Groz Remembers 2001 Mariners: The bounceback year of M’s Hall of Famer Dan Wilson
2001: A Baseball Odyssey – a weekly look back at the record-setting 2001 Mariners and the players who got them there.
Lou Piniella came to the Mariners from the Reds after the 1992 season, and after his first year in Seattle he pushed general manager Woody Woodward to acquire a young catcher that had caught his eye in Cincinnati.
Dan Wilson rewarded that faith and then some as he put in 12 years with the Mariners, winding up in the club’s Hall Of Fame.
Acquired along with reliever Bobby Ayala for pitcher Erik Hanson and future 2001 Mariners teammate Bret Boone, Wilson quickly won the Mariners’ starting catcher job in 1993 and was soon regarded as one of the game’s best defensive backstops, earning a trip to the 1996 All-Star Game.
Wilson had a very tough year in 2000, though. Injuries limited him to 90 games as he hit just .235 and had a .990 fielding percentage, which was one of the worst of his career. But 2001 was a bounce back in every way as Willie hit .265 with 10 homers and committed only one error in 799 chances for a fielding percentage of .999, which of course led the league.
It was a hot night in Texas on July 2 when the Mariners outslugged the Rangers 9-7 in 10 innings. Wilson went 2 for 3 with a walk and his fifth home run of the season, and the M’s hit the halfway point at 60-21. They were on pace for the all-time single season victory total, led the American League West by 21 games, and the All-Star Game in Seattle was just a week and a day away.
It just continues. My oh my!
Watch and listen to Wilson look back at the 2001 Mariners season along with teammate Mike Cameron in the video below from the Mariners Virtual Baseball Bash earlier this year.
More 2001 Mariners memories from Groz
• Mark McLemore, the all-important 10th man
• Edgar Martinez cements his legacy with his last great season
• Aaron Sele, the pitcher who ‘fell from the sky’
• Bret Boone gave Seattle a huge, surprising boost
• Paul Abbott, the forgotten hero of the historic ’01 M’s
• Introduction: Celebrating the 2001 Mariners, 20 years later