and key players are overlooked.
Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, and Randy Johnson: None Played for the 2001 Seattle Mariners
When most people think of the Mariners they think of these three players: Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, and Randy Johnson. Two of the greatest home run hitters of all-time and one of the most dominant pitchers, most of us assume they were a big part of the 2001 Seattle Mariners. However, by this point all had moved on to other teams.
Griffey Jr. left after the 1999 season to play for his hometown Cincinnati Reds. The next year Rodriguez joined the Texas Rangers. As for Johnson, he had not been with the Mariners since 1998 when he was traded to the Houston Astros. Johnson had his own success in 2001 though, winning the World Series with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Team Batting Leaders
The 2001 season was the first one that Japanese phenom Ichiro Suzuki came to America to play professional baseball. Suzuki, or Ichiro as he is simply known as, led the team in hits with 242. This was only 15 short of the all-time record then held by George Sisler. Ichiro later broke the record in 2004 when he somehow got even better.
Ichiro got things started at the top of the lineup, but it was second baseman Bret Boone who provided the team with power. Boone hit 37 home runs with 141 RBIs in 2001, both career highs.
Team Pitching Leaders
The Mariners’ pitching also performed well in 2001 as is the case for the majority of teams with 100+ win seasons. Their lone 20-game winner was 38-year-old Jamie Moyer. Freddy Garcia, Aaron Sele, and Paul Abbott all won 15 games or more as well. As good as their win totals were none of the starting pitchers could be considered dominant. Garcia had the most strikeouts with 163. No one else from the starting rotation had more than 119.
The bullpen was also very successful. Closer Kazuhiro Sasaki saved 45 games for the team. However, it was left-handed specialist Arthur Rhodes who had the most impressive season of all. Rhodes had an 8-0 record in 2001 with a 1.73 ERA.
They may not have a World Series victory to their name. Still, the back of these players’ baseball cards have some pretty thick numbers as does the team’s almanac from the season that should have been the first championship in Seattle Mariners history.