As the Mariners turn 40 this season, we decided to take a look back at the top 40 players in the franchise's history.
The third installment of our rating of the top 40 players in Mariners’ history — celebrating the team’s 40th anniversary — includes two of the best of the current team as well as five players who helped form the heart and soul of the 116-win squad of 2001.
And, undoubtedly, it will also spark a few arguments, which is part of the fun of remembering the history of a team that may not have had as many high points as fans would like, but has filled up our summer nights in good times and bad nevertheless.
The list was compiled in a vote by Times staffers Larry Stone, Ryan Divish and Bob Condotta.
We will conclude the countdown with our top 10 players tomorrow.
20. Mike Cameron
Position: Center field
Years as a Mariner: 2000-03
Why he’s on the list: Cameron played parts of 17 years in the major leagues but saved his best four seasons for the four he spent in Seattle, not-so-coincidentally coinciding with the best four seasons in franchise history, with his Mariners’ numbers besting basically all of his career averages. He also goes down as the second-best fielding center fielder in team history behind only a guy who may be the best ever, and might have had the single-best performance in team history with four home runs at Chicago in 2002.
Key stat: Was ninth in the American League in WAR in at 5.9 and third among Mariners behind only Boone and Ichiro.
Where he is now: Retired in 2012 after signing a one-day contract with the Mariners and activities now include following the exploits of his son, Daz, who is in his third season in the Houston organization, currently playing for Quad Cities in the Midwest League. Cameron will return to Safeco Field to throw out the first pitch on Sat. July 22 vs. the Yankees.
19. Kaz Sasaki
Years as a Mariner: 2000-03
Why he’s on the list: Despite spending just four years with the Mariners, he is by far the team’s career leader in saves with 129 — 27 more than anyone else. Granted, there were a lot of games to save during those four years but Sasaki was particularly effective from 2000-02 and especially so in 2001 when he had 45 saves — at the time a team record — and finished 19th in MVP balloting. If the Mariners could only have kept him away from suitcases.
Key stat: Only Mariner pitcher to win the AL Rookie of the Year award, doing so in 2000. There was some controversy at the time since he was 32 and a longtime veteran of the Japanese league. But the only other players who got first-place votes aren’t exactly household names today — Oakland’s Terrence Long and Kansas City’s Mark Quinn.
Where he is now: Is dabbling in horse and auto racing — his horse Vivlos won the 2017 G1 Dubai Turf.
18. Kyle Seager
Position: Third base
Years as a Mariner: 2011-present
Why he’s on the list: One of a handful of current players on this list who figure to rank more highly on future rankings, Seager is off to one of the best career starts in team history. Consider that his 126 home runs after last season were the fourth-most of any Mariner through age 28 season behind Griffey (350), Rodriguez (189) and Alvin Davis (131). He was also fourth in runs, doubles and RBI and fifth in hits. He’s also won a Gold Glove and entering this season had the most starts of any third baseman in Major League Baseball since 2012.
Key stat: Seager’s WAR number of 6.9 in 2016 was the best of any third baseman in team history (previous best was Edgar Martinez in 1992) and 13th-best among all Mariners’ position players in a season.
Where he is now: Playing third base nightly at Safeco Field.
17. Freddy Garcia
Years as a Mariner: 1999-2004
Why he’s on the list: If at times it felt like the Mariners could have gotten more out of Garcia — the centerpiece of the Randy Johnson trade with Houston — he still left with an impressive legacy, still standing fourth in team history in wins (76), seventh in ERA (3.89), sixth in innings (1,096.1). He also turned in some of the more memorable starts in team postseason history (granted, not as long of a list as fans might wish), getting the only two wins in the 2000 ALCS and the victory in Game 4 of the 2001 ALDS when the Mariners trailed 2-1.
Key stat: Garcia had the highest WAR number for a pitcher on the 2001 team and is fifth in team history.
Where he is now: While he last appeared in a major league game in 2013, he pitched in 2014, 2015 and 2016 in the Chinese and Mexican leagues.
16. Mark Langston
Years as a Mariner: 1984-89
Why he’s on the list: The fire-balling Langston was essentially the first great pitcher in Mariner history, winning The Sporting News AL Rookie Pitcher of the Year award in 1984 and leading the team in virtually every career pitching category before his trade in 1989 to Montreal (which also paid off handsomely, because one of the three players Seattle acquired in return was Randy Johnson). The lefty still ranks fifth in team history in wins (74) and strikeouts (1,078) and is tied for third in shutouts (nine).
Key stat: Langston led the American League in strikeouts per nine innings three times as a member of the Mariners — 1984, 1986, 1987.
Where he is now: Serves as an analyst on the Angels’ broadcast team.
15. Robinson Cano
Position: Second base
Years as a Mariner: 2014-present
Why he’s on the list: Recipient of the biggest contract in team history — a 10-year, $240 million deal as a free agent in 2014 — Cano has so far proved worth it. Three-and-a-half seasons into his Seattle career, he already ranks 15th in team history in home runs (91), sixth in batting average (.296) and eighth in OPS (on-base plus slugging) at .831. A few more and he’ll be in the top 10 on a similar list a few years down the road.
Key stat: Last year became just the seventh Mariner ever to drive in 100 runs and score 100 runs in the same season and first since Ibanez in 2006.
Where he is now: Playing second base nightly for the Mariners.
14. Harold Reynolds
Position: Second base
Years as a Mariner: 1983-92
Why he’s on the list: Like more than a few Mariners of the early years, simply reading his numbers now may make one wonder why he’d rate this high on such a list. But during some really bad years in the ’80s, Reynolds provided some much-needed excitement. His 60 stolen bases in 1987 remains a team season record and he was the first position player in team history to win a Gold Glove, ultimately winning three as Mariner in 1988-90.
Key stat: Remains second all-time in team history in triples with 48, behind the 79 of Ichiro.
Where he is now: Working as a studio analyst for the MLB Network.
13. John Olerud
Position: First base
Years as a Mariner: 2000-04
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Why he’s on the list: Olerud’s name isn’t real prominent in the Mariners’ record book. But from 2000-03 he was as effective as any first baseman in team history, winning three Gold Gloves and anchoring what some regarded as among the best infields in baseball during that time. And his OPS of .827 is 10th-best in team history.
Key stat: Finished in top five in fielding percentage in the American League every year as a Mariner.
Where he is now: Lives in Clyde Hill with wife, Kelly, and three children.
12. Raul Ibanez
Position: Primarily outfield
Years as a Mariner: 1996-2000, 2004-08, 2013
Why he’s on the list: Ibanez played 1,110 games for Seattle over 11 seasons in three different stints with the Mariners and was as consistent as any player in team history throughout, ranking in the top 10 in almost every career offensive category, including standing sixth in home runs (156), hits (1,077) and RBI (612).
Key stat: Ibanez held the team record with hits in nine consecutive at-bats until it was tied by Danny Valencia earlier this season. That stretch was also a part of a string of reaching base 11 straight times, tied for best in team history with Ken Griffey Jr.
Where he is now: Was working as analyst with ESPN until being laid off in April.
11. Bret Boone
Position: Second base
Years as a Mariner: 1992-93, 2001-05
Why he’s on the list: A case could be made that the re-signing of Boone prior to the 2001 season to a one-year, $3.25 million contract was the best free-agent signing in team history. With his career at a seeming crossroads following the 2000 season (he’d hit just .251 with the Padres in 2000) Boone embarked on one of the best three-year runs in Mariner history, averaging 32 home runs and 122 RBI from 2001-03. His Mariner career slugging percentage of .474 remains sixth in team history for those with more than 2,000 plate appearances. And he won three straight Gold Gloves from 2002-04.
Key stat: No Mariner has had a higher offensive WAR (Wins Above Replacement) since Boone’s 7.6 in 2001. Only Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez ever had higher WAR numbers as a Mariner.
Where he is now: Boone worked as an instructor in the A’s organization for a while before leaving that post in 2016 to promote his autobiography and spend time with his four kids. He’s also co-owner of Suit Club VIP, which sells custom suits.
Make your pick: Select up to 10 players from the list below to vote on who you think deserves to be in the top 10.