Groz Remembers: The forgotten hero of the historic 2001 Mariners
2001 A Baseball Odyssey: A weekly look back at the record-setting 2001 Mariners and the players who got them there.
By the second week of May, everyone knew this was a special season in Seattle.
May 11 was the date the Mariners pushed their lead to 10 games in the American League West. Look at the standings today. Add up the difference between first and second place in EVERY division. Does it even add up to 10?
That day, the Mariners crushed Toronto 7-2, improving their record to a gaudy 23-7.
Getting the win that day was a lanky right-hander who was making the most of his return to “the show.”
Paul Abbott first hit the majors in 1990 as a 22 year old in Minnesota. Three years later he was cut by the Indians and sent into the wilderness of the minor leagues were he toiled for five years before getting a second shot at the majors with the Mariners in 1998.
Abbott started four games for the M’s and was cut at the end of the season only to be re-signed a few months later. He won a spot in the rotation for most of 2000 and was penciled in as a full-time starter in 2001.
In that May 11 game against Toronto, Abbott picked up his first win of the season. He went on to win an astounding 16 more times in turning in a 17-4 season, accounting for nearly half his career wins.
Abbott pitched a memorable postseason game against the Yankees where he had a no-hitter through five innings but was pulled because of eight walks. He never won more than five games in a season after that though but never left baseball and is currently the Red Sox Triple-A pitching coach.
But in 2001 on the mound for Seattle, he was truly something else.